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Today in History

Austro-Hungarian Aces of World War 1
(Osprey Aircraft of the Aces No 46)
by Christopher Chant, Mark Rolfe (Illustrator)
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Osprey Publishing (UK) (February 25, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN: 1841763764

            "The Austro-Hungarian air service is widely overlooked among Great War historians, and this little book fills a niche.  However, it’s actually a “light” version of the masterful 336-page tome by the late Dr. Martin O’Connor, published by Champlin Museum Press in 1986 and subsequently by Flying Machines Press.

            Mr. Chant rightly acknowledges O’Connor’s contribution, which provides the major basis of the Osprey volume.  Apart from length, the main difference in content is Chant’s helpful analysis of the Russian and Italian air arms, the Luftfahrtruppen’s main opponents.  There’s also a fairly lengthy treatment of the ground war, especially the mind-numbing succession of 12 Battles of the Isonzo between 1915 and 1917.

            While 49 A-H airmen qualified as aces, the text addresses the top 16 Army and Navy pilots and gunners.  The others are cited in the single appendix.

            Illustrations include 125 photos, some of which were not included in O’Connor’s volume.  However, the 32 aircraft profiles all are copied from Ray Rimmel’s originals but often are rendered in darker tones. 

            If you’re mildly curious about the Austro-Hungarian air arms, the Osprey title will be helpful.  But if you want the “real deal”, pick up one of the originals.

            Three stars."

Reviewed by Barrett Tillman

Buy it now!

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