S u m m a r y
||Soft cardboard cover; 302mm x
226mm in portrait format; 96 pages plus covers; around 200
photographs; 24 colour profiles; maps, appendices
for GBP£16.99 from Ian Allen Publishing's website
||Fascinating story of the
formation and early years of Luftwaffe night fighter units, their aircraft,
technology and personalities; concise and
interesting narrative; large, relevant photos; great profiles -
terrific inspiration for modellers.
||Recommended for Luftwaffe
Reviewed by Brett Green
The Classic Colours Luftwaffe Colours project is an ambitious series of
books written by an ensemble cast of some of the best respected Luftwaffe
experts from around the world. The focus of the series is the camouflage
and markings of Luftwaffe aircraft from the first tentative
challenge to the Treaty of Versailles to the end of the Third Reich. The
Jagdwaffe section has recently come to a conclusion with 20 books
in that series alone, but Classic Publication still have plenty of
ground to cover.
As part of their expansion into new Luftwaffe colour territory,
Classic Publications has released "Nachtjäger Part One. This is another fascinating yet largely
of Luftwaffe history.
Although Germany operated night fighter units as early as the First
World War, Hitler's new Luftwaffe of the 1930s was designed as an
offensive force. Herman Göring gave little consideration to the
possibility of a defensive fighter requirement, let alone a night
fighter organisation. Even so, soon after the outbreak of war in 1939,
three night fighter Staffeln were formed to deal with
leaflet-dropping British bombers. These early night fighter units were
equipped with the Messerschmitt Bf 109. It was not until April 1940 that
the first night fighter victory was claimed.
The turning point in night fighter strategy and tactics came around
this same time. Hauptman Wolfgang Falck, commanding a Zerstorer
Gruppe, I./ZG 1, believed that his heavier and more heavily armed
twin-engine Bf 110 aircraft would be a more effective weapon as a night
fighter than the Bf 109. With the co-operation of ground-based radar
units to identify bombers and vector the heavy fighters to their
targets, a deadly combination had been joined.
On 26 June 1940, prompted by Goring's embarrassment after British
raids into Germany, the Nachtjag was formed with Falck as Kommodore of
Nachtjäger Part One details the background and formation of
the night fighter force, covers the personalities and technologies that
made the Nachtjag possible, and provides a brief synopsis of operations
between 1939 and 1943.
This period also saw dramatic changes in night camouflage theory and
application. These changes are best documented in the photos and
captions, but the specifics of camouflage development are also covered
in the final Chapter.
The book comprises 96 pages in the familiar large format (303mm x
206mm) of the series. Around 200 photos, mostly of the aircraft of the
period, are one of the highlights of this title. Captions are detailed
and relevant, and provide useful information about the colours and
markings of the subjects. The side profile illustrations are very
attractive, and cover from the earliest period where Bf 109Ds wore
standard day fighter camouflage, to the distinctive Bf 110Cs and Ds in
overall black, through to experiments with pale camouflage and mottles
on Dornier 217s and Ju 88s.
The Nachtjag is one of the most fascinating aspects of the
Luftwaffe. It is very pleasing to see Classic Publications apply its
attractive and effective style to this important corner of aviation
This book in the Classic Colours series is ideally suited to
modellers with its many inspiring profiles and its discussion of
camouflage and markings.
Thanks to Simon at DLS Australia and
Allen Publishing for the review sample
Review Copyright © 2005 by
This Page Created on 03 November, 2005
Last updated 02 November, 2005
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Zerstörer Volume One is available online from Squadron.com