Luftwaffe in Africa, 1941-1943
By Jean-Louis Roba
Paperback, 128 pages, heavily illustrated, index
Published by Casemate, November 2019
Product Dimensions: 7.0 x 0.5 x 10.0 inches
Germany was drawn into the war in North Africa by Mussolini’s ambitions. Italy had little to gain by conquering the region; Germany even less so. For the German Army and particularly the Luftwaffe North Africa did little more than provide an ever-increasing drain on assets which could have been better used in the Soviet Union. Once the influx of American men and material began to be felt the Axis cause was beyond redemption.
This volume provides a good overview of the progression of the campaign in North Africa from the Luftwaffe perspective. There were quite a large number of units committed over time but Germany was never able to achieve the concentration of force necessary to achieve her goals, attempts to supply the Africa Korps by air transport proving particularly costly. Roba does a good job of tracking the constant redeployments, and describes the results of the major air actions as the campaign progressed. Also included is the commitment of the Luftwaffe’s Fallschrimjäger. The LRDG attacks of Luftwaffe airfields are mentioned as well but only briefly. In the last third of the book there are several first-hand accounts from pilots which are interesting, although one from Arman Köhler’s diary appears to have been inadvertently omitted.
There are quite a number of photographs reproduced in this book, many of which were new to me. They include some original color examples which are presented well and are generally well captioned. There are also fifteen very nicely done color profiles, but these have only the briefest of descriptions.
Overall a nice presentation and a quick read. A few first-hand accounts in the beginning of the book would have been welcome, but this book provides a good overview of the campaign.