Aircraft of the Aces #136 - Allied Jet Killers of World War 2

Published: November 26th, 2017     
Product Image
Book cover
Author: Stephen Chapis, Andrew Thomas
Reviewed by: 
Eric Christianson, IPMS# 42218
Company: Osprey Publishing
ISBN #: 9781472823526
Other Publication Information: Illustrator: Jim Laurier, Soft cover, 96-pp, 7.5 x 9.75", 33 color plates, numerous B&W photos
Price: $23.00
Product / Stock #: 136

Osprey Publishing, out of Oxford, UK, is back again with another Aircraft of the Aces series entitled Allied Jet Killers of World War 2, by Stephen Chapis and Andrew Thomas. Jim Laurier was commissioned to illustrate the various allied aircraft via original color artwork. Anyone familiar with aircraft modeling literature and research will recognize this authoritative series, and this latest release won't disappoint.

Allied Jet Killers follows the format of the previous Aircraft of the Aces volumes, containing beautiful (original) color plates and numerous black and white photos with detailed captions, although much of what is contained in the captions is also reflected in the main text.

The photos are credited, and while I've seen some of the images before, most are new to me.

There are 33 color plates in the center of the book produced by the accomplished illustrator Jim Laurier. The plates contain specific aircraft flown by the aces, with crisp camouflage schemes and markings. While these are always eye-catching, there is nothing really new here, except, perhaps, the sheer variety of aircraft that downed German jets. Along with the ubiquitous Mustangs, Spitfires and Thunderbolts, there were Mosquitoes, Tempests, Lightning's, and even a La-7 Lavochkin thrown in for effect. The text describes Russian Yaks being involved with shoot-downs as well, but there are no color plates of this aircraft type - most likely due to scant information available on the specific aircraft involved.

The book jumps right in with a brief review of the four main types of German jet aircraft encountered by allied airmen (Me-262, Me-163, Ar-234, and He-162). While the authors don't dwell on these aircraft (it is, after all, a book about Allied jet killers), I would have liked to have seen a little more information; at least a page or two dedicated to line drawings and such, so the reader could see the relative size and armament of these aircraft when compared to their various allied adversaries.

The real meat of Allied Jet Killers still lies in the interesting anecdotes from the pilots themselves, from both sides of the conflict, and this is where the book excels. For example, I did not know that the very first confirmed kill by a jet aircraft was a photo-recon Mosquito PR XV1 on 8 August, 1944, near Munich. Or that despite over 40 attempts by Ar-234's to frustrate the bridge crossing and bridgehead at Remagen; it was a disaster for the aircraft type - scoring zero hits on the bridge itself, with heavy losses due to allied flak and fighters. The same type of aircraft repeatedly bombed Liege, Belgium during the Ardennes offensive, also to little effect.

While most of the book's stories are from fighter pilots, whose descriptions of individual combat tend to meld together after a while, I found the most interesting excerpts to be from allied bomber crews describing attacks made by enemy jet fighters.

Altogether, I found the book a good read, describing an interesting chapter of the air war over Europe late in the war. You get a real sense of how things might have evolved differently if Germany had managed their jet programs better.

I highly recommend this latest addition to the Aircraft of the Aces series by Osprey Publishing. Along with their previous releases, Allied Jet Killers of World War 2 belongs in any aircraft modeler's book shelf.

I would like to thank Osprey Publishing for providing this book for review, and IPMS/USA for giving me the opportunity to review it.

  • Book cover
    Book cover
  • Sample color plate
    Sample color plate
  • Sample color plate
    Sample color plate
  • Sample color plate
    Sample color plate