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Day Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe 1939-42

Day Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe 1939-42 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review July 2020 Title Day Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe 1939-42
Author Neil Page Publisher Casemate
Published 2020 ISBN 9781612008486
Format 128 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $24.95


Neil Page explores the human face of WWII aerial combat in Day Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe 1939-42 – first in a two-volume set in the “Casemate Illustrated” range.

After an introduction with timeline, coverage chronologically covers all major Luftwaffe campaigns through 1942:

  • The Polish Campaign and the Phoney [sic: “Phony”] War
  • The Campaign in the West, 1940
  • Over England, 1940
  • Waiting for Barbarossa, 1941
  • Barbarossa, 1941
  • Africa, 1941
  • On the English Channel, 1941
  • Over the USSR, 1941
  • In the West, 1942
  • The Mediterranean, 1942

Personnel and unit deployments, action accounts, victory claims, and aircraft usage dominate text. Sidebars and biographical notes augment coverage. And a helpful glossary, selected bibliography, and index conclude contents.

Period color and B&W photos, profile art, archival reproductions, chronologies, and portrait shots illustrate the effort.

But some aircraft identifications appear suspect.

I highly doubt, for instance, that Luftwaffe pilots commenced their WWII victory claims with “four PZL 24s” the first day of combat. France never called Hawk 75s “P-36s” – a US designation. And what exactly is an “SB-3”?

Some conclusions remain debatable, too.

I suspect, for instance, that many historians would disagree that “it is perhaps clear that the Battle of Britain was not the close-run thing of British propaganda”.

Still, this remains a handy, 128-page handbook on early-WWII Luftwaffe aces. Make it your launchpad for further study of this seminal subject.

With thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review copy!