Eagles Over the Sea 1943-45

...from Seaforth Publishing

Title: Eagles Over the Sea 1943-45
Author: Lawrence Paterson
Publisher: Seaforth Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-5267-7765-2

This is the second volume of this first-class history of Luftwaffe maritime units, in this case covering the second half of the war, from 1943 through to the end, in 1945. A 382-page hardback book, with plenty of archive images throughout the 10 chapters of text. The story picks up with the situation over the Bay of Biscay, such an important area for the Kreigsmarine for both inbound and outbound journeys for their U-Boats to the Atlantic. It shines a light on the situation where the maritime aircraft involved in reconnaissance and protection for the U-Boats did not get the support from the Luftwaffe that their naval colleagues might have liked. Things then move on the North Africa, and particularly on finding and attacking the allied ships involved in the landings and support of Operation Torch. The remaining elements of the story cover the Black Sea and the Eastern Front, the far North of Norway, the Central Mediterranean with Sicily and Italy as well as operations in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean. It takes us back to the Bay of Biscay as well as the Far East, where not only were there a small number of Arado Ar 196 floatplanes operated in the area of their Japanese allies but with the support of blockade runners bringing vital raw materials to Europe from the Far East. Even Normandy is considered, as despite the large number of ships involved the success of the Luftwaffe was not that good. As for the Technology, it covers the deployment of the Hs 293 rocket powered bomb and the Fritz X Glide bomb, which were both used successfully. Plenty of roles, with reconnaissance, escort, attack, bomber, transport and air-sea rescue, the maritime support required from the Luftwaffe was wide ranging, yet the basic airframes were rapidly becoming outdated and the loss of experienced crews difficult to replace.
There is so much to this story, with changes to technology and tactics for both the Luftwaffe and the Allies, and a good idea of just how complex the various issues were in WW2. Not just the crews and their equipment, but how the distribution and priorities for limited resources was significantly affected by arguments among senior leaders who really should have been better rather than being focussed on their own personal ambition and influence with Hitler. A really interesting book to read and I felt it makes a good lesson in just how complex things were in WW2 while concentrating on the roles and fortunes of the Luftwaffe Maritime aircraft and crews.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for our review copy.