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Hitler's Stuka Squadrons

Hitler's Stuka Squadrons Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2004 Title Hitler's Stuka Squadrons
Author John Ward Publisher MBI Publishing Company
Published 2004 ISBN 978-0760319918
Format 224 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $19.95

Review

This title begins a new series from Motorbooks entitled "Eagles of War". In this first release, the author provides an in-depth look at the development and employment of this notable Luftwaffe dive bomber. Probably the most significant feature of this aircraft, despite its versatility and maneuverability, was the so-called Jericho-Trumpet, a siren that was attached to each wheel spat that created a sound that struck terror among the people on the ground when it dove in an attack.

While the aircraft endured its baptism of fire in the Spanish Civil War, it came into its own during the Blitzkrieg. It wasn't until it was confronted by more sophisticated air defenses, such as the RAF defense of Britain, that the Stuka become more of a target than an asset. Never wasting a usable resource, the Germans re-roled the Stuka from dive bomber to tank buster and ground attack aircraft, retaining its dive-bombing abilities for more permissive combat areas.

This book is an excellent in-depth study of the Stuka. Not only did the author compile a significant amount of data, he presents his findings in the context of time, providing detailed events and operations as they unfolded in each of the Stuka's operating theaters. The table of contents illustrates this timeline approach:

  • Design and Development
  • Deployment and Combat Evaluation
  • Blitzkrieg: Poland and Norway, September 1939-April 1940
  • Blitzkrieg: The campaign in the West, May-June 1940
  • The Stuka in the Battle of Britain
  • Mediterranean Theatre: January-June 1941
  • Russia: June 1941-July 1942
  • Mediterranean Theatre: June 1941-May 1943
  • Russia: 1942-1943: Stalingrad and Kursk
  • Last Battles in East and West

In the appendices, the author details the composition of a Stukageschwader, examines Stukas that never were: the Ju 187 and the Hs 132, and finally provides a short biography for a number of notable Stuka pilots. This title is rounded out with color profiles and performance specifications for each major variant of the aircraft. If this title is a clue to the depth and quality of this new Motorbook series "Eagles of War", the aviation historian and modeler alike will want to add these to their reference libraries - especially considering the VERY reasonable retail price! This title is highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Motorbooks International for this review sample!

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