Saturday, 29 June 2013

Junkers Ju 52/3m Floats







Design and interior struture of floats for the Junkers Ju 52/3m transport, as featured in Das Flugzeug - Dritte Auflage [The Aircraft - Third Edition], edited by Theo E. Sönnichsen, published by Richard Carl Schmidt & Co., Berlin, Germany, 1942.

Top image shows struts [Schwimmergestell], floats [Schwimmer], and bracing wires [Verspannungskabel].

Centre image shows light alloy float with a water displacement of 9500 litres [Leichtmetallblech-Schwimmer mit 9500 Ltr. Wasserverdrängung]. Details include wooden grating [Holzrost], frames [Spanten], bay for provisions [Proviantschacht], manholes [Mannlöcher], nautical horn cleat [Seehaltegriff], anchor [Grundanker], and mooring rope [Halteleine].

Lower image shows cross section of float [Schwimmerquerschnitt] with waterline. (Fischer collection)

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Arado Ar 96







Arado Ar 96 B Luftwaffe standard trainer, photographed in 1945. Aircraft rests on jacks and is finished in typical 70/71/65 scheme. Visible are both the number "yellow 20" and what appears to be the faded code TG+TN. Also visible are a partial yellow fuselage band and a noticeably bright port wing root fairing.

Enlargement of left background (see bottom photo) reveals a burned-out Messerschmitt Bf 109 wreck. The aircraft's spinner, with white spiral, can be seen on the ground, in front of the Ar 96.

Also of note are the two massive and apparently still intact camouflaged hangars in the background. Location and exact date of photo currently remain unknown. (Fischer collection)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

DKW und die Erla Me-Flugzeuge 1926 bis 1945

 photo Seifert_DKWunddieErlaMe-Flugzeuge.jpg

Karl-Dieter Seifert, Sutton Verlag GmbH, Erfurt, Germany, 2011, ISBN 978-3-86680-852-2. Illustrated, softcover, published in German.

Cover image © by Sutton Verlag GmbH, 2011.


Karl-Dieter Seifert's DKW und die Erla Me-Flugzeuge 1926 bis 1945 [DKW And Erla Me Aircraft 1926 To 1945] is a true gem. A relatively thin book (at 128 pages), it sheds light on an important but thus far somewhat insufficiently covered and therefore largely unknown facet of German aviation history - the inception of the Erla aircraft factory, and that company's difficult path towards becoming one of Germany's most important aircraft manufacturers of the Second World War. It is notable, for example, that Erla built roughly one third of all Messerschmitt Bf 109s produced. Erla's average daily output of Bf 109s in 1944 was 12 aircraft, in spite of massive supply problems and constant bombing of its manufacturing plants.

Erla was established in 1933 as a small joint venture between sports and sailplane designer Franz Xaver Mehr and Jørgen Skafte Rasmussen's DKW car and motor factory. Erla was originally intended to simply produce the small, single-seat Erla Me 5 sports aircraft, designed by Mehr (hence the "Me" designation). With the rise of the Third Reich and the increasing efforts to re-arm Germany in anticipation of a new war, Erla began to be involved in the license production of military aircraft. By the end of the war, Erla was scheduled to produce Focke-Wulf Ta 152 H fighters. Production activities were by then widely dispersed and/or undertaken by disguised manufacturing facilities operating under code names.

By necessity, the focal point of Seifert's DKW und die Erla Me-Flugzeuge 1926 bis 1945 often lies on Mehr's personal biography, as he remained one of the most noteworthy individuals involved with Erla throughout the company's existence. Mehr found it difficult to relinquish his aspirations to improve upon his early sports aeroplane designs in favour of the demands of the German air ministry (RLM). He even financed some of the work on his later designs from his own salary. Still, the realities of Germany's political course meant that these designs remained prototypes and never entered mass production. Unfortunately, much of Mehr's life is still shrouded in mystery.

DKW und die Erla Me-Flugzeuge 1926 bis 1945 mainly investigates the uneasy balance between Mehr's visions and Erla's inexorable conversion from a small aircraft company to a hugely important military aircraft manufacturer, in the timeframe from the company's inception to the outbreak of the war. This includes the complex and often questionable personal and financial machinations employed to force Erla to align with the RLM's intentions. Erla's further destiny during the war and immediately after the cessation of hostilities is only fleetingly covered on a few pages.

Nonetheless, the book is an extremely absorbing read, and the text further benefits from the inclusion of some 70 mainly unpublished photos and facsimile documents. For anyone truly interested in German sports and paramilitary aviation of the 1920s and 1930s, even these photos alone are reason enough to purchase this little book - as evidenced, for example, by its very cover image.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt (DVL), Berlin-Adlershof, 1936, Part 5







Selected images of new facilities of the Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt (DVL) [German Research Institute for Aviation] in Berlin-Adlershof, originally published in Moderne Bauformen - Monatshefte für Architektur und Raumkunst [Modern Construction Design - Monthly Magazine For Architecture And Interior Art], volume XXXV, issue no. 10, October 1936, Julius Hoffmann Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany.

Top: fractional view of the Versuchsfeld [test area] of the DVL. The partially visible dark structure to the extreme left is the large wind tunnel, a concrete structure built using the Zeiss-Dywidag-System. It had a diameter of between 8.5 and 12 m, and the airstream was created by an eight-blade fan with a diameter of 8.5 m. The oval building left of centre is the Trudelturm [spin tower] vertical wind tunnel, used for spin trials. The structure in the centre is an assembly hall. The cooling towers of the engine test facility can be seen right of centre. The two reinforced concrete towers to the right were designed to supply air and dissipate acoustic noise to and from the engine test rig. This rig could accommodate engines with propellers up to a diameter of 5 m. The interior of the test rig was furnished with concrete armour in order to withstand the disintegration of airscrews during high-rpm tests.

Centre: close-up view of the then highly innovative Trudelturm vertical wind tunnel. This building, too, was constructed from reinforced concrete.

Bottom: workshops and assembly halls, built from steel frame, infilled with clinker brick. The lower windows provided light to the workbenches, the upper windows illuminated the halls.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt (DVL), Berlin-Adlershof, 1936, Part 4







Selected images of new facilities of the Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt (DVL) [German Research Institute for Aviation] in Berlin-Adlershof, originally published in Moderne Bauformen - Monatshefte für Architektur und Raumkunst [Modern Construction Design - Monthly Magazine For Architecture And Interior Art], volume XXXV, issue no. 10, October 1936, Julius Hoffmann Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany.

Top: front view of the large DVL aircraft hangar at Berlin-Adlershof. The multi-storey extensions on each side of the building housed offices.

Centre: magnified detail view of the above photo, showing Focke-Wulf A 17 D-UBOT (left) and, barely visible, Junkers Ju 160 B-0 D-UBON, Werknummer 4217 (right).

Bottom: rear view of the same hangar. The low, multi-window extension visible along both sides and rear of the hangar contained repair workshops. (Additional aircraft identity confirmation courtesy of the LEMB Stammkennzeichen Database Project)

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt (DVL), Berlin-Adlershof, 1936, Part 3







Selected images of new facilities of the Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt (DVL) [German Research Institute for Aviation] in Berlin-Adlershof, originally published in Moderne Bauformen - Monatshefte für Architektur und Raumkunst [Modern Construction Design - Monthly Magazine For Architecture And Interior Art], volume XXXV, issue no. 10, October 1936, Julius Hoffmann Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany.

Top: the large DVL aircraft hangar at Berlin-Adlershof. The utilizable interior of the building measured 70 m wide by 40 m deep. A Junkers Ju 52/3m can just be seen parked on the apron.

Centre: magnified detail view of the above photo, showing Junkers Ju 160 B-0 D-UBON, Werknummer 4217, assigned to the German air ministry (RLM).

Bottom: another magnified detail view of the above photo. In spite of the somewhat deficient quality, it is possible to identify the aircraft in the rear as Junkers F 13 ge D-ONYX (formerly D-1563), Heidelerche [wood lark], Werknummer 2031, assigned to the DVL. The aircraft nearest to the camera, D-OHOT, is likely a Junkers W 33. (Additional aircraft identity confirmation courtesy of the LEMB Stammkennzeichen Database Project)

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt (DVL), Berlin-Adlershof, 1936, Part 2







Selected images of new facilities of the Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt (DVL) [German Research Institute for Aviation] in Berlin-Adlershof, originally published in Moderne Bauformen - Monatshefte für Architektur und Raumkunst [Modern Construction Design - Monthly Magazine For Architecture And Interior Art], volume XXXV, issue no. 10, October 1936, Julius Hoffmann Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany.

Top: observation platform "for scientific purposes" on top of the DVL main building.

Centre: DVL materials laboratories. The ground floor of the main building housed offices and individual laboratory units, the top floor contained the chemical laboratories. The protruding section in the centre of the building was a two-storey hall for mechanical research.

Bottom: the dedicated fuel laboratories featured small and large fuel test facilities. The photo shows the large test facility with its five exhaust stacks.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt (DVL), Berlin-Adlershof, 1936, Part 1







Selected images of the facilities of the Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt (DVL) [German Research Institute for Aviation] in Berlin-Adlershof, 1936.

These photos were originally part of a lavishly illustrated, 32-page feature titled Die Neubauten der Deutschen Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt in Berlin-Adlershof [The New Buildings Of The German Research Institute For Aviation In Berlin-Adlershof], by Hermann Brenner and Werner Deutschmann, published in the architectural trade journal Moderne Bauformen - Monatshefte für Architektur und Raumkunst [Modern Construction Design - Monthly Magazine For Architecture And Interior Art], volume XXXV, issue no. 10, October 1936, Julius Hoffmann Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany.

The centre photo shows the main entrance of the DVL on Rudower Chaussee [Avenue], with the main building on the left and the materials laboratories in the background.

Lower photo shows the main building with observation platform as seen from the laboratories.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Der Flughafen Tempelhof in Entwurfszeichnungen und Modellen, 1939-1944

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Elke Dittrich, Lukas Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 2005, ISBN 3-936872-52-X. Illustrated, softcover, published in German.

Cover image © by Lukas Verlag, 2005.


There are numerous books dealing with Berlin's now closed Tempelhof airport and its changeful and often uneasy history. The airport's location within the city of Berlin, combined with its very distinctive architecture and the fact that it played an important role in the Third Reich (both as an airfield and aircraft manufacturing centre), have long made it a unique research project for historians and authors.

Built on what originally were military drill grounds then still outside of Berlin, Tempelhof airfield first became operational in 1923. By 1933, it had become a more substantial facility. It was only in the course of the architectural planning for Adolf Hitler's vision for a rebuilt Berlin, however, that Tempelhof airfield was earmarked to be expanded and developed into a massive airport, clearly designed to radiate power and progress. The new Tempelhof airport was to be an integral part of Berlin's projected north-south axis, itself an utterly revealing expression of the megalomania which had infected the ruling political class.

As it happened, the rebuilt Tempelhof airport was among the very few components of the plan for a new Berlin that were actually completed and, perhaps even more astonishingly, survived the war relatively intact. To this day, the airport's city-facing, curved buildings indicate the once intended circular shape of the large open space in front of the facility. As it proved to be impossible to finish the circular plaza before the end of the war, however, the airport buildings now lack context and thus appear somewhat like lone pieces of a long-lost puzzle.

Tempelhof is probably the most extensively documented German airport of the period before 1945, by means of both magazine articles and books. Its history and operations as an airport have been covered, for example, in the lavishly illustrated Tempelhof - Der Flughafen im Herzen Berlins (Helmut Trunz, GeraMond Verlag, Germany, 2008) or in Flughafen Tempelhof - Berlins Tor zur Welt (Frank Schmitz, be.bra verlag GmbH, Germany, 1997), to name but two of many. The truly excellent Flughafen Tempelhof: Chronik des Berliner Werkes der "Weser" Flugzeugbau GmbH, Bremen - Bau der Kriegsflugzeuge Ju 87 Stuka und FW 190, 1939 - 1945 (F.-Herbert Wenz, Stedinger Verlag, Germany, 2000), on the other hand, is an exhaustive look at wartime aircraft production at the site.

Notwithstanding the large number of publications on Tempelhof airport, Elke Dittrich's Der Flughafen Tempelhof in Entwurfszeichnungen und Modellen, 1939-1944 [Tempelhof Airport in Design Drafts And Models, 1939-1944] is a fascinating little booklet. In spite of containing a mere 36 pages, it's crammed full of information, drawings, and photos. Following a brief introduction and a look at the plans for the rebuilding of Berlin, Dittrich chronicles the evolution of the designs for the new airport in the capital of the Third Reich. An abundance of drawings and photos illustrates the text (some of them previously unpublished), further enhanced by beautifully detailed captions.

Dittrich's text is partially based on her earlier extensive research on Tempelhof airport's architect Ernst Sagebiel, and it also investigates the impact of the involvement of the German air ministry (RLM) and the General Building Inspector for the Capital of the Reich, Albert Speer. While highlighting the correlation between the desires for functionality and political representation, she thankfully refrains from delving into the usual stereotypes. Instead, the reader is provided with facts and information.

Elke Dittrich's Der Flughafen Tempelhof in Entwurfszeichnungen und Modellen, 1939-1944 focuses almost exclusively on the planning and design of Tempelhof airport during the Third Reich, leaving the exploration of its subsequent operations and history to works by other authors. As such, however, it is simply magnificent.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Junkers W 34





Junkers W 34 hi TD+BL, Werknummer 791, photographed after an emergency landing in a field at Niederneukirchen near St. Florian/Linz, in what was then the Ostmark (i.e., Austria), on March 27, 1940. The reason for the emergency landing is currently unknown to me. Of note is the large under-wing cross. The aircraft was assigned to the FFS A/B 43 as well as to the FFS A/B 71.

An inscription on back of the photo reads: Besatzung: Sendzik - Pilot; Wasmus - Co-Pilot. Besatzung unverletzt, anschliessend besoffen! [Crew: Sendzik - pilot; Wasmus - copilot. Crew uninjured, subsequently drunk!]. The W 34's balloon tyres likely contributed to the safe outcome of a landing on such rough and soft ground. (Fischer collection, aircraft identity confirmation courtesy of the LEMB Stammkennzeichen Database Project)

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Albatros Al 101





Focke-Wulf-built Albatros Al 101 D, D-258?, parasol-wing trainer, photographed during the first half of the 1930s. Exact date and location unknown.

The D-258? Kennzeichen narrows the identity of this Al 101 down to a batch of five aircraft: D-2580 (Werknummer 188), D-2581 (Werknummer 189), D-2582 (Werknummer 190), D-2583 (Werknummer 191), or D-2584 (Werknummer 192), all assigned to the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule (DVS - German Air Transport School). The DVS was a disguised military training establishment, in operation before the official formation of the Luftwaffe in 1935. (Fischer collection, additional aircraft identity confirmation courtesy of the LEMB Stammkennzeichen Database Project)

Friday, 14 June 2013

Dornier Do X







The nearly completed first Dornier Do X, D-1929, photographed at Dornier's facilities at Lake Constance, in Altenrhein, Switzerland, approximately June 1929.

One of the Siemens Jupiter engines is fitted with a Bremspropeller [drag propeller] for engine test runs. Lower detail photo shows nautical horn cleat mounted to forward fuselage, used to secure the ropes that tie the flying boat to its moorings. (Fischer collection)

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Dornier Do X

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Volker A. Behr, Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany, 2011, ISBN 978-3-613-03329-0. Illustrated, hardcover, published in German.

Cover image © by Motorbuch Verlag, 2011.


It's apparent both in content and design that the completion of this book was a labour of love. The author, Volker A. Behr, has spent decades compiling an extensive archive on the Do X, and his clearly very personal approach to the type is evident in the book's distinctive atmosphere. Moreover, Dornier Do X is not only an extensive technical and historical documentation but also a collection of related memorabilia. The result is exquisitely nice and very informative.

Dornier Do X opens with a description of Claude Dornier's visionary ideas at a time when civil aviation was still in its infancy. Concurrently, Behr sheds light on the economic and financial realities which provided the contemporary background to Dornier's projects. The text is accompanied by facsimile documents, photos, colour drawings, and the first of many useful tables, this one listing the costs for the construction and operation of the Do X.

Somewhat oddly, the chapter detailing the aircraft's first flight and trials precedes the substantial and very intriguing section on the Do X's technical background. Extensive text and numerous images depict the minutiae of the pioneering design and construction of the flying boat at Dornier's Altenrhein facility on the Swiss side of Lake Constance. This includes not only the famous first Do X (D-1929) but also the subsequent and lesser known Do X 2 and Do X 3. Included is a description of the challenges faced when selecting the aircraft's powerplants. Once again, scans of period documents complete the content.

A further section investigates the Do X's paint scheme, followed by a meticulous study of the flying boat's interior. The inclusion of colour images substantially enhances the appeal of this section, which even includes an in-depth look at the custom-designed porcelain tableware carried in the passenger cabin.

The second half of the book sees Behr chronicling the flight operations and promotional travel campaigns of the Do X, comprising radio broadcasts from the aircraft, Deutschlandflug and Swiss visit, European flight, Atlantic crossing, and much more. Portraits of significant individuals involved with the history of the Do X follow. Dornier Do X concludes with a look at the two Italian Do X flying boats, the Do X 1a's ill-fated landing on the Danube, and the display and subsequent destruction during the war of the Do X 1a at the Deutsche Luftfahrt Sammlung [German Aviation Collection] in Berlin. The final three pages provide a list of primary and secondary sources.

Volker A. Behr's Dornier Do X is an example of how a monograph should be made. It is an extremely comprehensive and engaging book, the illustrations are plentiful and diverse, and its layout is immaculate and utterly attractive.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Focke-Wulf Fw 58



Focke-Wulf Fw 58 "Weihe" advertising by Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau A.-G., Bremen, published in Transaer 1937 - Handbuch des internationalen Luftverkehrs [Handbook Of International Air Transport], edited by Fischer von Poturzyn, Dr. Heinz Orlovius, and August Dresel, 538 pages, published as an edition of 2000 copies, by Richard Pflaum Verlag, Munich, Germany, 1937.

Incidentally, the Fw 58 A-0 shown in the photo, D-ALEX, was Focke-Wulf chief designer Kurt Tank's personal short-range liaison aircraft, owned by the Focke-Wulf factory. (Fischer collection)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Junkers Ju 52/3m Wrecks, Part 2





Heavily damaged Junkers Ju 52/3m ??+BK, location and exact date unknown. Lower photo is an enlargement of the extreme left portion of the main picture and shows what seems to be a destroyed Henschel Hs 129 B ground attack aircraft, displaying an uncharacteristically bright camouflage scheme (likely winter camouflage or an extremely faded and dusty standard 70/71 scheme). (Fischer collection)

Monday, 10 June 2013

Junkers Ju 52/3m Wrecks, Part 1





The only two images (previously unpublished) that depict aircraft from a photo album once compiled by a German soldier to commemorate his military service. According to the extremely sparse information that can be gathered from the album, these two Junkers Ju 52/3m wrecks were likely photographed in Norway, in 1940.

The forward fuselage and wing center section of the aircraft in the top photo appear burned. The aircraft in the lower photo (and, perhaps, also the one in the top photo) seems to have crashed. (Fischer collection)

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Junkers Ju 86 Fuselage Details





Interior details of monocoque-type fusleage of the Junkers Ju 86, as featured in Das Flugzeug - Dritte Auflage [The Aircraft - Third Edition], edited by Theo E. Sönnichsen, published by Richard Carl Schmidt & Co., Berlin, Germany, 1942.

Top image shows fuselage in direction flight, indicating upper longeron [Oberes Längsprofil] and frame [Spante]. Lower image shows view towards the tail of the aircraft, indicating longerons [Längsprofile], frames [Spanten], and skin [Haut]. (Fischer collection)

Saturday, 8 June 2013

The Heinkel He 219 "Uhu"

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[Full title: The Heinkel He 219 "Uhu" - A Detailed Guide To The Luftwaffe's Ultimate Nightfighter], Airframe Album 1, Richard A. Franks, Valiant Wings Publishing Ltd., Bedford, England, 2012, ISBN 978-0-9567198-4-3. Illustrated, softcover, published in English.

Cover image © by Valiant Wings Publishing Ltd., 2012.


I am under the distinct impression that deciding to publish a book about the Heinkel He 219 nightfighter equals walking into a veritable minefield of uncertainty and inconsistency. In spite of the many years that have passed since these aircraft took to the sky, a definitive monograph on the type has yet to appear. Instead, the He 219 books so far published are often marred by contradictions, inaccuracies, and assumptions. Moreover, there's always a marked feel of incompleteness. Even some of the contents of what is currently probably the most thoroughly researched publication on the He 219, the third edition of R. Francis Ferguson's excellent The Heinkel He 219 - A Research Paper (which itself only works in conjunction with earlier publications), have recently been debated.

It's against this background that Richard A. Franks has put together his Detailed Guide on the He 219. That subtitle is quite a bold statement, given that truly reliable information on this aircraft seems so hard to come by. Does assembling and publishing a very large number of detail photos really equal a solid and fully dependable reference work? Well, the result of Franks' efforts is impressive, but also occasionally ambiguous.

Aimed primarily at the model builder, The Heinkel He 219 "Uhu" is for the most part a meticulous examination of the aircraft's technical details, using a combination of original period documentation, illustrations from the aircraft's handbook, and photos taken of what is currently the only complete surviving example, the NASM He 219. As thus expected, the actual history of the aircraft's development is covered only as a two-page summary. The next 43 pages provide a plethora of very valuable reference images, subdivided into sections on fuselage (including cockpit), undercarriage, tail, control surfaces, wings, engines and nacelles (which unfortunately does not include any photos depicting engines actually installed on an airframe), weapons, electrical installations, and access panels. It should be pointed out that some of the photos do show incomplete components.

In the following chapter, titled "Evolution", Franks makes an ambitious attempt to identify and distinguish most all variants of the He 219, whether they reached the actual manufacturing stage or remained mere projects. For a modeler seeking as many images of details as possible, this is perhaps of secondary importance. To me personally, however, this section was of greatest interest. Unfortunately, it is also the section of the book which fails to succeed.

While exactly such a visual depiction of all variants was long overdue and most welcome, it is somewhat pointless if attempted by small isometric drawings which offer only a single cursory view of each type. While author and publisher would probably argue that the inclusion of any further visual information would lead beyond the scope of this book, I do feel that if one actually endeavors to describe the differences between variants in detail, one also needs to provide illustrations to clearly depict them. Why even embark, if one is not prepared to walk the full mile? In this case, this would comprise, for example, drawings which are substantially more comprehensive, including views of the underside (including the weapons tray), and/or detail drawings of the areas of note which differentiate the individual variants.

This very same section of the book contains some further ambiguity. The He 219 V2 is described to have had "contra-rotating propellers/engines" (page 55). The correct description would be "counter-rotating", as "contra-rotating" is something entirely different and not found on the He 219. The text on the He 219 V1 on the previous page is clearer, but still technically incorrect. Due to the lack of actual period images, the isometric views at times also contain elements of speculation, such as the installation of turrets or braking parachutes. This is mostly pointed out, however.

An additional chapter sheds light of the NASM's He 219 A-2. As stated earlier, many photos in this book were taken during the restoration of this aircraft. Incidentally, some of these photos provide evidence of just how crudely the NASM staff proceeded when attempting to recreate the camouflage of this particular He 219. This is somewhat incomprehensible, as portions of the original camouflage had been preserved on the aircraft's skin.

The final chapter dealing with the historic aspect of the He 219 provides information on camouflage and markings. This is augmented by a series of beautiful color profiles by Richard Caruana. These don't always conform to the latest state of research, however. Ernst-Wilhelm Modrow's He 219 G9+FK (page 88), for example, did not carry the letter "U" on the underside of the starboard wing, nor was its Werknummer 190012, apparently (see Ferguson, page 16).

The closing section of The Heinkel He 219 "Uhu" contains a list of He 219 scale models and accessories, and a review of the Revell 1/32nd scale kit. Regrettably, the review in question fails to identify the various shape and accuracy issues that have since been the subject of extensive online discussions. Accordingly, it is of little use to the serious model builder.

With some reservations, Richard A. Franks' The Heinkel He 219 "Uhu" is thus a welcome and very absorbing publication.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Junkers Ju 160 Engine Cowl



Schematic of airflow through cowl enclosing the BMW 132 engine of the Junkers Ju 160, as featured in Das Flugzeug - Dritte Auflage [The Aircraft - Third Edition], edited by Theo E. Sönnichsen, published by Richard Carl Schmidt & Co., Berlin, Germany, 1942. (Fischer collection)

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Junkers Ju 86 Fliegerdenkmal - Redux







The full series of three previously unpublished accident photos of Junkers Ju 86 E-1, NG+?? (also see Ju 86 Fliegerdenkmal). The fact that at least two of the photos seem to have been shot from behind a corner or from inside of a vehicle indicates that they may have been taken clandestinely. Exact nature of incident, date, and location unknown. (Fischer collection)

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

After The Battle Magazine: First Manned Rocket Launch

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Jean Paul Pallud, After The Battle magazine no. 151, Battle of Britain International Ltd., Old Harlow, Essex, England, 2011. Magazine article, illustrated, published in English.

Cover image © by Battle of Britain International Ltd., 2011.


After The Battle is a military history magazine, specializing in an in-depth "then and now" approach to the topics covered. It is published quarterly by Battle of Britain International Ltd. in England, and its focus lies on World War II. I have been an avid reader of the magazine (and the same publisher's books) for over two decades, primarily because After the Battle is not afraid to publish lengthy and extremely comprehensive articles - something that has unfortunately become anachronistic for most publications in our day and age. The research applied in compiling the articles is immaculate, and the extensive photographic content is often stunning, not least due to the fascinating then and now comparisons.

Every so often, After The Battle publishes articles on topics relevant for those with an interest in German aviation and aerospace history of the period. Prime examples are, perhaps, The V-Weapons (ATB no. 6, 1974), The Peenemünde Rocket Centre (ATB no. 74, 1991), Nordhausen (ATB no. 101, 1998), or Dulag Luft (ATB no. 106, 1999). All back issues of the magazine remain available through the publisher's website.

First Manned Rocket Launch, Jean Paul Pallud's 20-page article in After The Battle no. 151, is a heavily illustrated account of the Bachem Ba 349 Natter rocket-powered point-defence interceptor program. The text of the article begins with a description of the state of the air war over Germany at the inception of the program. It then chronicles the development, construction, and testing of the Ba 349, Lothar Sieber's ill-fated first manned flight, and the effort to transport parts of Bachem's workforce and complete Ba 349 aircraft out of the reach of advancing enemy troops.

As is typical for After The Battle, Pallud's article is expertly researched and comprehensive, even if one takes into account that the publication of Brett Gooden's requisite milestone work on the Ba 349, Projekt Natter - Last Of The Wonder Weapons (Classic Publications, 2006) has set a very high standard. What makes Pallud's First Manned Rocket Launch particularly interesting, however, is the fact that the numerous historic black & white pictures are augmented by colour photos of the very same locations as they look today.

These current-day comparisons include, for example, the main production hall of the former Bachem plant (now used by Hymer, a motorhome manufacturer). This is significant, as the building was scheduled for demolition at the time the modern photographs were taken. Other comparisons include the Heuberg launch site of the first manned flight, the crash site of Lothar Sieber's Ba 349, the sites where the later, modified pole launch towers were erected, or the meadow in Sankt Leonhard, Austria, where dispersed Ba 349s were captured by US forces. Moreover, images of the excavation of the remaining wreckage of Ba 349 M23 (Sieber's aircraft) in 1998 are also included.

All in all, After The Battle no. 151 is quite indispensable for any serious student of German late-war high performance aircraft.

Monday, 3 June 2013

REIMAHG-Werk "Lachs"

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Markus Gleichmann, Heinrich-Jung-Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Zella-Mehlis/Meiningen, Germany, 2013, ISBN 978-3-943552-05-8. Illustrated, hardcover, published in German, English, Italian, French, Russian, and Dutch.

Cover image © by Heinrich-Jung-Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, 2013.


In January 2010, this blog featured an entry discussing various publications examining the REIMAHG underground aircraft plant at the Walpersberg mountain in Thuringia, Germany (see REIMAHG Me 262 Underground Manufacturing Plant At Kahla, 1944/1945). One of the books covered, Düsenjäger über dem Walpersberg by Markus Gleichmann and Karl-Heinz Bock, presented a particularly comprehensive assessment of the manufacturing site, both during its construction and in its current state.

Four years after Düsenjäger über dem Walpersberg, Gleichmann has published a companion volume of sorts: REIMAHG-Werk "Lachs". This book was created together with the Geschichts- und Forschungsverein Walpersberg e.V. [History and Research Association Walpersberg], and it has the distinct feel of an exhibition catalogue, the exhibition in this case potentially being the Association's guided tours of the Walpersberg area.

While Gleichmann's original Düsenjäger über dem Walpersberg was a book of 176 pages, containing 94 photos and 13 maps and drawings, his new book is more of a captioned photo album, comprising 201 illustrations on 118 pages. There are text pages, but they are kept to an absolute minimum. The same applies to the photo captions themselves. Such brevity is a result of the decision to print the text and captions in five languages (German, English, Russian, Italian, and Dutch), thus making the book accessible to a wide variety of interested parties and/or visitors to the site. For anyone with more than a cursory awareness of this topic, however, these brief captions are a bit of a disappointment. Given the nature of the subject matter, every single photo in this book could conceivably be accompanied by an exhaustive description.

The photos themselves (in black & white as well as in colour) are as absorbing as those in Gleichmann's earlier work. Once again, they depict the REIMAHG site during the war, in the course of the immediate aftermath, and today. This includes countless intriguing shots of the incomplete underground facilities inside the mountain (an area currently inaccessible to the ordinary visitor), as well as the surrounding buildings, the inclined aircraft elevator, and the mountaintop runway.

A significant section of REIMAHG-Werk "Lachs" is dedicated to the fact that forced labour was used in harshest conditions in both the construction of the REIMAHG facility and the commencement of actual aircraft assembly/manufacture. It is to Gleichmann's credit that he has chosen to accord so much space to this horrendous aspect of the REIMAHG story. Nonetheless, there likely remains an infinite amount of relevant information yet to be documented and published.

In an effort to assign proper credit, Gleichmann has included an authorship code for all photos reproduced in the book. Unfortunately, this code is printed in a small, rectangular box within the photos themselves (instead of as part of the captions), which, in the case of small photos, is somewhat annoying. There's a key linking each code to the photo source at the end of the book.

There are other nitpicks. In order to fit a photo into the assigned space on page 110, the person in charge of the layout simply stretched the photo horizontally, resulting in amateurishly distorted protagonists and equipment. Such a thing should not happen in a book of otherwise formidable quality. Some of the translations are a bit simplistic, although this is of no great consequence in view of the aforementioned brevity of the text. Lastly, it would have been nice to see a photo of a Ta 152 still in German hands and thus with authentic German markings instead of the haphazardly repainted post-war example in the US.

In spite of such trivial criticism, REIMAHG-Werk "Lachs" is a welcome and highly informative book. Moreover, its content is even more valuable if used as a supplement to Gleichmann's earlier Düsenjäger über dem Walpersberg.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Heinkel He 111





Heinkel He 111 C-4, D-ABYE, "Königsberg", Werknummer 1831, operated by Deutsche Lufthansa (later transferred to the Luftwaffe). Location unknown. Photo was originally featured in Transaer 1937 - Handbuch des internationalen Luftverkehrs [Handbook Of International Air Transport], edited by Fischer von Poturzyn, Dr. Heinz Orlovius, and August Dresel, 538 pages, published as an edition of 2000 copies, by Richard Pflaum Verlag, Munich, Germany, 1937. (Fischer collection)

Saturday, 1 June 2013

DFS Rhönsperber



DFS Rhönsperber (Hans Jacobs Rhönsperber) "Nobel 6", gull-wing competition sailplane, photographed before the war. Location and exact date unknown. (Fischer collection)