Blohm and Voss Bv 141

Just finished my 45th Book Review of the Year!!

Published by: Schiffer Military History Book

Review by: Martin Koenigsberg

Symmetry is the usual path to aerodynamics, but it is not the only path. In the 1930s-40s, Blohm and Voss, a German aircraft Manufacturer of note- experimented with several asymmetric airframes – producing several prototype the most famous of which is the BV 141. The aircraft was designed as a Army Cooperation plane – mainly for reconnaissance and communications- but could drop a few bombs and strafe- as long as there was little flak and no enemy fighters about. David Myrha, a transportation and air history writer, has written a little history of B&V’s forays into asymmetry, and the BV 141 in particular- partnering it with a great image collection. With more than ten and less than 20 prototypes built- Myhra adds in a curated treasure trove of photos and plans for all sort of aircraft- and a really excellent portrayal of an unusual airframe and its development. On the other hand- it can seem a bit much- considering the type never really entered full production- and was really a small aircraft footnote in a titanic struggle that really featured Icons like the Me109 and he 111. Still- its an entertaining look at some funky airframes for sure…

When the big argument in the book is whether the B&V built 13 or 19 of this type, you know this is not a pivotal historic aircraft. But as a look at some of the asymmetric concepts being experimented with by creative designers in the prewar and WWII era- the book is compelling. The Bv 141’s near success shows that these ideas were not totally worthless. The photo collection, almost all b/w but with a few colour art pieces, is really good- as are the best of the plans and blueprints that Myhra includes. There are designs that I am sure were seen by the Star Wars design team- and others that are truly mind expanding- there is a sense of fun about this book that you wouldn’t have with a type that has successfully killed a lot of people, for sure. Really interesting- but by no means part of the canon…

The text is written at a basic level with few adult themes and no graphic destruction, so this is a fine book for a Junior reader over about 10/11 years. For the Gamer/Modeler/Military Enthusiast its a mixed bag. Not much for the Gamer, for fewer than 20 prototypes means it is unlikely to make the Blood Red Skies lineup- although 1/72 game players will have the Classic Airfix kit as a resource. Modelers- of said Airfix model or some of the others- will get a lot of cool pics to interpret for their builds- and diorama ideas. The Military enthusiast gets a cool view into unusual aircraft design in a fascinating era. The one group who might LOVE this book are the Konflict 47 folks- who game an extended WWII that bleeds into the Cold War, because some of these designs might work with their “DieselPunk” visions. It’s a cool interesting book- but you don’t HAVE to fit it on the WWII, Air War, German Weapons shelves…

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