by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
The twin-engined He 111 was the mainstay of the Luftwaffe’s bomber arm at the start of World War 2. Accompanied by the Ju 87 Stuka dive-bomber, it provided the aerial striking power for all the early Blitzkrieg campaigns, sweeping all before it throughout the first 12 months of hostilities. Although it was found wanting when faced by the resilient RAF pilots and their aircraft during the Battle of Britain, it gained new renown on the Eastern Front. The He 111 bomber was in action against the Russians from the first day of the war until the last, bombing a range of targets including the cities of Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad. It played a part in all the major battles and was employed in a wide variety of roles, including operating as a strategic bomber, torpedo-bomber (over both the Arctic Ocean and the Black Sea), train-buster, interim nightfighter and, latterly, as an auxiliary transport.
**Quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released He 111 Kampfgeschwader On The Russian Front as Number 100 in their Combat Aircraft series. It is a paperback book with 96 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, color illustrations and detailed captions. It has a 2013 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-78096-307-5. As the titles states the book examines and discusses the German He 111 Kampfgeschwader aircraft on the Russian Front during World War 2.
- Chapter One: Objective Moskau
- Chapter Two: Indecision Time
- Chapter Three: The Soviets Strike back
- Chapter Four: Stalingrad
- Chapter Five: The Long Road To Defeat
- Colour Plates Commentary
The text in the book is well written and extremely detailed. Author John Weal covers the German He 111 Kampfgeschwader on the Russian Front during World War 2 very well and goes into great detail. Anyone interested in the German He 111 and their pilots and crews, World War Two aviation, or the air war over the Russian front will find this book very informative and interesting. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors as I read through the text. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing.
There are a total of 77 black and white photographs throughout the book. There are no color photographs featured in this volume. As the title of the book suggests the majority of the photographs are of the He 111 Kampfgeschwader. The majority of the photographs are nice clear, centered and focused images, however there are a few that have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark. I have seen several military photographs that have this look to them so maybe that is just typical. I do know that several military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be one reason. With that said the quality of the blurry photographs is of no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book. The photographs will be of interest to the aviation and military aviation enthusiast as well as the military historian. The scale aircraft modeler will find value in the color plates as they provide a visual reference to the various aircraft color schemes and markings that were used.
Photographs other than those of the He 111 Kampfgeschwader that I found interesting were of:
- Soviet Polikarpov fighter aircraft
- Damage from German air raids in Moscow
- French-built Matford truck used to deliver bombs
- The German ultra-heavy SC 2500 Max bomb
- A German Go 242 transport glider being towed by a He 111
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.
There are 10 pages of color aircraft illustrations by illustrator John Weal which cover a total of 30 aircraft and they are very well done. The color plates commentary at the back of the book provides detailed information about each aircraft shown. The front cover art was done by illustrator Mark Postlewaite.
The color illustrations are of the following aircraft:
- He 111H ‘5J GN’ of 5./KG 4 ‘General Wever’, Koroye Selo, December 1941
- He 111H ‘5J HT’ of 9./KG 4 “General Wever’, Konigsberg-Prowehren, June 1942
- He 111H-6 ‘5J HR’ of 7./KG 4 ‘General Wever’, Smolensk-North, December 1942
- He 111 ‘5J LN’ of 5./KG 4 ‘General Wever’, Orel-West, June 1943
- He 111H-20 ‘5J CT’ of 9./KG 4 ‘General Wever’, Koniggratz, March 1945
- He 111H-20 ‘5J AH’ of 1./KG4 ‘General Wever’, Koniggratz, April 1945
- He 111H-20 ‘5J CT’ of 9./KG 4 ‘General Wever”, Koniggratz, May 1945
- He 111H-4 ‘1H ML’ of 3./KG 26 ‘Lowe’, Kemi, December 1941
- He 111H-6 ‘1H AK’ of 2./KG 26 ‘Lowe’, Kalinin, December 1941
- He 111H-6 ‘1G GP’ of 6./KG 27 ‘Boelcke’, Koroye Selo, March 1942
- He 111H-6 ‘1G FL’ of 3./KG 27 ‘Boelcke’, Stalino, May 1942
- He 111H-6y ‘1G CM’ of 4./KG 27 ‘Boelcke’, Kursk, September 1942
- He 111H-20 ‘1G CH’ of 1./KG 27 ‘Boelcke’, Prosskurov, February 1944
- He 111H-20 ‘1G FH’ of 1./KG 27 ‘Boelcke’, Baranovichi, May 1944
- He 111H-16 ‘1G LY’ of 14.(Eis.)/KG 27 ‘Boelcke’, Kemenetz, November 1944
- He 111 ‘1T KX’ of 1./KG 28, Central Sector, Autumn 1941
- He 111H-6Y “A1 AH’ of 1./KG 53 ‘Legion Condor’, Shatalovka, November 1941
- He 111H-6 ‘A1 HL’ of 3./KG 53 ‘Legion Condor’, Riga-Spilve, February 1942
- He 111H-6 ‘A1 HT’ of 9./KG 53 “Legion Condor’, Gostkino, September 1942
- He 111H-6 ‘A1 NP’ of 6./KG 53 ‘Legion Condor’, Voroshilovgrad, January 1943
- He 111H-16 ‘A1 HL’ of 3./KG 53 ‘Legion Condor’, Mielec, March 1944
- He 111H-16 ‘A1 EP’ of 6./KG53 ‘Legion Condor’, Piastov, June 1944
- He 111H-4 ‘G1 AS’ of 8./KG 55 ‘Greif’, Klemensov, June 1941
- He 111H-6 ‘G1 BN’ of 5./KG 55 ‘Grief’, Dnepropetrovsk, June 1942
- He 111H-16 ‘G1 DK’ of 2./KG 55 ‘Grief’, Sarabuz, December 1943
- He 111H-16 ‘G1 JT’ of 9./KG 55 ‘Grief’, Deblin-Irena, April 1944
- He 111H-16 ‘G1 LH’ of 1./KG 55 ‘Grief’, Deblin-Ulez, May 1944
- He 111H-16 ‘G1 DY’ of 14.(Eis.)/KG 55 ‘Greif’, Konigsberg-Gutenfeld, October 1944
- He 111H-3 ‘6N BL’ of 3./KGr.100, Bobruisk, August 1941
- He 111H-6 ‘6N IH’ of 1./KG 100 ‘Wiking’, Morosovskaya. November 1942
As with the text, the captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations well. They provide information such as the aircrafts location, variations shown, aircraft markings, pilots and key individuals and other such valuable information. As with the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors I read through the captions. As I stated before, grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings.
All in all I am very impressed with the book. This is a very nice reference book that contains many useful photographs and illustrations as well as detailed captions. It details the German He 111 Kampfgeschwader on the Russian Front during World War 2 very well. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library.
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