Aviation In Ww2 - Vintage Airfix


Aviation in WWII books

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

Contents:
- Back Bearings - By Group Captain Eric Cropper..
- Battle of Britain - By Richard Hough, Denis Richards..
- Battle of Britain (Commemorative magazine) - By Roni Wilkinson..
- Battle of Britain Day - By Dr Alfred Price..
- Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - By Jarrod Cotter..
- Battle of Britain- Airfields of 11 Group - By Peter Jacobs..
- Battlefield Bombers: Deep Sea Attack - By Martin Bowman..
- Beaufighters in the Night - By Lt Col. 'Brick' Eisel USAF..
- Ben Bennions DFC - By Nick Thomas..
- Best Foot Forward - By Colin Hodgkinson..
- Black Night for Bomber Command - By Richard Knott..
- Bomb Aimer Over Berlin - By Peter Jacobs..
- Bomber Barons - By Chaz Bowyer..
- Bomber Command 1936 - 1968 - By Ken Delve..
- Bomber Command Airfields of Lincolnshire - By Peter Jacobs..

 


 

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Back Bearings

By Group Captain Eric Cropper

Back BearingsDescription:

Eric Cropper's RAF career started in 1943 and ended in 1968. It covered a period when the navigation of aircraft changed from astro, dead reckoning and drift bearings all plotted by pencil on charts, to press-button radio and satellite information that can instantly pinpoint a position anywhere on the planet to within 5 metres. The then vital skills of a good navigator are now mostly redundant. Ships, aircraft, trucks and cars seldom use maps let alone carry a navigator. This autobiography by one of the RAF's top exponents of both the ancient and modern forms of the art explains in considerable detail how this rapid and revolutionary improvement occurred in the air.

This is a fascinating memoir of one of the RAF's senior navigational experts that explains both service life and the revolution in navigational techniques that took place during his service career.

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Battle of Britain

By Richard Hough, Denis Richards

Battle of BritainDescription:

High above the warm, summer fields Churchill's 'few' fought with courage & skill against overwhelming odds - and won. A vivid account of the air battles as well as an explanation of how the campaign developed. Fresh insights into the controversies with the aid of original material as well as recollections of many of the surviving air crew & ground staff. Vividly illustrated with many photographs. Denis Richards, co-author of the official history of RAF operations in World War Two, and Richard Hough, the historian and biographer, have collaborated to write this magnificent new account for the general reader; as well as offering vivid descriptions of the air fighting. It explains with great authority how both sides developed their air forces in the inter-war years, a necessary prelude to a true understanding of the Battle itself. It provides fresh insights into the controversies of the time and makes use of original material derived from interviews and correspondence with over three hundred surviving air-crew and ground staff.

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Battle of Britain (Commemorative magazine)

By Roni Wilkinson

Battle of Britain (Commemorative magazine)Description:

The Battle of Britain took place between July and October 1940. 

The Germans needed to control the English Channel to launch their invasion of Britain. To control the Channel the Germans needed control of the air. This meant that they had to take on Fighter Command, led by Sir Hugh Dowding, of the Royal Air Force.

At the start of the war, Germany had 4,000 aircraft compared to Britain's front-line strength of 1,660. The main fighter planes of the RAF were the Spitfire and the Hurricane.

Britain had a number of advantages over the Luftwaffe. Britain had RADAR which gave an early warning of the approach of the German planes. British fighter planes could spend more time in the air over Kent and Sussex as they could easily land for fuel whereas the German fighters could not. The German fighters were also limited in that they could not reload their guns if they ran out of ammunition.

This title will cover all aspects of the campaign from the men who fought, the aircraft they used, tactics deployed and the results of their actions. Heavily illustrated with many coloured in photographs, this title will be a must for all aviation enthusiasts.

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Battle of Britain Day

By Dr Alfred Price

Battle of Britain DayDescription:

Every year, 15 September is commemorated as 'Battle of Britain Day'.

This book explains why by using information gathered from nearly 70 people who were involved in the day's events, from German and British airmen to civilian eye-witnesses.

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Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

By Jarrod Cotter

Battle of Britain Memorial FlightDescription:

The history of the Flight began with the formation of the Historic Aircraft Flight in July 1957 which was to become The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Countless displays and fly-pasts have enthralled audiences and enthusiasts all over Britain and in many parts of Europe, when the traditional Avro Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane can be seen in their wartime colours. This book is written with the wholehearted support of the Flight's Commanding Officer and the author has access to archive material. The book includes a Foreword from the OC BBMF, a complete history of the unit, chapters on each of the types operated, including the DC-3 Dakota and de Havilland Chipmunk and present-day operations. Photos include superb images from the BBMF archives, the author's collection that includes historic black and white shots from the early days, air-to-air colour, personalities and behind-the-scenes images.

This will be the ultimate souvenir of the celebration of the BBMF's 50th Anniversary

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Battle of Britain- Airfields of 11 Group

By Peter Jacobs

Battle of Britain- Airfields of 11 GroupDescription:

The Royal Air Force's 11 Group played a leading role in the Battle of Britain. It included the airfields at Tangmere, Westhampnett, Kenley, Croydon, Biggin Hill, West Malling, Horchurch, Hawkinge, Gravesend, Manston, Rochford, North Weald, Martlesham Heath, Stapleford Tawney, Debden and Northolt. The most famous of 'The Few' saw action in this vital airspace over southern England, London and the Home Counties. The book will give an overview of the Battle and then go on to describe the part played by the squadrons and pilots from each base between the dangerous period between 10 July and 31 October 1940. It will include a map of each airfield as it was then and a guide to what remains and places of significance nearby that can be visited today.

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Battlefield Bombers: Deep Sea Attack

By Martin Bowman

Battlefield Bombers: Deep Sea AttackDescription:

Featuring a unique selection of wide-ranging experiences of British and Commonwealth Bomber Command aircrew during World War Two, this new release details the deep sea bombing raids that occurred within this time-frame. The enduring bravery and fortitude of these bomber pilots is communicated through a series of first-hand recollections, as is their humour and occasional cynicism. All reflect the ethos, fear and bravery of these ordinary men, most of whom were plucked from 'civvy street' and thrust into a frightening, bitter conflict which was made even more dangerous by the lethal advance of technology.

With characteristic self-effacing modesty, the pilots, gunners, navigators and engineers tell of acts of great heroism, of dreadful injuries bravely borne, and personal fears overcome in the heat of battle. A comprehensive account of RAF Bomber operations on the infamous German warship Tirpitz is included, alongside many other similarly dramatic episodes. 

The gentle and unassuming narratives convey the sense of purpose that these men felt, employed in some of the most dangerous yet vital operations of the war. It is a fitting tribute to those that survived and the many thousands who died in the struggle against Hitler's dreadful ambitions in Europe.

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Beaufighters in the Night

By Lt Col. 'Brick' Eisel USAF

Beaufighters in the NightDescription:

The 417th Night Fighter Squadron USAAF was only the fourth such unit to be formed. In the early days of WWII, the US sent observers to England to study how the latest form of air warfare would take shape and it very soon became apparent to them that a night fighting capability was of increasing importance. When they joined the battle against the Reich they found themselves without a suitable American aircraft and were forced to utilize those RAF Beaufighters that were becoming available as the de Havilland Mosquito assumed that role in RAF squadrons. Having ‘re-learned to fly’ this British design the 417th were sent to North Africa where they honed their skills with the RAF. Most of the ex-RAF aircraft they had inherited were battle weary and no supplies of spares were available through the US supply chain. The squadron found an elderly B-25 bomber, nicknamed the “Strawberry Roan,” and they ranged throughout the Mediterranean in search of Beaufighter parts. 417 soon built a healthy score of downed German and Italian aircraft and as the war progressed they were moved to Corsica to support the Italian invasion, now also taking on the challenge of maritime attack. After D-Day they were moved to Le Vallon at the mouth of the Rhone Valley, the great pathway into southern Germany, from where they attacked the night-time movements of the German Army. Perhaps their most famous operation was to attack and down many of the low flying German Condor aircraft that ran the route from the Reich to Spain carrying Nazi gold and treasures that had been looted from the occupied nations. This unique history is full of first-hand accounts and new information.

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Ben Bennions DFC

By Nick Thomas

Ben Bennions DFCDescription:

'Ben' Bennions enlisted in the pre-war RAF in 1929, serving first as an 'erk' before being selected for pilot training. His first posting saw him serving in the Middle- East with 41 Squadron, returning to the UK and Catterick, where the squadron was still stationed at the declaration of war. Patrols and scrambles were common throughout the early months of the conflict, but it was in May 1940, that 41 Squadron first saw the enemy in any number, providing air cover for the retreating BEF. Bennions recorded his first combat victory on 28 July – he was to damage or destroy 20 plus enemy aircraft during the following months, earning the DFC and becoming one of the RAF's top scorers. The squadron alternated between Catterick and Hornchurch, and although Bennions was afforded some rest between operational periods, while on the frontline the sorties came thick and fast, particularly during the latter phases of the Battle of Britain when Bennions was flying several patrols and scrambles every day. His tally grew steadily and a much deserved DFC was promulgated on 1 October 1940, the day he was due to begin a short period of leave, however, Bennions decided to have one last crack at the enemy. During the patrol, he single-handedly took on a formation of 40 Messerschmitt Bf 109s about to pounce on a flight of Hurricanes, adding another Bf 109 before being hit and forced to bail out. Badly wounded in the head, Bennions lost an eye and became one of Sir Archibald McIndoe's Guinea Pigs.

His path to recovery was slow but he was determined to get back in the air and was permitted to fly but only with a passenger or second pilot assisting with take-offs and landings – it seemed that his life as a single-seater fighter pilot was at an end. Several postings later Bennions was working as a liaison officer with the USAAF. Somehow he managed to talk his way onto flying duties and was soon flying a Supermarine Spitfire on operational patrols, contrary to all orders. Never one to avoid a combat zone, Bennions was with the American forces when they landed on Corsica. Luck would desert him, however, and he was wounded again whilst disembarking from a landing craft in the first wave to hit the beaches at Ajaccio on 30 September 1943.

The post war years saw Bennions offered a permanent place in the RAF but denied further flying duties – for a man with Ben's passion to be in the air, this was intolerable and he resigned his commission. In his second career Bennions taught for many years at the school at Catterick Garrison, before retiring to become a stalwart of the Guinea Pig Club (of which he was a founder member) and the Battle of Britain Fighter Association. Born in the Potteries but an adopted Yorkshireman, Bennions received a number of post-war honours – the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire has flown bearing his letter code EB – J. Despite his tally of 12 destroyed and a further 8 plus damaged or as 'probables' (all but one of his 'kills' being fighters), however, he never received what would have been a richly deserved Bar to his DFC.

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Best Foot Forward

By Colin Hodgkinson

Best Foot ForwardDescription:

In the whole of the Second World War, only two men succeeded as operational fighter pilots in the RAF after losing both legs. Douglas Bader was one, and his story is well-known indeed, he has been described as one of the Royal Air Force's most famous pilots. The other was Colin Hodgkinson.

Colin was injured in a flying accident whilst training with the Fleet Air Arm in 1939. He awoke in hospital to find that his right leg had been amputated at the thigh, whilst his left leg was severely injured. His face was also damaged and he had trouble with the sight in one eye. In the weeks that followed, Colin's remaining leg refused to heal. Coolly, calculatingly, he made his decision: Chop the damned thing off and lets be done with it.

Just nineteen at the time, Colin developed a burning determination to prove himself a normal man by becoming a fighter pilot and flying Spitfires. With Douglas Bader as his example, and brilliant surgeons such as Sir Archibald McIndoe treating him, Colin achieved his aim with a hand-tailored pair of tin legs. He proved himself as a fighter pilot many times over, until the war ended, for him at least, as a German prisoner of war.

Although repatriated in 1944 as unfit for further duty, Colin not only continued to fly with the RAF until he left the service in 1946, but also went on to fly jet fighters with the Auxiliary Air Force from 1947 to 1952. His is undoubtedly a story of courage and determination one in which he had learnt to always stride out into the future, putting his best foot forward.

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Black Night for Bomber Command

By Richard Knott

Black Night for Bomber CommandDescription:

“I am not pressing you to fight the weather as well as the Germans, never forget that.” So wrote Winston Churchill to Arthur Harris, the Commander-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command, after the terrible events of 16 December 1943. In the murky dusk almost five hundred heavy bombers, almost entirely Lancasters, set out for Berlin from their bases in eastern England, from north Yorkshire to southern Cambridgeshire. They lifted off at around 4 pm to bomb the target four hours later and were expected to return at midnight. 328 aircrew lost their lives that night – they were the victims of the weather, not the Germans.

This book relates the tragic circumstances of individual crews as they struggled to find their home bases in low cloud and fog. It also includes stories from the local people who remember hearing a low-flying aircraft and all too often the frightful explosion as it struck unexpected high ground or even trees. Some rescue attempts were successful, but for most aircrew it was death in a blazing wreck. Many of the crash sites have been explored by the author as he tried to imagine exactly how each aircraft came to grief. It contains many photos of aircraft as they were and the remaining impact areas that remain to this day.

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Bomb Aimer Over Berlin

By Peter Jacobs

Bomb Aimer Over BerlinDescription:

Les Bartlett has become one of the great characters of World War II history. He flew as bomb aimer with the then Flying Officer Michael Beetham, who later became Marshal of the Royal Air Force. At that time he was a sergeant but gained his commission in April 1944 and flew his tour, including 27 raids over Germany and France between November 1943 and May 1944. On his second operation his aircraft was attacked by a Ju 88, leaving it with no flaps or brakes - a crash landing at Wittering ensued. At the end of his third mission they found the whole of Lincolnshire fogbound and eventually landed at RAF Melbourne in Yorkshire just before that airfield was closed also because of the fog. His aircraft was hit in the wing by a 30lb incendiary bomb dropped by another Lancaster flying above them on his sixth operation - but they survived. On his twelfth operation to Leipzig he used the nose guns to destroy a Ju 88 night fighter, for which he was awarded the DFM. In February 1944 the port outer engine caught fire and the crew baled out. Les was then posted as Assistant Adjutant to RAF Thornaby.

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Bomber Barons

By Chaz Bowyer

Bomber BaronsDescription:

At the end of the Second World War over 55,000 air crew of Bomber Command had lost their lives, in this authoritative book, the Author selects a number of men, some well known like Leonard Cheshire, Hughie Edwards, but many less known such as Nick Knilans, Syd Clayton and Jo Lancaster, and details their careers, relating episodes that reflect the qualities that made them outstanding. Bomber Barons shows the development of Bomber Command from compartively unorganised, non-cohesive raids of the early part of the war to the highly-trained and deadly offensive weapon it became under Sir Arthur Harris, from 1942 AOC-in-C of Bomber Command, the greatest baron of them all.

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Bomber Command 1936 - 1968

By Ken Delve

Bomber Command 1936 - 1968Description:

This is a comprehensive reference to the structure, operation, aircraft and men of Bomber Command from its formation on 1936 to 1968 when it became part of Strike Command. It includes descriptions of many notable bombing raids, the many types of aircraft used, weapons and airfields. The five main sections of the book include a general historical introduction and overview, operations, operational groups, aircrew training and technical details of each aircraft type. Lengthy Annexes cover personnel. the squadrons in World War II, accuracy of attacks, orders of battle for each wartime year, maps of airfields locations, tonnage of bombs dropped and nuclear weapons carried in the post-war years

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Bomber Command Airfields of Lincolnshire

By Peter Jacobs

Bomber Command Airfields of LincolnshireDescription:

From the opening day of the Second World War, RAF Bomber Command took the offensive to the enemy and played a leading role in the liberation of Europe. Many of its squadrons were based in Lincolnshire, where the flat terrain and open fields made the county ideal for the development of new airfields. All of Bomber Command’s major efforts involved the Lincolnshire-based squadrons. The Battles of the Ruhr, Hamburg and Berlin, during the hardest years of 1943/44, were just some of those when night after night hundreds of bombers took off from the county, many never to return. It was also from Lincolnshire that precision raids were mounted against targets such as the diesel engine factory at Augsburg, the notorious Dortmund-Ems Canal, the mighty German battleship Tirpitz, and, of course, the Ruhr Dams. 

Most of Lincolnshire’s wartime bomber airfields have long gone, with many having reverted to their pre-war agricultural use. Only Coningsby, Scampton and Waddington remain in service with the RAF today, while others - such as Binbrook, Blyton, Spilsby, Strubby, Swinderby and Woodhall Spa – have long fallen victim to Defence cuts. Other airfields have survived and maintain the link with their flying past. All are included here, some well-known, others less so. 
From these airfields came countless acts of personal courage and self-sacrifice, with eight Victoria Crosses, the highest award for gallantry, being awarded to men flying from bomber airfields in Lincolnshire. All are included, as are stories of other personalities who brought these airfields to life. In all, the stories of the county’s twenty-nine wartime airfields of Bomber Command are told, with a brief history of each accompanied by details of how to find them and what remains there today. Whatever your interest, be it aviation history or something more local, there is lots to discover. Lincolnshire has truly earned its name of Bomber County.

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