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Old 1st August 2012, 20:28
Richard T. Eger Richard T. Eger is offline
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"Messerschmitt Me 262 Production & Arado Ar 234 Final Operations," Luftwaffe Over Czech Territory - 1945: IV., JaPo

Dear All,

This is the latest in the excellent series by JaPo covering the Luftwaffe in Czechoslovakia in WW II. The authors of this particular book are David E. Brown, Tomáš Poruba, and Jan Vladař. The book runs 158 pages and is well illustrated, with many of the photos previously unpublished.

I must note that Manfred Boehme and I were significant contributors to this book. Hopefully, my review will stay relatively unbiased.

The contents are as follows:

Flugzeugwerk Eger G.m.b.H. (FWE) - History 1940-44
Me 262 at FWE
FWE - Me 262 in action
Leichtbau G.m.b.H. Budweis (LBB) - History 1942-44
Me 262 in LBB
LBB - Me 262A service
Other major subcontractors involved in the Me 262 program in Bohemia
Specific aircraft
Other jet aircraft over Bohemia
Appendix I - Me 262 A-1a/U3 Armament
Errata, addenda to Messerschmitt Me 262s of KG and KG(J) units
Bibliography
Photo Credits

My main contribution to the book, with help from others, was in many of the photos. For the last several years I have worked with a professional photographer friend in my area named Jim Hill enhancing photos to bring out the details, but, at the same time, avoiding the appearance of change in character of the photos. In its simplest description, detail gets pulled from both the shadow and over exposed areas and, in general, pure whites and blacks are avoided. In my personal opinion, the printed results have turned out extremely well, certainly, thanks in part to JaPo's ongoing efforts to use high quality printing.

My greatest interest in the book was to learn as much as possible of the manufacturing efforts. Regarding work at FWE, this included both the repair of Me 262's as well as the production of the Me 262 A-1a/U3. Photos in the book showing already camouflaged and unit marked Me 262 fuselages would thus match up with the repair aspect. Me 262 A-1a/U3 production was handled by the "Grossbauteile" system, wherein major compnents were supplied by other manufacturers and it was up to FWE to assemble these and modify the fuselages to the Aufklärer configuration. LBB was tasked with production of standard Me 262A's, again using the "Grossbauteile" system.

The authors give careful attention to the development of the Aufklärer concept and the various changes to the model designation. Through documentation and interviews, the authors have pieced together as best as possible the production schedules and the pilots involved. Postwar photos provide a feeling of what had been at FWE, but, alas, there are no wartime production photos of Me 262's under construction. As some compensation, the authors have constructed a layout diagram matching an aerial photo wherein the individual buildings and their functions are identified. The authors have gone to great effort to identify the Werknummern of the Aufklärer produced at FWE.

At LBB, this company produced Fi 156's and Fw 190's, before turning its attention onto the Me 262. It had also repaired wings for the He 111. Again, the authors have provided a layout diagram showing the salient features at LBB from the production at Koroseky and the connecting road, complete with aircraft aprons, to the airfield to the east northeast. There are also 2 intriguing postwar photos of Me 262's with the conquering Russians taken in the vicinity of LBB. Again, with diligent effort, the authors have pieced together a list of at least some with Werknummern of some of the Me 262's produced by LBB.

The details, though, are in the writing, giving the reader a feeling of intimacy with what was going on at the time, both at FWE and LBB.

One error, or more likely, oversight, is the reference to aircraft components supplied by Augsburg or Regensburg. Very few, if any, parts were actually supplied by the factories at Augsburg or Regensburg. What really should have been stated was that aircraft components were supplied by factories administered by either Augsburg or Regensburg. This point, as far as I can tell, is never clarified in the book.

While we very much would wish for wartime production photos of Me 262's at FWE and LBB, we are rewarded with wartime photos of production of noses at Avia. Tail units were made at Sumag at Klösterle and here, too, we are rewarded with some nice tail component photos, even if they were taken postwar.

The authors then go onto describe specific Me 262's, with photos interspersed with color 4-view and profile drawings. It is a royal feast.

At page 120, the authors veer off into other aircraft, namely the Ar 234 and the Me 262 A-2a/U2, W.Nr. 110555 (V 555). At least one of the photos of V 555 is new to me, that showing someone lying prone in the nose of the aircraft with the glazed hatch open.

In the appendix are 6 photos showing the innards of the original nose to Me 262, FE-4012, as seen in storage at the NASM's Garber restoration facility. We can only get a hint from these as to how a single MK 108 cannon would have been mounted. From these, the authors have reconstructed a drawing showing how the MK 108 cannon was likely positioned.

I can certainly recommend this volume to any Me 262 historian.

Regards,
Richard

Last edited by Richard T. Eger; 1st August 2012 at 23:12.
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Old 1st August 2012, 22:29
leonventer leonventer is offline
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Re: "Messerschmitt Me 262 Production & Arado Ar 234 Final Operations," Luftwaffe Over Czech Territory - 1945: IV., JaPo

Richard,

Thanks for the very informative description. Your reviews are always appreciated.

Regards,
Leon Venter
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Old 1st August 2012, 23:01
Dan O'Connell Dan O'Connell is online now
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Dan O'Connell
Re: "Messerschmitt Me 262 Production & Arado Ar 234 Final Operations," Luftwaffe Over Czech Territory - 1945: IV., JaPo

Like Richard, I am not easily impressed by some offerings on the Me 262, however, this work is easily the best offering presented recently. The amount of information is truly stunning. I have long been intrigued by the use of the 262 in the Czech area, and this work, as well as the previous presentation, offer a wealth of information that is difficult to obtain from other sources.

I sincerely recommend this work to any one interested in the 262, and especially to those wishing to know more about a little known area of the usage of the 262. My congratulations to the authors. Very well done!

Dan O'Connell
Messerschmitt Me 262 - The Production Log - 1941-1945
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