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.
These are Standard Light Utility Vehicles which are part of the Airfix WWII RAF Bomber Re-Supply Set. One is included in each box, it is essentially a light truck and a quick build in 1/72 scale. Many of the kit parts are molded on the clear sprue, but mine suffered from the dreaded Airfix flow lines so I cut the portions representing glass off and replaced the windshields with acetate. There were also gaps at the sides where the cab joins the hood which I filled with Perfect Plastic Putty. Other than that they build up nicely.
These are the Airfix Bedford trucks which are part of their WWII RAF Bomber Re-Supply Set. You get one truck in each set but have the option of building it as either an MWC water tanker or an MWD light truck. I purchased two sets so I built one of each version. The kits are well engineered and go together without any surprises, the only down side is the clear parts had the dreaded Airfix flow lines and so the windshields were replaced with clear acetate. I modified the water tanker by lowering the equipment boxes on the sides of the tank and replacing the walkways with P.E. from Brengun.
Here are some finished pictures from the 2013 Airfix RAF Bomber Re-Supply Set – or more accurately a part of that set. This is just a portion of what is in the box – the David Brown tractor and bomb carts. Below are the tractors from two sets and a mix of bombs and fuel trailers. There are many more accessories and bits of equipment included, along with two additional vehicles.
This is the Gloster Gladiator Mk. I of F/Lt Marmaduke Pattle at Amriya Egypt in 1940. Pattle was a South African serving in the RAF during the Second World War and is credited with being the highest-scoring ace in the RAF. He is credited with fifty victories, fifteen of which were on the Gladiator. He was shot down and killed by Bf 110s of ZG 26 over Piraeus Harbor, Greece on 20APR41.
The Airfix kits are a pleasure to build. The engineering of the struts and gear legs is well thought out, and eliminates the alignment issues common to many biplane kits. The Airfix instructions are also outstanding. The camo and marking guides are in color and are to scale. There is also a rigging guide which sets a high standard which I hope other manufactures to attempt to emulate. All rigging is shown in keyed scale drawings from the front and plan, with detail insets illustrating the optimal installation sequence.
Airfix kit, markings are from the Pavla kit.