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Jagdeschwader 53 'Pik-as' (utgåvan 2007)
av John Weal
Jagdgeschwader 53 'Pik-As' (Aviation Elite Units) av John Weal
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Arguably the archetypal Luftwaffe fighter unit of World War 2, JG 53 aircraft were encountered on almost every fighting front from the first day of hostilities until the last. Its famous and familiar "Ace of Spades" unit emblem, which was displayed throughout the war, has, in effect, become visual shorthand for the wartime German fighter arm, being seen on die-cast models, prints, illustrations and book covers the world over. During almost six years of near constant campaigning, JG 53 took a steady toll of Allied aircraft - French, British, Soviet and American - in every theater it fought over. Its aircraft were present in some of the fiercest aerial actions of the war - the Battle of Britain, El Alamein, Stalingrad, Normandy and the Defence of the Reich. Although the JG 53 remained true to the Messerschmitt Bf 109 during its entire career, the variety of camouflage finishes worn by its machines - a unique three-tone scheme in the early years, winter white, desert dapple and Reich's defence black - and the steady progression of variants from Bf 109E to Bf 109K, are reflected in an eye-opening color section. John Weal has spent years researching in the German Federal Archives and this together with his personal contact with several veterans results in an authoritative and human account of JG 53's long and eventful war.
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