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edwest 6th February 2012 04:14

New Me-262 book
Scheduled for May. Apparently, an Me-262 night fighter pilot was involved with this one.

Usual disclaimer,

Nick Beale 6th February 2012 11:36

Re: New Me-262 book
Thanks Ed. Amazon's description is not a good start, though: "The Me 262 was the first of its kind, the first jet-powered aircraft."

And the talk of a "complete" history is perhaps a little optimistic!

edwest 6th February 2012 18:36

Re: New Me-262 book
You're welcome, Nick. Perhaps after release, a review or two will let us know if there are any new bits of information or photos. The named Me-262 night fighter pilot has a distinctly Polish last name. I wonder if anyone has a list of pilots for this bird. And optimistic? I definitely agree.


CJE 6th February 2012 20:52

Re: New Me-262 book
Here we go again: and political difficulties, resulting in it not entering combat until August 1944

Always the same song over and over again.

Richard T. Eger 24th May 2012 17:28

Re: New Me-262 book
I have now received a copy of this book. For the sake of easy reference, the book is:

The Me 262 Stormbird, From the Pilots Who Flew, Fought, and Survived It, by Colin D. Heaton and Anne-Marie Lewis, Zenith Press, copyright 2012.

The table of contents is:

List of Tables
Forewards by Jorg Czypionka and Barrett Tillman

Chapter 1 Too Little, Too Late
Chapter 2 On the Drawing Board
Chapter 3 Test Flights
Chapter 4 In the Field
Chapter 5 Competition and Innovation
Chapter 6 The Stormbird Takes Wing
Chapter 7 A Questionable Political Decision
Chapter 8 First Encounters
Chapter 9 Challenges of the Jet
Chapter 10 Night and Day
Chapter 11 Fighting the Fighters
Chapter 12 Fighting the Bombers
Chapter 13 Kommando Nowotny
Chapter 14 The Death of Nowotny
Chapter 15 Kommando Nowotny Carries On
Chapter 16 Victories in the Face of Defeat
Chapter 17 Allied Forces Fight Back
Chapter 18 The Last Death Throes of JG-7
Chapter 19 Galland and the Squadron of Experts
Chapter 20 The Loss of Steinhoff
Chapter 21 Back in the Air
Chapter 22 Galland's Last Mission
Chapter 23 The End of the War and JV-44
Chapter 24 Operations Lusty and Paperclip: The Postwar Scramble for Jets

Appendix 1 "My Last Mission" by Joe Peterburs
Appendix 2 German Ranks and Medals
Appendix 3 Additional Me 262 Data


If provided, and in this case it was, I find that the bibliography and chapter notes tell a lot about the research that went into a book. Heaton and/or Lewis spent a fair amount of time digging through the Bundesarchives at Koblenz, Freiburg, and Berlin-Lichterfelde. From what I can tell, it looks like they were trying to get organizational information to build a supporting structure for their tale. In addition, they had personal letters, data, information, and documents from a fairly lengthy list of participants.

The secondary, i.e., published sources, occupy 4-1/2 pages. Generally of reasonable quality. Interestingly, neither Smith & Creek's 4-volume Me 262 opus nor Manfred Boehme's benchmark JG 7 book are listed, although Dan O'Connell's Messerschmitt Me 262: The Production Log, 1941-1945 is.

What stands out in the secondary sources is that Heaton has made quite a specialty of interviewing the participants. Among his books listed are:

Night Fighters: Luftwaffe and RAF Air Combat over Europe, 1939-1945.

Luftwaffe Wing Leader, Interview with Lt. General Dietrich Hrabak, Military History, Vol. 13, No. 3, Feb. 2004, pp. 42-48.

Interview: General Jimmy Doolittle: The Man Behind the Legend, Part 1, World War II, Vol. 13, No. 3, Mar. 2003, pp. 30-42.

Erich Hartmann's Last Interview, World War II, Vol. 17, No. 3, Sept. 2002, pp. 30-42, 85.

The Man Who Downed Nowotny, Interview with Col. Edward R. Haydon, Aviation History, Sept. 2002, pp. 22-28.

Colonel Hajo Herrmann: Master of the Wild Boars, Interview with Luftwaffe Colonel Hajo Herrmann, World War II, Vol. 15, No. 2, July 2000, pp. 30-36, 78-80.

Interview: Luftwaffe Ace Günther Rall Remembers, World War II, Vol. 9, No. 6, pp. 34-40, 77-78.

Jimmy Doolittle and the Emergence of Air Power, Interview with General James H. Doolittle, Part 2, World War II, Vol. 18, No. 1, May 2003, pp. 46-52, 78.

Luftwaffe Ace Adolf Galland's Last Interview, Interview with General of the Fighters Adolf Galland, World War II, Vol. 11, No. 5, Jan. 1997, pp. 46-52.

Interview: Luftwaffe Eagle Johannes Steinhoff, Interview with Major General Steinhoff, World War II, Vol. 13, No. 1, May 1998, pp. 28-34, 74.

The Count: Luftwaffe Ace Walter Krupinski, Interview with Luftwaffe Ace Lieutenant General Walter Krupinski, Military History, Vol. 15, No. 2, June 1998, pp. 62-68.

Interview: Luftwaffe's Father of the Nightfighters, Interview with Luftwaffe ace Colonel Wolfgang Falck, Military History, Vol. 13, No. 6, Feb. 2000, pp. 42-48.

Interview: Wolfpack Ace Robert S. Johnson, Military History, Vol. 13, No. 3, Aug. 1996, pp. 26-32.

Not listed in the bibliography, but rather in the chapter notes, is a recent book by Heaton and Lewis:

The German Aces Speak, World War II Through the Eyes of Four of the Luftwaffe's Most Important Commanders, Zenith Press, copyright 2011.

Other interviewee's listed in the chapter notes are:

Hermann Buchner
Fritz Wendel by Jeffrey L. Ethell
Dietrich Pelz
Rudolf Nowotny
Georg-Peter Eder
Wolfgang Späte
Jorg Czypionka
Hans Baur
Traudl Junge
Curtis Lemay
Francis S. Gabreski
Erich Hohagen
Franz Stigler
Jon Guttman with Roscoe Brown
Gen. Benjamin O. Davis
Robin Olds
Kurt Bühligen
Klaus Neumann

Clearly, Heaton's forte is the interview and he presents these in an easy to read manner, not in a question and answer disjointed style. I also obtained a copy of The German Aces Speak which showed me that Heaton was comfortable lifting information from his previous works into The Me 262 Stormbird.

I really haven't attermpted to look at the authors' development history and thus won't comment, save to say that, at least for me, the 4-volume Me 262 opus by Smith & Creek is the benchmark against which all other Me 262 history books are measured when it comes to the advertising claim at that the current work is a "complete history". For those interested in the action end of things from the mouths of the participants, themselves, this is a book worth considering.


edwest 24th May 2012 18:18

Re: New Me-262 book
Thank you, Richard. As always, your comments are appreciated. And I agree, the 4 volume set by Smith & Creek is the benchmark, plus the Me-262 Production Log is a worthy addition.


Jukka Juutinen 24th May 2012 20:55

Re: New Me-262 book

Originally Posted by Richard T. Eger (Post 148454)

Clearly, Heaton's forte is the interview and he presents these in an easy to read manner, not in a question and answer disjointed style.

The latter statement is not particularly promising as such a method often blurs the line between what the interviewee actually stated and how the interviewer interpreted it. Q & A style might be disjointed, but it definitely preserves the integrity of the source better.

leonventer 24th May 2012 22:21

Re: New Me-262 book
Hi Richard,

Excellent review.

I had low expectations for this book when I ordered it, but was pleasantly surprised. As you say, it doesn't obsolete any of the go-to resources we have for the 262, but it does complement them quite nicely.

At the very least, it's worthwhile as a handy compilation of informative interviews from several publications. For example, I read Haydon's description of Nowotny's last moments when his interview first appeared in Aviation History magazine, and that account certainly enhanced my visit to Achmer and Epe a few years ago.

While the Me 262 was technologically very impressive, much of its impact was psychological, so the human aspects of the story make for an interesting read.

Leon Venter

kaki3152 25th May 2012 16:19

Re: New Me-262 book
After looking through this book, I would judge it as a average. The Me-262 victory list has some omissions and mistakes. The Me-262 loss list is useful,

IMHO, the best part of the book is the interviews with Luftwaffe veterans. They make the book worthwhile and worth waht I paid for it on Amazon.

On the other hand, the book has significant flaws. For excample,the combat described on March 24,1945 is full of errors.One citation : "Capt Armour G. Macdaniel ,301 FS suffered engine trouble,bailed out becoming a POW" Wrong. He had his wing blown off by a Me-262.

The MACR is most descriptive:"After we made rendezvous with the bombers and were about 5 minutes from the target site , I called in two (2) enemy aircraft to the flight leader (Captain Armour G. McDaniel, O796266) coming in at nine o'clock low. About five seconds later I noticed Captain McDaniel's right wing fall off (!) and his plane went into a spin. "

Sign of sloppy research...

Richard T. Eger 4th June 2012 05:52

Re: New Me-262 book
Jukka has stated that his preference for reporting interviews is a straight Q&A format. In the July 2012 issue of the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine, Stephan Wilkinson has reviewed the companion book The German Aces Speak. In his review, Wilkinson has, perhaps more eloquently than myself, described the interview reporting style of the authors Heaton and Lewis:

"The four German pilots who speak from their graves through this book--Galland, Walter Krupinski, Eduard Neumann, and Wolfgang Falck--are voices unheard in their homeland. Through the beautifully edited text of co-authors Heaton and Lewis, they speak honorably. What must have been a series of extensive interviews with each man has been rendered in seamless conversational language, and what might have been numbing recitations of dogfights are instead vivid descriptions of life as a warrior during World War II."

I should comment that "vivid" does not mean over the top colorful language such as used in the movie Red Tails, nor that found in pulp histories, which is worthless.


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