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Jet Prototypes of World War II

Jet Prototypes of World War II Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review September 2019 Title Jet Prototypes of World War II
Author Tony Buttler Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2019 ISBN 9781472835987
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $22.00


Project and prototype expert Tony Buttler examines Jet Prototypes of World War II in the eleventh installment of Osprey’s growing “X-Planes” series.

Coverage commences with illuminating background notes on then-novel “jet propulsion” – and three pioneering personalities behind the new technology. Buttler then systematically traverses his four subjects:

  • Heinkel He 178
  • Caproni-Campini C.2
  • Heinkel He 280
  • Gloster E.28/39

Three served as pure research machines. And only one – the He 280 – was unsuccessfully pegged for mass-production as a fighter.

Sections survey airframe designs, powerplants, testing, results, and fates.

Lots of fascinating facts season the study. Who claimed “the world’s first ever ejection seat bail out”? What unusual circumstances prompted the escape? And what links the words “Pioneer”, “Weaver”, “Tourist”, and “Millet”?

You’ll find answers here.

Buttler’s lengthy quote from Sqn Ldr F.E. Pickles’ intelligence assessment of Caproni-Campini N.1/MM.487 also proved particularly illuminating.

But with no annotations, only sleuthing among concluding references reveals the excerpt’s probable source. And none of the referenced “wartime Allied Intelligence reports” appears in Buttler’s bibliography.

Finally, on Adam Tooby’s Caproni-Campini color plate, shouldn’t blades of the port-side wing fasces point outboard – per standard Regia Aeronautica practice? And why “freezing water”? Why not “ice”?

Photos, extended captions, drawings, selected bibliography and index augment Osprey’s account. Action illustrations and color multi-views offer modeling inspiration.

I enjoyed Buttler’s pithy little précis. Make it your introduction to these pioneering projects.


My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!