“Eagles over North-Africa…”

I sometimes stray a bit outside my “domain” in my quest for information.  Talking to a British publisher, they sent me this book and I found it well worth a review!


African Eagles Cover_2

Having seen quite a lot of illustrated WW2 aviation publications, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. In his introduction, the author not only gives a very clear and concise summary of the Mediterranean air war, but he also highlights the operational and logistical problems the Luftwaffe faced, in the desert and elsewhere. Those problems were in many cases caused by faulty strategic decisions “higher up”.
The images are excellent. Drawn from a very wide range of sources, they give a rare insight in the Luftwaffe’s daily life in the desert and the Balkans. I particularly like the early colour shots. They give such a much better feel for what the machines and scenery really looked like. Here’s an example:

African Eagles Photo_2

Two Messerschmitt Me 110’s of ZG 26 over the Western Desert. Note the long range (900 l) fuel tanks

The author is clearly very well versed in Luftwaffe type designations, units and personnel, as the captions show. He presents tantalizing titbits of information, awakening the readers’ curiosity. A good example is the series of pictures showing how equipment was transported in the huge Messerschmitt Me-323 “Gigant”. It conveys the feeling that the situation at sea must have been so desperate, that even the equivalent of a toilet wagon had to be transported by air…
My overall impression of the book is very good; it is not a history textbook, but a great collection of excellent images and good narrative. I was sorry to reach the end. The only thing I missed was a map of the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, nowadays not everyone knows all those places mentioned in the narrative.

I recommend this book to everyone interested in the WW2 Mediterranean air war and to those, who want to get an impression of how it was on the German side.

“Eagles over North-Africa and the Mediterranean, 1940 -1943”
By Jeffry Lance Ethell
Pen & Sword Aviation, 2016
ISBN 978-1-84832-792-4

This review was done on the basis of a free book.


About Kingsleyr

Thank you for visiting my blog! The posts you find here are a direct result of my research into aviation and military history. I use the information I gather as a foundation and background for my books. You may call the genre historical fiction, a story woven into a background of solid and verifiable historical facts. However, the period and region I have chosen to write about (late 1930's - 1950's in South-East Asia) are jam-packed with interesting information and anecdotes. If I'd used them all I would swamp the stories. So this blog is the next best thing. It is an "overflow area" in which I can publish whatever I think will interest you. And from the reactions I get, I deduce I am on the right track. A lot will be about aviation in the former Dutch East Indies. This, because my series of books ("The Java Gold") follows a young Dutch pilot in his struggle to survive the Pacific War and its aftermath. But there's more in the world and you'll find descriptions of cities, naval operations and what not published on this blog. Something about myself; I am a Dutch-Canadian author, living in, and working out of the magical city of Amsterdam. My lifelong interest in history and aviation, especially WW2, has led me to write articles and books on these subjects. I hope you'll enjoy them!
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