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Old 26th January 2005, 15:17
Kjetil Aakra Kjetil Aakra is offline
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Kjetil Aakra
Eric Mombeek's Eismeerjäger Vol. 2

Zur Gesichte des Jagdgeschwaders 5. Band 2. Jäger.

Eric Mombeek

This is the second installment of Eric Mombeeks unit history of JG 5. Volume 1 dealt with the Zerstörer and Jabo unit attached to this Geschwader, volume 2 & 3 will deal with the single-engined fighters.

Volume 2 covers the time period from January 1941 to the end of June 1943 and is divided into 9 chapters. The first chapter deals with the fighters units already in Norway by early 1941 and their combat service along the South Norwegian coast and the initial six month of combat against the Russians in the North. Chapter 3 charters the formation of Jagdgeschwader 5, from those units already present in Norway as well as several Ergänzungsstaffeln on the continent. The remaining chapers alternately details events on the southern coast and Northern front in six month periods from the beginning of 1942 through to the end of June 1943.

The material is presented in the same style and manner as the preceeding volume. Events are arranged in a chronological order, not necessarily every day, but at least every day for which a relevant event has been found in documents– even if only single losses are available. These descriptions take the form of matter-of-factly presentation of events but often they are supplemented by the personal recollections of aircrew involved. Eric Mombeek has obviously gone to great lengths to include these personal remeberances and a very large number of JG 5 personalities has contributed, either through interviews, through their own diaries or combat reports. Interviewed aircrew include Uffz. Martin Villig, Lt. Rudolf Glöckner, Ofw. Hugo Dahmer, Major Hennig Strümpell, Lt. Ernst Scheufele, Uffz. Walter Kalweit and Uffz. Dieter Weinitschke while the recollections of Lt. Alfred jakobi, Hptm. Hans-Curt von Sponeck and Uffz. Hans Döbrich are also provided. All in all the factual information is blended beautifully with the personal aspects which makes for very interesting reading. The personal recollections are italicized which makes them easy to separate from the rest fo the text.

Mombeek has obviously spent a good deal of time researching the other side of the front line. Where data is available he includes known losses and events from the Russian side and sometimes claims and counter-claims are analyzed.

From a historical aspect it is natural to compare Mombeek’s volumes on JG 5 with the previous unit history of this Jagdgeschwader, i.e. Werner Girbig’s JG 5 chronicle from 1975. The style and presentation is of course vastly different but there can be no doubt that Mombeek’s books are easier to read, easier to use as references and also much more accurate. For instance, JG 5 Vol. 2 is the first publication ever to correctly trace the composition and designation of those units that eventually formed JG 5. There has been tremendous confusion in the past regarding the correct designation of the Staffeln making up I./JG 77 and exactly how they were redesignated during the formation of JG 5. Recently discovered documents (by Andreas Brekken) reveal the details and Mombeek presents them with clarity.

Even if the book is fascinating reading and many new details and stories are revealed this reviewer must admit that it is the photos which are the most impressing part of the book to him! Mombeek has managed to locate an incredible number of very interesting photos, some of which are of considerable historical significance. The books contain about 500 photos and most of them have never been seen in print before. Some of the gems hiding between the book’s covers are:

-Bf 109Es of the so-called Jagdkommando ZG 76, as far as I know this is the first time these machines have photographically documented

-a truly enigmatic Bf 109E-1/B (W.Nr. 1623) from 1./JG 77 with the inscription “Mensura Wambu” on its port fuselage

-some incredible new photos of Bf 109T, finally including a photo of Alfred Jakobi’s Bf 109T “White 4” which he reportedly used when he downed the first B-17 Fortress over Europe

-Oblt. Horst Carganico’s Bf 109E-7, Yellow 7 with personal emblem and early canopy

-Lt. Hans Schneider spectacularily painted Bf 109E “White 12” from 1./JG 5 (several photos showing both sides)

-Bf 109Es from II./JG 5 in the artic during 1942, most of which have never been seen before – most of these show codes and markings

-Uffz. Jakob Norz’ Bf 109E from 8./JG 5

-Uffz. Heinrich Bartel’s Bf 109E, “Black 13” (as opposed to his more well-known Bf 109F which is also well-documented in the book)

-a large number of photos showing Rudolf Müller’s Bf 109F “Yellow 3”, many of which have not been published before

-Hptm. Horst Carganico’s Bf 109F W.Nr. 10132 in great detail showing rudder markings and all (this machine is currently residing in Canada after having been restored there)

-some of the last Bf 109Es in front-line service during 1942

-Uffz. Hans Döbrich’s Bf 109F “Yellow 10”

-many colourful Bf 109Fs from 8. and 9./JG 5

-a series of photos showing the line up of Stab/IV. JG 5 & IV./JG 5’s new Bf 109G-2/R-6s in Denmark, codes are visible for the majority of these

-Lt. Heinrich Ehrler’s Bf 109F “Yellow 12” in both summer and winter camouflage

-many photos of Fw 190A-3s from I. and IV./JG 5 in South and Central Norway. Many of these photos show accidents, some of which are quite spectacular!

-new, previousloy unpublished photos of Lt. Theo Weissenberger’s Bf 109G-2/R-6 "Yellow 4" in winter camouflage, showing both sides

-a large number of photos of Fw. Hans Döbrich’s Bf 109G-2/R-6 “Yellow 10”

-a Fw 190A-3 “Black 9” from 2./JG 5 with a very special “zebra”-style camouflage

-Bf 109Fs with JG 51’s Eagle head emblem after they had been transferred to JG 5

-two previously undocumented Bf 109G-2s flown by Hptm. Horst Carganico in early 1943 when he was Kommandeur of II./JG 5. Both of these machines, one having been converted from a pressurized G-1, have the characteristic large Mickey Mouse insignia on the fuselage as seen on his G-6s

-Fw.Jakob Norz’ Bf 109G-2 “Black 8”

There are also a large number of photos of aircrew in relaxed situations and Mombeek must have spent quite some time identifying some of these people. Some of the situations are interesting, like when Ofw. Theo Stebner is being congratulated after having shot down Mosquito W4050 or when Fw. Bartels received his Ritterkreuz for 45 victories.

The photos are printed on gloss paper which makes for high-quality reproductions and the overall quality of proof-reading, binding and layout is very high.

The photos alone make this book worth its asking price and then some. For modeller looking for new subjects, decal manufacturers and aviation artists, this book is full of inspiration and relevant information. For those interested in Luftwaffe camouflage and markings this book and its photos should provide you with enough material for discussion and analysis to last until Mombeeks third and final Volume on JG 5 is published. For those interested in narratives and what it was like to be a German fighter pilot duirng WWII this book is also a must. All said, Eric Mombeek’s Eismeerjäger Vol. 2 is a facinating read and I can hardly wait for Vol. 3! Highly recommended.

Sample pages:

Some photos (reproduced with permission):

Kjetil Aakra
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Old 2nd February 2005, 20:00
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Sergio Luis dos Santos Sergio Luis dos Santos is offline
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Sergio Luis dos Santos
Thanks for a very useful review Kjetil !
Sergio Luis dos Santos
Rio de Janeiro - Brasil
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