In his previous book on early jet fighters Leo Marriott traced the history of the revolutionary aircraft produced by the British and Americans immediately after the Second World War; in this companion volume he describes jet fighter development on the continent of Europe and in the Soviet Union during the same remarkable period. Using over 200 archive photographs he covers the pioneering German designs, then the range of experimental and operational fighters constructed by the Soviets, the French and the Swedes. The sheer variety of the designs that manufacturers came up with during this short, intense period of innovation mean that the book is fascinating reading.
Several of the most famous jet fighters feature prominently in the rare photographs and are analysed in the expert text, including the Messerschmitt Me 262, the Heinkel He 162, the MiGs 15, 17 and 19, the Dassault Ouragan and the Saab J29. But perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the book is its record of experimental projects which tested new concepts that rapidly became established elements of jet aircraft design. The photographs of these largely forgotten aircraft give us an insight into the extraordinary technical challenges and the ambition and inventiveness of the designers and manufacturers who overcame them.
GUEST REVIEW FROM MARK MAGUIRE
Today I am delighted to be able to hand over my blog to my husband Mark so that he can share with you his review for Early Jet Fighters 1944-1954: The Soviet Union and Europe, part of the Images of War series:
“The Images of War format is renowned for its concise narration and thought – provoking imagery. This title follows in this tradition and considers the development and operational history of Soviet and European Early Jet fighters over the timeframe 1944-1954. The timeline takes the reader on a fascinating journey from the latter stages of the Second World War through to the time of global proxy war and the supra-national ideological battle between Communism and Capitalism.
The book is broken down into the following structure: Germany; The Soviet Union, France, Sweden and Other Nations. The chapter on Germany covers familiar ground ranging from the HE178 through to the GO229. This chapter effectively serves as a unifying thread linking the subsequent chapters together, given the widespread adoption and development of pre-existing German designs in the immediate aftermath of the Allied victory, this is to be expected.
The chapters focusing upon France; Sweden, and the others are interesting and engaging, and enthusiasts will lust over Mystere IVB; Draken and the elegant Japanese Kikka. However, it is the chapter devoted to the Soviet Union which forms the most interesting component.
From a personal perspective, the Soviet Union has always been a source of intrigue and enquiry. For a society which was avowedly anti-capitalist in word and deed, its pivotal role as an ally and the placed it in a contradictory position of relying upon capitalist countries opening up a second front whilst continuing to emphasise its socio-economic superiority. With this in mind, the technological spoils of war resulted in a remarkable series of experiments aimed at enhancing existing piston designs by incorporating turbo jet / ram jet technology (YAK-9PVRD) through to all-new jet designs which ultimately became world-beating, (MiG 15).
One notable inclusion within the above chapter is that of the Kholschevnikov Accelerator, a hybrid system involving conventional piston technology and an axial flow compressor to boost performance. This was not something that I had encountered previously, and the success of the concept was amply demonstrated by the I-250N (1946-48) with a top speed of 512 MPH. Suffice to say, I found the chapter on the Soviet Union to be most rewarding. That being said, the accompanying Soviet images are patchy in terms of their quality when compared to their western counterparts.
In conclusion, this book is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in wartime and post war jet fighter development. This text is easy to read and yet remains informative throughout. As with other titles within the Images of War series, it is a work which can be used as either a standalone work, or as a springboard for further studies.”