Friday, March 26

Read n' reviewed: Luftwaffe Gallery #6: Luck, Fate And Destiny by Erik Mombeeck & Maciej Góralczyk

Erik Mombeeck's Luftwaffe Gallery (LuGA) books are always something to behold for modellers & Luftwaffe historians with never before published pictures & artwork with stories telling us all about the men & machines portrayed. We have read the latest issue - no#6 - called Luck, Fate and Destiny, and today we detail the contents for you in our review...
Preview: Luftwaffe Gallery # 6: Luck, Fate And Destiny 
By Erik Mombeeck & Maciej Góralczyk
Softcover, in A4 Landscape Format
56 pages
117 photos (many of them published for the first time)
23 colour profiles by Janusz Światłoń
The "Luftwaffe Gallery" is one of the best books around that combines not only not ever before seen large format visuals and illustrations, but the stories behind the pictures and artefacts presented to the reader in the form of testimonials, analyses, profiles and accounts from the people that flew the machines or were in the units at the time. These combined stories of men and machines with exclusive images offers to a great recipe that we always look forward to seeing in a new flavour with each edition.

"LuGa #6 Luck, Fate And Destiny" offers the factor of luck and superstition into the mix, and this issue focusses on the luck and misfortune of the players - be it in the first victory or the first loss, or even the first air-sea rescue of enemy aircrew and also the part played by superstition.

The book in its physical form:
The combined forces of Erik Mombeeck & Maciej Góralczyk are the driving force behind this book. They have again looked to provide the reader with that recipe we were discussing earlier that proves so interesting for armchair historians and modellers (and some who think they are both 😄). This issue is like it's sister volumes in softcover, in A4 landscape format with several large scale format pictures (out of a total of 117 - many of them published for the first time) that cover the 56 pages. There are also 23 colour profiles and illustrations by the talented Janusz Światłoń that add exposition and weight to the images and text throughout the book.
Page by page:
We will now go through the book in its chapters one by one. Broken into five sections with contributions from different authors. We will look at these sections one by one pointing out the general contents before we sum up the book...
"From Kriegsmarine to Luftwaffe" by Tim Oliver walks us through the history of the1. Staffel of Küstenfliegergruppen 106 and the mix of Kriegsmarine & Luftwaffe personnel that made up their crews. In a section covering  seven pages we hear about unit designations and machines before the author takes us through stories of several missions with crew accounts, photos, contemporary illustrations and profile from Mr Światłoń to aid the reader in realizing the text before them. Actions against Avro Ansons, a Dutch (!) Fokker Seaplane, and another again against Ansons which did not prove so successful for the German He 115. From the Polish campaign to the fall of France and the conversion to Ju 88's. The unit's Staffelwappen (squadron badge)  of the shaker and dice is explained, and two relic schnapps cups with the unit's emblem on them are shown in this section also.
In the next section called "Card and Dice Emblems: Chance and Superstition" we look at the emblems on cards, namely the aces, quads, clubs, spades hearts and diamonds, and the meanings associated with each of those different cards that are adorned on the aircraft in the subsequent pages in photographs and profiles. Many different types from bombers, to fighters to recon aircraft in both the Spanish Civil War and early Luftwaffe & WWII.
Dice are of course another side of the pilot or gambler's luck, and these are pictured in several different sided emblems on several aircraft with coloured profiles and unit badge illustrations to accompany the photos of the real aircraft. 
The subjects of "Claim or Victory" are the focus of  the next section of this book, and we have thirteen pages of archival documentation, photos and recounts of the Abschüsse or "kills" by German airmen and Flak during the war. A discussion about the ways that pilots claimed their kills, how they are classified, the "Points" system used on the western front for partially shooting down enemy bombers and how all of these were documented and then awarded, recorded and then pulled out and researched after the war. This is the most comprehensive look at this very divisive subject amongst historians and Luftwaffe / WWII enthusiasts..
Several pages of this chapter are dedicated to eh kill markings on German fighters. Different flags and emblems and multiples on the Ace's aircraft are shown in contemporary photographs and new profiles and coloured illustrations of the aircraft and kill markings.
The next chapter covers the aircraft of one man, in "Kurt Ubben and his aircraft" we have seven pages of just that. Filled with those excellent colour profiles and photographs, there are also two interesting accounts of actions in his flying career. Notable aircraft (even captured in a colour photograph) is the Bf 109F4 "Black 13", the yellow nosed F4's "Chevron bar", "Chevron Triangle 13", a G6 Trop Chevron Triangle and his Fw 190A with Kommodore markings in which he met his fate. The accounts are interesting and the aircraft and kill markings are a great compliment to the preceding chapter.

The final chapter was an interesting one for me, it covers the "Luftwaffe airfield and runway equipment: Tankers and Bowsers (Tankwagen) by Laurent Freidine. Ten pages of not only the tankers, but the aircraft that they are refuelling are the subjects portrayed in photos and coloured illustrations and explained in the accompanying text. Henschels, Opels, Mercedes and even Fords and Tatras are shown here with a multitude of fuel recipients. Not only the trucks, but the trailers that accompanied these wagons are shown and discussed as they refuel larger bombers and jets. Although this did not have much to do with fates and destiny, I thought this secton was a great addition to the book and git got my modelling juices pumping.
Indeed this is what struck me about the book. It is FULL of modelling subjects and inspiration, and that must be one of the publisher's aims you would think. Some heavy reading is here for historians, especially in the kill recording section and some excellent photos and profiles make this into a worth sibling of the previous volumes of the series.

I liked this book a lot, and I think many of the readers here would like it also.

Adam Norenberg

This book is now available for to order from the Luftwaffe.Be website. Contact Erik via his email address on the website if you would like to purchase this book. Thanks to Erik for sending it to us to read and review for you all...