Book Review: “German Aircraft in the Soviet Union and Russia”
The histories of aviation in Germany and Russia were closely entwined from the dawn of powered flight, and a great many German aircraft found their way into Russian, and later Soviet hands over the decades, both as war booty and through commercial means. This impressive volume, over 300 pages in length, provides an absolutely fascinating look at German aircraft that ended up with red stars – absolutely packed with diagrams, color profiles, and hundreds of obscure photos reproduced in good quality.
A major focus is WWII – with the Germans having at one point made it to the edge of Moscow, there were obviously many opportunities to acquire Luftwaffe aircraft, and Soviet engineers made detailed studies of their war prizes, both to absorb new technologies and to understand the strengths and weaknesses of threat aircraft. There is detailed coverage of all the major (and many minor) German types – there are many potential modeling subjects here for someone looking to build an unusual Fw 190, Bf 109, Bf 110, or He 111.
Chapter 4: Testing of German Jet Aircraft
Covers the Ar 234Bs, Me 163s, Me 262s, and He 162s recovered in the later stages of the war, as the Red Army overran airfields, factories, and research facilities. The acquisition of this technology was pivotal, as Soviet work into turbojet powered aircraft had been hampered by wartime conditions, leaving the Russians far behind the US and UK. Also covered are the cruise missile projects derived from captured V-1/Fi 103s.
Chapter 5: Soviet Controlled German Design Bureaux
Even beyond the capture of technology, the Soviets also raced to acquire the brainpower behind the Reich’s advanced weapons. In the early postwar years, thousands of German engineers, technicians, and other specialists were relocated to the USSR and set to work – this chapter covers such types as the Junkers EF 126 pulse jet interceptor, EF 131 and 140 forward swept wing bombers, and the DFS 346 rocket powered research aircraft.