S u m m a r y
|Publisher and Details:
Luftwaffe Colours - Sea Eagles Vol. 1
Luftwaffe Anti-Shipping Units 1939-1941
by Chris Goss
||Soft cover, 96 pages plus
covers, over 150 photos in colour and black and white, and 14 colour
||Available world wide from
Ian Allen Publishing's website.
Available in the US from
Squadron Mail Order - USD$26.96.
||Excellent overview of an area of
Luftwaffe operations that has been previously neglected.
Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
Luftwaffe Anti-Shipping Units 1939-1941 available online from Squadron.com
The Luftwaffe Colours series from Ian Allen /
Classic Publication marches on determinedly with the first of a two part
account of the Luftwaffe’s anti-shipping operations. The style and
format does not differ much from the other volumes in this excellent
series; which now includes the 20 volume Jagdwaffe series, the four
volume Bombers of the Luftwaffe and a couple of new subjects.
Chris Goss presents a historical narrative of an aspect of Luftwaffe
operations for which both ownership and purpose were not clear at the
outset of the war. Before the outbreak of war, maritime aircraft were
the province of the Kriegsmarine. With their outdated aircraft,
maritime units were to act defensively as the eyes of the fleet.
However, there were those who envisioned that maritime units could play
an offensive bombing role. With this proposed change in tactics, the
Luftwaffe sought to take into its structure such offensive maritime
operations. Göring made it quite clear to Admiral Raeder that future
aircraft, which were to be used in an offensive maritime role, were to
be assigned to the Luftwaffe.
It was not just the issue of who was to control maritime aircraft units
that affected their early development. The torpedoes in use at the
outset of the war were quite unreliable, and were used in conjunction
with slow moving aircraft. The Luftwaffe’s development of its own
torpedo aircraft was also slow to develop. Traditional aerial bombing
was the norm. Transition to the use of torpedoes with Luftwaffe bombers
was awkward. Even the development of the Ju 88 as a torpedo bomber was
delayed, due to it being subject to a “Fuhrer only decision”.
In addition to a straight historical narrative, the author also
interweaves personal accounts of Luftwaffe pilots engaged in
anti-shipping operations. There is a most interesting account by a
Stuka pilot of dive-bombing a convoy in the Channel while having to
contend with RAF fighters.
There is also a bit of black humor resulting from the confusion of war.
Claims of ships being sunk sometimes did not coincide with reality,
especially given the unreliability of early torpedoes. It appears that
an Italian naval unit did not fair very well against His Majesty’s ships
that the Luftwaffe reported as “incapacitated”.
As with other volumes in the Luftwaffe Colour series, the pictures and
captions constitute a significant part of the information in the
monograph. This new volume will not disappoint in that regard, as there
are an abundance of both previously seen and new pictures.
But, as is to be expected, there is a certain amount of potential
controversy over the colour references and interpretation of black and
white pictures. Mr. Goss indicates that RLM 63 was similar in colour to
RLM 02, but other writers have taken a somewhat different position. And
looking at some of the pictures of allegedly RLM 02 aircraft, they look
quite pale, perhaps too pale in colour.
There is an excellent picture of an apparently factory fresh Fw 200
Condor. While all the other pictures of the Fw 200 in this monograph
show a low contrast scheme of the standard colours of RLM 72 and RLM 73,
this one seems to show a high contrast between the two topside colours.
The caption does not mention the camouflage scheme at all. By the way,
could you imagine the Fw 200 as a torpedo aircraft? Well it seems
someone in Germany did.
This first volume concludes with two things that would have a
significant impact on Luftwaffe anti-shipping operations - the entrance
of the United States into the war, and the development and use of escort
carries by the British.
It is about time we had an accessible account of
the maritime units and anti-shipping operations of the Lufftwaffe. This
new monograph is a most welcome addition. I look forward to the second
volume. Hopefully we will be provided a good deal of information on the
Ju 88s in the Mediterranean and the Bay of Biscay, for they make unusual
and interesting modeling subjects.
One final thought. With each new volume in the series I’m always amazed
at the number of authors and researchers involved in research on the
Luftwaffe and the commitment of one publishing house to producing such
an excellent series. What amazes me most, however, is the absence of
such depth of knowledge, writings and commitment when it comes to the
United State Army Air Force. Just imagine what such a series would be
like if it were equivalent to the Jagdwaffe series: a twenty volume set
on USAAF fighters from 1919 to 1945, amazing. Oh well!
Thanks to Simon from DLS Publishing and to Ian
Allen Publishing for the review sample
Review Copyright © 2006 by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
This Page Created on 08 March, 2006
Last updated 07 March, 2006
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