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Day Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe 1943-45

Day Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe 1943-45 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review August 2020 Title Day Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe 1943-45
Author Neil Page Publisher Aviation Collectables
Published 2020 ISBN 9781612008790
Format 128 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $24.95

Review

With major Axis defeats on all fronts, 1943 marked the turning point of WWII in Europe.

Overwhelming allied production, equipment, and manpower superiority doomed Nazi Germany to inevitable destruction and defeat – on the ground and in the air.

Now Neil Page completes his two-part study of Luftwaffe Experten in Day Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe 1943-45 – part of the Casemate Illustrated range.

After introductory notes with timeline, Page chronologically covers all major actions during the war’s final phases:

  • The USSR, 1943
  • The West and the Reich, 1943
  • The Mediterranean, 1943
  • The West and the Reich, 1944
  • Normandy and the Invasion of France, 1944
  • Defense of the Reich
  • The East, 1944
  • The Mediterranean, 1944
  • 1945

As in Volume 1, coverage surveys personnel, units, victories, and losses. And aircraft and technical developments understandably play major roles.

Sidebars, extended captions, archival excerpts, and biographical notes further augment the account. A helpful glossary, references, appendices, and index also supplement the study.

Commentary on the bureaucratic nature of Abschussbestätigungen – kill confirmations – proved equally interesting. Of Erich Hartmann’s 352 claims, for instance, 289 were officially confirmed.

Oh, and don’t skip that sidebar on Uffz. Réne Darbois.

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

How about that 8./ JG 27 Bf 109 F-4 “Trop” with Italian-style, “herringbone” wing camouflage?

But don’t expect annotations for all those intriguing comments, contentions, and quotes – notably that “one member of III. JG 77” who claimed having “enough food and fuel to keep repelling Soviet aircraft” in the war’s very last days.

And while text is generally well written, what does “the insipid sunshine of the far north” mean? Moreover, how can a Knight’s Cross be “issued” “[u]p to May 10, 1945” – two days after Germany’s unconditional surrender?

Carps aside, this convenient, compact chronicle packs plenty into just 128 picture-packed pages. Make it your springboard to further study of Luftwaffe day fighter aces in WWII’s waning years.

With thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review copy!