Book Review
Rumpler Aircraft of WWI
A centennial Perspective
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by: Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]

Honestly speaking, I have had my hands on, and read thousands of books concerning World War One aviation. After so many titles you can get a bit jaded and can trace the rehash of bad or dubious source information like reading a road map. It is a real pleasure to pick up Aeronaut’s newest publication. “Rumpler Aircraft of WWI” is from their Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes series. It is authored by Mr. Jack Herris and his team of Aaron Weaver, Bob Pearson and Steve Anderson with their contributing talents. Seldom have I found the level of research that I find in this book.

About the book
From the factory designations to the correct identification of developments in aircraft series this manuscript takes you through almost every step. A case in point is the late version Ru. C.III versus the early C.IV. It can be confusing to the knowledgeable reader, but the detail oriented photo captions and general text do more to explain these mysteries than any book previously published on the subject. In just 208 pages this book covers every production and prototype produced by The Rumpler Werke A.G. Johannistahl, Germany.

Described generically as an all-purpose reconnaissance biplane the unarmed two seat “B” series progressed to the “C” armed series. These were marked by variations of either land based or water based series. There were “D” single seat fighter versions and even the multiple engine and crew “G” series bombers. From the developments on the drawing boards and various prototype attempts Mr. Herris has done a thorough job especially in covering the pluses and minuses of their designs. Photo images are of a generally higher quality than I have seen previously.

Technical notes go beyond the general specifications and engine types. In the back of the book are some very decent plan views. Aeronaut publishing has gone to some lengths to get the drawings accurately rendered in 1/48 or 1/72 scale. Often I have seen lesser publishers attempt to fit scale drawings to a dimensional page width, therefore sacrificing the scale in blowing up or shrinking a drawing.

The text refers to first hand accounts of German aircrews and their Allied opponents. At the end of these sections on each aircraft type Mr. Herris has added a retrospective paragraph on the final grade or level in overall performance of the type.

Generally the two seat version was known as a handful to fly and not the meat for less experienced crews. The common theme of Rumpler performance reports read, “...she could stall in turns very easily but in a shallow dive or climb there was nothing faster...” Eventually it became the backbone, ribs, and legs of the two-seater operations. Post war, The Rumpler C.IV - IX were look-alike aircraft with specific operation capabilities. The remaining kissing cousins were sold to fledgling air forces and wore many and varied national markings. All total there were about 2201 airframes produced.

I don’t like to use gushing terms to describe a product. It seems better to tell you that this book impresses me more than most publications I have ever read. It is a serious and comprehensive study on Rumpler aircraft of WWI. I highly recommend it to any student of the genre.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Detailed research, well formatted layout, clear text and good quality images.
Lows: I am hard pressed to even nit pick here.
Verdict: Quality reference and decent price. I am glad to have it on my shelf.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-935881-21-6
  Suggested Retail: $33.04 - 49.99
  Related Link: Website
  PUBLISHED: Jun 22, 2014

About Stephen T. Lawson (JackFlash)

I was building Off topic jet age kits at the age of 7. I remember building my first WWI kit way back in 1964-5 at the age of 8-9. Hundreds of 1/72 scale Revell and Airfix kits later my eyes started to change and I wanted to do more detail. With the advent of DML / Dragon and Eduard I sold off my ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Stephen T. Lawson [ JACKFLASH ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Man, where have you been!?!
JUN 22, 2014 - 06:12 AM
While I don't yet this Rumpler book, I agree with Jack and can't speak highly enough of Jack Herris's work. I purchased Aeronaut Books' "Gotha Aircraft of WWI: A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes" (same author and style of presentation) and was surprisingly blown away by thoroughness of the presentation and variety of subjects. There are literally dozens of plane designs that were produced, that one just doesn't see in general media. It goes without saying, that I will be picking this one up! Only gripes I would have (Gotha book I have, not this one): - for $30+ thick soft cover, one can only wish for better quality paper and print, as some of the rare photographs do not quite make it in desired detail. Some of the color plates are also a tad on the dark side. - some information is repeated throughout the book, ad naseum... I don't know if this is written for ADD generation, but some prevailing facts are too prevailing... These are certainly getting focus of my purchasing power - thanks for bringing the "Rumpler" to my attention!
JUN 23, 2014 - 06:13 AM

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