Luftwaffe Eagle: 206 Combat Victories in the Me 109 and Me262 Hardcover – 1 Oct 2008
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It isn't often that one gets to read a modern autobiography about a WWII pilot. The ones published after the war were interesting reading, but generally tinged a bit due to the nearness of the events. When one gets something like Walter Schuck's work, it has the benefit of being able to put things more into perspective. I was amazed at the amount of detail that Herr Schuck was able to bring to this book. Obviously he has a superb memory and kept most of his personal logs and notes from being lost or destroyed, as was often the case with veterans in post war Germany.
Like most, the author was very interested in aviation and as soon as he could, he joined one of the many groups around Germany at the time that were able to nurture that interest and desire. So at 16 he decided to join the Luftwaffe. Of course, there was the mandatory 6 month stint in the Reich Labor Service to build up his body and the usual initial military training before being accepted into the Luftwaffe pilot training course. As many of you know, it takes several years to go through pilot training until one is able to get one's wings and the author had a most interesting time of it, to say the least.
Finally, he earned a posting with JG 3 but found little opportunity for combat until posted to JG 5 in Northern Norway. Thus begins the sage of what was to become the 'Arctic Eagle'. Few books have concentrated on the Arctic front, so that aspect alone really adds to the interest of this book. There were days and weeks where the weather made flying difficult if not impossible, yet the men stationed in northern Norway were able to take the war to the Soviets at their bases around Murmansk with quite a bit of success.
Walter Schuck was quite successful, shooting down a lot of P-40s, P-39s and Hurricane fighters as well as the usual Yaks and various bombers. In fact, he managed to defeat 12 aircraft during one 24 hour period, a remarkable feat for any pilot. Starting as an enlisted pilot, he earned a commission as well as many awards. During the end of the war, he was asked to join JG 7, then flying the Me-262. Though he did not fly many missions, he was able to achieve ace status on the jet, which added to his total victory score, bringing it to over 200 confirmed victories.
Is is a superlative book that is full of rare photos from the author's personal collection. Combine that with the usual color profiles of the aircraft flown by the author and it makes for a book that is a must have for any WWII aviation enthusiast. Most highly recommended. --Scott Van Aken - Modelling Madness May 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
A very interesting and easy to read account of a little covered campaign, well illustrated and focussing much on the personal life of Luftwaffe crew roughing it in forward bases fighting Russian pilots in a wide variety of aircraft types.
From a combat aviation point of view, this is a typical presentation. Yes he describes many engagements, but not in detail. As a general rule he will tell you the background to an engagement and how many he shot down, but not much more. Apparently he did not get involved in many dogfights, because he usually needed only a single burst to dispatch a foe?
Hikoki Publications has a penchant for providing an abundance of goodies in their aviation volumes, and this book is no exception. There are more photographs than there are pages in the book, nearly all pertaining to the author's on-going narration. There are color plates of Schuck's aircraft and appendices with kill lists, lists of aircraft flown, photos of aircraft types which Schuck faced. All in all, this book is a real treat.
Schuck comes across as forthright, honest and utterly professional in the business of downing enemy fighters. He quickly finds his feet as a pilot and rapidly increases his score, at one stage downing the unheard of total of 12 enemy fighters in one day. His accounts of the bitter aerial fighting over the arctic tundra in the middle of the bitter winter bring a chill to the bone and are certainly the first accounts of this conflict that I have read. It is amazing that he was able to bring down aircraft with so few rounds, but he is very passionate that all his kills were confirmed by either a wingman or the ground forces. At one stage he 'acquires' another 24 kills that he hadn't originally claimed after the navy is finally able to confirm his ac callsign and the various times/places.
What really makes the book for me (and very much like 'Stormbird') is the exquisite research and lavish illustrations that have gone into it. Almost everyone of significance (ie colleagues/senior officers etc) he has acquired several photos to illustrate them and he has a massive quantity of photos of him in action/rest etc. The book is liberally illustrated with drawings of his ac, photos of him, some of the crews of aircraft he downed, his awards, telegrams to congratulate him, newspaper clippings etc etc.
So, overall, one of the best accounts of a Luftwaffe 'Experten' you will find, one of the most lavishly illustrated and a superb accounts of a forgotten campaign. Highly reccommended.
That said, the story itself is very interesting and the authors achievements are impressive to say the least, it really was hard to take a break from reading!
What stands out about this book is the wealth of photographs of aircraft and those involved. Seeing who each pilot was made their victoroies and fates more personal.
The author also helpfully allocated a section to photos of enemy aircraft, allowing the reader to see what, say, a Petlyakov Pe-2 looked like. Add to this a number of colour photos and diagrams, and you have a very interesting book that once read, will be picked up again for enjoyment and as reference material.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the most interesting books about about German pilots I've read...Published 10 months ago by Alvaro Poyatos
Interesting book, well written and with excellent photographs. If you are in interested in Military Aviation this will be of interest.Published on 22 Dec. 2012 by Mr. A. Maybourn
As a military author and historian, with a great number of publications on the Luftwaffe, I found Walter's book a must have in the research library. Read morePublished on 6 April 2012 by Colin D. Heaton
It's one of the best books on Luftwaffe or Allied fighter aces I've read & I've read plenty,even more so,because it's battles are mainly fought in the Arctic arena,of which very... Read morePublished on 21 Mar. 2011 by Kadidil
I must say that I really enjoyed this book, personally I like the balance between text and images and Schuck is right up there with the best of the Luftwaffe aces albeit the major... Read morePublished on 23 July 2010 by Jamie Tralee
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