The post World War II German Air Force was founded in 1956 during the Cold War as the aerial warfare branch of the armed forces of the then West Germany, and after the reunification of East and West 1990, it was integrated with parts of the air arm of the former German Democratic Republic. There is no continuity between the current Luftwaffe of the Bundeswehr and the former Luftwaffe of the Wehrmacht, which was founded in 1935 and completely disbanded after World War II. Thus the term Luftwaffe is used for both the 'historic' and the 'current' German air force. After World War II German aviation was severely curtailed, and military aviation was completely forbidden by the Allied Control Commission. This all changed in 1955 when West Germany joined NATO, as the Western Allies believed that Germany was needed to counter the increasing military threats posed by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. Therefore on 9 January 1956 a new German Air Force was founded as a branch of the new Bundeswehr (Federal Defence Force).
DOUGLAS Boston Mk.V BZ590, an 18 Squadron aircraft, took off from Forli near Rimini at 20.45 hours on 21 April 1945, the crew's target being a river crossing on the Po at Taglio di Po, followed by an armed reconnaissance of the Po Valley. The aircraft failed to return and was believed to have been brought down by anti-aircraft fire just days before the end of the war in Europe. After BZ590 failed to return, all four crew members on board were listed as missing believed killed. Those four men were Sergeant David Raikes, who was the pilot, Flight Sergeant David Perkins, the navigator, Flight Sergeant Alexander Bostock, the wireless operator and air gunner, and Warrant Officer John Hunt RAAF, the air gunner. All of the crew were aged 20, except for Hunt who was 21. Eye-witnesses of the last moments of BZ590 would later recall the crash with clarity, it having been nicknamed locally as the "Pippo". The wreckage continued to burn for a number of hours after it was shot down. Based on these accounts, the remains of the aircraft were unearthed in 2011 by the Italian amateur archaeological society Archeologi dell'Aria, a group that searches for the remains of Second World War aircraft.
With the sunshine and warm temperatures of what might turn out to be the best summer we have had here in the UK for some years, there is of course lots more to attract our attention. The shows such as Duxford, Tankfest, and the War & Peace Revival have a passed now but the memories of them, the new references we have gathered and no doubt a few more kits to add to the 'stash', we have to accept that the days are getting shorter once more and thoughts begin to turn to what projects to do next. On our website we maintain a popular forum, where lots of modellers share tips and advice, and we all earn new ways of trying things. With regular members from all around the world there are a great variety of interests to encourage each other, in a friendly and supportive environment. We are coming to the c ose of our Bomber Command Group Build, and when you read this we will be into a new one, on Panzer IV chassis-based AFVs. So there's a lot to choose from - gun tanks, SPs, Panzerjäger, Flakpanzer etc. and in any scale - if it's on a Panzer IV chassis, do come and join in.
Max Gaskins war began as an engine fitter on a windswept airfield in Yorkshire. It ended with him as a master bomber's flight engineer in an elite Pathfinder squadron. In between he got to do what few in Bomber Command did -dropping agents and supplies to Resistance forces in France, Norway, the Low Countries and Denmark, flying with 161 Squadron from the RAF s most secret airfield, Tempsford in Bedfordshire. It was a career that earned him a DFC and Bar after 63 'ops', during which he served alongside legends of both the bomber war and the famous 'Tempsford Taxi' service. Max was on a cycling holiday in Devon when war was declared, listening to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlains speech over a car radio at the roadside on a sunny morning near Barnstable. He was still short of his 18th birthday but immediately turned north and three days later arrived back at the family home in Liverpool, determined to do his bit by joining the RAF.