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Book Review
Fw 190 Defence of Reich Aces
Fw 190 Defence of the Reich Aces, Aircraft of the Aces 92
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]


Defense of the Reich was just that—defending targets in Germany proper. When American bombers began attacking occupied Europe in the summer of 1942, many American B-17 and B-24 heavy bombers, Viermots (‘four-engines’) to the Luftwaffe, went down. These were not considered Defense of the Reich kills. In fact, a Luftwaffe Jagdflieger might tally amongst his kills both Defense of the Reich and non-Defense of the Reich Viermots. This book is not about just any Fw 190s pilots who shot down USAAF heavies, only those who did so in the apocalyptic Defense of the Reich campaign.


Possessing one the largest collections of original German-language literature from World War Two, Osprey’s primary Luftwaffe author/artist John Weal brings this hard fought campaign to life. This is his 26th title for Osprey.

If you want to book profiling specific pilots, battles, and Focke-Wulfs of this campaign, then this is the book for you. This book delves into the origins, organization, history, milestones, and the lives of the defending German pilots who hurled themselves into increasingly powerful American bomber formations. You will find names familiar to almost every Luftwaffe student: “Pips” Priller, Egon Mayer, Heinz Bär, and Walter Oesau. You will also meet obscure early Viermot aces and casualties: Erwin Clausen, and Hans Laun.

From the initial scattered Jagdstaffeln and their amalgamation into the first Reich defence
Jagdgruppe I./JG 1, to the ultimate incorporation of part of almost every Jagdgruppen, Mr. Weal weaves together this complex story. His level of detail is extraordinary, often linking individual pilots to specific events: the first USAAF ‘heavy’ downed over Europe was B-17F Southern Belle of the 97th BG, shot down by Gruppenkommandeur II./JG 26 Karl-Heinz “Conny” Meyer. In many cases individual aircraft serial numbers and aircraft codes are provided. Touched upon is the Luftwaffe points system for awarding decorations; illuminated are German terms, e.g., Gefechtsverband, a massed ‘battle formation’, and Herausschuss, literally a ‘shoot-out’-- the damaging of a bomber so that it fell out of formation. The growing ferocity of the campaign is understood by the loss ratios of the defenders and attackers. On 3 November 1943, Feldwebel Rathenow was shot down by P-38s on their second appearance over the Reich; he had downed an A-20 during the first 8th Air Force attack of the war. By the end of May 1944, another eight Focke-Wulf pilots had gained Viermot acedom, eight had downed 10 or more, six were credited with 15 , another reached 20 heavy bomber kills, and the leading pair each claimed their 25th.

While many Jagdgruppen eventually shouldered Defence of the Reich duties, the ‘legacy’ units were JG 1 and their spawn JG 11, with JG 2 and JG 26 both becoming part of the effort. I am very familiar with JG 2 and JG 26, but not JG 1 nor JG 11. Their candy striped and checkered cowlings have fascinated me since first becoming aware of them only several years ago. And the Tatzelwurm has long been a favorite Jagdflieger insignia of mine. This title is already on my favorite’s shelf!

Fw 190 Defence of the Reich Aces is presented to you in five sections and 96 pages:


The dramatic cover art is by noted Osprey artist Mark Postlethwaite. Enjoy Mr. Weal’s expert airbrushing talent through his 32 color plates of Fw 190s. In addition, his immense personal collection of photographs reveal to us images seldom seen, if ever, in print. These are fascinating and poignant images of some of Germany’s youth during a horrific time. For the historian and modeler, this book is an absolute treasure of source material!


It is difficult for me to find any complaint with this work. The text is very detailed, very readable, and captivating. The illustrations are top-notch. To me, the wealth of photographs alone makes this book worth owning.

Whether you are a historian or modeler, Fw 190 Defence of the Reich Aces is certain to please you. With the amount of authoritative detailed information, clarity of delivery, and abundance of outstanding photographs and images, I absolutely recommend this book!

Please remember, when contacting vendors or sellers, to mention you saw this book here—on The KitMaker Network.
Highs: Authoritatively researched, documented, and presented. Outstanding illustrations and photographs.
Lows: The book actually ends.
Verdict: This work should be heartily appreciated by anyone interested in the western Fw 190 units.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN: 9781846034824
  Suggested Retail: $22.95, 12.99 GBP
  PUBLISHED: Feb 10, 2011

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.

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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.


Looks like a great read for any avid aviation historian, which all modelers are to one degree or another! I would like to add this copy to my library. That FW190D was an extraordinary machine, I think it was the best mass produced single engine German fighter of the war. Addressing the limitations of performance at altitude of the earlier FW-190A. Thanks Fred for a great review. Russell
FEB 15, 2011 - 03:49 PM
I agree with Russell, I think there are interested historians in most modelers. This sounds like a very goog addition to the library Fred. Excellent review. All the best. tim
FEB 16, 2011 - 09:45 AM

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