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Luftwaffe Schlachtgruppen (Aviation Elite Units) [Kindle Edition]

John Weal
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

One of the most important, and yet least publicised, components of the front-line Luftwaffe was the Schlacht, or ground attack, arm. This book details the Schlacht units who were in the thick of the fighting from the first day of the war until the last. They played a vital part in the heady successes of the early Blitzkrieg campaigns and went on to perform an equally essential role in the dark hours of last ditch defence and ultimate defeat. In between, they fought in all defensive battles: on the eastern front at Stalingrad, Kursk and Berlin; in the west, by night, over Normandy, the Ardennes and the Rhine.

The color plate section of the book has profiles of the following, disperate aircraft:

HS 123A
HE 51B
Bf 109-4
Bf 109E
Bf 109E-7
HS 129B
Fw 190F-2
Fiat Cr.42
Fokker CV-E
Ju 87D

All of which were flown by this squadron. Also of note is the fact that this Ace pilot Hans-Ulrich Rudel was part of this distinguished unit.

Editorial Reviews


Certainly recommended reading for the aviation history enthusiast.

From the Publisher

Looking at elite fighter and bomber units in action, these books draw on profile artworks, black and white photographs, fully detailed appendices and breathtaking first hand accounts.

Product Details

  • File Size: 4938 KB
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (August 20, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D0O6UZM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #776,900 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
There were fewer deadlier, more dangerous missions than the ground attack missions flown by the Luftwaffe's ground attack (Schlacht) fliers. Operating a variety of aircraft ranging from Ju 87s to FW 190s to biplane Gotha 145s and Henschel 123s, the Schlachtfliegers were in the forefront of action from 1 September 1939 till the final, bitter struggle over Berlin. The story of these daring fliers is nicely told in yet another of author/illustrator John Weal's books for Osprey.

Schlacht units were active on all fronts though their greatest challenges, successes and ultimate failure were met on the Eastern Front. Operating in an incredibly target-rich combat arena, outstanding pilots like Hans Ulrich Rudel ran up incredible totals. Rudel accounted for 519 tanks alone; three other pilots notched up 100+ tank kills. Rudel lasted the war but few other Schlacht pilots were so lucky as the Russian AAA defenses grew steadily deadlier. Though coverage of the Eastern Front takes up the bulk of Weal's book, he also relates Schlacht experiences on the Western Front and in the Med.

The exploits of Luftwaffe Experten have been given greater coverage than the missions flown by ground attack fliers. Weal's book is a welcome addition because it redresses the balance somewhat by relating the incredible efforts made by Ju 87, FW 190 and Hs 123 pilots to support their comrades on the ground. Dozens of photos and 12 pages of color profiles and insignia help illustrate the many and varied aircraft used by these intrepid fliers.

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The author did an impressive job of researching the history of this undevelop air component of the Luftwaffe. If the Germans had put the time, effort, and resources creating the planes, combat tactics, weaponry, and aggressive flyers, the Germans might have won the war or got a separate peace treaty with the Western Allies. Even if the Germans had lost, they still could have stretch out the war.

If the Schlachtgruppen were equipped with the ME-109s and FW-190s in the early part of the war, the RAF would had a difficult time winning the Battle of Britain, the air war over Malta, the convoys going to Malta, and the war in North Africa. The Germans pilots would have been able to press home their attacks easier plus able to defend themselves against Allied fighter attacks and shooting down allied planes.

If the Schlacht was brought to its full potential, the Sicily, Anzio, and Salerno beachheads would have been untenable or had ended in defeat due to the Schlacht effectively sinking both Allied warships and merchant ships to the effect that the Allied Navies would had to withdraw until the Allied Air Force could knock out the Schlacht. The Schlacht could have upset the time table of the Allies invasion of Sicily if they had bomb the North African ports and the invasion ships.

Finally, the Schlacht (if fully developed)would have produce a slew of tank killer aces not only in Russia but also in North Africa. In addition, the Schlacht could have a high number of high scoring fighter aces since the pilots were better able to defend themselves against Allied fighter pilots. There would have been more Knight Cross winners and the higher grades of that award for the Schlacht.

Sadly, what could have been a formiable component in the Luftwaffe was overlook by Hitler and the Luftwaffe High Command. Another case of too litte, too late. This is a must read book for everyone!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average history of German airforce strike forces April 30, 2009
By Yoda
This book provides a history of the German airforce's ground strikeforce from the end of WWI, through the interwar years, to the end of WWII. The history is at a relatively high level (considering the book's 128 page length a good idea) as opposed to a tactical and operational level. Tactics and operational strategies are not discussed much though the evolution of the aircraft, in broad strokes, is. If you are looking for an account(s) of individual actions this is not the book for you. The book is also a little weak regarding performance, weaknesses and strengths of ground attack forces along with factors contributing to successes and failures. Personnel recruitement and training are barely discussed and coverage of aircraft development is only touched upon.

The book also contains about 7 pages of color plates of all the major aircraft used in the ground attack role. Camo patterns for all the aircraft throughout their operational lives are provided, from early in war (and interwar years, including Spain) to the end. Hence for the model builder this is not a bad reference.
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1 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately written by John Weal January 5, 2007
The subject is cool, but like other books written by John Weal is very boring.
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