Jagdstaffel 5

Volume 2
By G. K. Merrill
Albatros Publications, ©2004
ISBN 1-902207-68-8
Softbound, 52 Pages

Reviewed by Chris Banyai-Riepl

The second part of the Jagdstaffel 5 series is here, and like the first volume, this one is packed with great information and photos. The text picks up where the first volume left off, with the loss of Kurt Schneider as Jasta 5's leader. Still flying Albatros fighters, Jasta 5 continued soldiering on in the waning days of summer 1917, with the month of August marking the transfer of the last original Jasta 5 member, Heinrich Büssing to another unit.

As 1917 rolled to an end, Jasta 5 began a new mission: that of attacking armor. At the same time the pilots also continued fighting in the air, with many of the pilots scoring victories before the year was up. In 1918, the fighting continued at a similar pace to the prior year, with the monotony broken by visits from other units, the most notable being that of Manfred Richthofen. On March 17, 1918 his visit brought the news that Jasta 5 would be put under the direction of JG 1 and moved to the Somme Valley to support the upcoming offensive there. The next big change came in May, when the unit traded its Albatros fighters for Fokker triplanes. The triplane era of Jasta 5 was short-lived, though, as was the war. Before the end came in November, though, the unit switched to Fokker D.VII fighters, flying this superlative aircraft for the last few months of the war.

This very brief overview of the last years of Jasta 5 is covered in much more depth in this book, with personal anecdotes and extensive records helping to provide a very complete history of the unit. Coupled with the outstanding text are many excellent photos. These are printed large and show clearly the great variety of markings worn by the aircraft of Jasta 5. To truly understand the colorful markings, though, one must turn to the color profiles presented in this book. Like the first volume, noted artists Bob Pearson and Ray Rimell fill this book with dozens of great color profiles. These will definitely present modelers with plenty of inspiration for their next World War One model.

This book is a well-researched piece of World War One history and should make the shelves of both WWI modelers and researchers alike. Unit histories like this one offer an interesting view of aviation not often seen in books that focus on just one specific aircraft. I hope that the fine folks at Albatros Publications continue this concept and come out with similar titles for all sides of World War One. My thanks to Albatros Publications for the review sample.

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