German authors Paul Stipdonk and Michael Meyer have recently published Volume 4 in their "Die Deutsche Luftwaffe - Zerstörer- und Nachtjagdverbände" series through VDM Heinz Nickel, Zweibrücken, Germany. As the title suggests these books are primarily concerned with Luftwaffe Zerstörer (‘destroyer’ or heavy fighters) and Nachtjagd (nightfighting) operations and are essentially photo journals with German and English captions. The authors have released one book per year over the past four years with each volume featuring around 400-500 images over 200 pages in an A4 soft-back format. Most of the photos in each volume are previously unpublished and well printed. They are captioned in German and English except for the latest, Volume 4, which is German-language only. There is also a small section of period colour shots, but the vast majority of shots are in black and white. In general photo quality is good and when not it is generally to illustrate a rarity. For instance, volume 2 includes for the first time anywhere pictures of the Z Staffel of KG30 and a new ZG 1 emblem on a Bf109E. Text throughout is minimal, but listings of unit leaders and changes in unit reporting structures are given.
Volume One covers... Erg.Zerstörergruppe Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 Zerstörergeschwader 1 Nachtjagdschule 1 Liaison and HQ Staff for the above units
Volume Three features the following units.. 13(Z)JG5 NJG5 NJG6 EKdo 25 Zerstörer Staffel Stab & I ZG26
Volume 4 deals with the remaining Gruppen of ZG26
My only gripe with these books is the indifferent quality of the English captions which occasionally read like something produced by an on-line translator. In fact volume 4 doesn’t include any translations at all due to cost-cutting measures by the publisher but first impressions of the latest volume are very good as is the norm with this great series. While some of the photos are a little dark, the captions -which are not translated- are in some instances quite lengthy, while on other pages there are white spaces where an English translation would have slotted in neatly. These are pretty minor league criticisms if you can manage the German. Even if you can't, some of the images are worth the purchase price alone - the NJG 4 Ju88 with an enormous Haifischmaul (sharkmouth) or the selection of ‘new’ ZG 26 Me410A-1/U4 images with the crews seen gazing rather dubiously at the BK5 cannon installation. You can almost hear them saying "What the ...!" The cover of next years Volume 5 is advertised at the back of the book and features a superb Ju88G in flight & a "with English captions" banner...
This series of books deserves a place on the bookshelf of every serious Luftwaffe modeller and aficionado. Volume 4 can be ordered direct from co-author Paul Stipdonk. Please Paypal € 37,- per copy inc. postage for the UK (and EU-Europe) and € 43,- for mailing to USA (and non EU-Europe) to Paul's Paypal mail address which is; pstipdonk at hotmail.com (obviously replacing 'at' with @ and leaving no spaces). Any queries also go to this address. My thanks to Paul for permission to reproduce the page views accompanying this review.
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Highs: 200 pages of rare and mostly unseen images of Luftwaffe heavy fighters & night fighters in four photo-laden volumesLows: Softback format, volume 4 has no English-language captions Verdict: A must for all serious Luftwaffe enthusiasts
About Neil Page (FalkeEins) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH EAST, UNITED KINGDOM
Aircraft enthusiast & 'basic modeller'. I spent my formative years on the base at RAF Marham (my dad worked Victors). I was an Air France dispatcher for 8 years on B737, A320 & F100 types. My first article for Scale Aircraft Modelling was published in March 2001 (a fifteen-page research feature on...