Kagero Aircraft Books # 19

JG 301 "Wilde Sau"

by Marek J. Murawski and Peter Neuwerth

reviewed by Paul Mahoney

 

This book follows the standard format of Polish/English text used by Kagero in all their recent volumes (one column in Polish, one in English). It covers the unit development and operations of JG 301 during World War II.

JG 301 was one of 3 units (JG 300/301/302) created on the 'Wilde Sau" (Wild Boar) concept. The Wilde Sau tactic was developed as an alternative to the standard Luftwaffe method for defense against the fleets of British bombers that were sent over Germany every night. The Luftwaffe's primary night defense involved coordinating twin-engine, radar-equipped night fighters with an elaborate grid of ground-based radar stations. Wilde Sau aircraft were all single-engined fighters that operated individually, patrolling high above the targeted German cities. They would look for the silhouettes of British bombers and attempt to engage them whenever possible. The formation of these special units is covered, along with their training and deployment. The book then goes on to describe the units' transition to daytime defense of Germany. Ultimately, JG301 became the first unit to fly the Focke Wulf Ta152H, and the last portion of the text covers this.

This volume is a little different than most of the other titles in this series, in that it incorporates a great deal of writings from one of the pilots of JG301, Peter Neuwerth. He is billed as one of the authors, and credit is given to him (in German oddly, since the text is only Polish and English) on the title page. It is my understanding there is a new hardbound text out on JG301 from Schiffer as well (featuring Neuwerth as one of the authors) - I haven't seen it, but do wonder if there is any duplication of efforts here? Either way, I enjoyed being able to read about some of the events directly from the participant. I do wonder if some of the translation was handled from German, to Polish, to English? The translation of the pilot's portion of the text does seem a little rougher than the rest, but is still readable.

Scattered throughout the book's 83 pages are some decent black and white photos. Most of them seem to be ones I have seen elsewhere, but some were new (to me), and there are also a few nice cockpit shots that should prove useful to a modeler. There are nice color profiles of 7 aircraft, although these are restricted to the daytime aircraft (none of the early, nightfighting aircraft are depicted). Once again Techmod decals are provided in 1/72nd and 1/48th scale for several of the profiles. I am a big fan of this little extra. The last few pages of the text cover a bit of the background of the leaders of JG301, camouflage patterns used by Luftwaffe on the types of aircraft used by the unit, and finally an in-depth description of the aircraft portrayed in the profiles. I think Kagero definitely has the modeler in mind when creating these books.

Bottom line: Interesting history of an interesting unit (particularly the first-person portion), nice color profiles and decals. Translation is a bit choppy in places, but does not detract much from the overall usefulness. I do wish there were more coverage of the early activities (the night fighters), but still recommend this for anyone interested in Luftwaffe unit histories. Unfortunately, I do not have the Schiffer book to compare this against, but for a small soft-cover book, this seems worth the money.

 


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