login   |    register
Osprey Publishing [ MORE REVIEWS ] [ WEBSITE ] [ NEW STORIES ]

Book Review
He 162 Volksjäger Units
He 162 Volksjäger Units
  • move

by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

He 162 Volksjäger Units is a new title published by Osprey Publishing LTD. Authored by Robert Forsyth and illustrated by Jim Laurier, the book is number 118 in the Combat Aircraft series. It is coded COM 118 by Osprey and part of the IBSN 9781472814579 for the softcover. It is also available in PDF and ePUB formats and is 96 pages long.
    With the Third Reich on the brink of defeat Hitler's instructions to his designers were clear. He wanted a Volksjäger - a People's Fighter that was quick to produce and used minimal quantities of strategic materials. Heinkel rose to the challenge with the He 162, a fighter constructed of wood and metal that was designed, built and flown in the staggeringly short time of ten weeks. Professional pilots were in short supply, and so the Luftwaffe was ordered to man the He 162 with hastily trained members of the Hitler Youth - a flawed plan that fortunately never came to fruition.

    Detailed aircraft profiles and never before seen photographs perfectly complement the analysis of the revolutionary Heinkel He 162 as author Robert Forsyth traces its entire history, from the early design and production through to its limited combat experience.
    - Osprey

He 162 Volksjäger Units presents the history of the He 162 from concept through design and assembly, training and operations, and their capture and testing by the victorious Allies. Colloquially known as the "Salamander", that was the project code name for the unique aircraft christened the Volksjäger. Its story is told through several chapters and sections (the titles vary between my book and the website):
    Chapter 1: The Peoples Fighter
    Chapter 2: We had not Reckoned with such Little Time
    Chapter 3: Training and Trials
    Chapter 4: Jagdgeschwader 1
    Chapter 5: This Jet Fighter Should be Studied Further

    Chapter 1: Development of the Peoples' Fighter
    Chapter 2: Testing Setbacks
    Chapter 3: Pilot Training
    Chapter 4: Production
    Chapter 5: Into Service
    Appendices: Technical specification and performance tables for He 162, Selected Bibliography

I have not seen other books specifically about the Volksjäger and was thus surprised at how much information author Forsyth presents in this book. This includes quotes and statements from the designers and pilots who made the jet what it was.

Previous accounts of the "Salamader" presented the aircraft as a deathtrap for pilots. This title records that it was a handful although some pilots found it to be no more challenged to fly than other fighters.

The aircraft went through a great deal of development. Difficult conditions deteriorated into increasing severity which hampered its development. The text includes comparisons of performance expectations against the ME 262, as well as Nazi rivalries that reached in to the hall of the Luftwaffe ministry. The significant use of slave labor in appalling conditions to build the Volksjäger were equally hindered by structural material problems.

Despite those problems, Volksjägers trickled in to JG1 and contrary to my previous knowledge of the He 162, Volksjägers did go operational. Attrition was terrible due to both operational and combat losses. Allied aircraft harried the airfields that JG1 dispersed to, destroying them on the ground, during takeoff, and while landing. He 162s did fly operational mission and yet only one claimed a kill, a Tempest in the waning hours of the war.

After VE Day, "Salamanders" were grabbed up by American, British, French and Russian forces. They were evaluated with various results and assessments. USAAF tests produced the comment, "This jet fighter should be studied further".

The He 162 story is a story of desperation and deprivation that created an amazing jet that yielded mixed results. I find it to be a fascinating read that both reinforced and dispelled previous understandings of the Volksjäger.

Art and Photographs
A fine gallery of photographs support the text. The machine and the men that flew it - and built it - are presented. Quality of the photos vary from amateur "grab shots" to studio quality images. Factory photos of diagrams, parts and components are a boon for modelers.

Artist Jim Laurier created 16 color profiles of He 162s. Each profile has an associated commentary detailing the aircraft and, often, color information. Graphics include technical specification and performance tables.

Modelers, artists and historians should be satisfied with the visual component of this book.

He 162 Volksjäger Units should be a popular book for modelers and historians of the final days of the Jagdwaffe and early jets. My prior knowledge of the jet was both confirmed and debunked.

I have no meaningful criticism of the book. He 162 Volksjäger Units was an interesting read for me and I recommend it.

Please remember to mention to Osprey and retailers that you saw this book here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Detailed text and many inspirational color profiles.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: This should be a popular book for modelers and historians of the final days of the Jagdwaffe and early jets.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 9781472814579
  PUBLISHED: May 18, 2017

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View This Item  |  View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


What's Your Opinion?

Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move