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Stalin's Eagles by Hans D. Seidl
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Author Topic: Stalin's Eagles by Hans D. Seidl  (Read 2595 times)
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« on: September 09, 2007, 03:52:00 PM »

Stalin's Eagles
An Illustrated Study of the Soviet Aces of World War II and Korea
Schiffer Military History
by Hans D. Seidl

I know there is no special topic for a book reviews, but I felt like sharing this one with people on this forum…

This is by far the most expensive book that I bought, ever. With postage it came to 80USD, and the book itself was 35USD, as it was described as used (normal retail around 85USD, I found mine on Amazon). Indeed, there is a small rip in the corner of book wrap, and previous owner marked the names of most prominent pilots with a cross next to their names. But, those marks are done quite neat, at first I though it was meant to be like that, you know, like asterisks or something.

Book itself is a heavy one, A4 formatted and printed on 400 pages of heavy glossy paper, all photographs are b/w with few color profiles at the end of the book. I know that one does not judge a book by its covers, but when I take this one in my hands, I know it is very special book.

All pilots that became aces (by standard definition - 5 victories) are mentioned in this book. For some of them there is a quite short note with only few sentences, but the more popular a pilot was, there is more of text. For top scoring aces text spreads over 2-3 pages with detailed description of some of their encounters and their full personal history.

Book is divided into following sections:
-   Forewords - by V.I. Popkov and Gunther Rall
-   The Eastern Front Air War (short introduction, 12 pages)
-   The Aces (by alphabetic order, including Women aces, 210 pages)
-   The Tankbusters (Sturmovik Aces, 10 pages)
-   Soviet Fighter Aces in Korea (4 pages)
-   The Units (only for Fighters, separately by Corps, Divisions, and Regiments)

There are following appendices:
-   Aerial victory list (sorted by score, 5 or more)
-   Tops and firsts
-   Equivalent Ranks (Soviet, German, USAF)
-   USAAF report on aerial encounter with Russian Aircraft
-   Glossary

Sadly, there are very few photographs with theme like "pilot and his machine". Mostly they are portrait shots. Existing pics of birds are those that are already seen elsewhere. Very little detail is give about the aircraft used, apart from the section that provides short descriptions of Regiments (IAP's). In most cases only the types in general are mentioned, without separate naming of subtypes (ie, no mentioning of La-5F or La-5FN, simply "La-5").

Section about Sturmovik aces is a bit short, but it is still most comprehensive starting point I've ever seen. Section about Korea covers only 4 pages, with 4 portrait shots and one table with aerial victories. I was hoping for a bit more details and pictures about this period. But, this is a book about pilots, and for that alone it is worth every penny!

USAAF report is about aerial encounter of P-38's and Yak's over southern Yugoslavia. Short authors note and copies of original US documents. P-38' misidentified Soviet ground troops and Yak's had to intervene. Small quote: "The Soviet Flight Leader courageously closed into formation with the US flight leader and mutual identification was confirmed." Each side lost at least one aircraft. Interestingly, in article about Kozhedub, there is no mention about him shooting down an US P-51 over Germany.

This book is not only a must-have for any enthusiast in Soviet VVS. I believe that any true researcher of WW2 will feel (justified) need to put this book onto a special place in his/hers bookshelf.


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