Luftwaffe at War, Stukas over the Steppe, The Blitzkrieg in the East, 1941-45

The publisher has produced a number of series based on rare wartime images. The ‘Luftwaffe at War’ is one of these very popular series. The text is clear and concise, but the great strengths are in the aggressive pricing and the fine quality of the images, in this case including full colour images – Strongly Recommended.


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NAME: Luftwaffe at War, Stukas over the Steppe, The Blitzkrieg in the 
East, 1941-45
FILE: R2496
AUTHOR: Peter C Smith
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back 
PAGES: 72
PRICE: £12.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Second World War, WWII, World War Two, World War 2, dive 
bombing, ground attack, anti-armour, tank killer, anti-ship bomber, 
Luftwaffe, Eastern Front, Soviet Union

ISBN: 1-84832-801-X

IMAGE: B2496.jpg6
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/mggfb87
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: The publisher has produced a number of series based on 
rare wartime images. The 'Luftwaffe at War' is one of these very 
popular series. The text is clear and concise, but the great strengths 
are in the aggressive pricing and the fine quality of the images, in 
this case including full colour images – Strongly Recommended.

The Stuka is one of the iconic aircraft of WWII, but was already 
approaching obsolescence in 1939. During the 1930s, the dive bomber 
was seen as a very practical and effective bomb delivery system. This 
was particularly true for the Germans because they saw it as flying 
artillery working closing with rapidly advancing panzer armies.

The Stuka proved to be a very reliable machine that could operate 
from unprepared forward airstrips in unfavourable weather and 
withstand a great deal of battle damage. Initially, it was armed with 
two forward firing rifle calibre machine guns and one flexible machine 
gun for the radio operator, with a main armament of a single bomb on 
the centre line and lobbed under the propeller arc. It was intended 
to provide pin-point accuracy in a seep dive on the target. Later, it 
was equipped with cannon of 20 mm and then 37 mm anti-tank guns, drop 
tanks to extend range and underwing munitions including rockets. 
However, it depended on the Luftwaffe holding air superiority. Once it 
met Spitfires and Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain, it was very 
vulnerable and withdrawn from that battle. In the Mediterranean and on 
the Eastern Front. It enjoyed a longer period with German air 
superiority.

This book covers the use of the Stuka on the Eastern Front from 1941 
to 1945. In the opening stages of the invasion of the Soviet Union, 
the Stuka was in its element, flying low and slow in ground attack 
and dive bombing Soviet warships and supply vessels. Once equipped 
with the two under-wing 3.7 mm canon, it became a formidable tank 
killer and Oberst Rudel achieved more than 1,000 kills. His total 
tally is unknown because Hitler ordered him to stop flying to avoid 
his capture becoming a propaganda coup for the Soviets. Rudel 
continued to fly, even after losing a leg, but his kills were then 
distributed amongst his newest pilots to conceal his continued 
flying. Stuka casualties were considerable with most pilots being 
shot down several times. Flying very low and slow to kill tanks 
meant that the Stuka was vulnerable to ground fire and in some cases 
Stukas took off to bomb or strafe Soviet troops and armour already 
on the edge of their airstrips.

Germany had never prepared for a long war and Hitler originally 
intended to fight in Europe in 1944 rather than 1939. As a result, 
aircraft like the Stuka continued in production to the very end, even 
though they were already outclassed. Stuka ace Rudel did convert to 
the ground attack version of the FW190, but his squadrons continued 
to fly the Stuka and when they eventually flew out of Eastern Europe 
to surrender to the US forces, most of the aircraft were Stukas, with 
girlfriends being squeezed into the rear fuselages of some aircraft. 
The ground support staff fared badly, having to escape by road and 
being massacred by partisans.

There are some fine full colour images and evocative monochrome images 
that depict the aircraft, their crews and the primitive conditions  
under which they were maintained in the field.