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HOLDING UP THE SKY AMID STORMS & SHELLS

Jagdgeschwader 1 ‘Oesau’ Aces 1939-45 (Aircraft of the Aces) - Robert Forsyth, Jim Laurier

This book provides a concise and yet expansive history of one of the Luftwaffe's most active fighter units in the Second World War: Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1). The unit came into being in 1939 as a result of a reorganization within the Luftwaffe. Upon the outbreak of war in September of that year, JG 1 played a minimal role in the invasion of Poland. Furthermore, between 1940 and 1942, JG 1 was deployed over Northern Europe and on the Western Front, where it saw action during the Battle of France in May and June of 1940. JG 1's main opponent (following the French defeat) was the Royal Air Force (RAF), which made incursions into its airspace which encompassed the defense of Northern Germany from its bases in Holland. 

By late 1942, with the United States now in the war, JG 1 became increasingly a vital part in the defense of the Reich. The United States Army Air Force (USAAF) was now fully committed with the RAF to the Allied air offensive with its growing numbers of bomber and fighter groups to help destroy Germany's capacity to wage war. 

This book has plenty of first-hand accounts from many of JG 1's pilots, which recount in considerable detail, the struggles these pilots faced in taking on the fleets of USAAF B-17 and B-24 heavy bombers (and their fighter escorts). The reader will shudder while reading these harrowing accounts, tangibly experiencing the fright the JG 1 pilot must have experienced from flying his ME 109 or FW 190 fighter plane into tight formations of enemy bombers, braving the streams of defensive fire directed at them from these formations. 

From 1943 to war's end in May 1945, JG 1 fought a tenacious battle - which expanded to 2 fronts, West and East. As with any book of this magnitude from Osprey, there are plenty of photos and illustrations in "Jagdgeschwader 1 'Oesau' Aces 1939-45" to give greater clarity to what the Second World War was like for the airmen on both sides who fought in it.