by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Originally published on:
Jerry Crandall's "Dora" reviewed two years ago set new standards in its exacting coverage of the Fw 190D. But despite its almost daunting size, the book was only Vol. 1 of a pair! Now the second installment is in bookshops worldwide and fully lives up to expectations - in fact, in some of its content it's arguably even more useful to modellers than its predecessor.
The book is hardbound with 400 pages, beautifully printed on glossy heavyweight paper. The text combines extracts drawn from official documents, previously unpublished personal diaries and memoirs and, of course, Jerry Crandall's own meticulously researched study of the aircraft. The pages are packed with almost 400 B&W and colour photos, the majority of which I've not seen published elsewhere.
While Vol. One concentrated on the Fw 190D-9, the new book extends the coverage to the later models as well. It begins with the 'D-11 which, among other changes, introduced a pair of 30mm cannon in the outer wing positions and dispensed with the fuselage-mounted machine guns. The type is described in depth before moving on to a great series of photos of 'D-11s found abandoned at Bad Wörishofen. These aircraft were used by a specialist training school, and a bonus for modellers and Luftwaffe enthusiasts is the inclusion of shots of the unit's Bf 109s, including a 'G-12 two-seater, plus a Zirkus Rosarius Spitfire Mk. IX flown in mock combat.
Setting the style for the rest of the book, the Doras featured in the photos are brought vividly to life in top quality colour profiles by well-known aviation artist Thomas A. Tullis. Each profile is accompanied by detailed notes on the aircraft's colour scheme and markings, plus any other points of particular interest about the airframe.
If there is one group of aircraft that understandably never fail to inspire modellers, it's the gaudy Würgerstaffel of JV 44 with their red and white undersides that flew as protection for the unit's Me 262s during their vulnerable take-offs and landings. 64 pages are devoted to these Doras, with dozens of photos gathered together of the mix of 'D-9s and 'D-11s. Most of the photos are new to me and the depth of analysis is greater than I've found elsewhere. Again they are backed up by colour profiles, and another bonus in this section is the inclusion of Galland's Me 262 and the unit's Si 204 transport and communications aircraft.
Chapters 3 and 4 feature a mixed bag of 'D-9s, with ground attack Doras including the mount of Oberst Rudel, and the group of aircraft captured at Marienburg and flown by the Soviets. Interestingly, despite some claims to the contrary, several Luftwaffe pilots do seem to have encountered Soviet Doras and a plan was hatched to force once to land at a German-controlled airfield.
Chapter 5 discusses the work of JG10 weapons system test unit, in particular with the 21cm mortar and R4M air-to-air missile. The unit first began testing with Fw 190A-8s before receiving 'D-9s in September 1944. The earlier aircraft are covered at some length, and they are obviously a popular subject for modellers with their striking snake motifs on the fuselage. The section takes illustrations from the 'D-9 manual for the fitting of the 21cm mortar, while excellent artwork by A. L. Bentley details the R4M. Finally, there are photos of the R-4-equipped Doras discovered by the 101st Airborne Infantry at Schongau.
Chapter 6 is a real boon for modellers. "Selected Parts" combines illustrations from the original Dora parts catalogue (interestingly, considering the critical war situation, it was dated for use until 1948...) with modern photos and illustrations of canopy types, gear legs and wheels etc. One of the points of concern on Eduard's 'D-9 is the shape of the propeller blades - well, the three different types fitted to various Doras marks are covered here, something that would have been a huge help when I modified the kit propeller.
No aircraft enters service without its share of teething troubles, and the Fw 190D was no exception. "Problems and Complaints" gathers together an interesting collection of official and unit reports that illustrate the trouble caused by rushing the aircraft into combat in the chaotic situation prevailing towards the end of the war - everything from engine and spares problems to the late-style wooden landing flaps being destroyed by operating in slushy winter conditions.
One of the most famous Doras is "Yellow 10", the 'D-13 now on display at the Museum of Flight in Washington. Over 60 pages tell the tale the development of the Fw 190D-13, the capture of "Yellow 10", its "rediscovery" on a vacant lot in Atlanta in the late '50s, and the subsequent 40-year effort to preserve and restore the aircraft. As anyone familiar with Eagle Editions' will expect, some of the material is drawn from the earlier book - but there are significant changes, including a new and very detailed analysis of the colour scheme, and a superb walkaround of the aircraft in its final restored state.
Chapter 9 is really something of a goldmine of information for modellers of not only the Dora, but late-war Luftwaffe aircraft in general. The 50-page section begins with an examination of the main RLM paints of the period, their production and use, backed up by photos of preserved examples. Apart from the obvious candidates, there are some of the colours that never received (as far as is known) official RLM numbers and some of the seldom seen primers.
The chapter then moves on to discuss the camouflage and markings of the Fw 190D, and every production batch is illustrated with a colour profile and plan, backed up by notes on the style of markings applied. Then there's a look at Dora unit recognition bands and other tactical markings, before a guide to the application and placement of stencils.
Chapter 10 lists the Fw 190D-9s recovered so far from crash sites, with details of the equipment and camouflage that has been discovered, while Chapter 11 provides additional photos and information that arrived too late for inclusion in Volume 1 (note: additionally, there is a short Addendum and Errata section for Vol. 1 at the back of the book, plus last minute arrivals in the shape three more photos that couldn't be included in the main body of the text).
Finally, the Appendices include details of the EZ 42 A-1 gyroscopic gunsight, a selection of data plates, loss lists for 'D-9s, and 1:48 plans of the Fw 190D-13 (just what the doctor ordered with the new Eduard version due for release).
ConclusionJerry Crandall's study of the Fw 190D really is stunning, and must rank among the most detailed works on an aircraft type yet published. For me the obvious comparison has to be with JaPo's series on the Dora; I've got Vol. 1 of the latter and value it highly in its own right but, "spot-checking" the coverage of individual Doras taken at random, Eagle Editions' coverage surpasses it consistently, with more photos and more detailed analysis of the camouflage and markings.
Of course, the sheer size of such a book carries with it a consequent cost and at around £70 for Volume 2 in the UK, no one could argue the book is cheap (although page for page it actually works out cheaper than many other aircraft references). This may put off the casual reader, but if you really are serious about the Fw 190D, either as an aviation enthusiast or intending to build a number of models, it represents a fantastic investment as a definitive reference. Unreservedly recommended.
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