Secret Projects of the Luftwaffe, Vol.1
...Jet Fighters 1939-1945
Title: Secret Projects of the Luftwaffe, Vol.1
Author: Dan Sharp
Publisher: Tempest Books
Jet Fighters 1939-1945. WW2 saw the birth of the jet plane, and the German aviation industry was very much at the forefront of innovative design. There was lots of experimentation, some of which went into production plus others that got to either prototype or at least wooden mock-ups. Still more never went beyond designs on paper but I can only imagine how the allied investigative teams (including the Russians) must have felt as they searched a defeated Germany in the hunt for this valuable and advanced research/design.
Within the Introduction there is a Jet Development Timeline, and this grabbed my attention straight away. I've been interested in military aircraft of WW2 all my life but I was still surprised to learn just how much had gone into some of these airframe and engine designs in the earlier years. Those Early Developments in jet and rocket propelled fighters in the period up to 1940 form the subject for the first of the 14 chapters. These go on through a mix of particular topics covering a variety of specific aircraft. These include some which went into production, such as the Me 262, the Me 163 and the He 162. Others had prototypes built, such as the Bachem Ba 349 Natter and others that were built as mock-ups or wind tunnel test models, while others never made it beyond the drawings on paper. The futuristic looking Lippisch designs are particularly eye-catching. The book is extensively illustrated throughout, not only some archive images of the actual aircraft, but a whole host of documents relating to the development programmes and copies of the original design drawings. As well as a keen historical interest in WW2 I have always been a modeller, and the level of interest in these late-war German aircraft designs are readily available in model form these days. So for those interested in them from the historical or model point of view will find a lot to interest them in here.
A 336-page hardback book, but worth noting that this is flagged as Volume 1, so there is more to come. The sheer volume of research into the subject that is shared in here makes this a first class reference on the subject of what would at the time have been highly secret design projects.
Thanks to Tempest Books for our review copy.