The Luftwaffe, part of Goering's "empire", started WWII in dramatic fashion as it spearheaded the invasion of Poland and the West. However, mounting losses (e.g. 92 aircrafts on the opening day of Operation Barbarossa alone) and sharp reverses at El Alamein and Stalingrad punctuated the Luftwaffe's long decline. From late 1942 onwards, Luftwaffe ground forces grew in number in both flak (antiaircraft) and field units, and these form the subject for this new book. The Luftwaffe was eventually to form a staggering two mechanized divisions, ten parachute and 21 field divisions, thus deplicating the role of the Wehrmacht.
As would be expected, many of the photos in this volume depict antiaircraft weapons. These include a plethora of 8.8cm guns, plus smaller systems such as the 2cm Flak 38 and Flak 30. With Dragon's recent releases of 8.8cm and 2cm flak kits, this book will give modelers a great deal of inspiration. Even antiaircraft machine guns make an appearance. Other photos show vehicles and personnel of field units in a wide variety of settings, including wintry, snow-covered ones. The authors have selected a fascinating array of photos, many of which will be unknown to readers. Searchlights and command and control equipment also receive their own section. Captions are informative, and full of interesting snippets such as the fact that on average of 3343 shells were fired for every bomber shot down! The introductory section of text is a helpful primer on the topic of Luftwaffe ground units, and a table lists the various Field Divisions that were established.
Dmitriy Zgonnik has contributed four color plates that serve as a suitable centerpiece for this book. The plates show members of the Luftwaffe serving in field or flak units, some wearing the distinctive blue-gray uniform, while others show camouflage smocks. Accompanying descriptions provide helpful information regarding uniforms and personal equipment. This is an excellent photographic record of an important component of Germany's armed forces, and it fills a gap that many enthusiasts will have in their libraries.