View Full Version : Can anyone recommend me some good books on the western front 41-44?

12-17-2009, 02:53 PM
As the title says,

I'm looking for some good recomendations for any books focusing on the air war over the western front from the period of '41-'44, from all sides.

Preferably with enough information about units and locations as to use as base resources for some mission building...

thanks in advance,


12-17-2009, 04:51 PM
The Luftwaffe Over Germany: Defense of the Reich, by Caldwell and Muller is pretty good. Really helped clarify for me a lot of what was going on, how both sides were often groping around in the dark.



12-17-2009, 05:04 PM
I was hoping that you would read this thread, lol, thanks for the recomendation.


12-17-2009, 05:06 PM
Another book by Caldwell that I found very informative, from the Luftwaffe side of things, was JG 26: Top Guns of the Luftwaffe. Loads of info on JG 26 from pre-war to the end.

12-17-2009, 05:45 PM
My plug.


12-17-2009, 05:58 PM


12-17-2009, 07:32 PM
The First and the Last by Adolf Galland

12-17-2009, 10:40 PM
"Bf 109F/G/K Aces of the Western Front" by John Weal

Osprey Aircraft of the Aces

12-18-2009, 06:25 AM
Hi all, thanks for the replies,

I have ordered 'The Luftwaffe Over Germany: Defense of the Reich', should be here tomorrow!

Have added all the other titles to the 'to buy list'.

Have decided that this years new year resolution is to increase by WWII libery, most of my books are WWI, which has been a longtime association of mine. Who'd of thought a game would shift my attention thus...

cheers fruitbat

12-18-2009, 07:02 AM
"Reichsverteidigung Die Geschichte des JG 1" by Eric Mombeek is a good one, also available in English.

Klick the "publications" button on his page:


12-18-2009, 07:15 AM
Johnnie Johnsons Wing Leader is very good.

However I think Spitfire into battle by Duncan Smith is the best RAF pilot book I have read.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spitfi...-Smith/dp/0719554845 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spitfire-into-Battle-W-G-G-Duncan-Smith/dp/0719554845)

For those in the UK, he was Conservative - Ian Duncan Smiths father.


12-18-2009, 01:12 PM
"The Luftwaffe War Diaries" by Cajus Bekker.

12-20-2009, 02:31 PM
'Spitfire Offensive' by R.W. Sampson and N.L.R. Franks.


"'From kilt to cockpit, this is a thoroughly entertaining fighter pilot's memoir, a story told in most readable style, and another excellent reason for buying the book is that all of Sammy Sampson's royalties go to The RAF Benevolent Fund.' Legion 'A graphic account of Spitfire operations over France...an interesting insight into the air war that turned the tide in the Allies' favour.' Flypast 'This memoir has much to recommend it and set it apart from the mass of flying stories....Most fascinating of all, it presents a vivid portrait of life and death in the RAF's Free French Fighter Wing.' Eastern Daily Press 'Making no concessions to maiden aunts.. Wing Commander Ralph William Frazer Sampson uses choice language to re-live the combats, passions and everyday ups and downs of a Spitfire pilot from 1942 until 1945.' Edward Bishop in The Field 'Yet another Grub Street success. Well worth reading, told with verve and an intensity that portrays the subject's character to the full.' Aviation News"

"Sammy" Sampson, in co-operation with aviation historian Norman Franks, offers a graphic account of his three years flying Spitfires on offensive operations over France. He has covered in detail his period commanding the Free French Wing, of which little has been recorded in Britain. His recollections of people and events provide an insight into the life of a wartime fighter pilot who previously played rugby for Scotland.


12-20-2009, 03:03 PM
Jane's Battles with the Luftwaffe: The Bomber Campaign Against Germany 1942-45

12-22-2009, 06:30 AM
The Osprey series of books on Aces of WW2 are both comparatively cheap and informative. The '109 aces of the western front' and fw190 equivalent contain information on the units bases and aces in each unit through the war and should give you enough material for mission building from the LW side. Roger Freemans books on the US 8AF detail the daily operations of that force. John Foreman has a series of books on daily claims and losses by the RAF. Ken Rust wrote a book on US 9AF ops. Chris Shores has a series of books detailing the ops of the RAF 2nd Tactical AF. Good luck with your mission building.

12-22-2009, 12:07 PM
For the Battle of Britain, British perspective, Richard Hillary's The Last Enemy.

For a general view of life in Bomber Command, Guy Gibson's Enemy Coast Ahead.

Both books were written during the war by outstanding young men who did not survive it, and you get a sense of what it was like to know that you might not live to see the end but that it would be worth it to save your way of life for others.

A lot of the other 'standards' in this genre were written postwar for preteen boys, so there is a certain amount of editing, sensationalism, and a distinct lack of critical thought. The Tuck and Bader biographies (Fly For Your Life & Reach for the Sky respectively) fall into this category, but are very readable and useful for all that as long as you take them with the usual grain of salt.

Of course, Freeman's The Mighty Eighth and his collaboration with Zemke in Zemke's Wolfpack are also classics, and for the contemporary American version of life in a fighter group, you have to find 1000 Destroyed: the Life and Times of the 4th Fighter Group by Grover C. Hall Jr is required reading.

Grab any unit diary you can find; weather conditions and a clear account of day to day operations can be very revealing (and little bits of individual personalities sneak through at odd times).

Rudel's Stuka Pilot and Knoke's I Flew For the Fuhrer are unapologetic (and therefore more revealing of German attitudes) accounts from the LW side. In fact, almost any German wartime memoir that gives you a clear idea of prewar sentiments and attitudes would be useful; Knoke's description of his time with the Hitler Youth is just as important as his combat exploits to me.

Caldwell's JG 26: Top Guns of the Luftwaffe is a lot better than the title originally led me to believe; I read the first 50 pages in the aisle of Barnes & Noble before I realized what I was doing and tore a fingernail while digging out the wallet to see if I could afford it.



12-23-2009, 08:25 PM
1000 Destroyed: the Life and Times of the 4th Fighter Group by Grover C. Hall
I loved this but lost my copy and haven't found another.
I agree that The Other Battle is outstanding and the Mighty Eighth is great.

12-24-2009, 12:26 PM
Originally posted by Saburo_0:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">1000 Destroyed: the Life and Times of the 4th Fighter Group by Grover C. Hall
I loved this but lost my copy and haven't found another.
I agree that The Other Battle is outstanding and the Mighty Eighth is great. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>My hardback copy is almost 30 years old & almost falling apart. I have heard that it is available online at one of the 4th FG/Eagle Squadron centered websites, though.

It is too good a story to stay out of print; I'd love to see someone do a video version of it the way Tom Hanks did Band of Brothers (even if it means Kevin Costner playing Kid Hofer).



12-25-2009, 11:54 AM
Will check 4th FG/ Eagle Squad web sites. Thanks Horseback! BTW Phillip Leckrone, from my hometown was a member of 71 squadron killed in training- prob. oxygen cut out on him. The field where I learned to fly was named for him. Just like to bring that up. Was someting to be a teenager and see a framed photo of an RAF pilot in the building. And I had a crush on his grandniece before I even knew... Ah, youth!