ARADO AR 232 “Tatzelworm”
by Jörg Armin Krantzhoff
BLOHM & VOSS BV 222 “Wiking”
by Rudolf Höfling
MESSERSCHMITT BF 109E
by Rudolf Höfling
MESSERSCHMITT ME 262
by Manfred Griehl, all from Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, Pa., 2012, $14.99 each.
While Nazi Germany’s government remains repugnant, the often futuristic aircraft produced for the Luftwaffe in World War II remain fascinating. A German series of Flugzeug profiles written by some of that country’s leading specialists has now been translated and redistributed for English-speaking readers by Schiffer.
The subjects vary widely, but all contain something that might be new to the lay reader, such as a photograph of the first Messerschmitt Me-262A-1a to be credited with an aerial victory. It was taken by the ground crewman who manned the tractor towing it off the runway, who suddenly decided the moment warranted recording. It’s doubtful one could find more photographic detail on such relatively overlooked but nevertheless notable types as the Arado Ar-232 cargo plane or the gigantic Blohm und Voss Bv-222 flying boat. Even the relatively prosaic Me-109E is livened up with color photos, not only of German but also Romanian, Bulgarian and Swiss examples, as well as a captured specimen undergoing evaluation in British markings. On the caveat side, the translations are not always as precise as they could be.
The wealth of historic photographs in these books is supplemented by photos of scale models, indicative of the audience for whom the original Flugzeug series was aimed. If one can work around the sloppy editing, though, English-speaking modelers as well as scholars might find these titles, and others that will undoubtedly follow, as useful as the German enthusiasts did.
Originally published in the January 2013 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here.