The Experimental Units of Hitler's Condor Legion.


...another in the Air War Archive series from Frontline Books


Title: The Experimental Units of Hitler's Condor Legion

Author: Rafael A. Permuy Lopez and Lucas Molina Franco

Publisher: Frontline Books

ISBN: 978-1-47387-891-4

A new title in Frontline's Air War Archive series and one I am sure will attract anyone interested in Luftwaffe aircraft.  This is an English edition of a book first published in Spanish back in 2013.  A slightly different take on looking at the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War for focussing on 2 units which were sent to trial some then new aircraft types to see how they performed.

The first section of the book deals with Versuchjagdgruppe 88 (VJ/88) which was equipped with the first monoplane fighters of the Condor Legion.  Only once evaluations were complete was the unit disbanded.  The aircraft featured in this section are three of the Me 109 prototypes along with two examples of the He 112, which was the alternate design hoping to attract production orders.  We all know the answer now was the story of the Me 109 but here are examples of where the He 112 prototypes were actually used in combat.  Along with text giving all the background and the detail of the operations they took part in.  These included action over the Madrid Front, at Tablada and their baptism to fire at El Jarama.

The second section of the book tackles Versuchbomberstaffel 88 (VB/88), used to test the lates twin engine, retractable undercarriage bombers.  In this case it involves the early versions of the Heinkel He 111, the Dornier Do 17 and the Junkers Ju 86.  Again there are details of the deployment, of the operational service, attacks they took part in and the operational losses they incurred.

Both sections are heavily illustrated throughout, and with photos that haven't been published before this book,so lots of new material to see.  In the centre section there are some excellent full colour profiles which illustrate the camouflage and markings that will be a great source of inspiration for modellers.  Added to these is one page of colour photos showing a preserved Condor Legion uniform along with various badges and insignia.  There are some other aircraft pictured throughout the book, but the coverage of the main types mentioned above is certainly the best I have ever seen, especially of the He 112.  A good value paperback book, presented in a similar style to the Pen and Sword Images of War series, this is at a good value for money price (RRP £14.99).