Arguably the archetypal Luftwaffe fighter unit of World War 2, JG 53 aircraft were encountered on almost every fighting front from the first day of hostilities until the last. Its famous and familiar "Ace of Spades" unit emblem, which was displayed throughout the war, has, in effect, become visual shorthand for the wartime German fighter arm, being seen on die-cast models, prints, illustrations and book covers the world over. During almost six years of near constant campaigning, JG 53 took a steady toll of Allied aircraft - French, British, Soviet and American - in every theater it fought over. Its aircraft were present in some of the fiercest aerial actions of the war - the Battle of Britain, El Alamein, Stalingrad, Normandy and the Defence of the Reich.

Although the JG 53 remained true to the Messerschmitt Bf 109 during its entire career, the variety of camouflage finishes worn by its machines - a unique three-tone scheme in the early years, winter white, desert dapple and Reich's defence black - and the steady progression of variants from Bf 109E to Bf 109K, are reflected in an eye-opening color section. John Weal has spent years researching in the German Federal Archives and this together with his personal contact with several veterans results in an authoritative and human account of JG 53's long and eventful war.

Product details

Published Dec 18 2007
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 128
ISBN 9781846032042
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 125 b/w; 30 col
Dimensions 248 x 184 mm
Series Aviation Elite Units
Short code AEU 25
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


John Weal


Mark Postlethwaite

Mark Postlethwaite was born in Leicestershire in 1…


Discover More

Visit our exclusive member's website to see artwork, maps, and more from this book.


Book Vote

Tell us what titles you would like to see published by Osprey, then vote for your favourites in our monthly book vote!

Related Titles

Sign up for Osprey membership for access to thousands of plane profiles, maps, battle scenes and more. Plus up to 30% off website purchases