"Between June 1944 and March 1945, Hitler’s V1 offensive against London saw the launch of 10, 500 of the deadly pilotless bombs, killing 6, 148 people and seriously injuring 17, 981 more. Rushed into action on 22 July 1944 to help counter the V1 threat, Britain’s Gloster Meteor I was the first jet fighter to enter RAF service. At low and medium altitudes the Meteor I was faster than its piston-engined contemporaries, which in turn made it perfectly suited to ‘anti-Diver’ V1 operations. On 4 August the Meteor I scored its first V1 victory. Having closed in on a flying bomb, Flg Off Dean of No. 616 Sqn RAF squeezed the trigger but his guns jammed. Using the Meteor I’s superior speed, he was able overtake the missile and, with his wing tip, he flipped the craft over and sent it crashing into the ground. This was the world’s first jet-versus-jet encounter. As the only jet fighter unit in frontline Allied service in Europe, No. 616 Sqn’s V1 interceptions were historic and ushered in a new era of aerial combat.
* Quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released Meteor I vs V1 Flying Bomb 1944 as Number 45 in their Duel series. It is a paperback book with 80 pages. Included with the text are black and white and color photographs, color illustrations, information charts, maps and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-706-3. As the title states, the book covers the Gloster Meteor I, the first British jet fighter, against the German V1 Flying Bomb in 1944 during World War II.
- Design and Development
- Technical Specifications
- The Strategic Situation
- The Combatants
- Statistics and Analysis
- Further reading
The text in the book is well written and contains many excellent details of the Gloster Meteor I, the first British jet fighter, against the German V1 Flying Bomb in 1944 during World War II. Donald Nijboer has gone to great lengths to research the Gloster Meteor I and the German V1 Flying Bomb and provides a very well written and accurate history of both. The text and the accompanying photographs are in a correct chronological order. The text covers aspects of both the Meteor I and the V1 such as the design, development and technical specifications of each. Also covered is the use of the Meteor I and its variants, The V1 and its variants, other aircraft used, their statistics and the analysis after the fact of all. Anyone interested in the Meteor I and the V1 will find the text very detailed and informative. Included with the text are detailed blow by blow individual incidents as well as quotes by pilots who battled with the V1 as well as official military reports. Another portion of the text that is interesting as well as informative is a detailed comparison between the Meteor I, Spitfire XIV, Mustang III and the Tempest V. An important individual mentioned is Test Pilot Capt Eric Brown, who was the first naval aviator to fly a jet aircraft when he took Meteor I EE214/G aloft in early 1944, and his personal unflattering thoughts of the aircraft. I did notice a few spelling and grammatical errors as I read through the book however they are very minimal and take absolutely nothing from the narrative. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings.
Also included are technical specifications for the following:
- Gloster E.28/39 Pioneer
- F.9/40 Meteor
- Meteor G.41A Mk I
- Meteor Mk II
- Meteor Mk II
V1 Flying Bomb
- Fieseler Fi 103
- Fi 103A-1
- Fi 103B-1
- Fi 103B-2
- Fi 103C-1
- Fi 103D-1
- Fi 103E-1
- Fi 103F-1
There are a total of 45 black and white photographs and 9 color photographs. Most of the photographs are well done, however there are some that have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark which is typical for photographs of that period of time. I do know that several military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be one reason. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and take away nothing from the book. One thing that I was appreciative of with the photographs is that a good majority of them are not the same old overused photographs that tend to turn up. It is always nice to see the lesser known photographs. The color photographs are very nice and will prove to be very helpful to the military aircraft modeler as well as the aviation enthusiast and historian.
In addition to photographs of the Meteor I and the V1, some of the photographs that I found interesting were:
- A V1 Zubringerwagon loading trolley
- Gotha Go 145 primary trainer
- Fw 200 Kondor bomber
- The Askania Werke AG automatic pilot control unit for the Fi 103
- Walter WR 2.3 Schlitzrohrschleuder V1 launcher
- Bumskopf missile
- Two Hispano Mk III 20mm cannons
- He 111H-16 – coded ‘CK=UE’
- B-17 being used during a JB-2 ‘Thunderbug’ test
- Two RAAF Meteor F 8 of No 77 Sqn in Korea during the Korean War
- W.1 British Thompson-Houston jet engine
There are 10 color illustrations by illustrators Jim Laurier and Gareth Hector that are very well done, nicely detailed and cover:
- Meteor I
- Fi 103A-1
- Fi 103A-1 Cutaway
- Meteor Cannons – exposed view
- V1 Warhead - cutaway
- Meter I Cockpit
- V1 On Launch Rail
- Engaging The Enemy
- Meteor I and a V1 Engaged
- He 111H-16
THE COLOR MAP
There is 1 color map included in this volume which shows:
- British airfields 1 August 1944
- V-weapon special construction (heavy sites)
- V1 Abteilung area
- ‘Kill’ locations
(Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the content for yourself.)
THE INFORMATIONAL CHARTS
There are 5 informational charts throughout the book that are very well done, nicely detailed and cover:
- Gloster Meteor I – dimensions, weight (lb) and performance
- Fi 103A-1 – dimensions, weights and performance
- Statistics comparing the British Tempest V, Spitfire F XIV and the Meteor against the German V1
- Meteor I V1 killers – list of pilots and their victories
- US, UK imperial and German metric conversion table
There are 2 individual profiles included that detail and cover:
- Andrew McDowall (British)
- Max Wachtel (German)
The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs well. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.
This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.
All in all I feel that this is a well written and organized reference book. It examines the British Gloster Meteor I jet fighter against the German V1 Flying Bomb in 1944 during World War II very well. With its well-researched text and relevant and detailed photographs this publication will not only benefit the aircraft and military enthusiast but the military aircraft modeler as well. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
Great Weapons Of World War II by John Kirk & Robert Young, introduction by Bernard E. Trainor. Walker And Company.
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