Wednesday, February 27

Read n' Reviewed: Luftwaffe Im Focus #28

After only a short time we see the latest "Luftwaffe Im Focus" hit the shelves. This new book features a lot of what most of you will be familiar with in the series, but of course with all new content and new adventures of the people that shared the history with the aircraft we are so interested in. See more about Issue #28 in our review...

Read n' Reviewed: Luftwaffe Im Focus #28
Author: Axel Urbanke 
Published by: Luftfahrtverlag Start Collection 
A4 Softcover Portrait Format
Language: Dual German / English
Number of pages: 50
54 Photos (4 in colour), 4 Colour Profiles by Juanita Franzi, 2 Coloured Emblems & 3 Coloured maps
Colour profiles: 4
ISBN#: 9783941437395
Price: 19,60 €
Product Link on the Luftfahrtverlag Start Website
Time for Issue #28 of Luftwaffe Im Focus" is now, with the book already on sale for a little while now, We had a chance to finally read it, and thought it was a nice day to share our thoughts on the contents with you.

The format of this book is that of glossy card stock - A4 in Portrait layout, this issue with fifty pages in a thick paper that does not really bleed through the images and print to the other side. The text itself is of a dual German/ English format, with the English writing in Italics, the print is a little on the smaller side for those with a little less vision than we might like. It is however easy enough for this reviewer to read. 

The writing is only half the story here, as the images, all fifty-four of them previously unpublished open up the reader's eyes to the story that unfolds about these aircraft as the pages turn. Some of these stories and pictures are short, with a single picture, some with two or three photos and text to accompany it, while the other end of the spectrum of the book gives us several pages, pictures and even an included four full-colour illustrations by Juanita Franzi added to the story to bring the reader's imagination into colour. Speaking of colour, there also some 

Issue #28 sees the usual lit of contents that most regular readers would be used to, one change I noted straight away was the "fates" section this time features an Allied flier instead of Luftwaffe crew...

Contents of Issue# 28:
 Editorial & Reader's notes
 Bombers: "research" special weapons on the Ju 88 of the KG 51. 
 Unknown emblems: The Ominous "Schleppegruppe 4"
• Tails: Fw. Karl Gratz, 8./JG 52 and 11./JG 2
• Personal Emblems: The Much-Photographed Do 17 “Madrid”
• Allied Fates Victim of the Raid on Berlin on April 29, 1944
• Background: The Luftwaffe’s X-Ray Stuka - The Luftwaffe Aviation Medicine Service’s Investigations during Diving Flight
• Aircraft in Focus: Hptm. Hans von Hahn and his “Friedrich” with the Ring Camouflage
An unusual camouflage scheme on the aircraft of the Kommandeur of I./JG 3 
• Colour Photos: A Different General der Flieger Ritter von Greim 
• Unusual: When It Comes to Camouflage, Anything Goes!
• Scenery: An Aircraft in the Middle of Town!
• Photos with a Story: New Photos of the Ju 388
• Fates: Missing During an Ice Reconnaissance Mission over the Gulf of Finland The fate of a crew from Wekusta 1
A Walk through Issue #28:
We start off in the usual fashion of a few pictures of an aircraft, this time a training aircraft with special text on the side denoting to the wayward students whether they should be doing aerobatics in the aircraft. During these prologue pages, we also see an unusual Swastika on an Italian-made Sm.82 tri-engined aircraft, some additions to Issue #25 & #27 with some interesting text and pictures.

In this beginning section of pages the author, Mr Axel Urbanke firstly gives us a word about the contents of the book (and a hint towards the next issue) before we progress into the reader's comments. This section of the book I always enjoy. Readers are invited by the publisher to add or correct facts and pictures published in previous issues if they have anything to add to the conversation. And this word "conversation" is one that I would use to describe this part of the book. The community that loves these books does indeed get to converse with the bookmakers to enlighten all on the facts rather than the publishers making these books a one-way relationship. This dialogue enables the reading public to get involved and open up the conversation for further debate and solutions to questions posed in the books.
We look next at three different pictures of Bf-109's in "fighters" section, then an interesting picture of a Bf-110E from NJG 2, then on to the Do 217 of KG 40 in a couple of pictures from two angles. All of these with that supporting text in dual German and English languages to illustrate the stories behind these aircraft.

There are two interesting pictures of a Ju 88 in an extension of stories on aircraft from KG51 that were posted in Issue #20, 21 & 24 of Dr Karl Heinz Stahl's research into aircraft technology. This issue we focus on the defensive machine guns and even a rearwards facing flamethrower on two Ju88's. We continue through the short and sharp photo sections (one or two pictures in each) showing the Aufklärer Bf-110C5 in France 1941 and lastly two photos of a communication Bücker Bü 131 "Jungmann" that met with a mishap in Russia.
We look a little more at the personal side of aircraft next in the two short sections "Tails" in which we look at the kill markings of a Bf-109's tail flown by  Fw. Karl Gratz (8./JG 52 and 11./JG 2) and history and summary of his flying career. "Personal Emblems" in which we have four pictures - one of them in original AGFA colour - of a downed and well known Do 17z named "Madrid". This aircraft's circumstances of the aircraft's forced landing northwest of Smolensk. 

The first of the colour profiles by Juanita Franzi helps bring more colour to the aircraft, the variance in markings from either side is described also by the book's author.
Two more colour photos and a black and white image follow in a story of two pages about the "General der Flieger Ritter von Greim". The facts about this man I did not know of before reading this article, but the avid photographer was himself caught on camera in these shots by his staff.

"Allied fates" serves us up with a picture and text of a downed B-17 of the Raid on Berlin on April 29, 1944, and the story of what happened to its crew in brief before we go on to the "Aircraft in Focus" section. This time we look at the "ring camouflage" of the famous Hptm. Hans von Hahn and his “Friedrich” Bf-109.
This unusual camouflage scheme on the aircraft of the Kommandeur of I./JG 3 is well known in modelling and Luftwaffe enthusiast circles, but it is nice to see here clarification on the scheme and five pages of both black and white photos and two (yes two) colour profiles again from Kelcey Faulkner of both sides of his famous double chevroned Bf-109F-2. 
An interesting tale and a comparison pair of pictures of a propeller gravestone are an interesting read until we see a section of six pages about the skull and bayonet decorations on the nose of the aircraft of "Schleppegruppe 4"  - a unit that we find out in this book never really existed! The story behind this unit and how the name and unit marking came to be is traced back in the article. The pictures and supporting text show the emblem on not only a map, a few pictures of the Gotha Go 242, a Fiesler Storch and the unit placard. It is an inciteful and interesting read.
A Page illustrating the use of a Persian carpet as a perfect substitute for aircraft camouflage is an amusing story in one image before we see six pages with new pictures of four Ju-388's: WNr. 340 284, WNr. 340 105 plus WNr. 340 302. In insight not only into the aircraft, but also its uses, similarities to the Ju-88 and peculiarities of colour schemes are discussed in the text. Several very good pictures of the aircraft in detail and a good colour profile by Simon Schatz are included in this section.
Over the next four pages, we see images of an early Stuka fitted with an X-Ray machine? This test aircraft was rigged as a three seater (shown in a line drawing in its layout) that took X-Rays of the lungs and chest of the pilots as they were being subjected to dives. It is a really insightful story as to how these stresses were being measured on aircrew in these still, pioneering days of flight from an aircraft seen in 1936 right through to the last of these aircraft seen here in 1942.

In "Scenery: An Aircraft in the Middle of Town!" we see a crashed Do-17 after a spectacularly choreographed (it seemed) crash landing that saw it end up in a completely weird position int he middle of a town in German. Two pictures and text - one with local boys taking an interest in the snowy scene (while wearing shorts) makes for an interesting article.
One of my most liked sections of these books is a little shorter this time, with the "Fates" section, this time dealing with the fate of a crew from Wekusta 1 that went missing during an ice reconnaissance mission over the Gulf of Finland. With a picture of the downed Ju-88 and map of the flight (the map text in German) along with another picture of an aircraft from the same squadron we learn about aircraft Ju-88D1 DB7+OA and her crew of four and what happened to them during this eventful patrol and even up to six months after. Partial rescue, capture, death, espionage are all covered in this short story of three pages that was nonetheless as interesting as this section always seems to be.

The book is then rounded out by two pictures of a He 115 & a Do 24 flying boat and text to illustrate them both.

That is our issue# 28. A very "full" book, with lots of different subjects and interesting aspects of the Luftwaffe, from pre-war to end of WWII machines, in test and military use. The varied theatres, aircraft and personnel that make for another great edition of this series.

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...