Thread: New Me-262 book
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Old 24th May 2012, 17:28
Richard T. Eger Richard T. Eger is offline
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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.


Last edited by Richard T. Eger; 24th May 2012 at 18:11.
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