TWO VOLUMES COMPLETE. Classic Publications, (nos. 8 & 9), Crowborough. Vol. 1 : 1st ed., 2002. 224 pp. Vol. 2 : 1st ed., 2003. Pp., 225 - 448. Both vols. : Numerous cold., + b&w photo-ills., ills., maps, plans & line drawings. D.j.'s, 31 x 23cm. FINE. Following years of detailed research, this is a two-volume work on the Luftwaffe's legendary Messerschmitt Me 163 rocket-powered interceptors. The authors unearthed fascinating new documentary material and previously unpublished photographs and received co-operation from many former pilots. The first volume focuses on the evolution, design and development of tailless and rocket powered aircraft during the years leading up to the Second World War as well as the subsequent deployment of the Me 163 by the specialist test unit, Erprobungskommando 16. There is also a detailed study of Me 163 production, and an introduction to the operational use of the rocket fighter by JG 400 in the defence of the Reich. The second volume includes a detailed diary of point-defence combat operations conducted against the Allied air forces over Northern Europe in 1944-45 by Jagdgeschwader 400 using the Me 163. The authors set out to dispel myths and prove that it was impossible for Me 163s to have been operating where Allied intelligence said they were. There is also a study of late-war training by the Erganzungsstaffel/JG 400 and IV. / EJG 2, and for the first time, the story of the little-known Italian involvement with the German rocket fighter. The reader is also offered a detailed overview of the Me 163-based design projects and planned swept-wing and ultra-high-speed development as well as the story of Allied, Japanese (the MXY8 Akikusa and J8M1 Shusui), French and Soviet testing, including rare photographs of the French-flown Me 163. The text in both volumes is enriched by superb colour artwork from acclaimed aviation artist Tom Tullis as well as detailed technical drawings. This is an essential complement to the acclaimed study of the Messerschmitt Me 262 (Item 442.) Two Volumes complete, including the particularly SCARCE First Volume.