The Siebelfähre (Siebel Ferry) were conceived as one of several types of landing craft intended to support the German invasion of England, Operation Sea Lion. They were constructed by combining two large bridging pontoons with a cargo deck to form a catamaran arrangement. Power was provided with either truck or aircraft engines located within the pontoons, and a small pilothouse was constructed in the center. The ferry could carry any vehicle in the German inventory, including Tiger tanks. The stability of the catamaran configuration was not lost upon the Luftwaffe, who converted several into flak barges after the cancellation of Sea Lion.
Here is a beautiful series of color photographs taken by Carl Rosenquist on 13AUG42. The occasion was a review of several Siebel Ferries on Lake Ladoga by German and Finnish officers. Photographs are held by SA-Kuva, the Finish National Archives.
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
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.
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.
Focke-Wulf Ta 154: Luftwaffe Reich Defence Day and Night Interceptor
Series: Luftwaffe Classics #31
By Dietmar Hermann
Hardcover in dustjacket, 224 pages, bibliography, appendices, and index
Published by Crecy Publishing, October 2021
Dimensions: 9.0 x 0.9 x 12.0 inches
The Focke-Wulf Ta 154 was a twin-engine Luftwaffe fighter design. With over half of its airframe weight being made of wood it is often compared to the Royal Air Force’s de Havilland Mosquito, to the point it is generally referred to as the “Moskito”, a name which the author points out was never mentioned in Focke-Wulf or Luftwaffe documents. While the prototypes were impressive performers, the design had little room for development due to the decision to keep size to a minimum, and performance suffered as equipment such as armament and radar were added to the airframe.
The prototype’s first flight was in July 1943, which was unfortunate timing. As Allied bombing raids against the Reich intensified in strength, frequency, and effectiveness, the German aircraft industry was directed to concentrate on producing single-engined fighters to combat the Allied bomber streams. An assessment of the Ta 154s’ strengths versus limitations resulted in only slightly more than a few dozen being completed and entering service before the program was terminated.
The book is a fascinating design study of the development of the Ta 154, using original factory drawings and documentation, as well as seemingly every photo of the aircraft ever taken. These are reproduced in large format on glossy paper so every detail can be seen, a boon for modelers. In some places the text suffers from translation from the original German, a reflection of the difficulty in technical aeronautical engineering terms. Aviation enthusiasts should be able to discern the intended meaning, in others instances the errors should have been caught by the editorial team, such as the misspelling in the sub-title.
The Luftwaffe Classics series are well-researched, quality publications and this volume is no exception. The high production standards, artwork, research, and reliance on primary sources ensure that these volumes represent the definitive works on their subjects. If you have any interest in the subject aircraft, buy the book while it is still in print. You will not be disappointed, and these volumes reliably go for stupid money on the collectors’ market after they go out of print. Recommended.
One of the least known theaters of the airwar was the Arctic Front. JG 5 was stationed there throughout the war, flying out of bases in Norway. Rudi Linz was one of the more successful JG 5 Experten, claiming a total of 70 victories.
On 09FEB45 RAF Coastal Command launched a strike on German warships in Førde Fjord, Norway, including the destroyer Z33. Linz led his Staffel to intercept the strike which consisted of more than 30 Beaufighters escorted by a dozen Mustangs. In the ensuing action 9 Beaufighters and 1 Mustang were shot down, while the Germans lost 4 (some accounts say 5) Fw 190’s. One of the pilots killed that day was Rudi Linz.
The model represents the Fw 190A-8 of Rudi Linz, Staffelkapitän of 12./JG 5 in Norway 1945. Kit markings were used, but they should include a green heart on the port side along with the name “Gretel”. Also it is unlikely that JG 5 aircraft carried the underwing rocket launchers.
Anton Hackl flew throughout the war, his final tally was 192 confirmed victories. He was one of the seeming rare Experten who was able to successfully transition from the East to the West, claiming 105 victories against the Soviets and another 93 against the Western Allies. He claimed 34 four-engined bombers, making him the Jagdwaffe’s most successful pilot against the “heavies”. He was himself shot down eight times and wounded four. The model depicts Anton Hackl’s Bf 109F-4 of 5. / JG77, flying from Oktoberfeld, Crimea, during JUN42.
Fritz Tegtmeier opened his account on the first day of Operation Barbarossa. His score built up slowly, and he was sidelined for several months due to injuries sustained in a collision with a Bf 110. Returning to duty in April 1942 he scored steadily until May 1943 when he was posted to instructor duty with 53 victories. In September he returned to the front with 3./JG 54. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross for 99 victories in March 1944, and was subsequently promoted to Leutnant and made Staffelkapitän of 3./JG 54. He was undertaking conversion training on the Me 262 with JG 7 at the end of the war. He was credited with 146 aerial victories.
This is the Fw 190A-6 of Fritz Tegtmeier of 3./JG 54, stationed at Wesenberg, Estonia, March 1944.
Adolf Galland was posted as Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 26 “Schlageter” in June 1940, just prior to the beginning of the Battle of Britain. He would hold this position until the end of August, when he was given command of the entire Geschwader. While with III./JG 26 he increased his personal score to 22 and was awarded the Knight’s Cross.
The model depicts the Bf 109E-3 of Major Adolf Galland while Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 26 in June, 1940.
The German Air Force operated a wide variety of aircraft types during the Second World War, Warplanes of the Luftwaffe documents the operational types. Fans of “Luft 46”, experimental types, or “Napkinwaffe” should look elsewhere. While I am not usually a fan of broad survey books, this one is an exception due to the high production values and subject matter.
The book is printed on glossy paper using a large format. Each aircraft type is listed by manufacturer. The text describes the developmental and service history, along with the variants and evolution of the design. Well-captioned photographs, many in color, are included throughout. This is supplemented by color profiles, large-format three-views, and cut-away drawings by John Weal. To cover minor types such as the Heinkel He 51 this may take as little as half a page, while the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 and Messerschmitt Bf 109 take fourteen pages each.
AIRtime is the publisher of the World Airpower Journal and Wings of Fame series among other high-quality publications, editor David Donald brings all that expertise to bear on this work. The artistic values are high throughout, with ample space given to the color profiles and cut-away drawings which gives the reader the ability to appreciate their quality.
This book is still in print, and is regularly available on the secondary market at a reduced price. For the quality and quantity of information it is a bargain. I return to my copy regularly; it is useful as a quick history and the artwork is an inspiration. The cut-aways have often proven helpful in identifying the odd “thingy” or antenna commonly found protruding from combat aircraft. In several cases the information in this book is more useful than that contained in a monograph devoted to a specific type – plus you get the rest of the Luftwaffe as a bonus. If you have even a passing interest in Luftwaffe aircraft, this book should be in your library.
One of the lesser-known Luftwaffe Experten, Albin Wolf was transferred to JG 54 Grünherz (Green Hearts) in May 1942, then fighting the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front. He did not score his first victory until August, when he downed an Il-2 Sturmovik. After that he scored steadily, being awarded the Knight’s Cross for 117 victories on 22NOV43. He was shot down and killed on 02APR44, his final score was 144.
The model depicts the Fw 190A-5 piloted by Albin Wolf of 3. /JG54 in Russia. The camo is a field-applied scheme of RLM 71 / 02 / 79 over 76.
WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT― Thomas Jefferson