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Me 262 Northwest Europe 1944-45

...Dogfight 6, from Osprey Publishing

Title: Me 262, Northwest Europe 1944-45
Author: Robert Forsyth
Publisher: Osprey
ISBN: 978-1-4728-5051-5

Number 6 in the 'Dogfight' series from Osprey, this is the story of what it was like to fly the famous Me 262 in the final stages of WW2. An 80-page soft-cover book in the standard style for this series, with plenty of fine illustrations to accompany the text.
Spread over 6 chapters the book sets the scene of air combat over Germany in the late stages of the war, with large numbers of American daylight bombers, flying in large formations to maximise their defensive firepower, and the increasing range and numbers of very capable escort fighters. To counter them the German Luftwaffe was suffering from limited fuel supplies and a shrinking pool of experienced pilots. The new jet, the Me 262, was impacted supply issues as well as the push from Hitler to make it a bomber rather than a dedicated interceptor. Helped by using a more readily available fuel, armed with 4 x 30mm cannon and the addition of R4M missiles mounted under the wings, the 262 could land a heavy punch. It explains tactics for both sides, and includes artwork to set out the 4-aircraft 'schwarm' and 3-aircraft 'kette' formations, along with ribbon diagrams to illustrate some specific actions. There are plenty of personal accounts of what it was like not simply to fly the 262 but to fly it in combat. It had great speed but was vulnerable during take-off and landing, so accounts from some US pilots provide a nice balance.
Well illustrated throughout, with archive images of the aircraft and a number of the pilots themselves, plus the excellent artwork that we expect from Osprey. This one makes for some interesting reading. There are still a couple of fighter-bomber raids included, and it reminded me of an account from my own father who recalled being attacked by a pair of them on a number of occasions in the closing stages of the war in Europe. He recalled some RAF aircraft waiting for them after they had attacked on successive days, and when they dived, he talked about 4 puffs of smoke and the 262s were gone as they simply opened their throttles and escaped. Good value as ever from Osprey, and an interesting read.
Thanks to Osprey for the review copy.


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