The Luftwaffe Battle of Britain Fighter Pilot's Kitbag

The Luftwaffe Battle of Britain Fighter Pilot's Kitbag

Mark Hillier
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
Now, this is a very different book about the Battle of Britain, it covers a spectrum that very few people other than professional historians and modellers would ever explore in detail, and yet it brings the subject to life in an easy to read, and absorb, way. Instead of covering the individual battles , pilots or aircraft, Mark Hillier has covered a much overlooked section of the Battle of Britain.

This book is a very accurate technical treatise upon the uniforms and equipment worn by the German fighter pilots from the Summer until November 1940, it does not cover bombers or air sea rescue craft or troop transport.

The detail in this book is stunning for what one would think is a limited and narrow field. The Luftwaffe had already honed their fighting skills, and equipment needs during the Spanish Civil war, and the Blitzkrieg through Poland, so behind the pilots sat a vast array of scientists, engineers, and manufactures ready to produce specialist flying equipment. Of course propaganda played a part as the cause of National Socialism needed to inspire and influence both the next generation of pilots and the general public.

Mark has always had a keen interest in the subject of the battles of 1940, and is well know for his books on Westhampnett, the Spitfire and the RAF pilots' clothing and uniforms of the period. Here he has moulded his own research along with assistance and knowledge from many others (all duly noted and thanked) combined with photographs from private collections, alongside rare period photographs and posters, and has included some of the human element with the experiences of those original Luftwaffe pilots at the time.

The amount of detail in this book is stunning , covering the different variations of clothing and equipment and personal items that many pilots added, all backed up with high quality colour plates. The variations in flying masks alone could easily fill a book!! along with goggles oxygen masks, throat mikes, helmet covers to aid identification, sunglasses, flying suits , winter flying suits, channel suits, boots, leather jackets - so beloved of the daring aces, scarves, gloves, life-jackets, parachutes and much much more .

Section 1: Flying Helmets
Section 2: Oxygen masks
Section 3: Goggles and sunglasses
Section 4: flying clothing
Section 5: Life-saving equipment, life-jackets, parachutes, flare pistols, escape knives,compasses, signal mirrors, dye packs, wound dressings, chocolate.
Section 6: Service dress, caps tunics, badges, boots, belts, sports clothing helmets and gas masks, I.D. Tags, personal weapons, insignia and rank markings.
Section 7: Other flying equipment and paperwork, watches, flight computers, maps, Luftwaffe pencils, logbooks and passes.

This stunning well illustrated book would be a joy to any modeller, collector or indeed any one interested in the aircraft of this period, so much detail is included, even down the manufacturer's markings and dates, as well as many superb period photographs of the young men looking dashing alongside their aircraft. In fact the only omission I could find in this well researched book was pilots dogs(?) although enough appear in the photos to get a general idea.

Hardback, 135 pages with hundreds of high quality photographs both modern and period, maps and drawings; a fascinating and insightful read, a book that you could re-read, and learn more each time; also great for watching war films and spotting the errors.

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Joshua Slocum
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