Book Review: Luftwaffe over America

Until 9-11, the continental US had only come under air attack in a few scattered incidences – Japanese float plane raids launched from submarines, and unmanned fire balloons lofted into the jet stream. Yet, had Germany’s fortunes against Russia turned out better than they did, the Third Reich would have had the time and resources for a goal harbored by German strategists since the 1890s – striking directly, and in force, against the American eastern seaboard. even after the ebb of war turned against Hitler, the German aircraft industry worked hard to produce a strategic bomber able to cross the Atlantic – a large scale bombing campaign against US cities would not have been possible, but it was thought that even small scale raids would force the Americans to divert resources to defend their own homeland. A list of targets critical to US war making capability was drawn up – I was surprised to see one (a Curtiss-Wright propeller plant) only twenty miles away from my home. Had things gone differently, people living in my neighborhood in the mid-1940s might have spent a lot of time looking at the skies and waiting for air raid sirens.

There are quite a few interesting illustrations in this book of a “Luftwaffe ’46” flavor. Some notable 3-views include the Fw.300 Condor replacement, another Focke-Wulf with twin tails and four BMW 801s, the BV 250 landplane version of the BV 238 (which is also covered), the four-engined He 177 B-5, and a Zweilling version of the Ju-290. There are also some exotic jet designs – a 3-view of the Messerschmitt P.1073B parasite fighter, the P.1107 four-engined swept-wing bomber, and flying wings from Messerschmitt, Horten, and Junkers.

The book has two sections of B&W photos – some highlights: a drawing of the Junkers Ju 89 A-1, He 274 in French markings as the AAS.01, the destroyed Ju 488 prototype, a model of the 6-engined Me 264/6M, the Me 328, a model of the Ju 287 forward swept wing bomber and a mockup of its crew compartment.