„UNITS” is a new series in the Kagero Publishing offer in the format of miniTopColors. As may be guessed it focuses on the history, planes and peoples of particular units. First issue is dedicated to German Jagdgeschwader 52 – the most successful fighter geschwader
of Luftwaffe where the aces like Hartmann, Rall or Barkhorn forged their legends.
As mentioned above the book has the size and format of booklets of miniTopColors
series. I suppose the idea of this publication was to briefly present the JG 52 providing most important facts and events of their history. Definitely this is not the monograph as it would be simply impossible to accommodate so many facts, photographs and drawings on just 34 pages.
Publication starts with the bibliography. First authors focuses on combat history of JG 52, dislocations, unit commanders and their very first victories at the outbreak of war. On the next pages we can follow the unit in France, in the Battle of Britain and in Russia, from Barbarossa
campaign to the bitter end of war. Text is sliced according to the time line and particular campaigns in which geschwader
took part. Histories are brief and general, without detailed descriptions of particular actions or dogfights. Next to text we can notice many photographs showing not only machines or details of camouflage but, as I see it, people and life of JG 52 members: pilots celebrating their new air victories, landing mishaps or simply ordinary life of unit. Good and interesting photographs are really strong point of the publication. On the last pages we can find line-ups and tables of most successful aces, general statistic of losses, equipement and commanders names of particular Staffels, Gruppes and Geschwader.
Photographs decorating this booklet are mostly of very good quality. There is at least one picture on each page, up to four per page. As an interesting curiosity we can find few reproductions of original documents of combat reports, order of the day or other occasional letters.
Additional decal is present in almost all of the latest Kagero publications. Since some time subcontractor and producer of the decals is well known Italian company – Cartograf. It is easy to guess that we can find good quality product. The sheet have size of 13x18cm and contains individual markings for the machines presented on colour profiles inside the book. All other markings like stencils, balkenkreuzes or swastikas will have to be provided by modeler. As usual decals are provided in three popular scales – 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32. Although not described it's easy to guess which decal is in which scale.
We get the markings for following planes:
- Bf 109E-3 „Yellow 5” of 9./JG 52, Coquelles, France, Julty 1940
- Bf 109F-2, W.Nr. 8165, flown by Oblt. Karl-Heinz Leesmann, Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 52, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, June 1941 (drawings show all sides of this plane, you can also find on this page colour samples of popular RLM paints)
- Bf 109G-10/U4, „Yellow 11” of II./JG 52, Munchen-Neubiberg, May 1945
- Bf 109G-4, W.Nr. 19249, „White 10”, flown by Lt. Alfred Grislawski of 7./JG 52, Taman, Russian, late April 1943
The series is an interesting idea but I think it is addressed only to the less demanding or experienced modelers. Those who are strongly interested in the historical aspect may be disappointed but these can easily reach for other publications from Kagero offer. From the other hand publication provides general and basic but comprehensive background of the most successful German Geschwader of World War 2. It provides easy to use decals for interesting machines used in JG 52, from early war E-3 to late war G-10/U4 so we can easily build a mini-collection of the planes used in this unit. It's a bit pity that very early 109 variants like D are still not covered on the profiles and decals but this can be somehow explained by the lack of good quality and popular model kit of this variant of the market.
Personally I hope that next issues will cover not only Luftwaffe units but also Allied Wings or Groups like for example “Zemke's Wolfpack” or World War I Richthofen's “Flying Circus”. That's only my wishful thinking but I really would like to see soon what future, or rather Kagero, will bring us.