JG 52 - Aces of the Eastern Front
Jagdgeschwader 52 was the highest scoring fighter wing during WWII, although it did not reach prominence until after the Battle of Britain, where its losses were significant. On transfer to the Easten Front for Operation Barbarossa they started to accumulate large numbers of kills, with the highest scoring member of the wing Erich Hartmann amassing over 350 kills before surrendering to the Americans, who handed him over to the Russians, which resulted in him spending 10 years doing hard labour in one of their gulags.
The book is the first of Kagero's Units series, and documents the history of the unit in broad brush-strokes from its less successful operations over Britain, through to the end of the war and surrender at Wien-Aspen airfield, with plenty of contemporary photos in black and white to accompany the narrative. These photos would be very useful to the diorama or vignette modeller as well, as they show maintenance and landing incidents as well as some more candid and informal photos of pilots returning from sorties.
The centre section is taken up with profiles of three of the four aircraft featured, with the remaining profiles printed on the glossy rear cover. Two of the four aircraft are missing any form of detail of the wing uppers, which although probably a safe bet to assume that they would be similar if not identical to the preceding two, would have been nice to see, even though it would have meant reducing the side profiles in size a little. As usual the artwork and layout is excellent, and the cover picture is very impressive.
The back few pages following the end of the narrative is taken up with individual scores, losses, equipment used, commanders of the various units and dates of their tenure, again interspersed with photos pertinent to the data.
As usual, the decals are printed by Cartograf, so are of excellent quality, in good register and have minimal carrier film. The decals are supplied in 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32 scales, separated by dotted lines. There's no written scale next to each section, but if you can't work that out yourself, then heaven help you!
The airframes covered by the decal sheet are as follows:
- Bf.109E-3 Yellow 5 of 9./JG52, Coquelles, France, July 1940 - RLM71/02/65 with criss-cross pattern on the sides.
- Bf.109F-2 W.Nr. 8165, flown by Oblt. Karl-Heinz Leesmann, Gruppenkommanduer of I./JG52, Leeuwarden, Netherlands, June 1941 - RLM74/75/76 with heavy mottle on the fuselage sides, yellow nose, wing tips and rudder.
- Bf.109G-10/U4 Yellow 11 of II./JG52, Munchen-Neubiberg, May 1945 - RLM75/83/76 with overpainted markings on the fuselage, yellow tail and nose.
- Bf.109G-4 W.Nr. 19249 White 10 flown by Lt. Alfred Grislawski of 7.JG52, Tama Russia, late April 1943 - RLM74/75/76 with heavy mottling, yellow tail band and underneath the nose.