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Osprey Combat Aircraft 75

Junkers Ju 88 Kampfgeschwader in North Africa and the Mediterranean

 

by John Weal

 

 

 

S u m m a r y

Publisher and Catalogue Details: Osprey Combat Aircraft #75: Junkers Ju 88 Kampfgeschwader in North Africa and the Mediterranean
ISBN: 9781846033186
Media and Contents: Soft cover, 96 pages
Price: GBP£12.99 online from Osprey Publishing
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: Authoritative text; good choice of period photographs; varied range of aircraft profiles; interesting and informative text.
Disadvantages:  
Conclusion: An ideal companion to the earlier Osprey publication on the Ju 88. The reader gets a good understanding of the trials and tribulations of the Ju 88 in one of the lesser covered theatres of WWII.


Reviewed by
Rob Baumgartner

 
Osprey's P-47 Aces of the Eighth Air Force is available online from Squadron.com

 

FirstRead

 

The Junkers Ju 88 was arguably the most versatile aircraft to serve in the Luftwaffe.

Originally classified as a Schnellbomber, this twin-engined “jack of all trades” also saw time in the reconnaissance, dive-bomber, convey escort, nightfighter, torpedo-bomber, and heavy fighter roles.

“Osprey Combat Aircraft 17” looked at the exploits of the Ju 88 over the United Kingdom, northwest Europe and the Reich. This volume takes us to North Africa and the Mediterranean.

John Weal is Osprey’s primary contributor on books related to Luftwaffe aircraft and their units. As such he has been involved in over 25 titles. Not only does he provide the text for this publication, he supplies the artwork as well.

Of the latter, there are 30 of his colour profiles to absorb. They display a diverse range of camouflage schemes and come with informative descriptions representing their wide variety of duties.

A subject such as this could easily turn into a very “dry” read. Thankfully that is not the case here. The narrative is effortless to follow and the author keeps the reader interested at all times.

Included in the 96 pages are more than 90 black and white period photographs. These have been well chosen to reflect the campaigns, aircraft and personnel involved. The captions are excellent and compliment the text extremely well.

The chapters fall under the following headings:

  • Battle is joined

  • Into action

  • Attacking Benghazi

  • First attack on Tobruk

    • Marita to Merkur

        • Action in Yugoslavia

        • Assault on Greece

        • Targeting allied ships

        • Crete under attack

    • Malta or Cairo

        • Force redeployment

        • Back to Malta

        • Malta relief

        • Desert offensive

        • Convey engaged

        • Final Malta blitz

  • Two front war in Africa

  • Unit changes

  • The soft “Under Belly”

  • Invasion of Italy

  • Anzio

Rounding out this edition is a useful collection of appendices. It represents the Ju 88 bomber (and reconnaissance) strengths at various stages during the Mediterranean Theatre of operations; in this case providing figures between 22 April 1941 and 25 April 1944.

Conclusion

Osprey Combat Aircraft #75 is the ideal complement to the previous edition on the Ju 88.
                 
We travel “from the Straits of Gibraltar in the west, via the beleaguered island of Malta, to the Aegean and the Suez Canal in the east.” The story relates the initial lightning successes of the Luftwaffe and then follows the inevitable course of slow decline and finally defeat.

Such was the life of the ubiquitous Ju 88.

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review sample


Review Copyright 2010 by Rob Baumgartner
Page Created 16 February, 2010
Last updated 17 February, 2010

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