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German Air-Dropped Weapons to 1945

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by vakarr, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. vakarr

    vakarr Member

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    Name of Book German Air-Dropped Weapons to 1945
    Name of Author Wolfgang Fleischer
    Number of pages 239 A4 sized, hardback

    What it is about

    This book is about Luftwaffe bombs and their development. It goes right to the beginning of the development of German aerial bombs, which I was surprised to find actually started before the First World War. There are six chapters on the first world war and the period between the two world wars, and World War two is covered between pages 52 to 136. The last 100 pages are taken up with technical drawings of all the bomb types and their fuses, such as would be useful (I suppose) to somebody who had to defuse them. The author does state his dislike for such a distasteful subject, as it is so closely involved with the deaths of so many thousands of people. However he says he hopes the book can help with the defusing and disposal of the bombs, which are still being found all over Europe.

    What you liked

    The book is lavishly illustrated with black and white photographs and diagrams, though some of the photographs seem a little superfluous. It does provide a lot of detail about the most commonly used bombs and a lot of information and pictures that are probably not available in any other book. The Germans were the first to use cluster bombs (at the Battle of Kursk) and you can see how they were developed from the small incendiary bomb containers but there is no general discussion about the development of new weapons in which the Germans were the first in their field such as the guided glider bomb. A "secret weapons of the Luftwaffe" book this is not. It shows how the bombs were loaded and discusses the development of different types of racks for the bombs as well as equipment kits for aircraft required to carry them.

    What you disliked

    I bought this book hoping I would be able to answer the question "when did or didn't the Germans have/use armour-piercing bombs in World War II?" and am still not much better off. The designs for armour-piercing bombs are shown and some mention is made that they wanted them before the war. There's also mention of a rocket-assisted armour piercing bomb available in small quantities. It does seem apparent that there isn't much to say before 1941 as bomb production didn't really get going until then. if you buy a technical book about a bit of World War II equipment, it normally tells you how many of each type of weapon were made, but this book doesn't do that. It is also often unclear about when a weapon was in use, or began to be used. The narrative could be better structured and is often hindered by the photographs. The pre-war development story is a bit disjointed and includes reports that just say "we want this" which are not terribly useful given the limited space for text. He has deliberately left out aerial weapons designed for use against ships except for the Fritz -X and the HS 293. He does mention that there was a device that could be attached to ordinary bombs that was meant to make them explode under a ship instead of skipping off the surface of the water.

    Recommendation
    If you want a technical manual on all the most common Luftwaffe bombs (and some uncommon ones) then this is for you. If you want a book describing the development of Luftwaffe weapons then you may get that depending on which ones you are interested in. Anyway it is a very serious attempt at a comprehensive and scholarly study on the subject and it is to be recommended to anybody interested.
     
    lwd and belasar like this.
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Thank you for adding to our Book Reviews.
     

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