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.
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
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 Once it met Spitfires and Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain, it was very vulnerable and withdrawn from that battle.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.