Willi Maximowitz had one American B-24 Liberator to his credit when he volunteered to join Sturmstaffel 1. This unit flew up-armored Fw 190’s and was tasked with flying en masse through American heavy bomber formations, closing to point-blank range before destroying their targets. Pilots were urged to ram their targets if they were not destroyed by gunfire. Using these tactics, he was credited with ramming a B-17 on 23MAR44, and shot down another over Helmstedt on 29APR44, but was himself wounded by the bomber’s defensive fire and had to bail out. During his convalescence Sturmstaffel 1 became 11./JG 3 and was operating against the Allied forces pouring into France when Maximowitz rejoined the unit. His score continued to mount, eventually reaching 15, all heavy bombers. In February IV./JG 3 shifted to oppose the Soviets on the Eastern Front, where he added 12 additional victories to his score. Willi Maximowitz failed to return from a mission on 20APR45, just a few weeks before the end of the war.
This model depicts Willi Maximowitz’ Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8/R2 as it appeared while with 11.(Sturm)/JG 3 at Dreux, France, June 1944.
World War II US Cavalry Units: Pacific Theater
Osprey Elite Series Book 175
By Gordon L. Rottman, illustrated by Peter Dennis
Softcover, 64 pages, bibliography, and index
Published by Osprey Publishing October 2009
Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.2 x 9.9 inches
A minor bit of trivia is that most nations still had horse-mounted cavalry units at the beginning of the Second World War, a few nations retaining them until the end. For the U.S. Army, the Louisiana Maneuvers in 1941 demonstrated that the cavalry could not keep pace with mechanized units and even the most die-hard officers realized the era of the horse was near an end. Still, the last combat actions of the U.S. cavalry were in the defense of the Philippines – the last U.S. cavalry charge was on 16JAN42 when a platoon from the 26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts) charged a vastly superior Japanese force crossing the river at Morong and held until reinforced. They continued to fight as cavalry until starvation of the troops at Bataan forced them to slaughter their mounts for food in March. Thereafter they fought as infantry, many forming the nuclei of guerrilla groups rather than surrender.
Most U.S. cavalry regiments gave up their horses and transitioned into infantry regiments during the war. The 112th Regiment was noteworthy in deploying to New Caledonia and equipping with Australian horses. It was soon found that the horses were not well suited for the jungle terrain and that they did not find sufficient nourishment in the local vegetation, compelling the 112th to return their mounts and reorganize as infantry in March 1943. A peculiarity of the horseless cavalry units is they maintained their traditions, keeping uniform articles such as specialized boots and their organizational structure. Compared to standard infantry regiments a cavalry regiment was half the strength and lacked many of the heavier supporting weapons. The cavalry was also organized with two rifle troops per squadron, while the infantry had three rifle companies plus a weapons company per battalion. This made the horseless cavalry regiments weaker and less tactically flexible than standard infantry regiments.
Given the unusual subject, I found this book fascinating. It is a standard-format Osprey Elite volume, brief but well-illustrated. It is of the “facts and figures” style, listing the component elements of the units described and their actions, but this gives the reader a firm understanding of organization and composition of these unusual formations. Recommended for those nostalgic for the cavalry or curious about their transition from the horse.
Photographs taken at the Air Zoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
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Oskar “Ossie” Romm began his career on the Eastern Front with 1./JG 51 rather inauspiciously – he belly-landed his aircraft and was injured on both of his first two operational sorties. However on his second effort he also claimed his first victory, a Soviet Il-2. From then on his score mounted steadily, his best days were on 20AUG 43 when he downed six, and on 05FEB44 when he shot down another six. In June he was transferred to the West with JG 3 on Reichverteidigung (Defense of the Reich) duties, he had a total of 76 victories and had been awarded the Knight’s Cross by this time. He made the transition to the West successfully, adding eight four-engine bombers to his score, including three B-24 Liberators in a single mission on 27SEP44. As the war situation deteriorated, Romm became the Staffelkapitän of 15./JG 3, flying fighter-bomber missions against the advancing Soviet armies. He survived the war, credited with 92 aerial victories and 34 tanks. The model depicts Romm’s Fw 190D-9 when he was serving as the Gruppenkommandeur of IV./JG 3 at Prezlau, Germany, in March 1945.
Heinz Arnold was credited with a total of 49 victories, including 7 on the Me 262. Yellow 7 was his assigned aircraft while flying with 11./JG 7 from Parchim in March and April of 1945. Arnold went missing on 17APR45 while flying another aircraft. Me 262 W.Nr.500491 “Yellow 7” survived the war and was taken to America for evaluation. It was restored and is on display with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
HMS Trincomalee: Frigate 1817
Seaforth Historic Ships Series
By Wyn Davies, Photography by Max Mudie
Softcover, 128 pages, bibliography, fully illustrated in color
Published by Seaforth 2015
Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.4 x 9.6 inches
HMS Trincomalee is a Leda-class sailing frigate. Forty-seven ships of the Leda-class were built for the Royal Navy between 1805 and 1832, of which two survive today as museum ships, Trincomalee and her sister HMS Unicorn. Due to worsening shortages of oak suitable for shipbuilding in Great Britain, she was built of teak in Bombay, India. The preservative qualities of the oils in teak have contributed to her preservation and survival today.
Trincomalee was built too late to serve in the Napoleonic Wars, and was laid up in reserve. She was recommissioned from 1847 through 1857, serving on both coasts of North America for the majority of her commission. She then served as a training ship until 1895, when she was sold. In England there were several boarding schools which trained boys in seamanship and naval tradition, which not only provided England with sailors for her Navy and merchant fleet, but provided educations and trade skills for disadvantaged youths who might have otherwise been unemployed. George Wheatley Cobb purchased Trincomalee and used her as a school ship, renaming her Foudroyant. She served as a training ship until the 1980’s, when she was taken in hand for restoration and display as a museum ship. She is currently at the Hartlepool, where she can be seen today.
The introduction of this book, divided into five parts, describes the development of frigates as a type and the general state of wooden ship construction in England at the time which led to Trincomalee being constructed in India. The narrative then follows her service history, use as a training ship in various capacities, and eventual preservation and restoration as a museum ship. The bulk of the book consists of fine full-color photographs, well presented and captioned in detail. These are presented in a walk-around format and explain every detail of her construction, both inside and out.
For any reader seeking to understand the details of sailing frigates, this book is a gold mine. The nautical terminology is uniquely foreign but well explained and illustrated, if you don’t know the difference between a binnacle and a mouse this book will make things clear. If sailing ships or naval history interest you at all I can recommend this book, and the series as well.