Junkers Ju 88, The Early Years - Blitzkrieg to the Blitz...

 

...a new Air War Archive title from Frontline Books/Pen and Sword

 

Title: Junkers Ju 88, The Early Years - Blitzkrieg to the Blitz

Author: Chris Goss

Publisher: Frontline Books

ISBN: 978-1-84832-475-6

Another title from Frontline Books in their Air War Archive series of photo histories and I think the best collection of photos of the Junkers Ju 88 I can recall seeing.  It covers the story of the Ju 88 from the design through to 1943.  As there were 16,000 examples of the type produced an a mix of variants it was in service all the way through WW2 and was capable of being adapted into a wide range of roles.  Originally a fast bomber, or 'Schnellbomber' it could be used as either a conventional bomber or as a dive-bomber.  It went on to be a reconnaissance platform, night fighter, maritime torpedo bomber, intruder and tank-buster.  In the contents of this book we are really looking at the bomber missions it was used for in the first half of the war.

The book is split into 4 chapters.  These cover Early Development: The Fall of France and the Battle of Britain: The Blitz: and finally, Training.  All the chapters are filled with excellent and interesting archive photos, and all with detailed and informative captioning by the author.  The mix of photos show it from multiple aspects.  On airfields with their crews in France, in the air and many showing them crash landed either from training accidents or in most cases, as the result of combat.  While a good number of these show downed aircraft in the UK, some show them having limped home to the continent only to crash once they were nearly home.

In addition to the interest this collection will have for the aviation historian interested in Luftwaffe operations in WW2 but there is lots of good material in here for modellers.  Ideas for dioramas aplenty and the one I like in particular is someone filling the petrol tanks of their Bentley from the tanks of an 88 crashed in a field.   Also that paintwork was not always neat and tidy.  When the aircraft were switching to night operations after the Battle of Britain, the aircraft were toned down, and bright markings blacked out.  Even unit markings can be seen overpainted, sometimes when the machine has been transferred from one unit to another.

One final comment is to note the examples of aircraft that landed in Britain largely or totally intact.  In a couple of examples the crews were lost and thought they were over the continent and landed at what turned out to be a UK airfield and their aircraft totally intact.  Some pictures show these later in flight with British markings.  As I said at the outset, an excellent set of archive photos showing the Ju 88 in service during the first half of the war.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

Robin