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Book Review
Hitler’s Eagles
Hitler’s Eagles – The Luftwaffe 1933-45
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]

Originally published on:

The Luftwaffe was the aerial warfare branch of the German Wehrmacht during World War II. The German Empire's World War I-era army air force had been disbanded under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles however German reformed the Luftwaffe in 1935 and it became one of the strongest and most advanced battle-experienced air forces in the world when World War II started in Europe in September 1939.

We were approaching Dover when we saw a whole squadron of Spitfires spread out in line astern below us… They were so well defines against the blue-green of the sea that we couldn’t have missed them…We peeled away and I began to position my fighter. The red ring of the Revi gunsight was projected onto the windscreen, and I’d already flipped over the trigger for both nose guns and the wing cannon, ready for the attack. Gradually, the Spitfire filled the ring of the sight and I increased the pressure on the triggers. Four lines of tracer hosed out towards the target and I saw strikes, the aircraft spinning away. Instead of chasing it down, I altered course slightly and went for the next Spitfire in line.

Oberleutant Ulrich Steinhilper, 26 September 1940*

*Quoted from the book’s dust jacket.

Osprey Publications Ltd has released Hitler’s Eagles – The Luftwaffe 1933-45 as a hardback book with 400 pages and comes with a paper dust jacket. Included with the text are black and white and color photographs, color illustrations, informational charts, detailed captions, and maps. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-78096-283-2. As the title states, the book examines and discusses Germany’s Luftwaffe during World War II.

  • Introduction
  • The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe
  • Luftwaffe – Organization and Manpower
  • Bombers – Strategic Reach
  • Fighters – Sky Warriors
  • Ground Attack – Strike from Above
  • Sea Eagles – Maritime Operations
  • Ground Forces – Eagles on the Land
  • Conclusion
  • Further Reading
  • Index

Chris McNab covers Germany’s Luftwaffe and the actions taken by the various factions of the Luftwaffe at the beginning of, during and at the conclusion of World War II. It is very obvious that Chris McNab has taken the task of researching and detailing the Germany’s Luftwaffe during World War II very seriously. Chris McNab has prepared a well written history that will be of great use and interest to those interested in the German Luftwaffe of World War II. The military historian and enthusiast or the individual that is new to the study and details of the Germany’s Luftwaffe during World War II and wants to learn about it will appreciate this well written history. The text is well written and extremely detailed and I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors as I read through the book. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing. Anyone wanting to add an excellent German Luftwaffe reference and history book to their military library will be pleased with this book. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.

There are a total of 157 black and white photographs and 22 color photographs featured in this volume. The photographs are what I refer to as subject specific. I like that as opposed to random photographs from World War II that may or may not have been taken during the time frame or event discussed. As with most photographs from the World War II time frame the majority of them are nice clear, centered and focused images, however, as I usually point out in other reviews, there are a few that appear to be too dark and some have a blurry look to them. I have seen several military photographs that have this look to them so maybe that is just typical. I do know that several military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be one reason. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book. Most of the featured photographs are the lesser known from them event and not the same overused and well known photographs that tend to be the basic staple for some volumes on the subject. I definitely consider that a bonus as it is nice to have a reference book that contains several lesser known photographs. The photographs range from posed scenes to action scenes. As with many photographs, they tell the untold story that each individual can see for themselves upon viewing them. I did notice that there were some duplicated images such as the photographs on pages 196-197 and on pages 288-289; however to me this is a minor thing. The photographs contained in this book will prove to be a valuable asset to the World War II, German military and Luftwaffe historian and enthusiast. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.

The captions are well written and explain the accompanying photographs and other images well. They go into detail discussing things such as specific individuals and their names, locations, dates and as with most captions; they detail the event shown in the photograph. I was very impressed by Chris McNab’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions I have seen that are very brief and lack detail necessary to explain the accompanying photograph. As I read through the captions I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. The captions can be brief in some instances but still provide information as to what is shown in the photographs and other images. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.

There are 3 color maps provided which show the following:
  • Condor attacks on British shipping 1943
  • Maps showing the invasion of Crete, May 1941
  • Crete, 20 May 1941
  • Crete, 21 May 1941 and later

There are 70 color illustrations shown throughout this volume. All of them are nicely done and cover a wide array of subjects, the range from aircraft profiles, uniforms and equipment, aircraft multi-view profiles, crew positions in a Heinkel He 111, small arms, aerial combat, air crew training and many other such subjects. As I mentioned, there is a wide variety of subjects shown however the majority of them are of aircraft profiles and their paint schemes and markings. These are an excellent reference source and will definitely benefit the aircraft modeler and historian. I am very impressed with the images and they are a nice addition to this great volume. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.

There are 5 informational charts provided throughout the book that are all very well done, nicely detailed and provide information on:
  • English to metric conversion chart
  • Ranks of the Luftwaffe, with USAAF and RAF equivalents
  • Luftflotten (HQ), Areas of Operation: Principal Campaigns
  • Flight Unit Designations
  • German Parachute Rifle Regiment, 1944 (3,206 All Ranks)

This is an excellent military branch specific historical book that contains nice relevant photographs, illustrations, maps, informational charts, well detailed captions and well written and informative text. It details the German Luftwaffe from the years of 1933 to 1945 very well. Due to its wide array over subjects and components of the Luftwaffe this volume will be welcomed by the aviation, naval, airborne and ground troop enthusiasts. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library.


"Aggressors. Volume 1 Tank Buster vs. Combat Vehicle", text by Alex Vanags-Baginskis, illustrations by Rikyu Watanabe, Howell Press

"World War 2 Combat Uniforms and Insignia", Squadron/Signal Publications, #6013, published in 1977, Martin Windrow with color illustrations by Gerry Embleton

"The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII ", Saturn Books Ltd, Ian V. Hogg

"Guns of the Reich. Firearms of the German Forces, 1939-1945", George Markham, Arms and Armour Press

"German Automatic Weapons of World War II Live Firing Classic Military Weapons in Colour Photographs", Robert Bruce, Windrow & Greene

"Great Weapons Of World War II", John Kirk and Robert Young, Introduction by Bernard E. Trainor, Walker And Company

"The Epic Of Flight. Fighting Jets", Bryce Walker and the editors of Time-Life Books, Time-Life Books

"Battle Of Britain", Len Deighton, Coward, McMann & Geoghegan Publishers

"The Battle Of Britain", Leonard Mosley and the editors of Time-Life Books, Time-Life Books

"World War II Day by Day. An Illustrated Almanac 1939-1945", Donald Sommerville, Dorset Press

"WWII Time-Life Books History of the Second World War", By the Editors of Time-Life Books, Foreword by Eric Sevareid, Prentice Hall Press

"Decisive Battles of World War II", Edited by Brigadier Peter Young, Bison Books LTD

"The American Heritage Picture History of World War II", C.L. Sulzberger, American Heritage Publishing Co. Inc.

"The Military History of World War II", Consultant Editor: Barrie Pitt, The Military Press

"Illustrated History of World War II", Ian Beckett
Portland House

"The Usborne Introduction To The Second World War", In association with the Imperial War Museum
Paul Dowswell, Designed by Leonard Le Rolland & Karen Tomlins, Edited by Jane Chisholm, Consultant: Terry Harman, Historian, Imperial War Museum Scholastic Inc.

"The Second World War", Martin Gilbert, Owl Books

"World War II", Ronald Heiferman, Octopus Books Limited

"Great Campaigns of World War II", Co-ordinating editor: J B Davies, Exeter Books

You can take a look at the inside of this book at the Amazon website.

You can take a look at the Kindle Edition at the Amazon website.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Well written text and captions. Nice subject specific photographs and illustrations.
Lows: Nothing to note.
Verdict: This is an excellent military branch specific historical book that is well researched and written and details the German Luftwaffe from the years of 1933 to 1945 very well.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-78096-283-2
  Suggested Retail: $40.00 US
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 12, 2013

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2020 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Armorama. All rights reserved.


I am enthusiastic about this series by Osprey. For those who do not have all of the past titles, bundling them into a tome is a great idea. HARV has done a fine job with this review.
FEB 12, 2013 - 10:14 AM

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