PAF '39 Through German Eyes vol. I
Angielska wersja książki: Polskie Konstrukcje Lotnicze Tom IV. cz. 1
A detailed photo album of Polish Air Force aircraft and equipment during September 1939. The book contains previously unpublished photos taken by German soldiers during the invasion of Poland. A fascinating and unparalleled view of Polish military aviation and its aircraft, as seen through the lenses of the best photographic equipment of 1939!
Photographs of Polish aircraft in 1939 are rare, except for the many pictures taken by the invading Germans of captured, abandoned and wrecked aircraft. These represent a unique view of the machines, colours and markings of Polish military and civil aircraft during the Polish campaign. This book contains many such photos, with details of where and when they were taken, plus an overview of the organisation of Polish aviation and the airfields used. Essential reading and reference material for all those interested in the 1939 campaign and Polish aviation in general.
Reviewed by: Floyd S. Werner Jr., IPMS #26266
This softbound book contains 264 pages of high quality photos taken by German occupiers printed on high quality paper. What I did not know was that pre-war Polish security concerns prohibited photos from being taken from 1937 until the war. That is why there are, according to the authors, only around 25 photos of pre-war Polish aircraft. Then after the invasion anyone seen taking photos was suspected of spying and detained, plenty of reason that there are so few photos. The German photos became the only source of knowledge and markings from the Polish Air Force. The quality of photos is very high even though most of the aircraft are in states of disrepair.
Broken down into the various regions there are ten chapters. There are recon photos and drawings of the various airfields and descriptions of the attacks from the first day. The fate of many of these aircraft and the units are covered. What is unique is that this book doesn’t just contain the military aircraft but some of the civilian ones as well.
The lack of operational photos makes this book an essential tool for the historian and the modeler. There are many unique aircraft, including test aircraft, as well as the ‘normal’ PZL-7, PZL-11 and PZL-23. The Lublin R-VIII is a beautiful aircraft that figures well in the photos.
The text is easy enough to read as it is all written in English. OK some of the Polish wording is difficult to pronounce but there is no way around that.
I’m positive that if you have even an inkling that you might like Polish aircraft or the history of the early phases of World War II, this is a book for you. Good news is there is a second book coming soon.
By Chris Banyai-Riepl
The German invasion of Poland marked the beginning of the Second World War in Europe, but until recently it has been overshadowed by later wartime events in the history books. New research has started to focus on this opening battle, and this book adds to that growing historiography with an examination of the Polish Air Force as seen from the German side.
The book is mainly a photo documentary, following the Polish Air Force around the nation. The chapters are divided up by airfield, with a drawing included to show the basic layout of the field. Of course, different airfields had different aircraft, and some were covered in more detail by the Germans than others. Still, the breadth of coverage is truly amazing in this book, with many common and obscure types presented.
As this is a photo documentary from the German viewpoint, most of the photos show the Polish Air Force in a less than stellar light. Many of the photos show aircraft in damaged or crashed condition, which offer a great reference for modelers. The book covers both military and civilian subjects as well, providing even more fodder for the modeler.
If you are looking for something a bit different for your World War Two collection, the subjects presented in this book offer just that. The photos are well printed and large, so they will be a great reference for modelers and historians alike. My thanks to Stratus for the review copy.
Aeroplane 12/2010 2011-04-27
AIR Modeller no 30 2011-04-27
Amazon.com customer review 2011-04-27
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing collection ofphotographs., February 10, 2011
By John Matlock "Gunny" (Winnemucca, NV)
Only about 20 pre-war photographs of Polish Air Force planes are known. But when the Germans came into Poland in 1939 they brought with them lots of cameras and film which could be used by the Nazi's to show the world what they were doing. Somehow the authors of this book have been able to find hundreds of these photographs showing Polish aircraft. Many of the planes are crashed, bombed, or otherwise damaged, but enough show undamaged planes so that you can get a feeling for what the Poles had.
The book is not only educational but serves as a reminder of just how much wanton destruction a war does.
Average Customer Review
5.0 out of 5 stars (1 customer review)
John Matlock "Gunny" (Winnemucca, NV)
Poland occupies a unique place in the world, situated between Russia and Germany and from time to time the target of war from both of them. This position is reflected in the aircraft collection in this museum. They have an eclectic collection with planes from both east and west. Here is a Curtis Hawk, the actual American made dive bomber (one of two) purchased by Ernst Udet as a foundation for Germany's dive bomber designs. There is a Spitfire not too far from its main enemy the Messerschmitt Bf-109 (a G model, one of the last built). Over there an Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik (actually their sample is of the later version, the Il-10) as manufactured in Poland and called an Avia B-33. The collection of MiG fighters is as complete (especially of MiG-21's) as I believe exists outside of some of the Russian museums.
The book has literally hundreds of color photographs of the collection along with brief descriptions of the aircraft in general terms and the history of their particular sample.
Scott Van Aken I
nformation on the Polish Air Force in the days just prior to WWII and during the opening weeks of the war is incredibly sparse. The authors have scoured the globe for images from that time and have discovered that there are only 20 known photographs of aircraft from Polish sources. However, there are literally hundreds of images of the destruction wrought by the Germans from images taken after the end of the Polish campaign and from these images comes most of our information.
This book covers the organization of the Polish Air Force in 1939, the dispersal of aircraft, the dates and times of the bombing of various fields and the fate of these locations. Each location is given a separate section and all of the photos pertaining to a certain air field and area are contained within that section. The quality of the images is quite good and there are a considerable number of them. The condition of the aircraft range from flyable to burned out hulks.
There is the full range of aircraft types shown in these images and what I found particularly interesting were the photos of the PZL P.50 that are in the book. These are the first I've seen and puts to rest the story that the lone prototype was shot down by friendly fire.
It is an outstanding book and one that I found fascinating to read. Actually, fascinating to look at would be more to the point as this is first and foremost, a photo book with a short history of events at each of the locations in this first volume. Throughout its 264 pages, you'll find images of interest.
I can highly recommend this one to you as it is very well done and I know you will just as pleased with it as am I.
By Ray Mehlberger
Date of Review April 2010
Stratus is a publishing company based in Sandomierz, Poland. They are partners with Mushroom Model Publications (MMP) based in the UK. MMP has their books printed by Stratus in English. This book is a purely Stratus one and in English.
The book is soft cover in a 11 ¾” x 8 ¼” page format (close to letter stationary size) and 264 pages long.
In this book, two noted Polish aviation historians take a close look at the Polish Air Force in 1939, at the time of the German attack. As very few photographs exist of the PAF from just before the war (only 20 are known), this book makes use of the many photos taken by the German invaders. It is helpful to obtain a close and detailed view of the markings applied to Polish aircraft at the time. The book says that it also helps with the colors of Polish aircraft. However, no color appears anywhere in the book and determining a color from black and white photos is extremely difficult. There is to be a volume 2 with this same title, so maybe color will appear in that volume.
The book does not have a lot of text. It is mostly photos with captions.
No fewer than 572 black and white photos fill this book. 32 of these are aerial shots of Polish air fields and cities. The aircraft pictured are mostly in wrecked conditions.
There are also 3 data lists and 28 maps included.
The book describes the organization of the PAF in September of 1939, the wartime dispersal and the fate of all the airfields and landing grounds during the campaign. The story covers operational, training and civil aircraft, and shows the sad fate of so many of these fascinating aircraft.
Volume two will later continue this detailed coverage.
This will be an invaluable reference source for anyone interested in the Polish campaign, aircraft enthusiasts, historians and modelers.
Because the fate of Poland was sealed in three weeks only, and because of the huge destruction of the country during this very short time, only the German have been able to take pictures of their success. Because of this, it is difficult to know what was the Polish Air Force in September 1939 and this book of more 260 pages is trying to fill the gap.
After a very detailed introduction and the organization of the Polish Air Force in 1939, the authors are offering a very exiting photo album of around 500 pictures, zone after zone, many of them being seen for the first time and most are also very well captioned giving a lot of complementary information.
This book gives to any reader the opportunity to have a better knowledge of what the Polish Air Force was in September 1939, and have an overlook of the destruction and losses sustained by the Poles during this short period of time. Without a doubt, the books is providing a very good reference to anyone interested in the first days of WW2, and the modelers will surely find a source of inspiration with plenty images to use and to study.
Phil Listemann Phil Listemann
Master Modelers no. 48 jul 2010 2011-04-27
AIM 2011-1 2011-04-27
Reviewed by Rodger Kelly
F i r s t R e a d
For the uninitiated, Wydawnictwo Stratus is a publishing house based in Poland that produces some really superb books dealing with Polish military subjects.
This new release from Stratus is essentially a picture album of images taken by members of the German forces following their invasion of Poland in the September of 1939.
This volume consists of ten chapters and three short indexes.
The contents are as follows:
Chapter 1 - Polish Air Force in September 1939
The Polish Air Force in September 1939
German Bombing of Polish Airfields
Chapter 2 - Naval Air Squadron
Naval Air Squadron
Chapter 3 – Pomerania
Airfield of the 4th Air Regiment
Air Component of the ‘Pomorze’ Army
Chapter 4 – Wielkopolska
Poznan Lawica Airfield (Base of trhe 3rd Air Regiment)
Air component of the ‘Poznan’ Army
Chapter 5 – Lodz Region
Lódz-Lublinek Airfield Of the ‘Lodz’ Army Air Component
Chapter 6 – Mazowsze
Warsaw – Okecie
Warsaw – WP1
Warszawa – WS 1, ITL, DWL, LOT
Warszawa – Base of the 1st Air Regiment
Warszawa – Mokotów and Warsaw-Bielany
Chapter 7 – Pursuit Brigade
Chapter 8 – Bomber Brigade
Chapter 9 – No 1 Air Force Training Centre (CWL-1) Deblin-Irena
Sprl – Radom
Chapter 10 – Swietokrzyskie Region
Kielce- Maslów, Polichno
The three short appendices are:
Whilst the book is essentially a photo documentation of the aftermath of the invasion, the opening page of each chapter provides information of the raid(s) that occurred at each location. Chapter 1 also informs you on the make up and status of the Polish Air Force in the September of 1939 as well as the bombing of Polish airfields by the Luftwaffe from 4 September to 17 September.
The book is a weighty tome indeed. It is A4 in size and comprises 264 pages in all between soft cardboard covers. Binding is soft back. A bonus is that it is printed in the English language rather than the cumbersome English/Polish format adopted by some of the other Eastern European publishers.
The images contained between the covers are a mixture of what looks to be those taken by professional photographers as well as those taken by humble soldiers recording their conquests all however appear to have been chosen by the publisher for their clarity and sharpness.
Images of Polish military aircraft are thin on the ground to say the least. However, this book (which is only volume 1!) goes a long way in redressing this shortage and it will appeal to both the historian and the modeller.
IPMS UK MAgazine 04/2010 2011-04-27
Skrzydlata Polska 05/2010 2010-06-11
MiniReplika Nr 66 2010-06-11
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