Aviation In Ww2 - Vintage Airfix


Aviation in WWII books

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Contents:
- Bomber Command Airfields of Yorkshire - By Peter Jacobs..
- Bomber Command: Kept in the Dark - By John Stubbington..
- Bomber Commander - By F R Chappell..
- Bomber Offensive - By Arthur Harris..
- Bomber Pilot on the Eastern Front - By Vasily Reshetnikov..
- Bombs Away - By Martin Bowman..
- Bravery Awards for Aerial Combat - By Alan E Cooper..
- Breaking the Dams - By Charles Foster..
- Building for Battle: Hitler's D-Day Defences - By Philip Kaplan..
- Caribbean Volunteers at War - By Mark Johnson..
- Catapult Aircraft - By Leo Marriott..
- Churchill's Spearhead - By John Greenacre..
- Clash of Eagles - By Martin Bowman..
- Coastal Command's Air War Against the German U-Boat - By Norman Franks..
- Combined Round the Clock Bombing Offensive - By Philip Kaplan..

 


 

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Bomber Command Airfields of Yorkshire

By Peter Jacobs

Bomber Command Airfields of YorkshireDescription:

As part of the Aviation Heritage Trail series, the accomplished military author and former RAF Officer Peter Jacobs takes us to the county of Yorkshire and to its many bomber airfields of the Second World War.

From the opening day of hostilities, RAF Bomber Command took the offensive to Nazi Germany and played a leading role in the liberation of Europe. Yorkshire’s airfields played a key part throughout, initially as home to the Whitley squadrons of No 4 Group and then to the four-engine Halifax heavy bombers; indeed, Bomber Command’s first night operation of the war was flown from one of the county’s many bomber airfields. Then, as the bombing offensive gathered pace, Yorkshire welcomed the new all-Canadian No 6 (RCAF) Group, after which all of Bomber Command’s major efforts during the hardest years of 1943/44 – against the Ruhr, Hamburg and Berlin – involved the Yorkshire-based squadrons.

Most of Yorkshire’s wartime bomber airfields have long gone, but many have managed to retain the flying link with their wartime past. For example, the former RAF airfields of Finningley and Middleton St George, and the factory airfield of Yeadon, are now the sites of international airports, while Breighton, Burn, Full Sutton, Pocklington and Rufforth are still used for light aircraft flying or gliding and Elvington is home to the magnificent Yorkshire Air Museum.

From airfields such as these came countless acts of personal courage and self-sacrifice, with two men being awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for gallantry. Stories of both men are included, as are tales of other personalities who brought these airfields to life. The stories of thirty-three airfields are told in total, with a brief history of each accompanied by details of how to find them and what remains of them today. Whatever your interest, be it aviation history or more local, the county of Yorkshire has rightly taken its place in the history of Bomber Command.

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Bomber Command: Kept in the Dark

By John Stubbington

Bomber Command: Kept in the DarkDescription:

This fascinating historical revelation goes to the very heart of British and Allied Intelligence during World War II, specifically in the context of planning, control and implementation of the combined bomber offensive against Germany. There are sound arguments based on official archives that the handling of much air intelligence was faulty and reasons to believe that some departments within Whitehall were influenced by parochial and personal attitudes that interfered with the selection of strategic targets and the planning of the bombing offensives. In some departments within Whitehall and even the Air Ministry, there was a culpable failure to understand and appreciate the operational capabilities and limitations of the RAF and USAAF bomber forces.

After the evacuation of the BEF the only means of destroying the Axis production of arms and munitions fell to the RAF and this was their prime objective for the rest of the war. The destruction of arms factories, power stations, air and ship production was the underlining objective, although when special targets, such as the break-outs of the German navy's major warships and U-Boats were deemed vital, the RAF were expected to react immediately. Much of Britain's intelligence was gathered from the German ENIGMA signals and became known as ULTRA with a security classification of MOST SECRET. Apart from the brilliant work at Bletchley Park there were other inputs from partisans throughout occupied Europe, Allied agents and various forms of reconnaissance. It was a new type of warfare that developed and improved as the war progressed but all too often the bomber squadrons were put into unnecessary peril through imprecise and unthinking demands from the highest levels of government.

John Stubbington graduated from the RAF Technical College in 1961. His career was in Electronic and Defence Intelligence. He worked with Bomber Command, The Electronic Warfare Support Unit, Support Command Signals HQ and the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment. He retired from the RAF in 1985 and worked for twenty years within the UK Defence Industry. He lives near Alton in Hampshire.

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Bomber Commander

By F R Chappell

Bomber CommanderDescription:

Wing Commander Donald Teale Saville DSO, DFC joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1927. From 1932 until 1939 he flew and tested private aircraft, was a flying instructor and then a Captain-pilot with Australian National Airways. In 1936, at the age of 36 years, he volunteered for the RAF whilst on holiday in England. He was known affectionately as 'The Mad Aussie' and was reputed to have flown 10,000 flying hours. At the time of his loss, he was on his third tour of operations.

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Bomber Offensive

By Arthur Harris

Bomber OffensiveDescription:

In February 1942 Arthur Harris was given the job of taking the war to the enemy at a time when Britain was still on the defensive. When he took over Bomber Command it possessed only sixty-nine heavy bombers and his force was incapable of undertaking any major operations, yet by May 1943 Harris was able to mount the first of many 1,000-bomber raids.

Though none can doubt that Harris turned Bomber Command into a fearsome weapon, the tactics employed and its effectiveness, however, continue to be debated. From the outset Harris was instructed to 'focus attacks on the morale of the enemy civil population and in particular the industrial workers'. This 'Area' bombing was a shift from targeted raids upon military installations and industrial plants to attacking German civilians and the country's infrastructure. The result of these concentrated attacks on German centres of population led to enormous loss of life and the destruction of many beautiful cities. 

Harris deals with all the key subjects in his autobiography in the straightforward fashion he dealt with his mission with Bomber Command – holding nothing back to achieve his objective.

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Bomber Pilot on the Eastern Front

By Vasily Reshetnikov

Bomber Pilot on the Eastern FrontDescription:

Soviet bombers played a vital role in defeating the Germans on the Eastern Front, yet their contribution is often forgotten. This graphic memoir should help to set the record straight. The author, a leading Soviet bomber pilot who flew throughout the conflict, tells his story from the desperate days of the German assault in 1941 to the point where Germany was invaded and the Nazis were destroyed. He gives a vivid account of his experiences during over 300 bombing missions in the dangerous skies over Russia, the Ukraine, Poland and Germany. His story is compelling reading.

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Bombs Away

By Martin Bowman

Bombs AwayDescription:

This is a unique selection of wide-ranging experiences of British and Commonwealth Bomber Command aircrew during World War II. Their endearing bravery and fortitude and sometimes their despondency and cynicism, shows through in these stirring, daring, often irreverent, humorous and sometimes sardonic but memorable stories. All reflect the ethos, camaraderie, fear and bravery of the largely 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. Death would normally come from an anonymous assassin, either in the black of night, or from behind a cloud or out of the sun, or simply from the Flak gunner on the ground. And, if all this was not enough, the often unmerciful weather was no respecter of mortality.

There was no escaping the all-embracing shock wave that rippled through the bomber squadrons after a heavy mauling over enemy territory. Nothing could be more poignant than the vacuous places at tables in the depleted mess halls, the empty locker of the departed, or the dog pining by the barracks for its missing master. Each man had to deal with tragedy in his own inimitable way. Some hid their feelings better than others did only for the pain to resurface months or even years later. Some who had survived the physical pressures and who completed their tours then succumbed to the mental torture that had eaten away at their psyche during the incessant and interminable onslaught day after day, night after night. There was little respite. The valorous men of Bomber Command were, in turn, the Light Brigade, the stop gap, the riposte, the avengers, the undefeated. Always, they were expendable.

Martin Bowman plus ccontributors including Basil Craske, Bruce Sanders, Dudley Heal, Tom Wingham DFC, Bruce Sanders, John Mattey, Bob Davies AFC, Neville S. C. Donmall, Harry Wheeler, Ken Westrope, Malcolm Scott DFC and Dennis J. Gill.

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Bravery Awards for Aerial Combat

By Alan E Cooper

Bravery Awards for Aerial CombatDescription:

The Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying) was instituted in November 1942 to right the anomaly that no award existed for non-commissioned aircrew between the DFM and the VC, or in other words - an equivalent to the DSO for commissioned officers. Only 110 CGMs were awarded and this book describes the events and personalities of many of those whose bravery in combat led to the award of this very rare medal. The first recipient was Flight Sergeant Leslie Wallace, a wireless operator with 83 Squadron, who extinguished a major fire in his Lancaster and despite his severe wounds returned to his radio until the crippled aircraft returned to England. The final CGM was awarded to Flight Sergeant John Couglan in Vietnam, when he assisted boarding casualties in the face of heavy fire from the Vietcong. In between there are a host of tales that recount incredible feats of courage. Lengthy appendices list recipients of the medal and other statistics concerning the award.

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Breaking the Dams

By Charles Foster

Breaking the DamsDescription:

This is the story of the author's uncle, David Maltby and the crew with whom he flew on the famous Dam Raid in 1943. Just five months later, on their return from an aborted mission to bomb the Dortmund Ems Canal, they all died when their aircraft went down in the North Sea. Only David's body was recovered, washed ashore a day later, and identified by his 18 year old sister - the author's mother. David was the pilot of the fifth Lancaster, J-Johnny' to drop a bomb on the Mohne Dam and cause the final breach in the dam. He was then just 23 years of age, but already had 30 operations and a DFC to his name. This book tells the story of the crew, what made them join the RAF when they new the risk was so high, how fate threw them together, what it was like for one crew to take part in the raid and what happened to them in the five months between Operation Chastise and their deaths.
It goes beyond the raid to look at what happened afterwards and how the families left behind were affected. Their sons, brothers and fathers might have become famous but they had to cope with life and loss in the same way as did thousands of other British families.

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Building for Battle: Hitler's D-Day Defences

By Philip Kaplan

Building for Battle: Hitler's D-Day DefencesDescription:

Following nearly two years of planning and exacting preparation, Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of the Nazi-dominated European continent, was mounted in the early hours of 6th June, 1944. It was to be a pivotal event leading to the end of the Second World War and victory for the Allied forces. The invasion itself was centred on the largest amphibious landing operation in history. It involved 7000 naval vessels, 3000 aircraft, 17000 American and British paratroopers and thousands of additional military personnel. What awaited the Allied landing forces - many of them suffering the effects of sea sickness when they were delivered into the surf of the five main landing beaches on the Normandy coast of France - were key elements in the formidable defences of Hitler’s vaunted ‘Atlantic Wall’. The Wall was a 2500-mile chain of various types of fortifications stretching from the North Cape to the Bay of Biscay. That portion of the German defences between Caen to the east and Cherbourg to the west was particularly menacing, due largely to the planning and implementations of Feldmarschall Erwin Rommel, appointed by Hitler to take charge of the Atlantic Wall defences. 

D-Day Defences revisits many of the locations within the five-beach landing area of the invasion forces, focusing on the various aspects of the German fortifications, the types of defensive systems employed against the American, British and Canadian invaders, and the results experienced by both invaders and defenders in the Allied struggle to gain and hold possession of that pathway to Berlin.

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Caribbean Volunteers at War

By Mark Johnson

Caribbean Volunteers at WarDescription:

All of a sudden there was the rush of an immense shadow coming towards him at terrific speed. It was the ground reaching up to gather him. The date was 26 June, 1943 and Cy Grant was the rarest of things - a black West Indian RAF crew member, blown out of his exploding Lancaster bomber. 

The heroic exploits of the Caribbean men and women who volunteered their services to the Allied effort during the Second World War have, until now, passed by with little fanfare or attention. Indeed, whilst many people are aware of the contribution that the various Bomber Command units paid in securing ultimate victory, little is said or understood of the achievements and sacrifices of the heroic Caribbean volunteers who contributed to some of their greatest victories.

Mark Johnson presents us here with an engrossing and humane account of the exploits of such individuals. Including a great number of insights and fascinating details taken from conversations with his great-uncle, John Blair, the book illuminates the day-to-day reality of life as a Caribbean volunteer during the Second World War and the kind of culture-clash experiences that characterised their wartime careers. John Blair is a particularly important member within the context of this history and within the wider context of Bomber Command history. He served a full and distinguished tour with Bomber Command in the skies over Germany and was present during some of the most pivotal moments, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross in the process. The author has based the book on in-depth interviews he conducted with his great-uncle and other survivors, as well as other press interviews and personal accounts by a host of other Caribbean volunteers to create a dramatic and well written account of the proceedings. An important book, offering a platform upon which to appreciate the true extent of the Caribbean contribution to the Allied war effort, the work offers a new slant on the popular Bomber Command theme; one that looks set to intrigue a number of readers yet to be acquainted with this facet of the unit's history.

As featured in Discover Your History magazine.

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Catapult Aircraft

By Leo Marriott

Catapult AircraftDescription:

During World War I, the navies of the opposing forces discovered the value of aerial reconnaissance and many experiments were made to allow larger warships to carry one or sometimes two aircraft aboard. In the early days these were float planes that were lowered by crane into the sea and then lifted back aboard upon their return. This was a lengthy affair and when a speedy departure was necessary, time was of the essence. A new system was devised so that a powerful catapult system and a short ramp could, with the added speed of the ship, get an aircraft airborne in a fraction of the time previously required. Thus was born a highly specialised type of aircraft. This book includes all the major designs that went to war in the First and Second World Wars and includes aircraft used by all the combatants. It looks at how the aircraft evolved and how the warships were modified to accommodate the aircraft and the catapult system. The use of these fixed-wing aircraft was abandoned when the invention of the helicopter was made in the early post WW II years.

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Churchill's Spearhead

By John Greenacre

Churchill's SpearheadDescription:

This book covers the inception, growth and employment of Britain's airborne forces (parachute and glider-borne formations) between June 1940 and March 1945. It takes a comparative approach and follows tailored lines of development. Each of these lines - politics and policy, equipment and technology, personnel and training, command and control and concepts and doctrine - influence each other.

The contents include:

Politics and Policy: The political environment within which the major decisions were made concerning the concept of development of Britain's airborne forces. Churchill's personal contribution, the effect of inter-service rivalry and the influence of other government departments. Equipment and Technology: The methods and obstacles of procuring and supplying the bespoke equipment required by airborne forces. The supply of combat equipment, the provision of support aircraft and the procurement of gliders. Personnel and Training: The effort incurred to man the new force and the effect of different approaches to recruitment and training. The selection and recruitment of airborne personnel, the individual training of paratroops and glider pilots and the role of collective training prior to operations. Command and Control: The ability of individuals in key appointments to influence the path of development and the operational and tactical employment of the force. The reaction and approach of higher commanders to the new capability, the selection and impact of commanders within the airborne force and the influence of the airborne staff. Concept and Doctrine: Examines the manner in which Britain's airborne forces were employed and performed on operations in the Mediterranean and northwest Europe. How the development of the airborne concept was influenced by physical constraints (equipment and personnel), the ideas of higher commanders and the German example. The impact of individual commanders and physical limitations.

Commissioned Army officer since 1988, first in logistics but since 1994 in the Army Air Corps as a reconnaissance helicopter pilot. Operational deployments in the Gulf, the Balkans and Northern Ireland. Other deployments to Germany, the Falkland Islands, Canada and Kenya. Staff appointments in arms control, training, procurement and operations. Previous publications include When Opportunity Arises, The Employment of British Airborne Forces in the Mediterranean 1941-1945 and Allied Fighting Effectiveness in North Africa and Italy 1942-1945.

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Clash of Eagles

By Martin Bowman

Clash of EaglesDescription:

This is the story of the air war over Western Europe, told first-hand by the American and German pilots and aircrew who took part. It spans the period between 1942 and 1945 and covers the encounters between the audacious Luftwaffe fighter pilots and the Fortress and Liberator bomber crews of the American 8th Air Forces flying from East Anglia.

Many unique experiences are recounted from both the night and day bombing raids that were hurled against Hitler's war machine. What was it like to fly through the dense flak over the Ruhr and against the German Experten and to be hit by machine gun and cannon fire from Focke Wulf 190s and Bf 109s? How did so many badly damaged bombers manage to struggle back, against all odds, to their East Anglian bases?

The author has sought the experiences of German fighter pilots, who explain how they stalked their prey in the skies over the Reich and how they pounced on their four engine victims from high. This book contains vivid accounts of some of the most heroic actions in the history of air warfare and features many action photographs.

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Coastal Command's Air War Against the German U-Boat

By Norman Franks

Coastal Command's Air War Against the German U-BoatDescription:

This book summarises the story of how RAF Coastal Command overcame the German U-boat danger during the Second World War and how the escalation of the U-boat war promoted the development of anti-submarine warfare, leading to victory over this menace in the Atlantic.

At the start of the war, RAF Coastal Command had virtually no real chance of either finding or sinking Germany's submarines, but within a short period of time, new methods of detecting and delivering deadly ordnance with which to sink this underwater threat were dreamt up and implemented. 

It took the men of Coastal Command long hours patrolling over an often hostile sea, in all types of weather, but their diligence, perseverance and dedication won through, saving countless lives of both merchant and navy seamen out in the cold wastes of the Atlantic and contributing much to the final victory over Nazi Germany. This new addition to the Images of War series serves as a tribute to these men, recording their exploits in words and images.

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Combined Round the Clock Bombing Offensive

By Philip Kaplan

Combined Round the Clock Bombing OffensiveDescription:

In World War Two, the most effective fighting units were usually small – submarine crews, infantry platoons, commandos, and bomber crews. Of these it could be said that the men who crewed the bombers caused more damage to the enemy and had a greater impact on the outcome of the conflict than any number of the rest. Most of the aircrews were volunteers (in the RAF, they all were), intelligent, fit, and highly trained. Each knew he was essential to the team; he knew that a mistake by anyone could mean the death of all. Their interdependence was a welding influence.

This library of rare archive photography provides a pictorial history with which to better understand the true extent of Allied operations during the second half of the Second World War, after America had fused its allegiance and the Allied contingent fired itself up for a reactionary attack against Nazi Germany, following a series of defeats and setbacks at their hands during the first half of the war. 

First-hand accounts from both American and British bomber pilots feature. An account of the dramatic attack at Peenemunde is included as well as a host of accounts of the 3 December 1943 RAF bombing raid on Berlin. They work to create a real sense of precisely what 'round the clock' actually meant, as these concentrated attacks drained pilots of every ounce of energy they possessed.

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