Fokker E.V / D.VIII...

...Polish Wings 25, from MMP Books

Title:  Polish Wings 25: Fokker E.V / D.VIII

Author: Tomasz J. Kopanski

Publisher:  MMP

ISBN:  978-83-65958-25-9

Number 25 is the latest in their Polish Wings series from MMP, celebrating the 100 years of the Polish Air Force, 1918-2018. For those like me who are not very familiar with this aircraft type, it was a late war design, introduced in mid-1918 to the German air service. Issues with the build quality on the single wing led to a number of accidents and it needed a new, strengthened wing. The Introduction tells us the story of the development and German use of the aircraft. The war ended in November 1918 and the re-establishment of the Polish state allowed them to take on some of the equipment they found when the German war ended.  I was particularly taken by the images of some 300 stored aircraft wings and fuselages they found in an old Zeppelin hanger.  Mostly lacking engines but still a very useful bounty.

It goes on to tell us about how the Polish Air Force began to make use of captured equipment and develop their own air force.  Not huge numbers of these modern Fokkers were used, but some, and they saw combat in a Polish-Ukrainian War which started in November 1918, and in January 1919, against Bolshevik Russia as well. We get the story of the events of these conflicts, which went on to the end of 1920, and they are accompanied by an interesting selection of archive photos. Then we get the post war story of the Polish Fokkers, and a section providing individual histories of each individual aircraft that served with the Poles.

For the second half of the book we get a modeller's delight.  This is full of details of the camouflage and markings used on the Fokkers in Polish service and this is accompanied by a series of first class colour artwork illustrations which show us profile views along with upper and lower wing surfaces and plenty to inspire the WW1 era aircraft modeller.  At the back of the book, a few archive photos which I think may inspire a number of potential model dioramas, where funeral carriages were made from aircraft fuselages to carry the coffins of pilots to their burials. As ever I enjoy reading about aspects of aviation history which I didn't know beforehand and this one has clearly had a lot of detailed work put into it.

Thanks to MMP Books, who kindly provided my review copy.