S u m m a r y
||Osprey Aviation Elite Units 27 - Jagdverband 44 Squadron of Experten
by Robert Forsyth
||Soft cover, 80 pages
||GBP£14.99 / USD$25.95 available online from Osprey Publishing
||Entertaining and easy to read text, excellent use of first hand accounts, interesting collection of photographs and competent artwork.
Osprey's JV 44 book is available online from Squadron.com
The story of Jagdverband 44 is unique.
It was one of the Luftwaffe’s most controversial and enigmatic units. From its inception until its surrender, JV 44 existed amongst mystery, intrigue and political dissent.
Adolf Galland led the squadron, which contained some of Germany’s leading aces and was equipped with the world’s first operational jet fighter - the Messerschmitt 262.
Robert Forsyth has written on this subject before and is the perfect choice to author Osprey’s 27th title in this series.
There are nearly 130 black and white period photographs between the 128 pages. The captions that accompany these are well thought out and make interesting reading in their own right.
Jim Laurier contributes with 18 competent profiles and these cover a range of Me 262 variants. A number of Fw 190Ds from the Platzschutzschwarm are also displayed and even a Si 204D-1 comes under scrutiny.
The opening chapter discusses the background events that were taking place during the last six months of the war as well as the prevailing sentiment at the time. Here we read about the circumstances surrounding Göring’s sacking of Galland as General der Jagdflieger and how the future of other notable aces were about to abruptly change.
Now an “outcast”, Galland was tasked with setting up a new unit to fly the Me 262 and immediately went about recruiting those he thought could do the job. A description of these aces is also contained here as well as the incidents leading up to their appointment.
Naturally the reader gets a précis of the jet’s history and this is found in the next section.
Narratives from the participants themselves are scattered throughout the book and this adds greatly to the text. Particularly interesting is the commentary relating to flying these revolutionary aircraft and how effective the R4M rockets were in combat.
Despite the Me 262 being a technologically superior aircraft, it was still vulnerable to enemy fighters when either taking off or landing. As a result, Galland opted for a protection flight of Fw 190Ds for this critical part of the jets’ operations.
As a visual aid to stop the jet pilots and flak batteries from accidently firing upon them, they “decorated” their undersides with red and white stripes. This Platzschutzschwarm (Airfield Defence Flight) squadron is covered in chapter five and provides an enlightening commentary into the workings of this unit.
The author continues to follow the progress of JV 44 as it does battle over Germany and Austria to stem the tide of US medium bombers. Once again first hand accounts abound and the reader is kept interested all the way to the unit’s final surrender to American troops.
This book will clear up much of the mystery that still envelops Galland’s “Squadron of Experten”.
The easy to read style makes the book hard to put down and the balance of artwork and photographs is just right. The appendices cover Jagdverband 44’s personnel list as well as those pilots holding the Knight’s Cross and their victories. The latter totals nearly 1700!
So for something that is different from the usual squadron histories, this book is well worth having and comes highly recommended.
Osprey Publishing for the review sample
Review Copyright © 2008 by Rob Baumgartner
Page Created 22 June, 2008
22 June, 2008
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