223rd Review MESSERSCHMITT BF109 Flight Craft 14 – Robert Jackson
Robert Jackson aims with this book(et) on two target groups: 1) lovers of the BF109 history and 2) model builders. In a lot of circumstances these two target groups do converge. To each target group exactly half of the book is dedicated: 40 pages.
My interest concerns the history. Jackson did a good job with respect to that. Each battleground were the BF 109 was deployed is listed. The history continues after WO II. For me the most unusual user was the Israeli Air Force, which in 1948 managed to purchase 25 planes of Czechoslovakia. With that the 101 Squadron became the first operational battle unit of the IAF, which instantly was deployed against the Egyptian planes above Tel Aviv. And with success!
Also the legislative history of what by the pilots lovingly was called ‘Emil’, after her designer Wilhelm Emil Messerschmitt, is properly described. Once I have experienced myself the test piloting of a restored BF 109 on the German Military Airfield Manching. You have to be a real professional to keep it dry when such a nose diving BF flies over!
Of the BF 109 and the Super marine Spitfire can be said that that the quality of the pilot decided who came back in one piece. By the way, also the Russians could with their Lavochinkin La-5 deploy a similar fighter plane. And from 1944 the North American P51 Mustang appeared, which with his unbelievable flight reach could finally adequately protect the allied bombers against the German hunters. The larger numbers of fighter planes where the allied could dispose of were decisive in the end. Not so much the numbers of planes but the increasing lack of pilots with battle experience were the pitfall for the Luftwaffe, which, by the way, continued to battle. On 9 May 1945 a BF109 was shot down above Prague, being the last shot down plane in WO II.
The second part of this edition is dedicated to modelling. The suppliers as well as all thinkable models of the BF 109 are described. Also the model builders with their working methods and used materials are given a stage to be of service to possible followers.
The result of their work is beautifully displayed with a lot of eye for details, for example, engines and the cockpit lay-out. Because the BF 109 is deployed on every battle field between the North Cape and the Sahara, the number of modelling variations is almost unlimited.
Literally each colour of the rainbow passes by. The photo material of the operational deploy as well as of the products of the model builders is extensive and of excellent quality. The individual stories of the pilots shall the interested have to seek in another specific book; only a few names are mentioned in this book.