13. (slow) JG 52

Blue • 2007
AuthorsJiri Railich
IllustratorKrzysztof Wolowski, Maciej Noszczak
Release date2007-10-01
Cat. No.7107
CategoryAvailable CategoryDostępne
FormatB5, 112 pages (16 in colour)
Price44.00 PLN Price12.99 GBP
The story of the Slovak Air Arm's 13th Squadron is recounted, from its formation following the break-up of Czechoslovakia, through combat on the Eastern Front as part of JG.52, to homeland defence against the USAAF and then action against its former allies, the Germans. With its history maligned and discredited under Communist rule, the true story of this very successful fighter unit can now be told. Mostly flying Bf109s of various versions, the unit also achieved the final biplane aerial victory, as late as 1944, when an Avia B.534 shot down a Ju52.
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  • Amazon Messerschmitt Bestseller List • 2011-06-20
  • Replic nr 214 • 2011-06-20
  • Modelart Australia - February 2008 • 2011-06-20
  • Flying Scale Models • 2011-06-20
  • IPMSUSA.org • 2011-06-20
    The somewhat cryptic title refers to the official Luftwaffe designation for the 13th (Slovak, slowakei in German) Staffel of JG 52 on the Eastern Front. From December of 1942 through October of 1943, a small group of 29 Slovak fighter pilots were very successful, gaining 215 confirmed victories over Soviet aircraft at the cost of 4 pilots killed, 2 wounded, and 3 who defected to the Soviets. However, their luck changed after being recalled to Slovakia for home defense duties. Now known as the 13th Squadron of the Slovak Air Arms (letka 13, Vzdusne zbrane), they had only a handful of fighters to counter the American bombers and escort fighters flying from Italy. In one disastrous mission on 26 June, 1944, eight Slovak Bf-109G-6s joined other Axis fighters to challenge 655 B-17 and B-24 bombers escorted by 290 P-38 and P-51 fighters. One B-24 was claimed, but six of the eight defending Bf-109Gs were shot down and another severely damaged, killing three pilots and severely wounding a fourth. On that day the 13th Squadron, which was in effect the entire Slovak fighter force, ceased to exist. Later that summer, 15 pilots from the squadron turned against their former German allies by joining the the Slovak National Uprising, flying worn out Bf-109s, ancient Avia B.534 biplane fighters, and other obsolete training planes. The fighting began in August and ran on for months before it finally failed in December. During the uprising 8 German aircraft were claimed by Slovak pilots Two pilots were killed, and two were taken prisoner. This brief history may sound straightforward, but compiling it was no easy task. In the decades of communist rule over after WWII, the role of the 13th Squadron was minimized and distorted to suit the propaganda needs of the Soviets. Dr. Rajlich, as director of the Historical Documents section of the Military Historical Institute of Prague, performed painstaking original research to obtain an objective account of Slovakia's WWII fighter pilots. He succeeds admirably, delivering a compelling narrative that kept me eager for the next page. Complementing his lively text are three tables listing details for (1) the circumstances of all 215 claims, (2) the victory totals for the 24 pilots who gained at least one combat victory, and (3) the causes of all 53 aircraft lost in operations, whether by accident, bombing, aerial combat, or defection. Mushroom Model Publications has another winner here. The book is in their usual soft cover small-format (9-1/2" X 6-1/2") and contains 112 pages printed on glossy, high-quality paper. Text is in excellent English throughout, complemented by 180 sharp B/W photos. Maciej Noszczak and Krzysztof Wolowski provide 23 excellent color profiles of aircraft, as well as detail artwork showing the evolution of Slovakia's wartime insignia. This is a must-have volume for anyone with an interest in the small air forces of WWII It also provides an intriguing historical background for modelers who are looking for something a little different when building a B.534 or Bf.109. Highly recommended!
  • InternetModeler.com • 2011-06-20
    The newest in Mushroom’s Blue Series examines the Slovak squadron of the Luftwaffe’s JG 52. This unit was responsible for the vast majority of victories for Slovak pilots during the Second World War, yet its history is not well known. Often dismissed or completely ignored, the 13th Squadron was little more than a footnote in the historiography of the Luftwaffe. This book aims to correct that, providing a very thorough examination of the unit, from its inception in 1939 to its ultimate disbandment in 1944. The aircraft used by 13. (Slov.) JG 52 were constrained to just two main types. In 1939, the unit started operations with the Avia B.534, the classic Czechoslovakian biplane fighter. With this aircraft, the unit operated in the Polish campaign and the opening moves of Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. Soon after that, though, the squadron re-equipped with the Messerschmitt Bf 109, and it was with this aircraft that the unit flew most of its missions. Starting with the Bf 109E variant, the squadron progressively upgraded their equipment, with the last flights utilizing the Bf 109G-6. As they were tied to a Luftwaffe squadron, the camouflage and markings were generally similar to aircraft in that air force, with just a change in national insignia. While this book does cover the colors and markings of these aircraft, the majority of the book is on the operational record of 13. (Slov.) JG 52. This makes for some very interesting reading, as it is well researched and nicely structured. Drawing on classic references as well as archival sources, the text tells the story of the pilots and their missions quite well. This is complimented by the many photographs, some of which are new. The final pages include comprehensive victory records and color profiles highlighting many of the individual aircraft flown by the unit. This is another outstanding addition to the Mushroom Blue Series, and one which does great justice to the servicemen of 13. (Slov.) JG 52.
  • Hyperscale.com • 2011-06-20
    13. (Slow) JG 52 is Mushroom Publications latest addition to its Blue Series that focuses on unit histories and pilot biographies. For those who dont know, 13 Squadron (Slovak) was a component of the Luftwaffes JG 52 and was comprised of former pilots of the Czechoslovak air force who flew for the wartime nation of Slovakia. Whether or not you know about 13. (Slow) JG 52, Im sure you want to know how this Mushroom Publications compares to the Osprey Aircraft of the Aces No. 58 Slovakian and Bulgarian Aces of World War 2, especially as the author of the Mushroom monograph is also one of the authors of the Osprey monograph. As one might expect, the two overlap, and to a great extent cover the same ground. But, there are differences not only in the coverage of the history, but also in the narratives tone. Lets start with the historical coverage. The Osprey volume sets out the historical context both before the creation of 13 (Slow) JG 52 and after its demise. It begins with the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, the creation of the Slovak nation, the Hungarian conflict and ends with a discussion of the Slovak national uprising. The Mushroom volume rushes right to the creation of the 13th Squadron as a result of the military reorganization required by the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia and the creation of the Slovak Air Arms. It ends with the mass desertion of 13th Squadron pilots upon the occurrence of the Slovak uprising. I believe the Osprey monograph does place the role of Slovak airman in a more understandable historical context. The other difference between the two is the tone taken by the authors / author. The Osprey volume is a straightforward historical narrative. Interesting, but not exciting. On the other hand, the Mushroom monograph seems to be a bit more polemical and nationalistic. There is a sense of anger in the writing. This does add more interest, but it also raises some issues and there are statements that left me scratching my head. But, both the Germans and Soviets take their fair share of licks at the hands of Mr. Rajlich. Whether presented in a more neutral narrative tone or not, it is clear that the Germans were not exactly the most supportive allies; from supplying Slovaks with inferior and outdated equipment, to literally leaving them holding the bag. You also get an understanding of the Slovak reticence at fighting the Russians, and the Soviets distrust of defecting Slovak pilots. In addition to the historical narrative, both books contain numerous photographs and profiles. However, the photographs in the Mushroom volume seem more extensive, and better reproduced than those in the Osprey book. The Mushroom book also seems to include more pictures of people, in addition to the numerous photographs of the aircraft. While the profiles in the Osprey volume are more numerous, those in the Mushroom book are of superior quality. Finally there are the statistics and combat records. The Mushroom volume sets forth the confirmed claims of the Slovak airmen in a chronological order. It also includes a listing of aircraft losses suffered by the 13th Squadron. It must be noted that these lists appear to be confined to the Eastern Front alone, from October 1942 to October 1943, and does not include events during the conflict with Hungary and invasion of Poland, nor does it include action during the defense of Slovakia and Slovak uprising. The Osprey publication presents the claims by pilot and does seem to include periods of combat before and after the dates used in the Mushroom book. But unlike the Mushroom book, the Osprey edition does not give any aircraft losses. Conclusion So there you have it. The choice is ultimately up to you, but you will not be disappointed with Mushroom Model Publications' 13 (Slow) JG 52. Even if you already have the Osprey publication, I found that reading the Mushroom volume to be a good companion to the Osprey book. The Mushroom volume provides a most interesting perspective on the 13th Squadron and for those that enjoy the pictures and graphics, the Mushroom book delivers a lot.
  • Air Modeller issue 15, Dec/Jan. • 2011-06-20
  • Cybermodeler.com • 2011-06-20
    This new book by Mushroom Model Publications (MMP) is in their usual 9” x 6 ½” soft cover format, that they use for their books on various aircraft subjects. The book is 112 pages in length. This is the latest volume from MMP in their “Blue Series”. It is a book on the Slovak fighter unit which fought on the Eastern Front as part of the Luftwaffe’s JG.52. The history of this unit is described in full, from its initial establishment following the breakup of Czechoslovakia by the Nazis, to service with the Germans against the USSR, the disastrous combats against USAAF bombers and their escorts over Slovakia, and finally operations against their former ally during the Slovak uprising in 1944. Initially equipped with the Avia B.534 biplanes, the unit flew Bf-109’s on the Eastern Front and on home defense, reverting to B.534 biplanes at the end – and scoring perhaps the final air-to-air victory by a biplane fighter. History has not been kind to the 13th Squadron, it’s actions denigrated or ignored under the post-war communist regime and the subject of controversy even now. Author Jiri Rajlich PHD studied history at Charles University in Prague and now works for the Military Historical Institute in Prague as a director of the Historical Document section. He specializes in the history of Czechoslovak and Slovak Air Forces and air combat over Europe during WWII, so is uniquely placed to tell this story, with full access to all relevant archives and drawing on many first-hand accounts. He is the author or co-author of more than 40 books and hundreds of articles on aviation history. Presented in full for the first time, this is the story of the Slovak Air Arm’s 13th Squadron. This account tracks the rise and fall of the 13th Squadron from it’s formation in 1939 after the break-up of Czechoslovakia, through combat on the Eastern Front as part of JG.52, to tragic efforts defending the homeland against the USAAF, and finally action against it’s former allies, the Germans, at the end of WWII. With it’s history distorted and discredited under Czechoslovak communist rule, the true story of this very successful fighter unit can now be told. The book is profusely illustrated with 184 black and white wartime photos of the aircraft and pilots of the 13th Squadron. There are 15 pages of data lists. At the end of the book, there are 23 color profile paintings of aircraft in Czech and Slovak markings. These include the Avia B.534, Bf-109E-3, E-4, E-7, G-4 and G-6. The book has full details of all claimed victories by 13/JG.52, plus it’s losses, and details of the aircraft flown by the unit. This is an invaluable reference source for aircraft historians, enthusiasts and scale modelers.
  • ModelingMadness.com • 2011-06-20
    One of the lesser known air forces of WWII is that of Slovakia, a country formed by the German invasion of early 1939. When the Germans went to war with the Soviets, it was 'requested' that the Slovaks provide military units to help in the fighting. One of those was 13 squadron of the Slovak Air Force. This unit had been formed from the combining of several other ex-Czech squadrons whose aircraft were in Slovak territory, so their main equipment was the B.534, a fine, but obsolescent aircraft. After some use of this aircraft, it was obvious that something newer was needed so Slovakia bought a number of what they assumed were relatively new Bf-109E-7s. After training pilots in Germany, these men brought home the planes they had been training on; mostly worn out 109E-2/3/4/7 aircraft. But they were the most modern aircraft available. Pilots of this unit fought in JG 52 on the eastern front. When the 109Es were determined to be outclassed, these men used standard German 109G aircraft, sending the Es home for air defense. The only markings that differentiated the Slovak Gs from regular Luftwaffe planes was the national colors on the tip of the spinner. The men of this unit were initially quite successful with a number of aces and a considerable number of victories to their credit. Though morale suffered as the war situation worsened, for the most part, they continued to fight. Eventually some defected to the Russians while others fought with the Slovak Uprising in 1944. Though their feats were denigrated or ignored by the Communist regime, their story is told in full as it is now known in these pages. As with other Mushroom Model titles, it is lavishly illustrated with period photos and a goodly number of superb color profiles. A full appendix that includes victories and losses is also in with the book. It is a superb read of a part of the war that few realize took place. A book I know you will enjoy reading and one I can highly recommend.
  • TMMI 167, September 2009 • 2011-06-20
  • Mini Replika • 2009-03-25
  • Skrzydlata Polska • 2009-03-25

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