Reviewed by Rodger Kelly
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Dutch Profile originates from Holland and the company produces both decals and books dealing with aircraft in the service of the Dutch armed Forces. This title is number eight in their ever expanding range.
The book is printed in both the Dutch and English languages with the first 20 pages in the Dutch language and the remaining 23 pages in the English language. Photographic captions are also in both Dutch (first) and English.
In the main, the book tells the story of the Brewster B-339C/D-23 in service with the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force and its defence of the Dutch East Indies as well as (and very briefly) the, United States Army Air Forces and the Royal Australian Air Force.
Following a brief background that sets the scene and details the pre-war history of neglect of the Dutch East Indies and of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL) and the military aviation (ML-KNIL) the book is broken into chapters that tell the rest of the story of the Dutch Brewsters. The chapters include:
- Ordering the Brewster. Including details on the Netherlands Purchasing Commission (NPC) headed by Major-pilot-observer Max van Haselen and the seemingly endless hassles and negotiations for the rights to secure orders to purchase aircraft to defend the Dutch East Indies.
- Problems at the Brewster Plant. A brief outline of the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation and its troubles including its unsuitable manufacturing plant, its labour problems and the problems with it’s “less than squeaky clean” management.
- NEI Order. This chapter relates the chaos that existed at the time with the shortage of engines and why the Dutch Brewsters differed so much.
- The Delivery begins. Brewster B-339 es to Suriname? The chapter details why five of the initial production order was kept back in the United States and earmarked for the defence of Suriname in the Netherlands West Indies.
- Deployment of the NEI. The chapter details the establishment of the 5th Vliegtuiggroep (Air Group) in June 1941.
- The Test of Battle. Details the use of the Brewsters in combat with the various squadrons through Singapore, Borneo and the final battles on Java in the March of 1942.
- The quality of the Brewster B-339 as a fighter. A synopsis of the quality of the B-339 in combat in its various versions and fit-out as well as the training received by its pilots.
- Microphone on a Hook! Continuing on from the previous chapter, this chapter relates the foibles of the B-339 and its equipment fit-out which was became an issue basically because of the need to get the aircraft into action without time for proper trials and testing.
- Armour plating order. The chapter deals with why the B-339 (as well as all combat aircraft used by the ML-KNIL) lacked armour plating and self-sealing tanks. The chapter also deals with the removal of part of the machine’s armament and other equipment in an effort to improve performance.
- The Japanese were not much better equipped. An interesting chapter that discusses the fact that the Japanese aircraft that the B-339 in combat encountered were in fact not much better in performance and equipment fit out.
- Camouflage and markings Brewster B-339C/D/-23. A very brief but succinct chapter that relates the camouflage and markings worn by the B-339 in Dutch service as well as USAAF and RAAF service.
- Building the Brewster B-339C/D/-23. An even smaller chapter that advises on the available scale model kits available in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32 scale.
Pages 43 and 44 list each B-339 manufactured for the Dutch and its eventual fate – sadly the vast majority have listed “no known details” against them. These two pages are in the Dutch language only.
All up a great little book that answers a whole lot of questions regarding the “Dutch Brewsters” and their employment to the North of Australia in WWII. Understandably, the vast majority of text deals with usage by the Dutch but I was a little disappointed that the only mention of usage by the USAAC and the RAAF is in the captions of the photographs.
Speaking of photographs, the book is very well illustrated indeed with black and white wartime images, most of them not seen in print before. As expected, given the circumstances of the short, sharp conflict and of the tropical conditions some of the images are somewhat blurred but all are eminently useful to illustrate the machine’s usage as well as serving as extremely valuable reference to the modeller. However, the vast majority of the black and white images are sharp and clear and appear to be a mixture of those taken in the United States prior to the aircraft being exported and those taken by what appear to be official photographers and individual photographers in-country. Some of the images have been contributed by Australian historian Peter Malone and these will be very welcome indeed to Australian modellers who want to complete the Buffalo kits residing in their stashes as ones operated by the RAAF.
Colour is confined to a single period image on the cover and to some truly excellent profiles by Luuk Boerman that show the various markings schemes worn by the B-339 in Dutch, USAAC and RAAF service as well as a Buffalo Mk 1 in Dutch markings. A single B-339 in captured Japanese markings rounds out the illustrations.
The book is A4 in size and comprises 44 pages of good quality glossy pages containing a single colour photograph on the cover, 44 colour profiles (in the main these show left and right hand sides of each machine as well as top and bottom plan views) and 71 black and white photographs.
All up a great reference book for the modeller as well as a great read for the armchair historian. Modellers who have the Special Hobby kit will be delighted with this book as it provides some great reference to help with the build.
The book is listed at €15.00 which is pretty good for what you are getting in my view.
Dutch Decals also offer a mixed 72 and 48 scale decal sheet as DDS874 that provides markings for the B-339. A review of this sheet to follow shortly on Hyperscale
Thanks to Luuk from Dutch Profile for the review sample.
Review Copyright © 2008 by Mick Evans
This Page Created on 29 December, 2008
Last updated 29 December, 2008
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