Aviation In Ww2 - Vintage Airfix


Aviation in WWII books

All these titles are available to purchase from Pen and Sword.

Contents:
- British Aircraft of the Second World War - By John Frayn Turner. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- Flight Craft 18: British Military Test and Evaluation Aircraft - By Neil Robinson. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- 1 Group Bomber Command - By Chris Ward..
- 1st Air Division 8th Air Force USAAF 1942-45 - By Martin Bowman..
- 2nd Air Division 8th Air Force USAAF 1942-45 - By Martin Bowman..
- 3 Group Bomber Command - By Chris Ward..
- 4 Group Bomber Command - By Chris Ward..
- 5 Group Bomber Command - By Chris Ward..
- 6 Group Bomber Command - By Chris Ward..
- 8th Army Air Force Fighter Command USAAF 1943-45 - By Martin Bowman..
- A Battle of Britain Spitfire Squadron - By Danny Burt..
- A Fighter Command Station at War - By Mark Hillier..
- A Salute to One of 'The Few' - By Simon St John Beer ..
- A Spitfire Girl - By Melody Foreman..
- A Spy in the Sky - By Kenneth B Johnson..

 


 

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British Aircraft of the Second World War

By John Frayn Turner

British Aircraft of the Second World WarDescription:

This unique book, now republished, was the first of its kind to be published on British aircraft of the Second World War. Aviation enthusiasts and aero-modellers can see British aircraft as they really were, through magnificently reproduced colour photographs. Each of the forty-nine types of aircraft is accompanied by a brief 'biography' together with tables of the most important marks and their specifications, engine, span, length, height, weight, crew number, maximum speed, service ceiling, normal range and armament. There is also a section on British aircraft in action, which includes accounts of outstanding exploits by the pilots of different types. John Frayn Turner, the well-known aviation author, has chosen the pictures and provided the text.

Vintage Airfix Review:

An absolute must for any aeronautic enthusiast or WWII historian. The amount of detail on a huge amount of aircraft of the era is outstanding and the way it's presented makes it the perfect base for further research on a specific aircraft.

All the images, both black and white and colour are of a superb quality. The section on British aircraft in action, including accounts of pilots exploits, is fascinating.

This is the kind of book that, as a boy, I would take with me everywhere and bore my parents with. I loved it.

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Flight Craft 18: British Military Test and Evaluation Aircraft

By Neil Robinson

Flight Craft 18: British Military Test and Evaluation AircraftDescription:

It could be argued that the heyday of British military aircraft flight testing began in the 1940s, and continued throughout the three decades that followed, during the so-called Cold War period, and as such, the authors have purposely chosen the first 30 years, The Golden Years, 1945 to 1975, from the end of World War Two until the mid-1970s, as this was arguably the most exciting period with many wonderful and new types rubbing shoulders with wartime and immediate post-war designs that were utilised for development purposes, making for an eclectic mix of shapes and colour schemes.

Alongside the technical aspects of military testing and development, are the many and varied colour schemes and markings carried by the aircraft themselves – not only by the brand-new experimental designs, but by existing production machines, suitably modified, to greater or lesser degrees, to develop the technical advances in systems and weaponry.

Scores of different aircraft types are covered in British Military Test & Evaluation Aircraft The Golden Years 1945 - 1975, with over 65 rarely seen contemporary photographs from private collections, and, differing slightly from previous Flight Craft book formats, over 50 pages of specially commissioned full colour profiles and plan views, visually chronicling the diverse range of colour schemes and markings applied to these fascinating aeroplanes.

Compiled by Neil Robinson and Martin Derry, who have authored several other Flight Craft books, with informative background text by well known aviation historian Malcolm V Lowe and superbly executed illustrations by Mark Rolfe. As with other books in the Flight Craft series, although published with aircraft modellers in mind, it is hoped that most aviation enthusiasts will find something of interest here too.

Vintage Airfix Review:

There are many modellers who like to take a production aircraft kit and modify it to a variant of that aircraft. For those modellers, this book really must be in your library.

It has many interesting, one-off, aircraft from 1945 to 1975, an era when aircraft development was at its height and, in same examples, its wackiest.

The colour illustrations of test aircraft alterations and livery are beautifully aimed at the modeller to help to get that perfect model. This along with the description and photos of what, where and why these aircraft were developed will add to your knowledge and understanding of the golden years of aircraft development.

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1 Group Bomber Command

By Chris Ward

1 Group Bomber CommandDescription:

During the period immediately before the Second World War, the RAF modified its command structure to rationalize for rapid expansion. Bomber Command was divided into six operational groups, each flying the same type of aircraft, including Wellingtons, Sterlings, and Lancasters. Chris Ward presents us here with the history of 1 Group Bomber Command, having previously acquainted us with the histories of 3, 4, 5, and 6 Groups in four highly acclaimed volumes, published by Pen and Sword. He continues with characteristic ease, quality of research, and narrative pace, to present us with an operational record of the groups activities during a particularly dramatic period of aviation history.

The book contains individual squadron statistics, their commanding officers, stations and aircraft losses. It provides an exhaustive reference for one of the RAF's most important operational groups.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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1st Air Division 8th Air Force USAAF 1942-45

By Martin Bowman

1st Air Division 8th Air Force USAAF 1942-45Description:

As part of the AHT series, the airfields and interest in this book are concentrated in a particular area - in this case Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire. Constituted as the lst Bombardment Division on 30 August 1943 the unit was activated at Brampton Grange, Huntingdon on 13 September 1943. It was assigned to the Eighth Air Force and redesignated lst Air Division in December 1944. The division served in combat in the European theater of Operations from September 1943 until April 1945. All squadrons within the division flew the long-distance Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber on raids into occupied Europe and Germany. There were forty-eight squadrons in the division based at Bassingbourn, Ridgewell, Nuthamstead, Podington, Chelveston, Thurleigh, Molesworth, Kimbolten, Grafton Underwood, Polebrook, Deenethorpe and Glatton.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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2nd Air Division 8th Air Force USAAF 1942-45

By Martin Bowman

2nd Air Division 8th Air Force USAAF 1942-45Description:

As part of the AHT series, the airfields and interest in this book are concentrated in a particular area - in this case Norfolk and Suffolk.

The Second Air Division's first bombing mission was flown on November 7, 1942; the last on April 25, 1945. A total of 95, 948 sorties were flown in 493 operational missions by the division's B-24s, dropping 199,883 tons of bombs. Targets attacked ranged from Norway in the north, as far east as Poland and Romania, while several Mediterranean countries were reached from temporary bases in North Africa. Six 2nd Air Division groups received special presidential citations for outstanding actions and five airmen received the Medal of Honor (highest US award for bravery), four posthumously. In combat the 2nd Air Division gunners claimed 1,079 enemy fighters destroyed against losses of 1,458 B-24s missing in action and many others lost in accidents. This book looks at the history and personalities associated with each base, what remains today and explores the favourite local wartime haunts where aircrew and ground crew would go.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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3 Group Bomber Command

By Chris Ward

3 Group Bomber CommandDescription:

During the immediate period before World War Two, the RAF modified its command structure to rationalise for rapid expansion. Bomber Command was divided into six operational groups, each flying the same type of aircraft.

3 Group had almost completely re-equipped with the Wellington by 4 September 1939 to carry out the second bombing operation of the war which was against German warships off Brunsbüttel. In 1940 the first of the new four-engined bombers, the Short Stirling, came into service with the Group, being followed in 1942 by the Avro Lancaster. On 3rd/4th November 1943, No. 3 Group played a leading part in the first bombing attack in which heavy bombers made use of the radar bombing aid known as G-H. The target was Düsseldorf; bombs were dropped "blind" and good results were obtained. In July and August 1944, aircraft of this Group equipped with G-H maintained an all-weather attack against flying-bomb sites. Through the D-Day build-up, the liberation of France and conquest of Germany, formations of No. 3 Group attacked railway junctions, marshalling yards, troop concentrations, etc.

During the week ending 25th March 1945, Bomber Command made numerous attacks to prepare for the crossing of the Rhine.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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4 Group Bomber Command

By Chris Ward

4 Group Bomber CommandDescription:

During the immediate period before World War Two, the RAF modified its command structure to rationalise for rapid expansion. Bomber Command was divided into six operational groups, each flying the same type of aircraft, including Wellingtons, Sterlings, and Lancasters. Chris Ward presents us here with the history of 4 Group Bomber Command, having previously acquainted us with the histories of 3, 5, and 6 Group Bomber Commands in three highly acclaimed volumes, published by Pen and Sword. He continues with characteristic ease, quality of research, and narrative pace, to present us with an operational record of the groups activities during a particularly dramatic period of aviation history.

This book contains individual squadron statistics, their commanding officers, stations and aircraft losses. It provides a detailed reference for one of the RAF's most important operational groups.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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5 Group Bomber Command

By Chris Ward

5 Group Bomber CommandDescription:

During the immediate period before World War Two, the RAF modified its command structure to rationalise for rapid expansion. Bomber Command was divided into six operational groups, each flying the same type of aircraft. In 1939 5 Group was flying the Handley Page Hampden, a fast, modern aircraft that carried a large payload. However, during the early daylight raids into enemy occupied Europe it suffered great losses due to its defensive armament leaving too many blind spots. The Group now turned to night bombing and mine-laying operations. During November 1940, the first Avro Manchesters entered service but were to prove dangerously unreliable. It was not until the Avro Lancaster began arriving in strength that the Group began its proud history of successful and often highly dangerous raids into the Reich, the most famous of which was No 617 Squadron's attack on the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams. Between 1939 and 1945 the Group flew 70,351 sorties with the loss of 1,888 aircraft. This book contains a lengthy narrative of the group's operations and contains individual squadron statistics, their commanding officers, stations and aircraft losses. It provides a detailed reference for one of the RAF's most important and successful operational groups.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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6 Group Bomber Command

By Chris Ward

6 Group Bomber CommandDescription:

6 Group was born out of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), which, among other things called for the formation of 25 Canadian Squadrons in Britain. This figure was later downsized. The Canadian vision was of a Canadian force operating independently alongside Bomber Command in the manner of the American 8th, but skilful negotiating by the British resulted in Canadian Bomber squadrons operating within the RAF under RAF control but funded by Canada. On the 1st of January 1943 most of the existing RCAF squadrons were brought together on stations in North Yorkshire and County Durham to form 6 Group. By the end of the war 14 Squadrons were operational and one other had been posted to the Pathfinders. After an uncertain beginning the Group became an efficient and valuable contributor to Bomber Command's campaigns. Beginning predominantly with Wellingtons the Group was re-equipped with a mixture of Halifaxes and Lancasters, including the Hercules powered MkII and the Canadian built MKX.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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8th Army Air Force Fighter Command USAAF 1943-45

By Martin Bowman

8th Army Air Force Fighter Command USAAF 1943-45Description:

This book covers the bases used during the Second World War by the American fighter units that flew in support of the 8th Air Force's heavy bomber forces.

The long-range Lightnings, Thunderbolts and Mustangs escorted the Mighty Eighth's Flying Fortresses and Liberators on their deep penetration raids into occupied Europe and Germany. Fighter cover was vital, since the USAAF flew daylight raids and in the early months the number of US aircraft lost to the defending Luftwuffe fighters was unacceptably high.

The airfields included are Bodney, Bottisham, Boxted, Debden, Duxford, East Wretham, Fowlmere, Halesworth, Honington, Horsham St. Faith, King's Cliffe, Leiston, Martlesham Heath, Raydon, Steeple Morden, Wattisham and Wormingford.

This book looks at the history and personalities associated with each base, what remains today and explores the favourite local wartime haunts where aircrew and ground crew would have sought well-deserved entertainment and relaxation. Other museums and places that are relevant will also be described and general directions on how to get them included.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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A Battle of Britain Spitfire Squadron

By Danny Burt

A Battle of Britain Spitfire SquadronDescription:

Formed at Rochford on 1 October 1918, just weeks before the Armistice that ended the First World War, 152 (Hyderabad) Squadron was originally a night fighter unit equipped with the Sopwith Camel. Its existence was short-lived, for the squadron was disbanded on 30 June 1919.

With war clouds looming over Europe once more, 152 Squadron reformed at Arklington on 1 October 1939, becoming operational just over four weeks later. In January 1940, conversion to Spitfires began and after a period of defensive patrols in the North East, the squadron moved to Warmwell in Dorset to help defend southern England against attacks from the Luftwaffe forces now based in northern France.

Throughout the Battle of Britain, the men and machines of 152 Squadron, call sign Maida, defended the Warmwell sector, which included the vital Royal Navy base at Portland, as part of 10 Group. It is the period from 12 July to 28 November 1940 that the author examines in great depth and detail in this definitive account. This, then, is the story of one squadron’s part in the struggle to defend Britain during those dark days in the summer of 1940.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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A Fighter Command Station at War

By Mark Hillier

A Fighter Command Station at WarDescription:

Situated close to the South Coast, on flat land to the north of Chichester in West Sussex, lies Goodwood Aerodrome. This pleasant rural airfield was once home to squadrons of Hurricanes, Spitfires and later Typhoons. RAF Westhampnett was at the forefront of the Battle of Britain as a satellite to the Sector (or controlling) Station of RAF Tangmere, part of 11 Group, which bore the brunt of the struggle for Britain's survival in 1940.

It became the base of Wing Commander Douglas Bader until he was shot down over France, as Fighter Command took the war to the enemy with operational sweeps over Occupied Europe. Those operations included the infamous Channel Dash which saw the escape of the German warships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and the Dieppe raid of 1942 which involved the largest aerial battle of the war up to that date. Westhampnett's squadrons also supported the D-Day landings and the subsequent Battle of Normandy.

Packed with the largest collection of photographs of this airfield ever compiled, this illustrated publication provides a detailed history of the fighting as seen through the eyes of many of the pilots and ground crew. RAF Westhampnett brings to life those exciting but dangerous days of the Second World War through the words and photographs of those who were there.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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A Salute to One of 'The Few'

By Simon St John Beer

A Salute to One of 'The Few'Description:

In a quiet churchyard in Amersham is the grave of an airman who lost his life fighting in the skies over southern England in October 1940. The author happened to come across this grave in 1998 and after some initial 
enquiries discovered that nobody in the town was aware that 'One of the Few' Battle of Britain pilots lay at rest in their parish. He determined to discover more about the short life of this hero and undertook several years 
of research to piece together this biography.

Peter joined the RAF in November 1937 on a four-year short service commission at the age of twenty. In July 1938 he was posted to No. 87 Squadron being equipped with the then new Hawker Hurricane fighter. After war had been declared the Squadron was posted to Boos in France in support of the British Expeditionary Force, becoming operational on 10 September 1939. In March 1940 he was transferred to 501 Squadron in Tangmere and then again in April to 74 Squadron as an operational pilot at Hornchurch, equipped with Spitfires. It was from here that he fought his part in the Battle of Britain. For those who may have forgotten 'The Few', this stirring and yet sad story tells of the all-too-short life of one of the 544 young men who gave everything to defend Great Britain from Nazi aggression.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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A Spitfire Girl

By Melody Foreman

A Spitfire GirlDescription:

We visualise dashing and daring young men as the epitome of the pilots of the Second World War, yet amongst that elite corps was one person who flew no less than 400 Spitfires and seventy-six different types of aircraft and that person was Mary Wilkins.

Her story is one of the most remarkable and endearing of the war, as this young woman, serving as a ferry pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary, transported aircraft for the RAF, including fast fighter planes and huge four-engine bombers. On one occasion Mary delivered a Wellington bomber to an airfield, and as she climbed out of the aircraft the RAF ground crew ran over to her and demanded to know where the pilot was! Mary said simply: I am the pilot! Unconvinced the men searched the aircraft before they realised a young woman had indeed flown the bomber all by herself.

After the war she accepted a secondment to the RAF, being chosen as one of the first pilots, and one of only three women, to take the controls of the new Meteor fast jet. By 1950 the farmer's daughter from Oxfordshire with a natural instinct to fly became Europe's first female air commandant.

In this authorised biography the woman who says she kept in the background during her ATA years and left all the glamour of publicity to her colleagues, finally reveals all about her action-packed career which spans almost a century of aviation, and her love for the skies which, even in her nineties, never falters.

She says: I am passionate for anything fast and furious. I always have been since the age of three and I always knew I would fly. The day I stepped into a Spitfire was a complete joy and it was the most natural thing in the world for me.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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A Spy in the Sky

By Kenneth B Johnson

A Spy in the SkyDescription:

Many stories abound of the daring exploits of the RAF’s young fighter pilots defying the might of Hitler’s Luftwaffe, and of the dogged courage of the men of Bomber Command flying night after night over Germany in the face of flak and Focke-Wulfs, yet little has been written about the pilots who provided the key evidence that guided the RAF planners – the aerial photographers.

Ken Johnson joined No.1 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit as an eighteen-year-old and soon found himself at the controls of a Spitfire high above enemy territory. The PRU aircraft were stripped of all non-essential equipment to increase their performance, because speed and height was their only protection as the aircraft’s guns were among those items that were removed.

In this light-hearted reminiscence, Ken Johnson relives his training and transfer to an operational unit, but not the one he had expected. He had asked if he could fly Spitfires. He was granted that request, only to find himself joining a rare band of flyers who took to the skies alone, and who flew in broad daylight to photograph enemy installations with no radios and no armament. Unlike the fighter pilots who sought out enemy aircraft, the pilots of the PRU endeavoured to avoid all contact; returning safely with their vital photographs was their sole objective.

As well as flying in northern Europe, Ken Johnson was sent to North Africa, where his squadron became part of the United States Army Air Force North West African Photographic Wing (NAPRW). In this role, he flew across southern Europe, photographing targets in France and Italy.

The Spy in the Sky fills a much-needed gap in the history of the RAF and, uniquely, the USAAF during the latter stages of the Second World War.

Vintage Airfix Review:

No review currently available.

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