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Under the Guns of the German Aces
Immelmann, Voss, Goring, Lothar Von Richthofen: The Complete Record of Their Victories and Victims
by Norman Franks, Hal Giblin
Hardcover: 224 pages
Dimensions (in inches): 1.00 x 10.50 x 8.75
Publisher: Grub Street the Basement; (November 1997)

"When the innovators at Grub Street produced "Under the Guns of the Red Baron," they developed a concept worthy of emulation.   This follow-on volume uses the identical format to dissect the  victory claims of four other notable German aces: Max Immelmann, Hermann Göring, Werner Voss, and Lothar von Richthofen. The result is a model of Great War scholarship.

Norman Franks and Hal Giblin have found that the records of three of these notable aviators stand the test of time. Allied documents confirm 16 of Immelmann's 17 victories, about 35 of Lothar's 40, and nearly all of Voss' 48. However, only nine of Göring's 22 can be validated, with five more conceivably possible.

The military and (where appropriate) postwar biographies of the allied airmen defeated by these aces are told in a testament to the folly of war: young lives cut short; some to die of wounds years later; others achieving productive careers. Of course, Immelmann and Voss also were killed, and Lothar perished in 1922.   Göring's later notoriety assured him of close scrutiny, and the authors frankly state they are unable to explain many of his claims.  Also notable is the mercurial nature of Werner Voss, equally capable of bringing cigars to prisoners one day and strafing his helpless opponents another time.

We would love to see "Under the Guns II" analyzing the combats of four more German aces: say, Udet, Berthold, Boelcke, and Osterkamp. Similar treatment of allied aces also would be welcomed (McCudden, Guynemer, Rickenbacker, and Barracca)! Meanwhile, "Under the Guns I" garners five stars."

Reviewed by Barrett Tillman

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