Jagdgeschwader 1 'Oesau' Aces 1939-45

Published: October 21st, 2017     
Product Image
Front cover
Author: Robert Forsyth
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus - IPMS# 35035
ISBN #: 978-1-4728-229-18
E-Book ISBN #: 1472822919
Other Publication Information: Illustrator: Jim Laurier, Soft Bound ; 7.3” x 8.1”, 96 pages
Price: $23.00
Product / Stock #: Aircraft of the Aces 134
Product provided by: Osprey Publishing

Robert Forsyth, born in Berkshire, England, has studied the history and operations of the Luftwaffe since his school days. Based in East Sussex with his wife, he runs an aviation and military publishing business full-time. He has written articles for the magazines Aeroplane , Aviation News, FlyPast, and The Aviation Historian, and is a member of the Editorial Board of the latter publication. He is the author of several hard bound books, including: JV 44 - The Galland Circus (1996), Battle over Bavaria - The B-26 versus the German Jets (Classic, 1998), Mistel - German Composite Aircraft and Operations 1942-1945 (Classic, 2001), Messerschmitt Me 264 Amerikabomber (Classic, 2006, with Eddie Creek); He 162 Volksjager (Classic, 2009, with Eddie Creek); Heinkel He 111 (Crecy, 2014); Junkers Ju 52 (Specialty Press. 2015, with Eddie Creek). He has had a substantial relationship with Osprey Publishing, and has written Jagdverband 44 (2008, Aviation Elite Units 27); Jagdgeschwader 7 (2008, Aviation Elite Units 29); Fw 190 Sturmbocke vs B-17 Flying Fortress (2009, Duel 24); Aces of the Legion Condor (2011, Aircraft of the Aces 99); Luftwaffe Viermot Aces (2011, Aircraft of the Aces); Me 262 Bomber and Reconnaissance Units (2012, Combat Aircraft 83); Luftwaffe Mistel Composite Bomber Units (2015, Combat Aircraft 112); He 162 Volksjager Units (2016, Combat Aircraft 118); Ju 52/3m Bomber and Transport Units 1936-41 (2017, Combat Aircraft 120); Messerschmitt Me 264 Amerika Bomber (2016, X Planes); and the forthcoming hardback, Shadow Over the Atlantic (2017).

Illustrator Jim Laurier, a native of New England, provides the color profiles. Jim has been drawing since he could hold a pencil and throughout his life he has worked in many mediums creating artwork on a variety of subjects. He has worked on the Osprey Aviation list since 2000, and has been featured in hundreds of aviation books.

This 96 page book's front cover features a color painting by Mark Postlethwaite of Unteroffizier Bernhard Kunze of I./JG1 as he became an ace. His Fw 190A-5 is shown banking away from a squadron of Boeing B-17s with pieces of a B-17's wing flying off into the slipstream. I counted 67 black and white pictures with well done captions. Jim Laurier also contributes thirty-three color profiles that include Bf 109s, Fw 190s, and He 162s.

Robert Forsyth utilizes both Allied and German reports to tell the story of JG 1. Jagdgeschwader 1 was a German World War II fighter unit that was created in April 1939 to defend East Prussia. As opposed to many German units that would fly offense during the early parts of the war, JG 1 spent nearly the entire war in the aerial defense of the Reich. Starting off flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109, JG 1 transitioned to the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 aircraft in mid-1942. JG 1 was the only unit to fly the Heinkel He 162 operationally as the Spatz (Sparrow) began deliveries in February 1945. Initial defensive assignments for JG 1 saw little action, but the entry of the US Eight Air Force's Flying Fortresses and Liberators changed that. JG 1 experimented with alternative methods of downing the heavy bombers, first with an 'air bombing' technique. JG 1 also experimented with rockets, but like the 'air bombing' technique, the degradation in performance due to the additional weight proved too much. Desperation set in by 1944, and is covered well in Chapter Four. Sturmstaffel 1 consisted of a volunteer force that was trained to engage the bomber formations extremely close in tight formations with up-armored Fw 190 fighters, also known as Sturmbocke (Battering Rams). Jagdgeschwader 1 received the 'Oseau' suffix in May 1944 after the death of wing commander Oberst Walter Oseau in a dogfight on May 11, 1944.

The sections include:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Chapter One: Guarding the Ramparts [Page 9]
  • Chapter Two: Enemy At The Gates [Page 27]
  • Chapter Three: The Bastion Holds [Page 45]
  • Colour Plates [Page 38]
  • Chapter Four: Battering Ram [Page 57]
  • Chapter Five: The Fortress Is Breached [Page 73]
  • Chapter Six: Last Ditch Defense [Page 88]
  • Appendices
    • Appendix A - Senior Executive Officers Jagdgeschwader 1
    • Appendix B - Pilots of JG1 Who Became Recipients of the Knight's Cross
    • Appendix C - Pilots with 6+ Four-Engined Victories Who Served With JG1
  • Colour Plates Commentary
  • Sources and Bibliography
  • Index

One of the sections I found fascinating was from Oberleutnant Karl-Emil Demuth in February 1945 on the Eastern front. Russian T-34 tanks were approaching and the sounds of battle were ringing in their ears. Everyone had been evacuated from Heiligenbeil except for eight pilots and eight mechanics that were trying to get eight Fw 190s into the air. Upon learning that no more Junkers Ju 52s were going to fly into Heiligenbeil to rescue the mechanics, Demuth ordered the Fw 190s stripped of radios and first aid boxes. This permitted the Fw 190 to carry one mechanic each in the fuselage behind the cockpit. Demuth ordered the pilots to avoid combat and they made their way to safety, successfully, to Danzig.

Robert Forsyth provides easily read history on I./JG 1 from its creation in 1939 to the end of the war in 1945. I really appreciated the way he was able to weave the first-person accounts from both sides into the story. As is standard to this series, you get well captioned photographs and excellent color profiles from Jim Laurier. If you are into the Luftwaffe of World War Two, this is a great reference book that is also a great read. If you own one the previous releases in the Aircraft of the Aces series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.

My thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

  • Page 9
    Page 9
  • Page 27
    Page 27
  • Page 38
    Page 38
  • Page 45
    Page 45
  • Page 57
    Page 57
  • Page 73
    Page 73
  • Page 88
    Page 88
  • Rear cover
    Rear cover

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