Monday, December 16

Kagero’s “Units” series 6- JG 26 Jagdeschwader "Schlagater" & decal review..

The unit that bore the honour title “Schlageter” – JG 26 - had some very famous names amongst it’s roll call of pilots– Adolf Galland, Josef Priller and Johannes Steinhoff amongst them – but how about adding some history, decals and 41 period pictures in the space of  28 pages in one book? Let’s see if the mix works or not…

JG 26 Jagdeschwader "Schlagater"
Marek J. Murawski
A4 landscape softcover
32 pages
Decals in 1/72 + 1/48th & 1/32nd scales
Decals printed by Cartograf.
Available from Kagero Directly at this link
Price: €16.71

The sixth volume of Kagero’s new series called 'Units’, focuses on the history, aircraft and men of JG 26 “Schlageter.”  One of the most famous in the WWII Luftwaffe and a unit named after the famous German resistance fighter Albert Leo Schlageter – the history of this unit from pre-war to the end of the conflict in Europe is attempted to be captured here in just thirty two pages.
The book is a glossy softcover landscape format book – in English text and it is filled with black and white pictures from the war showing the unit and it’s men in action. There are also colour profiles of some notable aircraft and a set of decals in three scales as well – both of these we will get to a bit later but let’s have a look at the main body of the book – the writing and pictures.

The first half of this book sees the unit in it’s transition from defence of the homeland, to “operation Paula” over the skies of France to the English channel and the offensive and then the defensive battle of the battle of Britain.  We see the unit in a brief transition to the med before the Fw-190’s take on the fighter sweeps of the Allies and then the eight air force bombers in their massive waves. The late war is discussed and we see the units taking on the P-51D’s with their superior performance. 7/.JG26 transitioned to Russia for a short time while their brothers in arms fought on the channel coast line against the bomber streams.
D-day and the following weeks combat saw the ranks of JG 26 decimated and they withdrew to reform and re-equipped with the Fw-190D-9 model and “Operation Bodenplatte”  JG 26 fought on to May 1st in 1945. The cost was high for it’s pilots and crew.

Now this is hard to all get across in only 32 pages so the text is almost secondary to the pictures in the book. A brief overview of the unit’s fighting is all that can afforded here. The writing is brief but informative. The pictures are more of a selling point here I think.
In these pictures through the book we see the unit transform from Bf-109e-1’s thru the later E and then the “F” model ‘109 – then on to the short nosed “Wurger” and a few of the long nosed Fw-190D-9’s in various states of repair and even under different flags as captured variants. These pictures are very good – I am not sure how many are previously unpublished – probably not many – but for me this is a pretty good visual history of the unit with some good personal and aircraft studies.

There are four very nice aircraft profiles drawn by Januzs Swiatlon. The aircraft on show – two Bf-109’s and two short nosed Fw-190’s – are weathered and finely detailed in these profiles – you get to see each side of the aircraft and one of the aircraft from above as well. I would like to see them all in a four way view if possible – otherwise they are very good inspirational material for modellers – Just lucky this book supplies the very decals for them....
This is the other strong selling point for this boo – it is accompanied by a set of decals. Kagero have decals for each of these four machines in 1/72, 1/48th and 1/32nd scales printed by Cartograf of Italy, the leaders in the decal printing market. The subjects are..

Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-1; W.Nr. 3413, 'Black 5', flown by Lt. Hans Krug of 5./JG 26, Chievres airfield, France, early June 1940,
Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-2; W.Nr. 0125 304, flown by Hptm. Johannes Seifert, Kommandeur of I./JG 26, St. Omer-Arques airfield, France, late May 1942,
Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6; flown by Hptm. Klaus Mietusch, Kommandeur of III./JG 26, Nordholz airfield, Germany, late July 1943,
Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-8; W.Nr. 170 661, 'Brown 13', flown by Lt. Gerhard Vogt, Kapitän of 7./JG 26, France, June 1944.
These are very nice decals – I especially like the way that the research here has been done on “Brown 13" as many would have mistakenly made it a red colour. The decals are in register and the colours are strong. The aircraft stencils and national markings will have to be sourced from a kit or masking, but to be honest I prefer this and it probably keeps the price down. There is a minimum of carrier film – but the decal of “Vista Suerte Yal Toro” on Bf-109E-1 “Black 5” will be particularly impressive.
The book ends with the names and dates of the commanders of JG26 and it's sub-unit commanders as well.

So there we have it – not a lot of pages for a lot of history. There are some very nice period pictures here, the decals in all three scales and the profiles of four interesting kites are a good addition to this book which cannot be all things to everyone but tries it’s best. I must say as well there is a lot in this book for the asking price of €16!

Best suited to Luftwaffe fans or beginners who want to model some interesting JG 26 kites.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Kagero for sending this to review.