Luftwaffe Eagle

Published: January 23rd, 2016     
Product Image
Book Cover
Author: Walter Schuck
Reviewed by: 
Paul Mahoney, IPMS# 8943
Company: Crecy Publishing, Ltd.
ISBN #: 978085791861
Other Publication Information: softcover, 260 pages, 250+ photos
Price: $18.95
Product / Stock #: AD186

"Luftwaffe Eagle" is a first-hand account of one pilot's experiences during World War II. I wasn't sure what to expect when I offered to review this book for IPMS, but I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised!

This book was first published in 2007, in the author's native language of German. It was translated into English by John Weal in 2008, and first published in English in 2009 (in hardcover). This release is the first time it has been available in softcover format.

This combination of the author's style of writing and the superb (and fluid) translation make this book a pleasure to read. The author begins with a brief summary of his childhood years, then dives directly into his Luftwaffe training and subsequent postings. Each section is filled with personal anecdotes, while steadily following the timeline.

Schuck is very much an everyman - he is not of the Luftwaffe officer elite, and many of his military experiences sound similar to what you would hear from just about any GI. The paperwork, the SNAFUS, and the many random twists of fate that often occur to him could have happened to just about any NCO in any military service. This is one of the many things that make this book relatable on many levels.

After his early training, Schuck is posted to a unit operating on the Russian front near Finland and the Arctic Circle, flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The bulk of the book covers his experiences here, and makes for fascinating reading. There does not seem to be much written (at least in English) about this particular part of the air war, so I found quite informative. Schuck has a style of writing that allows the reader to follow what is going on in the "big picture", while still describing the personal experience of a front-line fighter pilot. In addition to the exciting and nerve-wracking descriptions of air combat, he also is able to able to highlight the interaction with his comrades and the higher echelon officers.

Without divulging the complete contents of the book (you should read it for yourself!), Schuck eventually transitions to the Western Front and has the brief opportunity to fly the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter. He paints a vivid picture of the chaos of the last days of the war, and how it ended for him. The final chapter jumps forward to 2005, when Schuck actually managed to meet the American pilot that shot him down, and the two became, in his words, "inseparable friends."

In addition to the well-written text, there are literally hundreds of photos throughout this book. I was surprised to see scans or photos of many of Scuck's original papers, medals, and personal items. That so much of this survived the war was amazing, and yet another reason this book is so worthwhile.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone interested in the WW II air war. Fluid text, excellent translation, and a genuinely interesting story make this a great read. You may not find a new paint scheme in here, but you will gain a greater appreciation for the men that lived and fought through this time.

Thanks to Specialty Press for the review copy, and to IPMS for allowing me to review it!

  • Sample Page 1
    Sample Page 1
  • Sample Page 2
    Sample Page 2
  • Luftwaffe and Russian Airfields
    Luftwaffe and Russian Airfields
  • Sample Page 3
    Sample Page 3
  • Back Cover
    Back Cover

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