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Fighting Hitler’s Jets

By Robert F. Dorr, Zenith Press, Minneapolis, Minn., 2013, $30

 Bob Dorr and I are good friends, and one might suspect that the following glowing praise is offered on the basis of friendship. It is not. Bob has written many books, but this one is by far his best—and might well be the best on the subject. It’s not a typical Dorr book, for it flows in an informal style that will intrigue newcomers. But it’s also filled with an enormous amount of detail, so that a really well-informed buff will enjoy it as well. Reading it is like having a conversation with Dorr, and I suspect he enjoyed writing this book more than some others.

He chooses to open and close his narrative with airshows. The first took place at Insterburg in East Prussia on November 26, 1943, when the Luftwaffe was seeking to impress Adolf Hitler with the promise of the Messerschmitt Me-262. The second was on October 13, 1945, at Freeman Field, Ind., where the American acquisition of top German technology was celebrated with flights by a captured Me-262.

Tucked tightly in between those two airshows is a concise, well-developed and comprehensive presentation of the rise of all the German jet fighters, and the Allied steps taken to meet that challenge. Dorr outlines the many possibilities available to the Germans to employ their various jet aircraft against the Allies. In an interesting parallel approach, he charts the alternative actions the Allies took to fight the German jets on their own terms (hence the title). Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, buy this book: You will enjoy it!


Originally published in the May 2014 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here.