by Alfred Price
London: Greenhill/Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole, . Pp. 191.
Illus, maps, tables, append., biblio., index. $19.95 . ISBN:1-85367-440-0
An immensely detailed, yet quite readable account of the dying days of the Luftwaffe
, which was originally published about a decade ago. Presenting a wealth of data, both statistical and operational, accompanied by numerous first-hand accounts by noted Luftwaffe
personnel, the author builds a picture of a military service desperately trying to cope against increasingly difficult odds.
The book focuses on air operations, thereby largely omitting treatment of the activities of the Luftwaffe’s extensive field forces, which rightly belongs to a discussion of the ground combat elements of the Reich. Operational activities are treated in considerable depth, including some of the more interesting “side shows” of the air war, such as how the Luftwaffe frustrated the American attempt to establish shuttling bombing bases on Soviet controlled territory, and the special airborne operations that formed part of the German “Bulge” Offensive in December 1944. There is also extensive treatment of the often neglected production side of the air war, including pilot training, and a great deal of material on experimental ideas, technologies, and equipment.
Dr. Price, author of a number of works on air power during the Second World War, makes – and supports -- a number of important and surprising conclusions. Thus, he demonstrates not only that Hitler’s decisions to turn the Me-262 into a fighter-bomber delayed its introduction into combat not at all, but also that this was in fact an excellent notion.
A valuable book for anyone interested in the air war, 1939-1945.