Thomas Newdick, German Bomber Aircraft of World War II (Amber Books, 2020) & German Fighter Aircraft of World War II (Amber Books, 2020)
When I was a wee boy, I used to dig feverishly into the newly opened cereal boxes for cheap plastic WWII aircraft toys – I still remember my first Heinkel HE-111. I have had a soft spot for WWII warplanes ever since. So, it was with great nostalgic happiness that I received two new books from Thomas Newdick on WWII German bombers and fighters.
After a brief introduction, each book is arranged by type of plane then chronologically. Newdick narrates the technical development of the plane with box-outs summarizing the weight, dimensions, powerplant, speed, range, ceiling, crew, and armament. The plane is graphically illustrated, sometimes in various liveries, and a few of the more famous planes are given a two-page ‘action’ illustration with annotations. Newdick also sprinkles some contemporary black and white photographs through his texts. However, the range of warplanes does not fall into such convenient categories as bombers and fighters. Therefore, Newdick adds seaplanes, transports and gliders, ground-attack, reconnaissance, and helicopters to his bombers, while the fighters are split into single-seat monoplanes, jet and rocket fighters, and heavy fighters.
Newdick’s two books provided quite a satisfying rummage for an evening. There are many other books covering the same subjects, of course, but these ones are quite small compared to the coffee-table book I have on my shelf, while covering everything I need to know about the planes. Newdick only covers technical aspects of the planes, which is appropriate for a series labelled Technical Guide, but some operational context would have been useful. The colour illustrations are first class and modelers might find them helpful. Air wargame enthusiasts will also appreciate Newdick’s efforts. My favourite of all the planes was still the Heinkel HE-111, which would make five-years-old me, digging in my cornflakes, very happy!