Every air force of the Second World War relied on a constant flow of new pilots and aircrew. As a result training aircraft were just as important as any of the combat types, none of which would have been of any use without trained crews. This book is built around an impressive collection of photographs of the training aircraft used by the Luftwaffe, including the dedicated trainers used for flight training and the training versions of established types.
The scale of the effort required to train the Luftwaffe is made clear by the number of chapters – nine for individual aircraft manufactures (plus one for the Bf 109) shows how many different companies were involved in providing training aircraft (admittedly some are standard aircraft in use with training units, but many were purpose-built trainers).
The pictures are of a generally high quality, with useful captions for the individual pictures. These often include details about the actual aircraft in the picture or its crew, or on the training unit involved. There is a useful page and a half on the training system used by the Luftwaffe, looking at the units involved and the general pattern of training (at least until the later years of the war, when the system began to collapse).
The one flaw with this book is that there is no introduction to each aircraft. Sometimes the gap is filled by the individual captions, but a paragraph or two for each new aircraft type would have been very useful – at the very least explaining what role it played in training, how many were produced or used as trainers and in what period they were used. Apart from that this is a well produced book, covering an impressive range of aircraft.
Messerschmitt Bf 109
Author: Chris Goss