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Osprey Aviation
Elite Units 22


Jagdgeschwader 51


by John Weal


S u m m a r y

Publisher and Catalogue Details: Osprey Aviation Elite Units #22 - Jagdgeschwader 51 “Mölders”
ISBN: 1846030455
Media and Contents: Soft cover, 128 pages
Price: GB£13.99 online from Osprey Publishing
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: Easy to read English text version of this famous Jagdgeschwader, 32 colour profiles, over 125 well selected photographs.
Recommendation: Recommended

Reviewed by Rob Baumgartner

Osprey's Jagdgeschwader 51 “Mölders” will be available online from Squadron.com



You won’t find much in the English language when it comes to the wartime exploits of Jagdgeschwader 51. 

Thankfully John Weal is putting this right with his latest contribution to the Aviation Elite Series. He is one of Osprey’s most prolific writer/ illustrators, having contributed to more than 20 titles since 1994.  

JG 51 was one of the Luftwaffe’s top fighter units, its history closely following the fortunes of the German fighter arm as a whole. After the death of Werner Mölders, who was the first pilot to attain 100 victories, Jagdgeschwader 51 was to assume his name as a tribute to the great airman.  

One hundred and twenty eight pages make up this edition. There is a lot of information to pack in and it would be easy for the book to turn into a dry narrative of events. Fortunately this does not happen and the text easily keeps the reader interested. 

With over 125 black and white photographs presented, a good mixture of man and machine can be found. Reproduction is good, but as expected, most of the images will be familiar to the hard core enthusiast. 

Not only does John Weal author this volume, but he does his own colour profiles as well. Here we find 32 aircraft covering such types as the He 51B, Bf 109 B/E/F/G, Fw 190 A/D and even an Hs 129B. The artwork is ably done in John’s usual style, and a page of Jagdgeschwader heraldry is thoughtfully also included. 

Six chapters cover this book. The formation of the unit leads off and then we follow its progress through the battles of France, Britain, and the Eastern Front.

The adventures of II. Gruppe has a chapter all to itself, with this section describing the final defeat in the East. 

Probably the saddest part of the read is the postscript that details the removing of Werner Mölders’ name from the Bundeswehr roll of honour titles. This was a blow struck by the Minister of Defence, Dr Peter Struck, in 2005…for purely political reasons. 

The appendices round out the title with a list of the various commanding officers and their fate. Award winners are not forgotten and these are contained in a table that also registers their score at the time of the decoration. 

With what seems to be the norm with Osprey these days, there is an excellent index which allows the quick lookup of personnel, locations, aircraft and formations.





JG 51 was one of the more successful Luftwaffe units of World War II. The fact that it numbered more Knights Cross winners than any other is testimony to that. 

The author brings the exploits of this unit to life with a highly readable account. The choice of pictures is excellent and the accompanying artwork is many and varied. 

To have the feats of Jagdgeschwader 51 in an English language book should be welcomed by all Luftwaffe enthusiasts. 


Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review sample.

Jagdgeschwader 51 “Mölders”
(Aviation Elite Units 22)
Visit Osprey Publishing
Author:  John Weal
Illustrator: John Weal
US Price: $22.95
UK Price: £13.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date: October 31, 2006
Details: 128 pages; ISBN: 1846030455
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Review Copyright © 2006 by Rob Baumgartner
Page Created 11 December, 2006
Last updated 11 December, 2006

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