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Messerschmitt Bf109A-E

Willy Radinger & Walter Schick
Schiffer Publishing, LTD, 1999
ISBN 0-7643-0951-X
136 pages

Reviewed by Chris Banyai-Riepl

Originally titled "Messerschmitt Me 109: Das meistgebaute Jagdflugzeug der Welt Engwicklung, Erprobrung und Technik, Alle Varianten: von Bf (me) 109A bis 109E" and published by Aviatic Verlag in Germany, this edition has been translated into English and released through Schiffer. The most apparent change right off the bat is the much smaller title! The book is a welcome addition to any Bf109 enthusiast, as it covers the beginnings of this famous plane. Starting with the first prototype, all the early Bf109s are covered in both text and photos, with many photos that I haven't seen before. Most publications skip over the early prototypes when they talk about the Bf109, but this book doesn't. In fact, they seem to go the opposite way and focus more on the early prototypes to the neglect of the operational types.

In defense of the book, though, it's primary focus is on the development and testing of the plane in addition to the production, and this is covered very well. The text is well-written and the photos coupled with it really help tell the story of these early pioneers of the Bf109. Included in with the black and white photos are a few pages of color photos, including a rare shot of two Bulgarian Bf109Es with a yellow streak down the fuselage sides. Toss in the many drawings of the early Bf109s and this book quickly becomes a valuable resource.

With the huge number of books out there devoted to the Bf109, it's hard to justify buying yet another title. This one, however, goes to great lengths to cover areas of the life of the Bf109 that have been covered poorly in the past and that makes this book a valuable addition to any Bf109 book collection.

Available from Aviation Usk.

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