The Focke Wulf 190 played an important role in the Mediterranean air war during 1943 and this brand new work covers in great detail the contributions of the Fw 190-equipped Gruppen in this theatre through that summer as I./Sch.G. 2, II/Sch.G.2 and III./SKG10 - in concert with a number of other weakened Fw 190 Gruppen- took on Allied shipping and fighters massing to invade Sicily. With the fall of this island base, these units withdrew to southern Italy to continue their desperate rearguard actions. Despite facing many difficulties the Fw 190 units flew a number of effective missions in the battle for Sicily and brought some much needed respite to the hard-pressed German army. Their story is told in wonderful detail by Morten Jessen and Andrew Arthy and unlike their first work (Fw 190 in North Africa, Classic Publications) has been published through their own Airwar Publications company. Comparisons with the ground-breaking (that word again!) JV 44 volume produced by the fledgling Classic Publications a number of years ago seem to me to be easy to draw. It is very clear that the authors have carried out a considerable amount of extremely thorough research and it is remarkable that they have unearthed so much new material. The presentation too is quite simply superlative. This a large-format 220 page hardback of the very highest quality, replete with beautiful photographs and fantastic profile artworks - both of the Fw 190s and their opponents. There are many previously unpublished personal accounts. The layout and design are absolutely first-class - very 'clean' and uncluttered - and there is little or no 'white space' at all. Dipping in and out I can report that the book itself reads with all the pace and verve of a modern thriller and will no doubt delight all those who like to actually read a unit history rather than thumb through a collection of photographs.
The work is organised into the following chapters;
Calm before the Storm [14 May - 4 June 1943]
Pantelleria [5 June - 11 June 1943]
Prelude to the Invasion of Sicily [12 June - 9 July 1943]
Schlachtgeschwader 2 in Sardinia [12 June - 9 July 1943]
The Invasion of Sicily [10 July - 13 July 1943]
The Loss of Sicily [17 July - 17 August 1943]
Prelude to the Invasion of Italy [18 August - 2 September 1943]
Schlachtgeschwader 2 in Italy and Sardinia [14 July - 2 September]
To complete the volume there are 10 extensive appendices covering Aircraft & Personal Losses, Aerial, Shipping & Ground Victory Claims, Camouflage & Markings, Fw190 Fighter-Bomber Tactics, a Daily Sortie Table, Fighter Bomber Escort and a particularly useful review of Fw190s abandoned in Sicily. Among the fabulous Sundin artworks there are eleven superb full page side colour profiles.
A number of veteran Fw 190 pilots have contributed in remarkable fashion to this work including Helmut Wenk, TO of 6./SKG10 - adding both photos and accounts and some quite outstanding war-time sketches to the story - and we can only agree with him when he writes in the book's 'Foreword' that the authors have produced "an outstanding work". In fact it is only when you read a work like this that you realise just how little is known about the activities of the Fw190 units and the operations of II. Fliegerkorps in the Med. in mid/late 1943. Straight to the top of the 'to read' pile !
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Much new material for Fw 190 enthusiasts superbly presented.Lows:Verdict: Book of the year for Luftwaffe/ Fw 190 enthusiasts!
About Neil Page (FalkeEins) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH EAST, UNITED KINGDOM
Aircraft enthusiast & 'basic modeller'. I spent my formative years on the base at RAF Marham (my dad worked Victors). I was an Air France dispatcher for 8 years on B737, A320 & F100 types. My first article for Scale Aircraft Modelling was published in March 2001 (a fifteen-page research feature on...