Reviews - What do customers think about Kampfflieger -Bombers of the Luftwaffe January 1942-Summer 1943,Volume 3 (Luftwaffe Colours)?
Avoids Some Important Issues Sep 4, 2006
I began collecting the Jagdwaffe series when that first came out several years ago. They were a wonderful followup to the earlier generations of Luftwaffe camouflage and markings books, featured excellent pilot biographies, contained carefully selected and unique photos, and had amazingly good and well interpreted artwork. Circumstances took me away from these books during the intervening years, and I am just now catching up, picking and choosing the volumes that I hoped would provide the most interesting new information. Kampfflieger Volume Three, Bombers of the Luftwaffe January 1942 - September 1943 by Dr Alfred Price is only somewhat like the early volumes in the Jagdwaffe series. The writing is mostly about unit dispositions and combat operations, with much less about the participants. There is little about camouflage and markings beyond the artwork and its captions, and those leave several questions unanswered. Coverage of the Do 217 E and K bombers is generally good, although the line of thought is interrupted by a page of He 111 photos. There is probably more about the He 177 fiasco than necessary, but this section is informative and well supported by photos. The Ju 86 R-1 flights over Great Britain receive good treatment, although I am not fully convinced by the artwork showing broad yellow underwing markings. Early use of Ju 188s also gets some coverage. The first section on The Eastern Front gets only to its second page before things start to go into a steep dive. An outline template for a late Ju 88 A-4 is used to make the artwork for what is obviously an early A-4 or A-5, which is also given two colors of yellow bands, the broader of which is really not there in the photo. The matter of yellow fuselage bands on Eastern Front aircraft troubles the rest of the section. Price gives the order of battle which tells the reader which units were on the Eastern Front at which locations and times, and he tells us that units in the Southern Sector of the Eastern Front used white bands while those in the Middle and Northern Sectors used yellow bands, but the photo captions are very inconsistent in this regard, and the text does nothing to clarify the matter. Comparing a color and a black & white photo of an He 177 test aircraft on page 211 shows why. It is nearly impossible to distinguish consistently light colors (the He 177 has a white band that is lighter than the aircraft's white code letters in the color photo but darker in the b&w photo). Contrast between the "yellow" fuselage bands with code letters and fuselage crosses is all over the place, sometimes lighter and other times darker. The order of battle and the general rule of which color band goes where are what one should be able to rely on to make a determination. Notice the He 111 photos and illustrations on pages 229, 231, and 238, then throw in any of the Mediterranean-based unit photos which definitely had white fuselage bands (but watch out for the illustration on page 254 which repeats the early A-4 or A-5 using a late A-4 template). Price's coverage continues with pretty standard fare about the Fw 200s of KG 40 and excellent photo coverage of bombers carrying Hs 293 and Fritz-X guided bombs. Price ends with a short essay concluding that Germany lacked the fuel refining capacity to sustain a strategic bomber force. This volume contains enough that is new and interesting to be of value. It is not as crew focused as the early Jagdwaffe volumes, but it does contain some human interest from Price's many years of interviews. In the final analysis, it is a good resource, but not an excellent one, simply because it is weakest on what the series title promises: Luftwaffe Colours. It takes little effort to notice that the most interesting photos, from a camouflage and markings perspective, go unillustrated and unexplained except in the most general terms. This is presumably an editor's decision and not Price's.
Unfortunately, there is worse to come. Please see my review of Kampfflieger Volume Four.
Good Summary of Luftwaffe Bombers in the Mid-war Years! Dec 15, 2005
Dr. Alfred Price covers German bomber operations in 1942/43 in this, the third volume of Luftwaffe Colour's four-volume Kampfflieger series.
The mid-war years saw Luftwaffe bomber units stretched to the breaking point as Germany's war widened. Dr. Price, who has authored many fine books on the Luftwaffe, does a commendable job of describing the widespread activities of KGs over England, Russia, the Med and in anti-shipping ops. Also covered are the introduction of new aircraft and weapons such as the ill-fated Heinkel 177.
The comprehensive text is illustrated with dozens of photos, including some rare color shots, and 14 color profiles by Tim Brown.
A very nice piece of work and reasonably priced. Recommended!