[dropcap]˝[/dropcap]On 1 December1942, nearly a year after the United States entered World War 2, the US Army Air Forces ordered the 357th Fighter group into existence at Hamilton Field, California. No one could know at the time that this order had created the Eighth Air Force’s greatest ace-making unit. In just over a year of combat in European theatre of operations 42 pilots would achieve ace status flying with the 357th fighter group, more than any other fighter unit in Europe.”

Mustang Aces of the 357th Fighter Group

Mustang Aces of the 357th Fighter Group

Osprey publishing newest addition in Aircraft of the aces library is titled Mustang Aces of the 357th Fighter Group. Book is printed on 96 pages paperback and covers 357th group clashes from the birth of the unit until VE Day. Book is divided in five chapters and content is as follows:

• From California to Big week

• Berlin bound

• Overhead for Overlord

• Hunting the Luftwaffe

• Big day and after

• Appendices

• Ace listings

• Plates commentaries

First chapter of this magnificent book covers the birth of the most successful fighter unit of the Eight air force. Unit received its first aircraft in the form of P-39 but it was not until the arrival to England that the unit was equipped with P-51 Mustang. The first official mission the group flew was on February 11th 1944 and the first aerial victory was achieved just nine days later… In March the unit was scheduled for flights over Germany and that story is covered in second chapter. This chapter is filled with stories involving different aces of this unit and among them Chuck Yeager who had to bail out over enemy lines. Third chapter of the book covers the period linked with invasion on the Normandy and unit’s support to the invasion. Many interesting data can be found in this chapter as well as pilot’s stories about dogfights and some really rare photos. Fourth chapter places a reader in a period just after the Arhem, and units assignment to hunt down the Luftwaffe fighters in order to achieve full air superiority. An interesting story about Yeager shooting down five Luftwaffe Bf-109 and becoming an Ace in just five minutes is described in this chapter followed by reports made by Yeager and his colleagues.

The final chapter is dedicated to few month prior to VE day and units success in that period. On January 14th unit was briefed to provide cover for bombers in their raid on Derben in Germany and it was in that operation that the unit had its highest scoring mission and the day was called among Yoxford Boys simply the Big Day.

Color profiles in this book are outstanding quality and, the choice of the subjects shown on them is a really spot-on. Each profile has a short description at the end of the book. Very nice addition that is standard for this edition is comprehensive list of the aces

This is another great book in this most interesting edition for me as a modeler, and I can warmly recommend this title as a great and interesting literature filled with useful information and great number of archive photos.  Book can be purchased here!

Darko Mladenovic

Sample book provided by Joseph McCullough, Marketing Coordinator Osprey Publishing