by J. Richard Smith, Eddie J. Creek
and Peter Petrick
S u m m a r y
||1 903223 33 4
||Hard cover; 128 pages; 303
mm x 226 mm in portrait format, more than 360 photos and 15 colour
||£19.95 plus shipping,
online from Classic
||Fascinating story of the
Luftwaffe's clandestine operation and testing unit; logical
structure and readable text; excellent wartime photos of aircraft
and personnel; pilot's first-hand accounts; very attractive and
inspiring colour profiles by Tom Tullis
Reviewed by Brett Green
Classic Publications' "On Special Missions" is available online
The Luftwaffe Verscuchsverband (the
Trials and Research Unit of the Luftwaffe High Command) flew and
evaluated new Luftwaffe aircraft types and captured Allied fighters.
This clandestine unit started as the
civilian Hansa Luftbild in 1923, being expanded and renamed
Kommando Rowehl in 1935. While officially remaining a civilian
unit, it undertook vital secret, high-altitude reconnaissance missions
over France and Russia under the cover of commercial Lufthansa airline
routes. Indeed, the unit was not officially incorporated into the
Luftwaffe until early 1944.
In addition to its secret
reconnaissance missions, the Verscuchsverband evaluated
new and exotic German bombers, fighters and night fighters including
the high-altitude Junkers Ju 86R, the Arado Ar 234 and Do 335. Other
duties included dropping spies into enemy territory.
A further responsibility was the
evaluation and comparison of captured Allied aircraft. They toured
Luftwaffe operational airfields with their flying war booty under the moniker of "Wanderzirkus
Rosarius" (Travelling Circus Rosarius, named after the unit's
Commander, Hauptmann 'Ted' Rosarius).
operated and tested Spitfires, Mustangs, Lightnings, Thunderbolts,
Typhoons, Mosquitos and more.
Classic Publications' new book, "On Special Missions", covers all
these activities in its 128 pages. The text is chronologically structured and highly readable. The
narrative text also calls on the first-hand accounts of aircrew.
More than 360 well-captioned photographs of men and machines
provide a narrative of their own. A very wide variety of aircraft are
included in these photos, reflecting the eclectic nature of this
fascinating unit's responsibilties.
Fifteen colour profiles by Tom Tullis add even more inspiration for
the modeller. These are another highlight, and are well
up to the high standards of this well-known artist.
I found "On Special Missions" to be a fascinating story, and also
an excellent source of inspiration for the modeller of both Luftwaffe
and Allied aircraft models.
Thanks to Simon of DLS Australia for the review
"On Special Missions",
and other Classic books, may be purchased through
specialist bookstores worldwide or from
Classic Publications Website
Review Copyright © 2004 by
This Page Created on 19 February, 2004
19 February, 2004
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