S u m m a r y
||Soft cardboard cover; 96 pages;
6 colour profiles; 97 b/w photos; map
for GBP£16.99 from Ian Allan Publishing's website
||A detailed look at a
little-studied campaign, excellent artwork, many previously
unpublished photographs, interesting text.
Reviewed by Brett Green
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The air campaign over Russia was massive.
For any one book to cover it in sufficient detail would be a monumental
The sensible alternative is to break up this theatre of operations into
sections, and this is what the authors have done with this publication.
Essentially the book describes the aerial operations that took place on
the southern flank of the Eastern Front.
It is the first of a two volume set that covers the advance into
Bessarabia and South-Western Ukraine following Operation Barbarossa.
Therefore the period looked at is from 22 June 1941 to 16 October 1941,
when Rumanian troops finally occupied Odessa, the region’s capital.
Despite the intensity of the fighting, researchers have not given this
theatre the close scrutiny it deserves.
These bitter campaigns were a closely matched affair. It was here that
local Soviet commanders used their initiative and dispersed their
aircraft. This saved most of them from being destroyed on the ground,
thus allowing the Red Air Force to use them effectively in the weeks to
This large format publication contains 96 pages between soft card
covers. Inside are nearly 100 black and white photographs. They display
an interesting array of men and machines with many images being
published for the first time.
Some excellent pieces of artwork are contributed by Tim Brown. Apart
from the half dozen aircraft profiles, he also provides the map which
gives the reader a better understanding of the course of events.
The layout of the book starts with the road that led to the German –
Soviet war. We are introduced to the main combatants as well as to the
Reich’s smaller allies. The state of play directly before the conflict
is put into perspective before the book launches into to a detailed
day-by-day description of operations.
This section occupies the majority of the publication and takes the war
to Thursday 31 July 1941, at which point the air war over Bessarabia
officially ended. Volume 2 in this series will describe the events
leading to Odessa.
The book also looks at the often neglected involvement of the Slovaks,
Bulgarians, Hungarians and Rumanians, the latter claiming over 600
The text is easy to understand and lively anecdotes abound, with one
such example relating to the crew of a downed He 111. They managed to
salvage a machine gun from their incapacitated bomber to fight off the
Russians before swimming across a river to safety!
A lot of research has gone into this book which is evident from the
amount of detail it contains.
Views from both sides of the conflict are conveyed to the reader and
this is done with the help of eye-witness accounts from the pilots
It’s certainly an entertaining read and one that puts this often
neglected campaign back on the map.
Thanks to Simon at DLS Publishing for the review sample
Review Copyright © 2007 by Rob Baumgartner
This Page Created on 18 September, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007
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