An Ordinary Day in 1945
aircraftresourcecenter.com 2010-07-16Review by Steve Bamford
This 80 page soft cover book from Mushroom Model Magazine covers the operation on one day during WW2. Specifically the date is 2 March 1945 and Allied bombing missions by the 8th Air force over Germany and the efforts by the hopeless efforts of the Luftwaffe to defend Germany from the bombers and their escort fighters. By this point in the war the Allies had a huge numerical superiority and the Luftwaffe was a hunted force attempting to survive one day at a time against 10 to 1 odds.
This book chronicles the sorties on both sides, which for many were their final sorties. These were famous Aces and new pilots that didn't survive their first missions. There was bravery on both sides mixed with absolute fear. This book tells the story of this day from the eyewitness that were there as well as the documents that survived. It's a gripping book full of individuals stories.
It does not cover the Russian front and instead focus on the western Europe theatre of operations. The Luftwaffe jets were operational and able to keep enemy fighters off their tail due to their superior speed and were thus able to chose the time and place they would engage in combat. But the jet bases were constantly watched by Allied fighters hoping to catch one of the jets in it's most vulnerable point when it was exposed as it came in for a landing back at it's home base.
Germany was on it's knees at this point in the war, but the Luftwaffe high command kept pressing the fight, unwilling or unable to admit the obvious truth that all the young pilots knew all to well. This books is filled with first hands accounts of individual combat. This is a well researched book and takes great pains to include the fine details on individual missions and pilots names etc that can often be overlooked when telling the story of an event as big as WW2. This is the beauty of devoting a book to just one day......the richness of the details. This book is a wonderful historical slice that gives the riveted reader a deep look into the depths of WW2 on a personal level.
In the back of the book after the stories and photos that tell the tales from this fateful day in so many peoples lives, there are charts telling the names of the pilots that scored victories, where it happened, what they were flying and what they shot down. The names of airmen lost on each side if included with details of what they were flying and what group they were flying with (Squadron etc). There are lists with pilots individual names and who they were flying with that day.....individual names......this brings the history alive when you consider the personal side of the war. Code letters and serial numbers for Allied aircraft shot down and code letters and Werk. Nr. for the Luftwaffe aircraft that were shot down are included with the pilots names. This bring it all home.
Colour profiles for 36 aircraft on both sides including P-61, P-51, B-24, B-17, Tempest, Spitfire, Fw-190D-9, Bf-109, Me-262, Fw-190, and Ar-234 are also included. This book tells a gripping story and includes 72 vintage photos mostly of the young pilots that fought and often died on this day as well as vintage photos of the aircraft they flew. This book tells their story in riveting accuracy and detail.
www.cocardes.org 2010-07-16Notre avis
Que se passait-il le 2 mars 1945 au-dessus de l'Europe ?
On est loin de s'imaginer qu'une simple journée de combats aériens sur un seul théâtre d'opérations puisse faire l'objet d'autant de données ! L'auteur, apparemment passionné par de telles recherches, a fait une compilation d'innombrables sources (qu'il cite toutes) pour retranscrire presque minute après minute tout le déroulement dans les airs de cette journée "ordinaire"... Qui ne l'était pas tant que ça en cela qu'elle représente une des dernières occasions à laquelle la Luftwaffe a jeté toutes ses forces restantes dans la bataille. Cet ouvrage présente les unités engagées, un certain nombre des hommes qui se sont battus ce jour là. Il est allé les retrouver, les interroger, a obtenu des documents inédits (photos, documents) a croisé tout cela avec ce qui a déjà été écrit, avec les documents présents dans les centres d'archives. Il nous restitue ici un livre dense (même si selon ses dires il y a encore à faire sur le sujet) qui intéressera tant le passionné d'histoire que le chercheur ou même le maquettiste. Car en plus des textes et annexes, de nombreuses photos et de beaux profils viennent compléter ce livre.
A mon avis ce livre est un bon exemple de ce que les éditeurs spécialisés en histoire de l'aviation devraient maintenant publier pour compléter les très nombreux ouvrages synthétiques sur cet épisode de la défense du Reich. Le livre est en anglais, mais même un réfractaire à la langue de Shakespeare passionné de cette période se doit de posséder ce petit livre, ne serait-ce que pour ses annexes
L&K Czech Republic 2010-07-16
The Magazine, IPMS UK 2/2006 2010-07-16
Modelart Australia, Issue 30, April 2006. 2010-07-16
IPMS USA 2010-07-16Reviewed By Howie Belkin, #16
Mushroom Model Publications offers this interesting “freeze frame” image of the air operations over Western Europe on March 2, 1945, based upon the combat op reports from the RAFs 2nd TAF, USAAFs 8th and 9th Air Forces and the Luftwaffe. Of special interest to the modeler are the 16 pages full of color side views of the aircraft covered in the text, from P-51s, a P-61, B-24s, B-17s, Tempests, a Spit, FW 190s, BF 109s, a Ta 152, Me 262s and Ar 234s (some represented by b/w photos as well)! Some of the pilots and crews photos are also included.
The text brings together disparate parts of historical reference creating a living composite that are so much more than your average reference book. For example, Lt Howard of the 339 FG, 505 FS flew a P-51D named “Little One II” for the first time, on what became its last mission as he was shot down by A.A. fire while strafing German aircraft dispersed in woods along a motorway. His wingman reported Howard had died in the ensuing crash, but we learn he was thrown from the cockpit where trees and a telephone line miraculously broke his fall from 300 to 0mph. His flight leader was also downed, and provides us with a description of what it was like to have A.A. fire explode in your cockpit, find your leg wedged unnaturally under your seat and managing to successfully crash land and inject yourself with morphine while suffering excruciating pain but remaining conscious of a German, whom you probably just strafed, approach you. If you appreciate that kind of background to accompany your camouflage and markings profiles, you’ll be glad to add this book to your collection.
This book is highly recommended for its historical and camouflage and markings value.
Internet Modeler 2010-07-16Reviewed by Chris Banyai-Riepl
While the broad movements of World War Two have been amply covered by historians over the years, what often are missed are the details. In describing the big picture, the daily grind is ignored. This book presents an encapsulated history of one day in 1945, taking those overlooked details and making them the subject. While it is important to know the big picture, it is just as important to understand what one typical day looked like, and this book does that with aplomb.
The day chosen was March 2, 1945. In the West, the Allies were in a struggle to control the west bank of the Rhine River, while on the East, the Soviets crossed the Slovak mountains and were advancing on Vienna. The war was coming to its inevitable end, but on that day, few thought about the end. The book begins in the morning, with encounters between the Luftwaffe and the 2nd TAF. This action involved Arado Ar 234s, and the operations that day expand into a broader jet versus propeller struggle. Me 262s enter the scene, and the Allies had their hands full dealing with this new threat.
Strategic forces were also called out on March 2, with two missions aimed at synthetic fuel plants and jet aircraft facilities. These B-17s from the 1st and 3rd Air Divisions, along with their fighter escort, were intercepted by Fw 190s and Ta 152s of JG 301, along with a few Bf 109s, but not in any massed formations. As such, the bombers made it through to their targets with few losses. The 9th AF also made an appearance, facing JG 2. The medium bombers and escort fighters targeted transportation, and German losses were high.
The written history is a solid balance between personal anecdotes, statistics, and the official record, using information from both sides. The result is a solid piece of research that is full of potential modeling subjects. The photos add to this, as do the color profiles. For the latter, there are 36 color illustrations showing aircraft from both sides.
What makes this book less than complete, though, is the utter lack of Eastern Front reports. This is purely a Western Front history. The introduction mentions this, and relates the enormous problem of finding Soviet sources that detail the daily events of the VVS. Because of that, the authors chose to leave that side out, rather than provide an incomplete history.
This is an excellent book on the operations of World War Two and it provides a counterpoint to the other, big picture type books. The modeling inspiration is high, and I am sure it will not be long before we see some decals for some of these subjects
Cybermodeler.com 2010-07-16Reviewed by Ray Mehlberger
This new book by Mushroom Model Publications (MMP) is in their usual 6 ½” x 9” soft-cover format. It describes the air operations over western Europe on March 2nd, 1945. Just another day in the final months of WWII. Nothing special – except to those who fought in the air, were wounded, captured or killed..
Full details are provided, in it’s 80 pages, of the combat operations of the 2nd TAF (RAF), the 8th and 9th Air Forces (USAAF), and the Luftwaffe, the latter operating both piston and jet-engined warplanes. Aircraft involved range from the German jets (Me-262 and Ar-234) to US heavies (B-24 and B-17), plus a wide variety of single-seat fighters on both sides.
Victories, losses and participating aircrew are listed, and there are 45 pictures of pilots. These are out of 70 total war-time black and white photos, the rest being of various aircraft. Three of these photos are of tombstones and one is of a German propaganda poster. There are illustrations of 2 unit insignias, 12 data charts and a strafing operation diagram and 4 ½ other pages of data.
There are a total of 32 color profiles of a representative selection of British, US and German aircraft involved in the day’s combats. These are as follows:
P-61A-5-NO “Black Widow”
P-51D (11 different marks)
B-24H-15-FO (2 schemes of the same plane at different times)
Tempest Mk.V (2 different schemes)
Fw 190D-9 (2 different schemes)
Me 262A-2A (2 different schemes)
Ar 234B-2 (2 different schemes)
This is a fascinating snap-shot of late war aerial combat, and will be of interest to historians, aircraft enthusiasts and modelers.
MAI 6/2006 2010-07-16
Mushroom Model Publications has sent us this publication of eighty pages, called "An Ordinary Day in 1945." This B5 soft cover format book describes the action on the western aerial front on the 2nd March 1945.
By this time in the war the Luftwaffe was nearly out of aircraft and fuel and more importantly men, while the allies were getting stronger still by the day, their training , equipment and esprit de corps were all at their highest levels. This was an eventful day to capture, and a good day to choose, as it was one of the last real days the Luftwaffe sent up so many numbers against the allied juggernaut of aircraft which roamed over Germany and Europe at will by this stage of the war.
The editors here must be commended for putting so much into a book and gathering information from the most interesting missions together into one concise tome. They looked in memoirs, unit histories and even the internet to find out the information for this book. kudos to them and the Author for bringing it all together in a neat little, easy to read book.
The book starts off with the British 2nd T.A.F's accounts of its actions against the Luftwaffe and more specifically the German jets like the Blitz in the early morning encounters. The chapters after that describe the actions of the 8th Air force and their three task forces that they sent out along with fighter escorts and how they fared. The book also describes the action of the 9th air force on that day, detailed accounts from the bomber and fighter pilots are again quite frank and a little chilling in their directness. This for me was a great thing as it pulls no punches in its telling of the story.
The best part of the book is the pilot's accounts. Their stories are told from the perspective of the USAAF 8th & 9th Air Forces, and the RAF's 2nd TAF and the Luftwaffe, with gripping, and I do mean this – accounts of the actions they fought in that day. The pilots accounts were the very best part of this book. I found myself almost in disbelief at some of the stories. The bomber gunner whose plane was destroyed and he escaped from the tail section, the Mustang Pilot who escaped a 300mph explosion and fall into power lines after his aircraft exploded, the USAAF bomber crew who after being held up by switching a plane conducted a bombing run with a bunch of Lancasters. Only to find out when they got back to base their substitute plane had USAAF/RAF as its nose art!
You almost feel sorry for the pilots of the Luftwaffe when you read some of these accounts, the book certainly shows how at that late part of the war – it was an all but spent force on the western front.
The only points of this book I would change are the facts that there is no account of naval battles and also no account of any other but the Western Europe theatre of operations told. I would have loved to have compared it to what was happening on the Eastern front and to have seen the contrast in actions there at the same time. This though would have made the book a lot bigger (maybe too big ?) and not so focussed. The layout is good but I would have preferred the profiles in the middle and the footnotes to be included in the text.
There is as well a great annex at the end that goes through all of the victories and losses in this book – very interesting to see this as a footnote to the text in the book , a valuable reference for any history buffs.
There are as well as the excellent black and white photographs some very nice profiles in the back of the book of some of the aircraft that took to the air that day. Further connecting you to the story. Here are some of the images.
So what do we think?
A great read and an interesting concept, a few minor quibbles from me shouldn’t dissuade you into getting it.
Gripping accounts and great pictures tie you to the story – well done
Skrzydlata Polska 2009-03-27
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