Fighters of the Iron Cross Book Review

Fighters of the Iron Cross: Men and Machines of the Jagdwaffe

Written by Jerry Crandall, Illustrated by James Bently and Thomas A. Tullis

Hardcover in dustjacket, 360 pages, bibliography, and index

Published by Eagle Editions Ltd, 2021

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0-9761034-7-8

ISBN-13: 978-0-9761034-7-9

Dimensions: 9.3 x 12.3 x1.2 inches

Jerry Crandal is well known to scale modelers and aviation enthusiasts as the publisher of Eagle Editions books and EagleCals decals.  This book contains much material which will be familiar to anyone who has purchased his Jagdwaffe decals, as the pilots profiled here also flew many of the subject aircraft.  This is no coincidence, as the author has fostered personal relationships with many Jagdwaffe pilots over the years.  He has conducted extensive interviews and preserved documents and photographs, several of which have not been published previously.

This is collection of the stories of twelve Luftwaffe pilots, much of them told in their own words.  Included in each are copies or transcripts of original documents, along with several photographs from the personal collections of the Experten.  These are reproduced clearly on glossy paper, making them especially valuable for modelers.  The real prizes of this work are the full-color aircraft side profiles which accompany each chapter and the detailed notes which explain them.

The binding is in a large format, and is well-printed on glossy paper.  The layout and quality of the artwork will be familiar to anyone who has purchased Crandall’s previous publications.  While not cheap, this is a substantial book and a top-quality work all around, so you get what you pay for.  If you are a Jagdwaffe enthusiast you will be delighted by this book, highly recommended.

Pilots profiled:

Hauptmann Karl Leonhard

Major Diethelm von Eichel-Streiber

Feldwebel Horst Petzschler

Oberleutnant Manfred Dieterle

Leutnant Herbert Schlüter

Leutnant Karl Albert Helm

Major Rolf-Günther Hermichen

Oberleutnant Gerhard Thyben

Leutnant Elias Paul Kühlein

Feldwebel Hans Langer

Feldwebel Oskar Bösch

Leutnant Willi Unger

Major Wilhelm Moritz

Major Georg-Peder Eder

Regrettably, Jerry Crandall passed away on 12JUN22.

Women Warriors 173

IDF
Kurdish YPJ
Spain
Kurdish YPJ
IDF Iron Dome
USAF CAPT Zoe Katnic with T-38
USAF LCOL Christine Mau with F-35
WASP pilot Betty Wall
Poland
ATS anti-aircraft gun crew, London 1944
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Norway
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Italian Alpini on patrol in Afghanistan with VTLM
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IDF
Women in Combat
US Army
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IDF
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Norway
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Norway
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Russian National Guard
http://ww2db.com/
WAVES with SBD Dauntless dive bomber
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Poland
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Poland
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RAF C-130 pilot Julie Gibson
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Women’s Royal Naval Service WREN
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IDF
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South Korea
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Russian Paratrooper
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ATF pilot Veronica MacInnis in Spitfire
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Italeri Churchill Mk. III Build in 1/72 Scale

For some reason I thought this was a new tool Churchill kit from Italeri. I’m not sure where I got that impression, this is the old ESCI kit first released in 1988. In fact, even Italeri had issued previous boxings, so my curiosity of what Italeri would do with a new tool armor kit is still unsatisfied.
Two plastic sprues and flexible tracks are in what’s in the box, along with a small decal sheet with four marking options. Scalemates indicates there are new parts here, I’m guessing they would have to be the tracks. The instructions indicate the tracks are designed for CA glue, which does in fact work well. You also get a crew figure, a nice touch.
Each side of the suspension is constructed using only eight parts (including tracks). This is a mercy, as the breakdown of the Churchill suspension could have easily run into 40 – 50 parts, even using continuous band tracks. My personal preference is for buildability over a myriad of detail which cannot be easily seen, and alignment of all these bogeys as individual parts would have been a nightmare. These parts required some cleanup as there were mold seams and a little flash, the old ESCI molds are beginning to show their age.
The tracks reacted well to superglue. This Churchill variant concealed the return run of the tracks under an extensive fender system. The tracks turned out to be slightly long (or I stretched them during installation), but I was able to cut off the excess and hide the ends behind the air intakes. Pioneer tools are molded onto the engine deck, and handles are molded onto the hatches.
There are some seams to address with this kit, on the majority of the armor kits I have constructed this has not been much of an issue. There are also some annoying ejector pin marks in bad locations, visible here on the armor plate in front of the hull machine gunner’s position and in the turret trace over the track fenders. Filling and sanding these would result in lost detail so I filled them with Perfect Plastic Putty, which can be smoothed with a wet Q-Tip.
The camouflage was masked off using poster putty. This is one of the modeling supplies available at the supermarket, and is re-usable. It provides a solid demarcation between colors without as great of risk of paint seeping under as with masking tape.
Here are the colors used. The Sand FS 30475 was done first as layers of Mr. Color 44 and 19 to vary the tone, while the Extra Dark Sea Gray is a mix of 116 RLM 65 Black Gray and 366 Intermediate Sea Blue.
After decals and a second coat of Testors Glosscoat recesses were highlighted with a wash of Tamiya black panel line wash. I then added some chipping with a dark brown make-up applicator. The entire model then received a very thin coat of light tan “dust” to unify the finish, followed by Testors Dullcote. While the molds are beginning to show their age, the kit builds up well with a few enhancements.

Arma Hobby North American P-51B of Capt. Forrest “Jeep” Parham in 1/72 Scale

Forrest Parham enlisted in the Army and rose to rank of Colonel.  He scored three victories over Japanese aircraft while flying the P-40N before transitioning to the P-51B and adding two more to make ace with five.  He was shot down over Shanghai in April 1945, but evaded capture and returning to his unit a month later.

“Little Jeep” of Capt. Forrest “Jeep” Parham 75 FS 23 FG, Aeromaster 72-177 decals

Construction posts Part I here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/04/15/arma-hobby-north-american-p-51-b-c-mustang-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/

North American AT-6 / SNJ Texan / Harvard Color Photographs Part II

A beautiful aerial photograph of two USAAF Texans from Luke Field in early 1943. The two Texans are immaculate, even at this early period they are in an overall natural metal finish.
A US Navy SNJ in an interesting paint scheme. Some modelers look for photographs of WWII-era SNJs in the elusive “Three Color” graded scheme, but this is not one of those. This SNJ appears to be in the Blue Gray over Light Gray scheme with a Light Gray vertical tail, and a replacement port wing in Non-Specular Sea Blue, likely with White undersurfaces.
A Navy Lieutenant in front of an SNJ-2 in a Yellow Wings scheme. Again, note the immaculate condition of the aircraft and paint job with a high-gloss finish.
Two Navy WAVES washing down an SNJ at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in 1944. At their peak over 83,000 women were serving in the Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. (80-G-K-15001)
Another Navy SNJ warms up its engine. It wears an overall Natural Metal Finish with Orange Yellow wing bands and a white rudder. Many Navy trainers were given Orange Yellow markings or overall paint schemes to make them more visible in the air and warn other aviators of their pilots’ trainee status, resulting in the nickname “Yellow Peril” being applied to the trainers. (80-G-K-13381)
USAAF pilot trainees posing with an AT-6 for the camera. Literally hundreds of thousands of pilots earned their qualifications on the Texan in more than three decades of service. This photograph offers an excellent view of one of the many canopy framing configurations carried by the Texan.
In Commonwealth service the type was known as the Harvard. The Canada Car and Foundry built a total of 555 Harvard 4s under the designation NA-186, many of which trained pilots for the RCAF.
A USAAF Texan displaying markings typical after May 1942, when the red center of the national insignia was removed to prevent confusion with the Japanese Hinomaru. The “U.S. ARMY” lettering under the wings was dropped to speed up production, but was generally not removed from aircraft if already applied.
Texans soldiered on in the trainer role for many years after the war, and even performed combat roles in Korea and Vietnam. The type proved to have all the capabilities necessary for the Forward Air Control mission, directing strike aircraft to their targets. These Korean War LT-6G Texans of the 6147th Tactical Air Control Group in their sandbagged revetment would make a good diorama.
Another Texan from the 6147th TACG over Korea. Note the replacement cowling – the different sheen of the natural metal panels and anti-glare panel in black vs. the Olive Drab on the forward fuselage. The racks under the wings are for white phosphorous rockets, used to mark targets.

Part I here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/04/13/north-american-at-6-snj-texan-harvard-color-photographs-part-i/

Arma Hobby North American F-6C of Major Eduard O. McComas in 1/72 Scale

Eduard McComas was the commander of the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 23rd Fighter Group based in China.  He was shot down behind Japanese lines in September 1944, but evaded capture and returned to his unit with the help of Chinese guerrillas.  After his return he scored his first aerial victory and added steadily to his score.  On 23DEC44 he was photographing a Japanese airfield when the aircraft based there began taking off to intercept him.  McComas downed five Japanese fighters, becoming the only pilot in the CBI to score five in a single mission. 

“Miss Revenge” F-6C MAJ Eduard O. McComas 118 TRS 23 FG, Aeromaster 72-177 decals

118th TFS color photographs here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/05/18/north-american-p-51c-f-6c-mustangs-of-the-118th-tactical-reconnaissance-squadron-color-photographs/

Dog Company Audio Book Review

Dog Company: The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc – the Rangers Who Landed at D-Day and Fought Across Europe

Authored by Patrick K. O’Donnell, Narrated by John Pruden

Audiobook, 8 hours and 11 minutes

Published by Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Language: English

ASIN: B00A2ATV1W

Company D of the U.S. Army’s Second Ranger Battalion was one of the Allied units which landed at Normandy, but unlike most units it was tasked with a very specific and difficult mission; scale the cliffs at Pointe Du Hoc, and destroy the German guns emplaced there.  If the guns were not destroyed, they could target any troops landing on either Omaha or Utah beach and jeopardize the entire invasion of Europe.

The book follows “Dog” Company (Dog being the phonetic pronunciation of the letter D) from recruitment and training Stateside to its deployment to England.  In preparation for the D-Day landings, the Rangers practiced the technics of amphibious landings and scaling cliffs along the English coast.

Despite all the training, the actual landings at Pointe Du Hoc were chaotic.  Several Rangers were put ashore on Omaha beach, those that were landed at their intended locations fought largely on their own for two days.  They moved to their objectives in small groups, and in remarkable displays of personal initiative managed to accomplish their missions and defend their positions until they could link up with the rest of the American forces.

After being rebuilt and re-equipped, the Rangers went on to fight in the Hürtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge.  The Ranger Battalions were repeatedly thrust into the thick of the fighting, and by the end of the war eleven months after D-Day few of the original men remained.

The author tells the story of the Rangers from the soldiers’ personal perspectives, relying largely on interviews with the survivors.  There are a number of parallels with the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division as told in Band of Brothers and this book compares well to that work.  Recommended.

Women Warriors 172

IDF
Kurdish YPJ
Finland
IDF
USMC Sgt. Kirstie Ennis aboard CH-53 helicopter
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Kelsey Casey stands in front of an AV-8B Harrier at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, March 27, 2019.
USN WAVES with Devastator
AT AN ATS MOTOR TRANSPORT COMPANY TRAINING CENTRE, CAMBERLEY, SURREY, 1941 (IWM)
WAVES with PBMs
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IDF
ww485b_Norway
Norway
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Belgium
ww485e_Norway
Norway
ww485g_Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School
Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School, Russia
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Kurdish YPJ
ww486_Norway
Norway
ww487_IDF
IDF
ww488_Soviet pilot Mariya Dolina_HSU_72missions_PetlyakovPe2
Soviet pilot Mariya Dolina HSU with Petlyakov Pe-2
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US Air Force
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US Army
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USMC Sea Cobra pilot
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WAC officers rescued after their ship was torpedoed off North Africa
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Ukrainian sniper Olena Bilozerska
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IDF
ww087
Vietnam
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ATA pilot Maureen Dunlop
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