Book Review
On Special Missions

by: 'Harri' Harrison [ JETPROVOST ]

The book charts the history of the Verschuchsverband, the highly secretive trials and research unit of the Luftwaffe before and during the Second World War. The outfit began operations long before the start of hostilities in 1939 as a reconnaissance unit, flying along standard airline routes to hide their activities.

Once war was declared, they continued in the reconnaissance role along with spy-dropping activities, flying a range of aircraft including Fw 200s, Ju 88s and Ar 240s.In 1943 the unit set up its enemy fighter section, which was designed to instruct Luftwaffe fighter pilots on the flying characteristics of the aircraft they fought against. 2./Verschuchsverband Ob.d.L as it was known, operated a number of British and American aircraft up until April 1945, when operations ceased for good.

Hardback, 128 pages.

The book has 8 chapters and each one has its own fascinating story to tell, from the beginnings of the unit up until the final months of the war. Chapters 3 and 4 cover operations using the Ar 234 and a brief test of the Dornier Do 335. These chapters include some excellent photos of these two aircraft, particularly the 234.

The real gems in this book for me though were chapters, 6 and 7 which describe the captured fighter unit. These chapters contain many good quality photographs of captured allied aircraft including P-51s, P-47s, Spitfires and even a Typhoon. To compliment the photos are a number of stunning full-page colour profiles, which feature throughout the book.

The final chapter contains information about the testing of more obscure types of aircraft like the Ar 234 B-2/N nightfighter and the DFS 228 rocket glider. Again there are photographs of these types.

It really is a fascinating tale that this book tells, with some very interesting information and personal stories including one hilarious account of a visiting German Major who took a P-51 up for a spin and found an opportunity to simulate a strafing run on a completely unaware Oberst ‘Pips’ Priller. Unfortunately, Priller didn’t know that it was a captured aircraft, although he did finally see the funny side after a few drinks in the bar!

Rich in photographs, this book is a modellers dream with some excellent pictures of the more rare Luftwaffe types, including the Arado 240, Ar 234 and Ju 86 and of course all the different captured types.

This is an extremely interesting title and makes a nice change to the usual books concerning front-line combat units. Absolutely crammed with photos and those fantastic colour profiles this is definitely a must-have book if you have an interest in Luftwaffe operations and in particular, their use of captured allied aircraft. At £19.95 I think it also very good value for money and would recommend it to all.
There seems to be an ever growing interest in captured allied aircraft during the World war Two and therefore, this book “On Special Missions”, by J.Richard Smith, Eddie J. Creek & Peter Petrick is a welcome release.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 1 903223 33 4
  Suggested Retail: £19.95
  PUBLISHED: Mar 06, 2005

About 'Harri' Harrison (jetprovost)

Been modelling for about 20 years, just 'out of the box' stuff mainly. The majority of kits I build are aircraft but I also dabble with AFVs, F1 cars and the odd dinosaur! I used to work at the local RAF station as an aircraft painter and finisher. Now I work at 'Roundhouse Engineering' building liv...

Copyright ©2021 text by 'Harri' Harrison [ JETPROVOST ]. 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.


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