by: Darren Baker [ ]
This book covering the Messerschmitt Bf 109 the Latter Years – War in the East to the Fall of Germany is part of a series of titles from Frontline Books as part of their ‘Air War Archive’ series. These books cover the subject matter mostly in photographs and so offer a great visual reference for anyone interested in the subject matter regardless of the reason for that interest. For the modeller these books represent a cornucopia when it comes to visual information.
This offering from Frontline Books is part of the ‘Air War Archive’ series. This series of books are soft backed offerings having a good card cover with a very good spine to the book that keeps the contents in good order. This book covering the Messerschmitt Bf 109 the Latter Years – War in the East to the Fall of Germany has been authored by Chris Goss who has written a huge number of titles for this Frontline Books series covering German aircraft of World War 2. The contents of this title are provided over 178 pages of good quality semi gloss paper. The contents are presented in the following sections:
Introduction: Capture of the First Bf 109 F
Glossary and Abrievations
The Mediterranean and North Africa
The Easter Front
This offering from Frontline Books is very similar in presentation to the Images of War series from Pen and Sword. The book is light on text and heavy on photographs, but I did like the way the book starts with the story of the first Bf 109 F captured by the British. This section covers the history of the pilot that flew the aircraft and covers his successes during the Spanish Civil War and World War 2. The combination of the photographs of the aircraft and the pilot add a lot to the story and enables the reader to look at this as one man doing his duty rather than the enemy depending on the side you come down on. There are a good number of photographs of this aircraft including some after it was made air worthy again. The aircraft was lost in 1941 killing the pilot who is believed to have been overcome by carbon monoxide getting into the cockpit. Please take the time to read this section of the book if you purchase it.
The title then moves onto its general coverage of the war years and this is tackled purely with period photographs with great captions that look to have been very well researched. The photographs in these areas of the title are all I believe taken by pilots and ground crews, and as such the quality of the images varies. There is a very big plus to this type of photograph and that is that unlike staged photographs these show natural scenes covering things as they were rather than how the state wanted to pretend they were.
The sections of the book covering specific areas of conflict have been tackled in the same manner as the war year’s sections. I would have liked a small introduction for each of the sections as I feel that everyone should have the ability to better understand what they are being presented with visually. I really like the period photographs with their very well written captions that provide information on the specific scene and or direct you to observe specifics of the photograph that may otherwise be missed. The end of the book covering captured machines will I suspect prove popular with the modeller who wants something a little different.
If you are looking for inspiration on finishing a Bf 109 or putting a model in a natural setting, then this title is a one stop shop for that inspiration. I know many will say that they can find hundreds of photographs online, but you will be hard pushed to find ones of these qualities that are in natural settings and provided with very informative captions. A great title from this frontline books as part of the Air War Archive.