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Book Review
Luftwaffe Air & Ground Crew
Luftwaffe Air & Ground Crew 1939–45 (Men-at-Arms 377)
  • 00120

by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Modelers, re-enactors and historians alike will appreciate this book by Robert F. Stedman, a collector and restorer of World War I and World War II military uniforms and equipment, and contributor and advisor to international militaria magazines, TV, film and theatre. This work may not make you an expert in the field of WW2 Luftwaffe clothing, but you will have firm ground to build upon. It is a wealth of detail about clothing and gear--the basic equipping of soldiers--for the ground and aircrews of the Luftwaffe. Eight pages of twenty-four color plates by illustrator Mike Chappell (a frequent writer and illustrator for Osprey), plus numerous photographs (some are rare personal photos) and insignia charts ad, proverbially, many extra thousands of words to the text. Be aware, German’s Fallschirmjager (paratroops) are not a part of this book. Nor is this book concerned with the history of the war, only a synopsis is provided.

Mr. Stedman does not present a dry clinical recital. He extenuates the academic with additional facts beyond the obvious. Of interest is discussion of red and white colored tabs privately affixed to flight gear zippers, the popularity and dissatisfaction with some apparel, noting of fabric weaves used, colors of different articles, and more. Your eye for detail will be busy.

Forty-eight pages bring you through:

* Introduction, Rebirth and death of the Luftwaffe, Summary of campaigns
* Command Organization
--RLM - OKL - Luftgauge - Luftflotten
* Composition
--Aircrew - flight unit designations - aircraft technical personnel - anti-aircraft artillery - air signals - transport and supplies - auxiliaries - fire service
* Uniforms & Equipment
--Service Dress
--Tropical Uniforms
--Winter Uniforms
--Work Clothing
--Flight Clothing
(Flying (summer & winter) helmets, flight suits (one- & two-piece), jackets, trousers, footwear, gloves )
--Safety Equipment & Survival Aids
* Flight equipment
--oxygen masks - goggles - life vests (kapok & inflatable ) - parachutes ( seat, back & chest types), rafts, flare pistols, dye markers, compasses.
* Bibliography
* Description of the Plates
* Index

My only complaint is that there are no suggestions for simulating colors with popular model paints. That is an extremely contentious and controversial undertaking, as variations in garment manufacturing and preservation, and limitations of the printing process can cause even more confusion. I would still appreciate color photographs of items, or a table of suggested colors by Federal Standards, Munsell color system, and other resources.

Highs: Color illustrations, line art of insignia, mention of uncommon items.
Lows: No suggestion of colors matched to popular model paints or to other color references.
Verdict: This book is not the thickest of Osprey’s offerings, but it is fat with useful information for modelers, re-enactors and historians. Well worth the purchase price it expands, illustrates, clarifies and corrects many preceding offerings about the subject.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN: 9781841764047
  Suggested Retail: US $15.95, UK £9.50
  Related Link: Osprey Books by Same Author
  PUBLISHED: Apr 07, 2007

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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.


AFAIK this is a re-release? This book is part of my collection, and I must say I found it extremely useful for FLaK crew uniforms for figure reviews. I dissagree with the following point in the review: "My only complaint is that there are no suggestions for simulating colors with popular model paints." This is not one of Osprey's "Modelling" titles, so I see no reason why they would want to include modelling paint references. Thanks for the review. Rudi
APR 12, 2007 - 03:18 PM

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