Heinkel He 162 Book Review
|Date of Review||April 2021||Title||Heinkel He 162|
|Format||165 pages, softbound||MSRP (USD)||$19.95|
Dan Sharp chronicles the design history of Heinkel’s remarkable He 162 in the first eponymous volume in the “Secret Projects of the Luftwaffe” series from Tempest Books – an imprint of Mortons Books Ltd.
Available in North America from Casemate, the slim, 165-page study spans five abundantly illustrated chapters.
The saga essentially distills to the economic realities of Hitler’s war machine on the verge of defeat by resource-rich enemies.
Opponents of the Völksjäger concept fought to focus steadily shrinking Luftwaffe resources on the proven, but expensive Messerschmitt Me 262.
Proponents, by contrast, stressed the economic benefits of a simpler, wholly new, lightweight fighter: “nearly the same performance as a twin-jet design on half the fuel and with half the engine and airframe production costs”.
Völksjäger proponents won. And upon receiving the September 1944 go-ahead, Heinkel produced the first He 162 prototypes early that December – a stunning engineering achievement.
Sharp methodically traces the whole phenomenal process – including Heinkel’s design competitors. And as endnotes confirm, text leans heavily on primary sources.
So, in fact, do illustrations.
In addition to period BW and color photos, coverage includes archival drawings mapping every iteration of He 162 development – visual feasts for detail enthusiasts.
Pity the dimensions aren’t visible on page 82’s official RLM wing markings schematics!
Surprises abound, too.
Was He 162 “Völksjäger”, “Spatz”, “Salamander”, all, or even none? Sharp’s conclusion, based on archival usage, might surprise you.
Seven appendices, references, and index conclude contents. And the lavishly illustrated effort also includes a range of Luftwaffe “emergency fighter” designs in counterfactual colors.
Leveraging impressive research, Sharp’s riveting read chronicles all but the scant, surviving He 162 combat record.
Other respected references furnish those – as Sharp’s selected bibliography duly notes. For the singular story of Heinkel He 162 development, however, this little book will surely suffice.
With thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review copy!