S u m m a r y
||Soft cardboard cover; 302mm x
226mm in portrait format; 96 pages plus covers; more than 180
photographs; 24 colour profiles; maps, appendices
for GBP£16.99 from Ian Allen Publishing's website
||Interesting and otherwise
neglected story of the early years of the German heavy fighter units
and their aircraft; 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.
I was delighted to see that one of the new series to branch out of
the Luftwaffe Colours project describes the colours and markings of
Zerstörer (literally "Destroyer", but more accurately described as
heavy fighter) units. This is a fascinating yet largely neglected corner
of Luftwaffe history.
Considered at its inception to be the elite arm of the Luftwaffe, the
reputation of the Zerstörer
units was left in tatters after the Battle of Britain. Even so, these
heavy fighters continued to deliver useful, if sometimes ill-targetted,
service to the Luftwaffe in the years to come.
Zerstörer Volume One
chronicles the subject from the conception and development of the heavy
fighter, through service in Poland, the Phoney War, the famous
confrontations in the Heligoland Bight, Scandinavia, France and the Low
Countries and, of course, the Battle of Britain. Indeed, author John
Vasco delivers the most detail on this great turning point in the
fortunes of German air power, and the role of the Zerstörer Gruppen
therein. More than half of the book contains a month-by-month, and
sometimes day-by-day, account of the air war over Britain from July to
October 1940 and to the end of 1940.
Due to the time period involved, the sole aircraft type covered is
the Messerschmitt Bf 110. Although the Bf 110 may not have worn the same
variety of colourful livery as its smaller brother, the Bf 109, this was
an interesting period of transition and tactical markings for the
Zerstörer aircraft too.
The book comprises 96 pages in the familiar large format (303mm x
206mm) of the series. The text deals almost exclusively with operations.
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, although
the gray tone and lack of contrast in the RLM 70/71 subjects are not to
my personal liking. However, it is possible that this is a reproduction
(printing) problem rather than a choice of the artist.
I am delighted to see Classic turn their attention to Zerstörer,
and I look forward to reading the continuing story of the Messerschmitt
Bf 110 and the introduction of the Ju 88 in future volumes.
As always, this book in the Classic Colours series is well suited to
modellers and, with its narrative focus on operations, will appeal to
Luftwaffe historians too.
Thanks to Simon at DLS Australia and
Allen Publishing for the review sample
Review Copyright © 2005 by
This Page Created on 24 October, 2005
Last updated 24 October, 2005
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Zerstörer Volume One is available online from Squadron.com