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JG 26

JG 26 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2018 Title JG 26
Author Donald L. Caldwell Publisher MBI Publishing Company
Published 1994 ISBN 0-87938-845-5
Format 168 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $24.95 (see text)


A friend of mine recently gave me a copy of JG 26 by Donald Caldwell. The title as been on the street for nearly 23 years, but much of my Luftwaffe squadron focus has been on JG 54 so this didn't reach my library until now. As you will gather from the title, the focus of this work is on Fighter Group 26 from the mid-1930s through the end of World War 2. The author has gathered an impressive selection of period photos that illustrates the aircraft and crews throughout this group's operational life.

Coverage of this title includes:

  • Beginnings: 1936-1939
  • The Western Campaign: January-June 1940
  • The Battle of Britain: July 1940-February 1941
  • 7/JG 26 in the Mediterranean Theater: February-August 1941
  • The Channel Front: 1941
  • The Abbeville Boys: 1942
  • Germany Loses the Air War: January 1943-May 1944
  • The Invasion Front: June-December 1944
  • The Final Battles: 1945
  • Camouflage and Markings

As I mention, there are many great photos throughout this title which chronical the history of the group from the He 51 and early Bf 109s through the Fw 190D-9s assigned during its years of operations. The section that starts 1943 provide a good look at the group after Major Josef 'Pips' Priller assumes command of the group. The author describes the initial effort of the high command to swap JG 26 on the Western Front with JG 54 on the Easter Front. While the third squadrons of each group did swap theaters, the author describes the events that happened next.

In addition to the great photos, there are 24 color profiles that cover the variety of aircraft that served JG 26 from the He 51 through the Doras. Note that these are not in the Camouflage and Markings section, the author provides some in-depth coverage of the RLM colors applied to the group's aircraft in different theaters and time frames. He also provides a color code to the unit identification colors as well.

Whether you're a Luftwaffe historian or modeler (or both), if you don't have a copy of this title in your library, you may wish to reconsider. While the hardbound copies of this book are becoming hard to find and thereby more expensive, the softbound title is still available at various outlets like Amazon for under $7 USD. Grab a copy for your library today!

Definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to Motorbooks International for this review sample!