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Nachtjäger Volume Two

Nachtjäger Volume Two Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2007 Title Nachtjäger Volume Two
Author David P. Williams Publisher Classic Publications
Published 2005 ISBN 1-903223-54-7
Format 192 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $29.95


This is the second installment of Nachjager that covers Luftwaffe night fighter units between 1943 and 1945. This volume covers the integration of radar into Luftwaffe night fighter operations and the evolution of radar-equipped interceptors.

Many folks think it a bit odd that the early radar interceptors were based on light bombers and heavy fighters. Since early radar, like many other avionics, was based on tube technology, the 'black boxes' required lots of space in the aircraft. The threat at night was the RAF's Bomber Command. These early interceptors needed enough speed to close on a target (like a Lancaster), be stable enough to reliably aim its guns, have enough fuel and ammunition for multiple intercepts, and have enough room in the aircraft for a radar operator and all of his gear. Hence the reason why many of the earlier nachtjager platforms were based upon the Ju 88 and Bf 110. It would be a little more time before purpose-built night fighters would appear such as the He 219 and the Me 262B-1a.

While airborne radar could still not see as far as the eye, it could see targets nearby that were otherwise masked in darkness. These radar sets offered another improvement in night fighting - telling you range to target so you can fine tune your shot before telegraphing YOUR presence to the tail gunner in your prey!

Of course another key development in night fighter operations was the employment of Ground-Controlled Intercept (GCI) radar controllers that would employ long-range radars and height finders to direct the night fighters close enough to their targets for their own radars to acquire the targets.

This title has a very nice array of black & white as well as some color (!) photos of the men and machines from the later days of Luftwaffe night fighter operations. In addition, the title has a nice array of color profiles of many of the aircraft discussed in depth .

This is a good read on the infancy of coordinated night fighter operations and the tactics that were developed. Hopefully Classic will cover the same topic from the RAF's own evolution of night fighter operations. Definitely recommended!

You can check out Volume One here.