IntroductionHe 162 Volksjäger Units
is a new title published by Osprey Publishing LTD.
Authored by Robert Forsyth and illustrated by Jim Laurier, the book is number 118 in the Combat Aircraft series. It is coded COM 118 by Osprey and part of the IBSN 9781472814579 for the softcover. It is also available in PDF and ePUB formats and is 96 pages long.
With the Third Reich on the brink of defeat Hitler's instructions to his designers were clear. He wanted a Volksjäger - a People's Fighter that was quick to produce and used minimal quantities of strategic materials. Heinkel rose to the challenge with the He 162, a fighter constructed of wood and metal that was designed, built and flown in the staggeringly short time of ten weeks. Professional pilots were in short supply, and so the Luftwaffe was ordered to man the He 162 with hastily trained members of the Hitler Youth - a flawed plan that fortunately never came to fruition.
Detailed aircraft profiles and never before seen photographs perfectly complement the analysis of the revolutionary Heinkel He 162 as author Robert Forsyth traces its entire history, from the early design and production through to its limited combat experience. - Osprey
ContentHe 162 Volksjäger Units
presents the history of the He 162 from concept through design and assembly, training and operations, and their capture and testing by the victorious Allies. Colloquially known as the "Salamander", that was the project code name for the unique aircraft christened the Volksjäger
. Its story is told through several chapters and sections (the titles vary between my book and the website):
Chapter 1: The Peoples Fighter
Chapter 2: We had not Reckoned with such Little Time
Chapter 3: Training and Trials
Chapter 4: Jagdgeschwader 1
Chapter 5: This Jet Fighter Should be Studied Further
Chapter 1: Development of the Peoples' Fighter
Chapter 2: Testing Setbacks
Chapter 3: Pilot Training
Chapter 4: Production
Chapter 5: Into Service
Appendices: Technical specification and performance tables for He 162, Selected Bibliography
I have not seen other books specifically about the Volksjäger
and was thus surprised at how much information author Forsyth presents in this book. This includes quotes and statements from the designers and pilots who made the jet what it was.
Previous accounts of the "Salamader" presented the aircraft as a deathtrap for pilots. This title records that it was a handful although some pilots found it to be no more challenged to fly than other fighters.
The aircraft went through a great deal of development. Difficult conditions deteriorated into increasing severity which hampered its development. The text includes comparisons of performance expectations against the ME 262, as well as Nazi rivalries that reached in to the hall of the Luftwaffe ministry. The significant use of slave labor in appalling conditions to build the Volksjäger
were equally hindered by structural material problems.
Despite those problems, Volksjägers
trickled in to JG1 and contrary to my previous knowledge of the He 162, Volksjägers
did go operational. Attrition was terrible due to both operational and combat losses. Allied aircraft harried the airfields that JG1 dispersed to, destroying them on the ground, during takeoff, and while landing. He 162s did fly operational mission and yet only one claimed a kill, a Tempest in the waning hours of the war.
After VE Day, "Salamanders" were grabbed up by American, British, French and Russian forces. They were evaluated with various results and assessments. USAAF tests produced the comment, "This jet fighter should be studied further".
The He 162 story is a story of desperation and deprivation that created an amazing jet that yielded mixed results. I find it to be a fascinating read that both reinforced and dispelled previous understandings of the Volksjäger
Art and Photographs
A fine gallery of photographs support the text. The machine and the men that flew it - and built it - are presented. Quality of the photos vary from amateur "grab shots" to studio quality images. Factory photos of diagrams, parts and components are a boon for modelers.
Artist Jim Laurier created 16 color profiles of He 162s. Each profile has an associated commentary detailing the aircraft and, often, color information. Graphics include technical specification and performance tables.
Modelers, artists and historians should be satisfied with the visual component of this book.
ConclusionHe 162 Volksjäger Units
should be a popular book for modelers and historians of the final days of the Jagdwaffe
and early jets. My prior knowledge of the jet was both confirmed and debunked.
I have no meaningful criticism of the book. He 162 Volksjäger Units
was an interesting read for me and I recommend it.
Please remember to mention to Osprey and retailers that you saw this book here - on