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Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3/E-4/E-7 (vol.4 of the Illustrated History of Romanian Aeronautics)


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Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3/E-4/E-7 (vol.4 of the Illustrated History of Romanian Aeronautics)
by Horia Stoica and Vasile Radu


I`d like to point out - to those that haven`t found it yet - the publication of another title in the Illustrated History of Romanian Aeronautics series, this time dedicated to the Messerschmitt Bf 109 E in Romanian service. Much like the Hurricane title that I have reviewed here:
this volume is also largelly an album, but with more text devoted to the subject and, this time, accompanied by several colour profiles. The book is bilingual (in Romanian and English).


Romania bought its first Messerschmitt Bf 109E at the end of 1939 and the various versions (E-3, E-4 and E-7) served from 1940 until the end of the war. In total, there were 69 machines so, unlike the Hurricane volume which was structured around each individual aircraft (of which there were only 15), this title has its chapters arranged chronologically (Before June 1941; June 1941 - September 1944; After August 1944), followed by chapters dedicated to the pilots and their personal emblems and one of various details (guns, gunsight, control sticks and several shots from repair shops). Towards the end of the book there are 3 tables (one listing the Romanian ranks and corresponding English equivalents, another of all aircraft numbers and their respective Werk Nr and the third, dedicated to the 6 machines modified into E-4 after August 1943). These are followed by a recollection by Lieutenant Ioan Galea describing a mission from May 1944 against a large formation of American B-17 bombers and their accompanying Lightnings, while flying the BF 109 E-7 no.65. The Romanian text of this section is spread on five and a half pages, but unfortunately, it is not translated. Instead, there is a brief (less than half a page) description of it in English.


All in all, there are 160 pages with - by my count - 75 black and white photos showing the aircraft, pilots and technicians, 3 priceless contemporary color photos of the Emil in Romanian service (that stir lively debates on Romanian modelling forums regarding the yellow paint used), 38 colour photos of various documents (the text of these is mostly in Romanian and is not translated, but there is an English caption explaining their contents) and 3 colour photos depicting a contemporaneous drawing of the famous 7th Fighter Group`s Donald Duck emblem, the text on that photo`s back and the original drawing on which the emblem was based. There are also 5 colour profiles plus top and bottom views of a Romanian 109 E by Teodor Liviu Morosanu (you might be familiar with his work from the Romanian Fighter Colors 1941-1945 title published by MMP).


In conclusion, this is a very useful book for anyone wanting to model the Bf 109E and get a sense of its service in the Romanian Airforce.


The series has a facebook page (noted in my review of the Hurricane title) where you could try to get in touch with one of the authors (Horia Stoica), but I see it`s available from various international sites and scale model shops so there`s no longer a need to give any directions of where it can be acquired from. To be clear, I bought mine a couple of years ago at an airshow and paid full price for it.


I should note that, in the meantime, two more titles have appeared in this series, dedicated to the Henschel HS-129 B-2 and the Bloch M.B.210 in Romanian service.


I`ll end with a couple exemplificative shots of the Messerschmitt volume:





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