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Eagles over the Sea, 1943–45 (Hardback)

A History of Luftwaffe Maritime Operations

WWII Seaforth Naval Photographic Books German Forces & Weaponry in WWII Luftwaffe

By Lawrence Paterson
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 400
Illustrations: 112 b/w photos & 1 map
ISBN: 9781526777652
Published: 18th May 2020



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This is the second volume of Lawrence Paterson’s detailed account of all the Luftwaffe’s naval operations during World War II. The first volume took the story up to 1942, and by the end of that year Hermann Göring’s Reich Air Ministry had subsumed nearly every aspect of Wehrmacht maritime aviation. Kriegsmarine attempts to develop an independent Fleet Air Arm had been perpetually frustrated, reflecting the chaotic nature of the Third Reich’s internal military and political mechanics.

Driven more by vanity than operational prudence, the Luftwaffe had continually thwarted the advancement of maritime aviation, and by 1942 began to reap the whirlwind it had created. The U-boat war hung precariously in the balance, the lack of well trained and properly equipped aerial reconnaissance suddenly assuming greater importance than ever before. During 1943 the nature of Germany’s war mutated and by its close the Allies were on the offensive in nearly all theatres. This volume resumes the story with Operation Torch in November 1942, when Germany faced an Allied seaborne invasion of North Africa that it was ill-equipped to counter by land, sea or air; and the spectre of even greater invasion armadas loomed on both the southern and western fronts during the months that followed. Facing the Russians, maritime air units were stripped to the bone, those precious few formations available shunted rapidly between military crisis points until barely able to function. The rise of Luftwaffe maritime operations described in the author’s first volume now became, from 1942 onwards, a fall of catastrophic proportions as frequently undertrained crews flew increasingly obsolete aircraft against odds that had become overwhelming. The Luftwaffe was paying the price for its pre-war lack of cohesive strategic planning, none more so than its beleaguered maritime specialists. The author covers this story across all the theatres of the war and in doing so gives the reader a complete and coherent picture of all the Luftwaffe’s naval operations.

Heavily illustrated throughout, this detailed and exciting narrative will be of huge appeal to both naval and aviation historians and enthusiasts.

This is a very detailed book and comprehensive in its scope which makes for a fantastic read, the detail is excellent and welcome but it’s not too formal or deep as to make the book dull. There aren’t a lot of photographs in this book, but what there are excellent of those individuals involved. As someone who doesn’t know as much as he probably should on the matter, I found it great and very informative, showing that you can learn something every day. This why doing my little reviewing job for Pen and Sword Books, is great, because I get to learn new things every day. This is a book that should be recommended and it actually makes me want to read the previous book. A good 5 stars.


Read the full review here

UK Historian

The author’s research is undoubtedly impressive, and this book will appeal to anyone interested in maritime aviation. It is essentially a chronological history of German maritime aviation and it covers all German theatres of war. For people interested in maritime aviation, World War 2 aviation or just general aviation history this book is essential reading and it should be added to your personal library.

Dr Stuart C Blank
 Lawrence Paterson

About Lawrence Paterson

Lawrence Paterson has a long-standing interest in the Kriegsmarine.

Perfect Partner

Eagles over the Sea 1935–1942 A History of Luftwaffe Maritime Operations (Hardback)

The arduous development of a dedicated naval air arm for Germany’s resurgent military was fraught with the kind of fierce inter-service rivalry that was rife throughout the turbulent history of the Third Reich. However, almost despite the odds, a small dedicated maritime strike force was assembled, germinating during the Spanish Civil War before being committed to action from the first days of the invasion of Poland. Concurrently, the operational Luftwaffe developed its own maritime units that would eventually subsume all of the Kriegsmarine-controlled formations as the war years progressed.…

By Lawrence Paterson

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