THE LUFTWAFFE FLIGHTGEAR
RESOURCES: A CRITICAL
An indicator of utility on a scale of 1 to 10 precedes the review for
each reference work (1 being of marginal use, 10 being indispensable).
Angolia, John R. & Schlicht, Adolf. Uniforms and Traditions of
the Luftwaffe, Vols. I-III. SanJose, CA: R. James Bender Publishing,
(10) This watershed three-volume work is the indispensable baseline
for the study and understanding of Luftwaffe clothing and equipment,
and comes as close to being a definitive work on that subject as any to date.
Technical descriptions of the items and their development comprise the main
thrust of this series, which is based on meticulous research and analysis
of the Luftwaffe's orders which authorized the equipment's manufacture.
Angolia and Schlicht provide the basis from which collectors must proceed
to fully identify the specimens in their collections.
While the authors' organization can be a bit confusing (the reader often
has to do quite a bit of jumping back and forth to understand the relationships
between certain items), it must be conceded that the subject matter is very
confusing and complex, with no completely satisfactory way of organizing
and presenting a full picture of the subject matter (witness this
It is likely that this work will never be superceded- only supplanted
as new material and documents come to light.
Barbas, Bernd. Aircraft of the Luftwaffe Fighter Aces, Vols.
I-II. Altglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 1995.
(5) Though primarily directed toward individuals with an interest in
aircraft, Barbas' two volume set nonetheless contains a great many interesting
photographs covering a wide range of dates and units. As indicated by the
title, only fighter units appear in the work, but the illustrations still
provide an interesting vehicle for the study of what fighter pilots wore
during the course of the war. However, the set's high price might preclude
acquisition for the purpose of purely flightgear study.
Carlsen, Sven & Meyer, Michael. Die Flugzeugführer-Ausbildung
der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1939-1945, Vol. I. Zweibrücken, Germany:
Heinz Nickel Verlag/Antiquariat, 1998.
(7) This two volume German language history of the Luftwaffe's
training/flight schools not only provides a superb view of the men and equipment
from those units, but also features an extensive section dealing with civilian
and sport aviation during the inter-war period. It provides the best available
view of what was worn and used by the DLV, and later, by the flying
schools of the Luftwaffe. Though excellent for training units and
early equipment, because of the subject matter, the set provides nothing
from the operational units. Nonetheless, it receives a high rating because
it so well documents Luftwaffe flightgear in its earliest variations-
subject matter addressed almost nowhere else. The second volume of this set
has not come to the attention of the Forum.
Davis, Brian L. Uniforms and Insignia of the Luftwaffe, Vols.
I-II. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1991-1995.
(2) Published during the early and mid 1990s, Davis' two volume set
is somewhat dated, being effectively eclipsed by the Angolia/Schlicht work.
Of interest are some excellent photographs and artwork, but the proportion
devoted to flying gear and equipment is rather small, too small to justify
acquisition except for possessing a very good (if dated) general
Luftwaffe reference. There is, however, for Göring devotees,
a substantial section devoted to the rotund Reichsmarschall's uniforms
Feist, Uwe & McGuirl, Thomas. Luftwaffe Diary, Vols. I-II.
Ferndale, WA: Feist Publications, Inc., 1994.
(7) Though attractive, Feist's two volume effort is rather confused
in its organization, with one volume taken over by various
heroes/Ritterkreuzträger, with the other volume being filled
with an exposition of gear and equipment. The very strong points of this
set are the beautifully crisp, carefully selected contemporary photographs
(presumably from the Bundesarchiv), which show a good cross-section
of equipment. Also included are excellent, museum quality, color photographs
of gear and uniform-clad mannequins. The selection of subject matter makes
pursuit of this set a worthwhile, though perhaps frustrating venture, as
the Feist's print run was very small and quickly sold out.
Held, Werner. Fighter! Luftwaffe Fighter Planes and Pilots. London:
Arms and Armour Press, 1979.
Held, Werner & Nauroth, Holger. Defence of the Reich: Hitler's
Nightfighter Planes and Pilots. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1982.
(6) First published in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Werner Held's
twin study of Germany's day and nightfighters must have caused quite a stir
among Luftwaffe aficionados, with its many never before seen photographs
gleaned from private collections and the Bundesarchiv. Even over twenty
years later, the pair of books remains a classic study in Luftwaffe
uniforms and flying gear. As the entire war is covered, the works together
provide an excellent study in the evolution of flying gear and clothing within
the German fighter arm. Fortunately, both these war-horses have been reprinted
by Schiffer, though at the price of somewhat decreased picture quality. Therefore
it is advised that the original printing be pursued where possible.
Prien, Jochen, Jadgeschwader 53, Vols. I-III. Altglen, PA: Schiffer
Military History, 1997-1998.
(8) This three volume work, though list-priced at nearly $300, provides
a unique opportunity for extremely detailed study of the changing clothing
styles within a single unit over the period of the war. Most of the hundreds
upon hundreds of photographs are dated to some extent, enabling the student
to make detailed observations, and to place them in their proper context.
Although the price would seem to preclude purchase except for very advanced
study, the detailed history of this famous fighter wing (particularly as
written by a historian with a pedigree such as Prien) makes the investment
well worth it.
Prodger, Mick J. Luftwaffe vs. RAF: Flying Clothing/Equipment of
the Luftwaffe, Vols I-II. Altglen, PA: Schiffer Military History,
(10) Together with the trilogy of Angolia and Schlicht, Luftwaffe
vs. RAF takes its place as an indispensable guide to the Luftwaffe
collectors, particularly in the area of flying gear and clothing. The work's
scope is thorough and comprehensive and encompasses Royal Air Force material
as well. The color museum grade photography is superb and crisp, answering
the question once and for all, "What does this stuff really look like up
The multitude of smaller personal items and accessories is likewise
covered in great detail, no doubt causing many heretofore unidentified items
to be rescued from obscurity. If a collector was to invest in a single reference,
this would be it.
Rosch, Barry, Luftwaffe Codes, Markings & Units 1939-1945. Altglen,
PA: Schiffer Military History, 1995.
(4) Although it would seem strange to have a book such as this of the
"recommended reading" list of a flightgear collector, Rosch's weighty tome
can be of extremely usefulness which tracking down and interpreting unit
markings on early specimens of flight clothing, helmets, etc., especially
when used into conjunction with Michael Holm's website, The Luftwaffe,
1933-45 <http://www.ww2.dk/> , formerly, The Luftwaffe
Skötte, Anders. German Luftwaffe Flight Headgear of World War
II. Växjö, Sweden: Nässert Graphica, 1993.
(9)The Swedish collector Anders Skötte provides with this work
the finest study of German flight helmets in existence, detailing not only
the more commonly encountered models, but also bringing to light many little
known models from the early days of the Luftwaffe, among others the 100 and
64 series. Although the text tends to be short on technical description of
the items featured, the book still remains an indispensable aid for helmet