Review: Nightfighters Over the Reich, by Manfred Griehl

Nightfighters Over the Reich, Luftwaffe At War #2, by Manfred Griehl, Greenhill Books, 1997, 7 1/2"x10", 72 pages.

This book is part of a series of photo albums devoted to specialized Luftwaffe topics. This particular volume does not devote much space to narrative text. Most of the information is in its photo captions. Luftwaffe night fighters is a rather broad category to cover in such a small book. So, basically, the volume is an overview of aircraft types employed in the nocturnal defense of German forces.

All photos in the book are contemporary, wartime images. There are no modern museum shots to fill out the pages. Overall, picture quality is good with only a few relatively poor images, most of whoich are clearly included for the unusual features they portray. The beginning section features period color photographs, many of good quality. These should be of interest to modelers and enthusiasts interested in finishes of Luftwaffe aircraft. Quite a number of images detail specialized weapon and instrument installations that were unique to night fighter aircraft. This reviewer was particularly intrigued with the Spanner-Anlage fitted to a Do-17Z-10. This was an infrared searchlight fitted to the nose of the aircraft, beneath the machine guns, and an IR-sensitive viewing device fitted to the pilot's wind screen. Intriguing as this device is, it was not terribly successful and was dropped from use in favor of airborne radar sets.

While this reviewer is not fully up to speed on the materials generally available on Luftwaffe aircraft, he found this volume informativeand well produced. It should be a very useful reference for enthusiasts and modelers alike. Given the swiftness with which aviation related books appear and vanish from print, this reasonably priced volume, if representative of the series, should be a useful library addition for both experienced and neophyte Luftwaffe enthusiasts. It comes highly recommended.

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Text © 1997 by Charles Hart.