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Jagdgeschwader 52 - The Experten

Jagdgeschwader 52 - The Experten Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2004 Title Jagdgeschwader 52 - The Experten
Author John Weal Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2004 ISBN 1-84176-786-7
Format 128 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $21.95


This title covers an interesting subject - Jagdgeschwader 52. Why would this (or any) Luftwaffe fighter group's history be interesting? Well first off, JG.52 was the highest scoring Luftwaffe unit, and in fact the highest scoring fighter group in all of World War 2. With over 9,000 kills credited to this group, no other fighter group has even come close to approaching such a kill record at any point since man started flying, and will likely never be repeated.

The author covers the first days of this unit's operations as part of JG.433, stood up to operate the Bf 109D in combat operations during the Spanish Civil War. After returning to Germany, JG.433 was redesignated as JG.52 in 1939 and operated the Bf 109 in its various versions until the end of the war. Two of the more decorated fighter aces from JG.52 included Oberstleutnant Hermann Graff with 212 kills and Major Eric Hartmann with 352, both of which were imprisoned after the war by the Soviets for their successes. Why were the Soviets being vindictive with these pilots? Because 25% of all Soviet combat air losses were due to the pilots of JG.52.

The coverage of JG.52 operations is broken down in the table of contents as:

  • From Small Beginnings
  • Frontflieger im Westen
  • Interlude
  • Eastern Front - Advance
  • Eastern Front - Retreat

The book contains a nice range of black and white photography of the men and equipment of JG.52. In addition, there are 10 pages of color profiles of selected aircraft and unit symbols in this title's coverage.

This book is a must-have for the aviation historian and military analyst to understand how one unit could achieve such significant successes in aerial combat. Modelers will also enjoy the history, photography and color profiles to replicate the mounts of these super aces. This title is recommended!

My sincere thanks to Motorbooks International for this review sample!