S u m m a r y
||Hard Cover; 8.5 x 11.5 inches;
239 pages plus covers
£24.99 from Ian Allan
||Almost everything you wanted to
know about things the Germans dropped from airplanes from WWI to
||Recommended with caution
Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
A frequent question on HyperScale usually involves the issue of the
color of German bombs during WW-2. This is probably the only issue on
which Wolfgang Fleischer does not go into great detail. He makes a
general statement about them being dark gray, but from the picture one
can see that they were also a light color; RLM 02 perhaps.
Interestingly, he does note that bombs for the tropical theatre of war
(presumably North Africa) were painted blue! That is the first I’ve
heard of this.
The book begins with a short section on the development of air-dropped
weapons in WW-1, and there are some fascinating pictures and diagrams
from which modelers of the period can derive some great add on detail
for their models.
The book continues with a discussion of the inter-war period. We come
to discover that even before the rise of Nazi Germany, one of the most
import tasks of the Reichswehr was the development of chemical air
warfare. Under the guise of combating harmful forest parasites,
experiment were carried out in delivering toxic gasses from the Junkers
F 13 and W 33. The study of high explosive bombs also continued, but
this time through the cooperation of the Swedish Air Force.
The bulk of this book deals with German air-dropped weapons during the
Second World War. The author appears to use two approaches. First is
the technical. This is a full description of the development of bigger
and better air-dropped weapons. The second approach can be called the
tactical approach. That is looking at the impact of changing tactical
conditions of the war on weapons development and the impact of
air-dropped weapons on the tactics of the war.
With regard to the second approach, it is interesting to note that after
the invasion of Poland, the Luftwaffe found that the air-dropped weapons
cupboard was quite bare. An interesting explanation for Sitzkrieg
perhaps, although the author does not make this conclusion. A similar
situation occurred after the invasion of France. In both situations the
Luftwaffe made use of Polish, Czech and French bombs and adapted them to
German aircraft delivery systems. This lesson was not to be lost on
the German military, for by 1941 a full 50% of the Iron and steel
allocated to the Luftwaffe was to go into bombs. They would invade
Russia with a full larder.
Of course, the primary focus of the book is on the technical development
of air-dropped weapons and the delivery systems. The author clearly
delivers on this and maybe a little to much so; I’ll explain later.
Mr. Fleischer provides a description and cross sectional drawing of
every bomb the Luftwaffe dropped, or nearly every bomb. For those who
are industrious, you can even model the fuses used to detonate the
bombs, for there are schematics and cross sectional diagrams of these
also. We learn some tidbits along the way. For example, the ring around
the nose of some bombs was used to prevent the bomb from ricocheting
when dropped on water. The opposite of what Barnes Wallis tired to
accomplish. Speaking of Dam Busters, the Germans had their own version,
but sort of in reverse.
We are also provided with diagrams and pictures of the vertical bomb
cells used in the He 111 and Ju 52. There are also various diagrams and
picture of the racks used on fighter bombers. For the modeler who wants
to add that extra detail, these are invaluable.
The book does not stop with the description of German air-dropped
weapons and how they are delivered, Mr. Fleischer goes on to describe
the chemical composition of toxic chemical and explosive bomb fillings.
Did you know that Sarin (T-144) was named after four chemists and that
it is made up of seven chemical, but can be made with as little as five,
which is called Sarin-2? Then there is Soman, which was reported to be
the most toxic of all substances up to 1945; 10 times more lethal than
Sarin when breathed. You also can find out the chemicals and
proportions of each that make up such explosives as Ammonal DJ and
Trialen 105. But, you’ll have to buy the book if you want these recipes
and many more.
This is a fascinating book and will be of interest not only to modelers,
but also to military historians and those who are interested in the
technology of warfare.
I have only one concern. I realize that this is the age of
information and everything you need to make a bomb is probably on the
internet already, but one could look at this book and see it as a “how
to”, albeit using WW-2 technology. All the wiring diagrams for various
types of fuses are there, as are the chemical composition of toxins and
explosives. Maybe it is because of the times we live in that the final
chapters makes me feel a bit queasy.
Recommended with the above reservation.
Thanks to Ian
Allen Publishing for the review sample
Review Copyright © 2004 by
Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
This Page Created on 22 May, 2004
Last updated 31 May, 2004
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