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Luftwaffe X-planes (Hardback)

WWII Aviation All Frontline Books German Forces & Weaponry Frontline: WWII Frontline: Aviation

By Manfred Griehl
Frontline Books
Pages: 80
ISBN: 9781848327894
Published: 25th March 2015

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From jet planes and high altitude aircraft to radar-equipped fighters configured to deliver chemical weapons, numerous Luftwaffe planes were designed and reached prototype stage but never made it into mass production or battle. Luftwaffe X Planes is a definitive, revelatory guide to the remarkable range of secret planes that the Third Reich failed to complete.

Despite the Allied authorities' ban on research, countless aircraft were designed and tested by the Luftwaffe and German manufacturers before World War II. The research went ahead at secret evaluation sites in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the USSR. After the outbreak of the war this work continued. Many projects remained on the drawing board or at prototype stage because either they were deemed unsuitable or, as is the case with most of those in this selection, the developers simply ran out of time and the projects never went into production.

Renowned aviation expert Manfred Griehl has painstakingly assembled a valuable selection of images which shows the remarkable range of projects dreamed up by the German designers. Had these innovative projects ever been realised the course of the World War II could have been dramatically different.

Griehl returns here on the many experimental programs of the Luftwaffe with this small catalogue of photos.

Cocardes, December 2016 – January 2017 – reviewed by Sam Pretat

Manfred Griehl knows his stuff and makes the most of interesting photographs. First off he describes activities at the many research centres within the Reich before looking at a range of experimental aircraft including a number of test beds used to evaluate everything from defensive armament to ramjets. There are many familiar types here but the book also includes some relatively unknown aircraft.

I find all this stuff fascinating and when you consider just how fertile German aeronautical minds were it is clear to see why the Allies raced to capture the Nazis military secrets in 1945. Anyone with an interest in post war aviation will be aware how much influence German designs had on well known jets such as the MiG 15 and F-86 Sabre, but this book reminds us how inventive the Germans were in looking for war winning weapons and there are a few cumbersome looking contraptions to admire in addition to sleek and successful types.

Mr Griehl’s book will appeal to anyone interested in the Luftwaffe or aviation history, as much as it will for those keen on production prototypes and experimental airframes.

I cannot get bored with this stuff and don’t hesitate in recommending the book to you. It is easy to follow and the images are accompanied by excellent captions. The author’s knowledge of the German wartime aviation industry is really top notch and there's much to learn here. If I have to pick a favourite aircraft I would have to go for the huge Bv 238 flying boat or the Heinkel He 112 fighter that lost out to the Messerschmitt Bf109. If I am honest I could just list them all. It must be apparent I am really lost for words here, hence the extract from my review of X-Planes.

War History Online - Mark Barnes

The author is an acknowledged expert on German experimental aircraft of WWII and has provided a lavishly illustrated book with concise text and extended photo captions. This is a subject that has fascinated so many people, many of whom have little general interest in military aviation history. This a book that many readers will enjoy, but it is essential reading for anyone with specific interest in military aviation and advanced engineering. Strongly recommended...

... The author has provided a fascinating selection of advanced and special purpose aircraft and weapons systems.

Firetrench

This exciting book discusses the 'experimental' Luftwaffe planes that were designed, reached the prototype stage but never entered production/battle. It covers jet planes, high altitude aircraft and radar equipped fighters. Surprisingly, some of these airframes were configured to deliver chemical weapons. It has numerous previously unseen period photographs and plan drawings making it a remarkable guide to the Third Reich's secret aircraft.

This exceptional book discuses the various testing centres/sites whilst the vast majority of the book is devoted to plates of the experimental aircraft...

... If advanced aeronautical technology is of interest to you then this book will undoubtedly appeal... A 'well done' is due to the author for revealing these technologies and for brining them to the notice of the public.

Military Archive Research - Dr Stuart C Blank

Manfred Griehl is regarded as an expert in aviation history. Through this book Griehl explains in fine detail how several prototype aircraft were tested and evaluated by the Luftwaffe – in total secrecy. Interestingly, these tests started to take place as far back as the end of World War One...

... Contained within this great book is a very concise timeline detailing how, where and when new aircraft were tested and evaluated. From the end of World War One and traveling through the 1920s and 1930s, the author explains how the German experimental aircraft programme rapidly grew and soon established itself at a huge evaluation site located at an airfield near Ellerholz in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany...

... This book is full of rare images which the author has obviously researched very thoroughly. He gives a full explanation of each and every photograph. The book includes comprehensive profiles of each Luftwaffe X-Plane, as well as a year by year account of the building and testing of all the prototype aircraft and their variants. Profiles also include already established Luftwaffe aircraft, from its formation in 1935. The author explains how many of these fledgling aircraft failed to make it past the test phase, owing to the war drawing to a close and time running out.

Both appendixes are crammed full of information. Appendix one is comprised of full lists showing manufacturers, aircraft types, call signs, and works numbers. Each aircraft is complemented with a date and place of test followed by the name of the test pilot. The appendix concludes with remarks detailing how the subject aircraft performed on its inaugural test flights. Appendix two follows on with a list of Luftwaffe evaluation units and which type of aircraft or system they evaluated...

...I fully recommend this book to all aviation enthusiasts. ‘Luftwaffe X-Planes’ is a very interesting read and an excellent insight into the Third Reich’s secret aircraft designs. Had the German war machine not run out of time, it is very possible the outcomes of World War Two may have been significantly different.

Stand-Easy

A really handy reference to the many experimental aircraft of the Third Reich

Military Modelling

About Manfred Griehl

Manfred Griehl was a renowned aviation expert and the author of Luftwaffe X-Planes: German Experimental Aircraft of World War II.

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