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Captured Me 109s

by Jacek Jackiewicz & Miroslaw Wawrzynski

S u m m a r y

ISBN:

978-83-924914-0-8

Media:

176 pages, softback cover, A4 size

Price:

$49.95

Review Type:

First Read

Advantages:

Good coverage of history and operations of nearly all, if not all, captured Messerschmitt Bf 109s, including those during the Spanish Civil War or those used by co-belligerent forces, as well as those used during the Slovak uprising at the end of WW2. Almost 400 photos, more than 150 full colour side profiles and 30 three view drawings.  Full English text!

Disadvantages:

No clear chapter structure or index

Recommendation:

Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Sinuhe Hahn


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FirstLook

 

Once in a while a book comes along which just knocks your socks off and makes you wonder why you hadn’t discovered it before.  In my case it was a chance discovery while googling for interesting and unusual Messerschmitt Bf 109’s, especially those that had been captured by Allied forces during WW2.  As quite a few users dubbed their Messerschmitts “Me 109” instead of their more common (and correct) “Bf 109”, I included this term in my search and struck gold when I stumbled upon the Polish publisher Atelier Kecay’s web site and their publication by Jackiewicz and Wawrzynski – just goes to show that one shouldn’t the search terms too strict!

As I have a good friend in Poland, I enquired whether he could see whether a copy was available locally and great was my joy when Postman Pat unexpectedly dropped off a parcel from Poland right in time for Christmas!

A quick perusal makes it very clear that the authors have done an astonishing job in collating information on a large number of, if not every Bf 109 (whether intact or wrecked) which landed in Allied hands or which was interned from 1937 till the end of WW2.

As expected, the authors treatise starts off with the Bf 109B-1 captured in Spain during the Civil War and follows its use by the Republican forces, a French detachment during its interment in Spain  (who were very impressed with its capabilities) and its subsequent transfer to Soviet Russia.

This is then followed chronologically by the invasion of Poland, the Battle for France and the subsequent course of WW2.

Of particular interest to modelers is that excellent large full colour profiles or three views are offered of virtually every aircraft depicted in the book. This includes all wrecks, with the profiles reflecting upon the actual condition of the aircraft e.g. several Bf 109E’s shot down during the Battle of Britain, are illustrated sans canopy, cowling, bent propeller or what-ever the case may be.

An interesting example here is the Bf 109 E-4 W.Nr. 1506 “White 5” piloted by Uffz. Hans-Georg Schulte, which had its “Hakenkreuz” and red recognition band on the cowling over painted, apparently due to a dispute with Hermann Goering! So if you want to build a German 109 minus a Swastika, here is your chance!
An example of Soviet – Allied cooperation is Bf 109 F-4 “Yellow 9” Wr. Nr. 7640 which was captured in Russia and at the request of the Americans handed over to them where it became EB 1. Interesting to see a Messerschmitt flying side-by-side with a P-51 Mustang.

In other instances the complete history of an aircraft is pursued and each stage in its history is documented photographically and illustrated by excellent drawings. An example being the Bf 109G-2 “Irmgard” captured by the USAF in North Africa, where 5 variations are depicted, including the original state of the crashed aircraft in Luftwaffe markings.

Of personal interest are the large number of Bf 109’s which were captured an tested by the SAAF, and here I was astonished to find some gems I was not aware of.  These include Bf 109 G-4 “Black 13” captured in Tunisia, another G-4 captured in Sicily, and the highlight, “Black 10” a former Croat G-14 which deserted to Italy and landed in Jessi, to be taken over by 3 Wing SAAF. “Black 4”, a Bf 109 G-14A/S from the same flight was handed over to the USAF, who gave it to the Italians, and as they didn’t want it, turned it over to the Polish troops. It subsequently flew under RAF/Polish markings and is illustrated on the cover of the book. Such were the fortunes of war at this stage of the game.

In this context it is noteworthy that the authors also covered a number of Bf 109’s flown by Slovak or Croat pilots who had deserted to Russian forces, Romanian forces fleeing to the West, or those interned in Switzerland and Sweden, where thankfully the authors have resisted the urge to provide the reader with a further set of highly speculative profiles, but only provide schemes that have been documented.
As mentioned, a number of pages are devoted to aircraft used by former Axis-allies (Slovakia, R

mania, Yugoslavia and even a French example) against retreating Germans in the last stages of WW2.
Naturally some debate will exist about the accuracy of certain profiles or the correctness of interpretation. An example would be the Bf 109 F-4 captured by 1 Squadron SAAF and which was recoded AX-?, where most SAAF historians would agree that the codes were black and not deep blue. Such issues are, however, minor quibbles and should not detract from the superb effort the authors have taken in providing us with such a valuable research tool.

As such, I can heartily recommend this book as a valuable resource to anybody interested in history of WW2, the Bf 109 or captured aircraft in general. The book is available directly from the publishers at http://www.kecay.com, where a number of scans from the book can be perused at leisure. I am delighted to say Kecay have announced the second volume by the authors on “Captured Butcher Birds” – I can scarcely wait. Readers in Switzerland and neighbouring countries can purchase the book from www.fliegerbuecher.ch

So for those of you who would like to build a Me 109 but can’t bear the thought of something with German markings, here is your chance, as this book provides you with inspiration for a myriad of different options.

Thanks, once again Lech for a wonderful and unexpected gift!


Review Copyright 2009 by Sinuhe Hahn
This Page Created on 9 February, 2009
Last updated 9 February, 2009

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