Monday, November 19

Read n' reviewed: Luftwaffe Im Focus Edition No. 27 from Luftfahrtverlag Start

New editions of the Luftwaffe im Focus series always spike our interest. A Mixture of large format, previously unpublished photos and some well researched journalistic detective work are the perfect combinations which have few peers in this genre. How does this, the twenty-seventh issue fare against its brothers/sister publications? See what we thought in our review...

Read n' reviewed: Luftwaffe Im Focus Edition No. 27
Written & Compiled by Axel Urbanke
Publisher: Luftfahrtverlag Start
Languages: dual German / English text on each page
Pages: 54 + inside & outside cover pages
A4 Softcover - Dimensions: 29,5 x 21 cm
59 photos, 4 colour profiles, 54 pages.
18,80 €
Product Link
Well, it is time again for another "Luftwaffe Im Focus" - this time issue 27 from the Author Axel Urbanke and the publishing team at Luftfahrtverlag Start. This mixed bag of never before published pictures comes out about every two or three months, although we are seeing this book a little late. Funny thing is that issue #28 is already nearly out! We will focus, however, at the task at hand, and give you the details of what is in this issue, and what we thought about this issue after we read the book earlier this week.

The book in its physical form:
For those not familiar with the series the book itself is a glossy softcover affair, with a dark red/ black and white cover usually, the A4 portrait format of the book gives way in this case to fifty-four pages of thick, fairly glossy stock that is full of small and large format pictures in black and white (55), colour (4) and four colour profiles drawn by Juanita Franzi. The written text in block form as well as accompanying the pictures is in both German and English (in Italicslanguages. I have always thought a little small for some reader's eyes but I managed just fine.
Issue 27 Contents:
For this issue, we have a myriad of different aircraft, timeframes and theatres of operation. Just so you know at a glance what is in the book here it is in point form: 
School aircraft: D 520, I./JG 107, 1943
School aircraft: machines of the Pilot School C 7
Photos with history: The true History of the "lion" -emblem von Hptm. Bär at I./JG 77
Reconnaissance: Me 262 A-1a / U3, 2./NAGr. 6 1945
Personal emblems: "Lili Marleen" is travelling (Ju 52)
Machine in Focus: The II./StG. 2 in the Use in front of Stalingrad in late summer 1942, as well as emblems and marking practices at the Stukas of the "Bamberger Reiter "- group
Documents: night holiday card
Destinies: What mostly silent becomes...
The fighter fate of Oak Leaves Hptm. Fritz Geißhardt
Unusual: Meet far away from the homeland
Unknown Emblems: The Owl Squadron - 2. (H) / 13 - and her emblem
Seaplanes: Norway, dangerous Terrain for seafarers
Page to Page:
OK, so that is a basic review. Let's look all through these contents to show you what we thought about each part in turn...

As always there are a few pictures at the start of each issue that are little curios. A pair of pictures of the captured Dewoitine D.520 with an interesting story behind the "contraband" photo roll that they were saved for our eyes on. Also a photograph of a fairly standard scene in the Western desert with a Bf-110 and probably one of the more unusual ordinance delivery methods of the Luftwaffe (No2# bombs away!). We see a little on the editorial from our author Mr Urbanke and some corrections that have been sent in by the healthy community of readers of this series. These corrections and additions to the stories and photos are most welcome by this reviewer, as the publisher shows time and time again that knowledge shared is knowledge gained by everyone. 

In "Training Aircraft" We look over a few pages at a few different aircraft, firstly some training Ju88's and Bf-108's of the Pilot School C 7, we also learn a little of what the pilots had to do to earn their wings. 

In a really interesting insight into one of the myths of the Luftwaffe. In the two page spread "Photos with history: The true History of the "lion"  we look at the lion (the original) that inspired the decoration on Hauptmann Bär's Lion emblem while flying his Bf-109 of  I./JG 77.  I really did not know that this was actually inspired by... well you gotta read the story to find out where the Löwen was lifted from in the first place.
In a single page "Reconnaissance: Me 262 A-1a / U3, 2./NAGr. 6 1945" we see a "spaghetti" patterned Schwalbe and learn a little of its last missions. In the opposite page, we see under the title "Bombers" a nose section and emblem of a bomb falling on England (Mt. Snowden?) on the front of a Do 17 Z-2 with her crew as they board the aircraft in an excellent picture showing the stressed skin and rivets of the kite.

Next, we have two pages and some explanation in "Personal emblems: "Lili Marleen" about the emblem adorned on a Ju 52 while we hear the story about the now-famous song by Lal Anderson was left nearly undiscovered until a chance playing by a soldier...

In "Machine in Focus: The II./StG. 2 in the Use in front of Stalingrad in late summer 1942" we get something of a follow up to the story in Issue 21 about the emblems and markings of the 11./StG. 2 Stukas, this time on the Stalingrad front, late Summer 1942 under Major Dr. Ernst Kupfer. There are twenty pages of this book dedicated to the series of excellent black and white plus rear colour photos - all of which are of an excellent quality...

Kempfer's background as a Cavalry officer in the  20's & 30's of the "Bamberger Reiter" led to his adopting the cavalry badge to his Luftwaffe unit.  These "Bamberg Riders" adopted the circular emblem of the horse and rider with red, white, blue and yellow backgrounds depending on the Stafflen. We see this in several colour pictures, plus the several slogans next to this disk on the nose depending on aircraft. Not only the aircraft of the Gruppe, but the men, and a lot of Kempfler and his  400th, 500th & 600th sortie celebrations.

We also see the first of five illustrations from the recent artist for Luft- Start Juanita Franzi, a talented artist, these flesh out the text and the photos very nicely and inspire the modeller in me to crack open my Stuka kit!
In the twenty pages of pictures and text, there are several highlights and lot to be learned about Maj. D. Kempfler and the Stukas of the "Bamberger Reiter"- group. This colour centre spread of Stukas over an airfield in Ukraine really did make my jaw drop...
 I have to move on - to the next part of the book now, a single page regular spot "Documents" which this issue shows us a picture on a single page of an overnight pass issued to a flight instructor in the Gorlitz area. 

The page facing this starts off a regular section of the book called "Fates"  which usually deals with the life and death of the fliers this features. This time the unlucky man featured is Hptm. Fritz Geißhardt and this story of nine pages feature this Oak Leaves winner's rise to fighter pilot status and his last two missions in the cockpit.
From the start of WWII, we follow the highlights of his career: a lucky escape from captivity after crash landing in Poland, action over the Channel coast, adding to his total over Russia, awarding of the Oak Leaves to the Iron Cross by Adolf Hilter himself, a posting in Malta, Africa and then Belgium. The Authors take up the story at the point that our hero was appointed the Hauptman & Grupenkommandeur of III./JG 26 in spring 1943 with 102 kills to his credit. His last two missions in Fw 190 a-4's against the USAAF bomber streams led to his eventual fate which I will leave to the reader of this book.
 A "reunion Far From Home" is next, with a one-page touching story and picture to accompany it of a Luftwaffe pilot and his father's meeting up while on duty in Norway. You sure can tell they are related by their faces! After this page we look at "Unknown Emblems" - the Owl Staffel - 2.(H)/13 and its emblem overs even pages  - right through to the end of the book. We see several aircraft from the unit in these pages with text to support the happenstance of the pictures - a Do-17, several Hs 126's, an Fw 189 and a Fislier Storch all bear the Owl emblem in different times throughout the war, and its history is described in this section of the book.
 A beautiful colour picture of the Hs 126 with coloured illustration of the owl tops off the quality of workmanship in this book.
 On the rear page, we see some evidence of how dangerous it was for seaplanes in Norway 😁.

OK, so that is the contents and feel of Issue #27 of Luftwaffe Im Focus. the quality is the thing I need to state - and it is the usual top notch. Written by a man who has real empathy for his subjects with a team that illustrates, finds photographs and turns out such a high-quality book full of rarities so often, of course, this book is well with the 18 euro cover price. At that price it is cheap!

Issue 28 has just arrived VERY early - It will be my pleasure get reading that ASAP...

Adam Norenberg

This book is now available through the mail order page for around 18 – 24 Euro (That is including P&P depending on where you live) from the Luftfahrtverlag-Start web page Thanks to them for sending us this issue to read and review for you...