Monday, April 7, 2014

The African Project - Books

"Research" for my African Project (see The African Project page) includes a few book titles that either cover the raid on Lufthansa Flight LH181 and/or Cold War West German related titles.  The two most obvious are Storming Flight 181 - GSG-9 and the Mogadishu Hijack 1977 and Assault at Mogadishu.  The latter is one of the first works to deal with Operation Magic Fire and was published shortly after the raid.  It details not only the hijacking and subsequent raid, but the political maneuverings that took place before the hijacking and covers the kidnapping of Hanns-Martin Schleyer by the Red Army Faction, a German terrorist group better known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang.  Schleyer was a German business executive and an ex-Nazi, and hence represented to the terrorists the ideal target.  The kidnapping of Schleyer was an attempt of the RAF to free imprisoned members of their organization. 

The Osprey title covers the same material as the book, but gives the raid on the plane far more emphasis, including the roles of not only the GSG-9 but also of the two SAS members that were involved.  There is a book written by one of these two members (Assault on LH181 by Barry Davies) but I have yet to purchase that account (but am doing so today).

Lufthansa Flight LH181 departed Malorca on October 13th, 1977, heading to Frankfort.  The Boeing 737, named Landshut, was hijacked by four terrorists of the Commando Martyr Halime in support of the RAF's attempts to free their comrades, and also in an effort to have released from Turkish prisons members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. If you would like to know more about this action, start with the Osprey title (currently 50% off on the Osprey website).

Other inspiration comes from a couple of Cold Wars vehicle books.  The first is Cold War Armored Fighting Vehicles.  This is simply a book of technical drawings ranging in scale from 1:35 to 1:72.  The book had drawings for well over one hundred vehicles, including those used by the West German Army and some that were used in the Falklands, so the book serves double duty for me.

The second book is a Tankograd publication, and is titled The Modern German Army in the Cold War 1967-1990.  This baby is filled with color photos of every vehicle the Bundeswehr used during the Cold War period and there is text describing each photo in both German and English.  If you wanted just one title on the West German Army of the period, this would be it.  Tankograd publishes numerous titles on the modern German Army and has many other titles, including World War II.  I am in the process of picking up their book on the Hotchkiss armored personnel carriers the Germans used in the 1950s through 1980s.


  1. There's a great 2008 German film called 'Mogadischu'. It's on YouTube in 8 parts with subtitles, and I highly recommend watching the whole thing.

    To jump to the climax, start at 7:00 into part 7/8:

    1. Aye, I was just watching parts of that the other day, mostly the raid portion. Not sure if I have the patience to watch all eight parts using subtitles! But a good suggestion, nonetheless.


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