Heinkel He 111, the Early Years...



...Fall of France, Battle of Britain and the Blitz, Air War Archive series from Pen and Sword


Title: Heinkel He III, The Early Years - Fall of France, Battle of Britain and the Blitz

Author: Chris Goss

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-84832-483-1

The Air War Archive series is a very similar format to Pen and Sword's Images of War books.  This one features one of the most immediately identifiable Luftwaffe bombers of WW2, the Heinkel He111.  A twin engine, medium bomber design of the 1930's, it first saw action in the Spanish Civil war and remained in service through to the end of WW2, after which the Spanish air force operated them though in a strange circle of events, powered by Merlin engines.  For anyone who has watched the film 'The Battle of Britain', I don't think you can fail to recognise the type, as well as the vulnerability of the pilot and crew in that large glazed nose.  In the film, they used those Spanish Air Force examples which survived lost after the end of WW2 itself.

This photo book cover the use of the He III from the Spanish Civil war through to the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, with operations as a bomber.  Following an introduction which gives the background for the book that fills the first 5 pages.  These are them followed by a fine collection of archive pictures which cover it from use in Spain with the Condor Legion, followed by the Polish Campaign, the First Raiders over the UK, Blitzkrieg in the West, Norway, The Spitfire Summer and rounds it off with The Blitz Begins.  With 146 pages in the book, there is plenty in here to interest the aviation historian along with plenty of useful references for modellers.  They illustrate the aircraft itself, on the ground, in the air, and many where they have been on the receiving end of fighter attacks.

The photos illustrate the various aspects of the aircraft, with it in the air and on the ground.  Some of them feature a number of handy photos which show the detail of uniforms are their crews, which brings life to the machines, along with the groundcrews who kept them operational in all sorts of conditions.  Once over the UK they suffered at the hands of the Spitfire and Hurricanes of the RAF, one of the results of that being the switch to night bombing of London, simply known as 'The Blitz'.  In the second half of the book there is a high percentage of the pictures which show shot-down examples, so ideal for modellers who have one of the new kits to be released from Airfix over the last few months.  Some also include details of crew uniforms which will be of interest to the figure modeller.  Filling 146 pages, this is a useful reference on the early years of the He III in action, and the photos are all provided with some informative captions as well.