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Luftwaffe: books - history and deployment (1918-1945)

A book on the German Luftwaffe? Here are illustrated books on the history and deployment of the Luftwaffe between 1918 and 1945.

Phoenix - A Complete History of the Luftwaffe 1918-1945 (Volume 1) - The Phoenix is Reborn 1918-1934

The Phoenix Project presents an exhaustive historical account of the German Luftwaffe during World War II, meticulously researched over four decades. Beyond recounting famous air battles, this work extensively utilizes original documents, secondary sources, and contemporary accounts to provide a comprehensive understanding of the Luftwaffe's multifaceted operations.

Covering all theaters of the war, the project particularly underscores the Luftwaffe's critical role in the Eastern Front, an arena of paramount importance for the Wehrmacht. The narrative places Luftwaffe activities within the broader context of military operations, restoring its relevance in the larger European conflict.

Volume 1, "The Phoenix Reborn," sheds light on the overlooked period from the post-war Reichswehr to the unveiling of the Luftwaffe in 1935. It delves into the development of the distinct German concept of "operativer Luftkrieg," the covert air staff's efforts, and the roles played by the German Transport Ministry and the Flight Centre Lipetsk in aircraft development and aviator training. This volume reveals how Goring and Hitler inherited a pre-existing air arm, the result of 15 years of clandestine military professionalism.

Author:Richard Meredith
Specs:416 pages, 23.5 x 15.5 cm / 9.25 x 6.1 in, hardback
Illustrations:115 b&w photographs
Publisher:Helion & Company (GB, 2015)
Book: Phoenix - A Complete History of the Luftwaffe 1918-1945 (Volume 1) - The Phoenix is Reborn 1918-1934

Phoenix - A Complete History of the Luftwaffe 1918-1945 (Volume 1) - The Phoenix is Reborn 1918-1934

Language: English

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Phoenix - A Complete History of the Luftwaffe 1918-1945 (Volume 2) : The Genesis of Air Power 1935-1937

Based on forty years of detailed research, Phoenix - A Complete History of the Luftwaffe 1918-1945 is a unique history of the wartime German Luftwaffe. Going far beyond a simple description of famous air battles and operations, the overall work draws extensively on original documents, secondary sources and contemporary accounts to place the Luftwaffe within its proper historical context.

Volume 2: The Phoenix Matures 1935-1937 covers a still neglected area, namely the early years of post-Reichswehr development from March 1935. During this period the concept of operativer Luftkrieg was formalised, operational commands established, new units and bases created, new equipment introduced and the training of personnel expanded.
Key studies include: the formation of the Flakartillerie, the Luftwaffe General Staff, Luftwaffe uniforms, the construction programme of 1935-39, the development and production of new combat aircraft and weapons, flying training, the Luftwaffen-Reserve, the supply organisation, the development of the Regiment General Goring and the re-militarisation of the Rhineland.

In addition the Luftwaffe's involvement in Spain is considered in depth from initial operations by the German volunteers to the deployment of the Legion Condor in the battles around Madrid and on the Northern Front.

Author:Richard Meredith
Specs:496 pages, 24.5 x 17 cm / 9.7 x 6.7 in, hardback
Illustrations:114 b&w photographs
Publisher:Helion & Company (GB, 2015)
Book: Phoenix - A Complete History of the Luftwaffe 1918-1945 (Volume 2) : The Genesis of Air Power 1935-1937

Phoenix - A Complete History of the Luftwaffe 1918-1945 (Volume 2) : The Genesis of Air Power 1935-1937

Language: English

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The Luftwaffe : A Complete History, 1933-45

For long after the Second World War, the enduring popular image of the Luftwaffe was that of the howling, diving Ju 87 Stuka - a symbol of the impressive, fearsome and aggressive art of Hitler's Blitzkrieg; of mighty air power.
The Luftwaffe which emerged in 1933 made Europe tremble but it was a giant whose feet were made of clay. Against weaker nations the Luftwaffe triumphed in many early theatres of the war - in Spain, Poland, France, the Low Countries and the Balkans; but the weaknesses of its leadership and industrial base soon became apparent during the Battle of Britain.

After brief triumphs in the Mediterranean, the Luftwaffe reluctantly turned eastward, but the crusade against Bolshevism quickly exposed yet more fragility - in aircraft, strength and logistics - and, as the Germans began to retreat, the Luftwaffe came under threat on all fronts.
In its final year, from May 1944, the Luftwaffe was a spent force, capable only of Tactical air missions, or in desperate defence of the threatened homeland, albeit with very advanced aircraft, such as the jet-powered Me 262.

This scholarly history provides detailed insights into the dramatic rise and fall of Hitler's airforce, at one time the most formidable ever. It examines the issue of leadership and the personalities which were responsible for the victories and the failures.
There is detailed analysis of the campaigns in which the Luftwaffe fought, with fresh perspectives on the Battle of Britain, the air defence of Germany and much new material about the air war on the Eastern Front and anti-shipping campaigns.
"Luftwaffe - A Study in Air Power" is based on exhaustive research conducted in archives around the world. It provides an insightful and radical reassessment of the Luftwaffe and forms an essential reference work.

Author:E.R. Hooton
Specs:302 pages, 23.5 x 16 x 3 cm / 9.25 x 6.3 x 1.18 in, hardback
Illustrations:44 photographs
Publisher:Crecy Publishing (GB, 2010)
Book: The Luftwaffe : A Complete History, 1933-45

The Luftwaffe : A Complete History, 1933-45

Language: English

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The Luftwaffe: A History

John Killen's exhaustive work is a study of German air power between 1915 and 1945, from the early days of flying when Immelmann, Boelke, Richtofen and other First World War aces fought and died to give Germany air supremacy, to the nightmare existence of the Luftwaffe as the Third Reich plunged headlong to destruction.

Here are the aircraft: the frail biplanes and triplanes of the Kaiser's war; the great Lufthansa aircraft and airships of the turbulent Thirties; the monoplanes designed to help Hitler in his conquest of Europe.
Here are the generals who forged the air weapon of the Luftwaffe - the swaggering Goering, the playboy Udet, the ebullient Kesselring and the scapegoat Jeschonnek; here, too, are the pilots who tried to keep faith with their Fatherland despite overwhelming odds; Adolf Galland, Werner Molders, Joachim Marseille and Hanna Reitsch.

Not least are the actions fought by the Luftwaffe from the Spanish Civil War to the Battle of Britain, through the bloody struggle for Crete and the siege of Stalingrad to the fearful twilight over Berlin.

Author:John Killen
Specs:310 pages, 23 x 17 x 2.5 cm / 9.1 x 6.7 x 0.98 in, paperback
Illustrations:16 illustrated pages
Publisher:Pen & Sword Books Ltd (GB, 2013)
Book: The Luftwaffe: A History

The Luftwaffe: A History

Language: English

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Legion Condor 1936-1939 - A History of the Luftwaffe in the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939

Long out-of-print this study is one of the few books dedicated to the history of the infamous Legion Condor, the German volunteer unit that fought with pro-Franco forces during the Spanish Civil War from 1936-1939.
Many of the tactics and strategies of the Luftwaffe were first formulated and used during operations in Spain. Also, various aircraft were tested and used, such as the famous Ju 87, Do 17, He 111 and Bf 109 - all stalwarts of the later Luftwaffe during World War II.
Many Luftwaffe pilots received combat training in Spain; Werner Molders and Adolf Galland first earned their wings as members of the Legion Condor.

Renowned Luftwaffe experts Karl Ries and Hans Ring have brought together over 480 photographs, including aerial reconnaissance photos, detailed unit insignia, and action shots.
The history of the Legion Condor is discussed in great detail, including the many personalities, thorough battle analysis, and technical aspects of the weaponry. The result is a superb historical study of the early Luftwaffe.

Author:Karl Ries, Hans Ring
Specs:288 pages, 28.5 x 23 x 2.8 cm / 11.2 x 9.1 x 1.1 in, hardback
Illustrations:480+ b&w photographs
Publisher:Schiffer Publishing Ltd (USA, 2004)
Book: Legion Condor 1936-1939 - A History of the Luftwaffe in the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939

Legion Condor 1936-1939 - A History of the Luftwaffe in the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939

Language: English

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Luftwaffe - The Second World War in Colour

This unique collection of wartime colour photographs brings the Luftwaffe - its aircraft and personnel - to life in a dramatically vivid way.
Colour photography was still a rare thing in the 1930s and 1940s. Various systems had been tried, but it was the Germans who had the greatest success with their Agfacolor process. This meant that colour images could be produced with basic darkroom equipment, even close to the action.

As a result the members of the Propaganda Kompanie, armed with Leica cameras and the new Agfacolor film, were able to capture aspects of the Luftwaffe's operations in a way never seen before. The resulting pictures were published in a number of magazines, including the Luftwaffe's Der Adler, as well as in books aimed at the home front audience.
John Christopher has compiled this fascinating selection of wartime images of the Luftwaffe in colour.

Author:John Christopher
Specs:128 pages, 17 x 25 cm / 6.7 x 9.8 in, paperback
Illustrations:100 colour photographs
Publisher:Amberley Publishing (GB, 2014)
Book: Luftwaffe - The Second World War in Colour

Luftwaffe - The Second World War in Colour

Language: English

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The Luftwaffe in Colour : The Victory Years 1939-1942

This remarkable work pulls the lid off one of the legendary air forces in history at the very peak of its power-unveiling the and machines as they truly existed day-to-day, underneath the propaganda of their own regime and the scare stories of their enemies.

In Hitler's Germany, colour photography was primarily co-opted for state purposes, such as the military publication Signal, or the Luftwaffe's own magazine, Der Adler (Eagle). But a number of men had cameras of their own, and in this painstakingly acquired collection, originally published in France, we can witness true life on Germany's airfields during the period of the Luftwaffe's ascendancy.

Thus not only do we see famous planes such as the Me-109, Ju-87 or He-111, but the wide variety of more obscure types with which the Germans began the war. The array of Arados, Dorniers, Heinkels - not to mention elegant 4-engine Condors - that were initially employed in the war are here in plain sight and full colour, providing not only an insight into WWII history but a model maker's dream.

Just as fascinating are the shots of the airmen themselves, along with their groundcrews - full of confidence and cheer as they bested every other air force in Europe during these years, with the single exception of the RAF's Fighter Command in late-summer 1940. But that was no big stumbling block to the Luftwaffe, which had bigger fish to fry in Russia and North Africa the following year.

Author:Christophe Cony, Jean-Louis Roba
Specs:192 pages, 25.5 x 18 cm / 10 x 7.1 in, hardback
Illustrations:300 colour photographs
Publisher:Casemate Books (GB, 2016)
Book: The Luftwaffe in Colour : The Victory Years 1939-1942

The Luftwaffe in Colour : The Victory Years 1939-1942

Language: English

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Luftwaffe in Colour : From Glory to Defeat 1942-1945 (Volume 2)

Eighty years after its creation, the Luftwaffe is still one of the most fascinating forces in the history of aviation. A companion to Luftwaffe in Colour Volume 1, which covered the victory years from 1939 up to Spring 1942, this volume with nearly 400 images contains even more fascinating material on the machines of the Luftwaffe and the men who flew them, as their fate took an increasingly grim path.

Initially the Luftwaffe ruled the skies but thereafter fought an increasingly futile war of attrition which when combined with vital strategic mistakes in aircraft production, was its death knell.

Despite this the Luftwaffe produced the most successful air aces of all time who feature in this volume. Among many remarkable images we see one of the last Junkers 87 B-2 operational on the front line on the Eastern Front during the winter of 1942-1943, the huge BV 222 V-5 of Lufttransportstaffel in the port of Heraklion in late 1942, pilots in Tunisia in 1943, the aces Hans Philipp, Wolfgang Spate and Heinz Schnaufer and a vivid demonstration of the reversal in fortunes in 1944 as Allied bombers destroy 106 places, engulfing them in fire at Schwabisch-Hall on German soil.

In this painstakingly pieced together collection, originally published in France, the full detail behind the propaganda is once more revealed, in rare colour photographs.

Author:Jean Louis Roba, Christophe Cony
Specs:160 pages, 25.5 x 18 x 1.9 cm / 10 x 7.1 x 0.75 in, paperback
Illustrations:ruim 400 colour photographs
Publisher:Casemate Books (GB, 2017)
Book: Luftwaffe in Colour : From Glory to Defeat 1942-1945 (Volume 2)

Luftwaffe in Colour : From Glory to Defeat 1942-1945 (Volume 2)

Language: English

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The Luftwaffe from the North Cape to Tobruk 1939-1945 : An Illustrated History

This classic pictorial covers the entire Luftwaffe on all fronts in over 500 photos.

Author:Holger Nauroth
Specs:236 pages, 26 x 18.5 x 1.9 cm / 10.25 x 7.3 x 0.75 in, hardback
Illustrations:500+ b&w photographs
Publisher:Schiffer Publishing Ltd (USA, 2004)
Book: The Luftwaffe from the North Cape to Tobruk 1939-1945 : An Illustrated History

The Luftwaffe from the North Cape to Tobruk 1939-1945 : An Illustrated History

Language: English

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The Last Year of the Luftwaffe : May 1944 to May 1945

The classic story of a once all-conquering force struggling to stave off an inevitable and total defeat. This superbly written book gives a complete account of Luftwaffe operations during the last twelve months of the fighting in Europe - including the dramatic Bodenplatte (or 'Baseplate') offensive over the Ardennes in December 1944.

In this comprehensive examination of Hitler's air force, Dr Alfred Price examines its state from May 1944 to May 1945, analysing not only the forces available to it, but also the likely potential, and impact, of new aircraft and weapons systems. He also assesses the Luftwaffe's High Command's performance and the effect of Allied attacks and operations.

In doing so he rejects a number of long-standing myths, clarifies the impact of the jet and rocket fighters, and demonstrates that the Luftwaffe performed as well as could be expected under the harsh circumstances of fighting a losing war.

Author:Dr Alfred Price
Specs:256 pages, 23.5 x 15.5 cm / 9.25 x 6.1 in, paperback
Illustrations:32 b&w photographs
Publisher:Pen & Sword Books Ltd (GB, 2015)
Book: The Last Year of the Luftwaffe : May 1944 to May 1945

The Last Year of the Luftwaffe : May 1944 to May 1945

Language: English

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Luftwaffe Over Germany - Defense of the Reich

Definitive guide to the German air defense system until its collapse in 1945. It tells the story of one of the longest and most intense air battles in history. The daylight air struggles over Germany during World War II involved thousands of aircraft, dozens of units, and hundreds of aerial engagements.
Until now, there has been no single book that covers the complete story, from the highest levels of air strategy to the individual tales of Fw 190s, Bf 109s and Me 262s in air combat against the American bomber streams.

This ground-breaking work explores the detrimental effect of Luftwaffe theory and doctrine on the German air arms ability to defend the homeland once the Allied Combined Bomber Offensive began in earnest. By mid-1944, they had lost the battle - but had exacted a terrible price from the Americans in the process.

The product of a ten-year collaboration between two noted Luftwaffe historians, this work fills a major gap in the literature of World War II. The authors have examined original war diaries, logbooks, doctrine manuals, after-action reports, and interviews with many combat veterans to produce a richly detailed account. Illustrated with nearly two hundred photographs, as well as new maps and diagrams, this is the standard work on the subject.

Author:Donald L. Caldwell, Richard Muller
Specs:336 pages, 26 x 21.5 x 2.4 cm / 10.25 x 8.5 x 0.94 in, hardback
Illustrations:200 photographs
Publisher:Pen & Sword Books Ltd (GB, 2014)
Book: Luftwaffe Over Germany - Defense of the Reich

Luftwaffe Over Germany - Defense of the Reich

Language: English

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Geheimprojekte der Luftwaffe 1939-1945

Das Dritte Reich brachte eine Vielzahl von technischen Meisterleistungen hervor, die oftmals im Geheimen in gigantischen unterirdischen Bunkersystemen entwickelt und getestet wurden.
Nach Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges waren die Siegermächte überwältigt von den Leistungen der deutschen Forscher und Konstrukteure und viele Entwicklungen wurden sofort übernommen, z.B. in der Flugzeugtechnik und beginnenden Raumfahrt.

In dieser aktualisierten und überarbeiteten Neuauflage beleuchten die Autoren diesen spannenden Themenkomplex mit erstklassigem Bildmaterial, das sie in vielen Jahren zusammengetragen und teils selbst fotografiert haben.

Author:Stefan Büttner, Martin Kaule
Specs:224 pages, hardback
Illustrations:255 b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Motorbuch Verlag (D, 2020)
Book: Geheimprojekte der Luftwaffe 1939-1945

Geheimprojekte der Luftwaffe 1939-1945

Language: German

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Aircraft of the Luftwaffe, 1935-1945

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Last update:15-04-2024