Aviation In Ww2 - Vintage Airfix


Aviation in WWII books

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

Contents:
- Coming Down in the Drink - By Sean Feast..
- Confounding The Reich - By Martin Bowman..
- Consolidated B-24 Liberator - By Graham Simons..
- Constant Vigilance - By Dr Nigel W M Warwick..
- D-Day Dakotas - By Martin Bowman..
- Dambuster Crash Sites - By Chris Ward..
- Dambusters - Remembering the Legend 70 Years On - By Aitfix..
- Dambusters - The Raid Sixty-Five Years On - By Rebecca Lawther..
- Dambusters: The Forging of a Legend - By Andy Lee, Andreas Wachtel, Chris Ward..
- Daring Raids of World War Two: Heroic Land, Sea and Air Attacks - By Peter Jacobs..
- Day Fighters in Defence of the Reich - By Don Caldwell..
- Defending Britain's Skies 1940-1945 - By John Grehan, Martin Mace..
- Dinghy Drop - By Tom Docherty..
- Dogfight: The Battle of Britain - By Adam Classen..
- Dogfight: The Supermarine Spitfire and the Messerschmitt Bf109 - By David Owen..

 


 

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Coming Down in the Drink

By Sean Feast

Coming Down in the DrinkDescription:

Coming Down in the Drink is the story of Flight Lieutenant John Brennan DFC.

John is an Irishman who need not have fought in the war at all. A sense of adventure took him to London where he trained as a chef before joining the RAF and qualifying as a wireless operator/air gunner.

Posted to 148 Squadron in the Middle East in 1941, John was soon in the fray as the front gunner of a Wellington, flying daily sorties to Benghazi in what was known as the mail run, bombing enemy ships that were offloading vital supplies to Rommel and the Afrika Korps. As much at risk from faulty engines as enemy action, John completed a tour of almost 300 hours of operational flying, including an operation in March 1942 in which his Wellington suffered an engine failure and came down in the sea. He thus became a member of the Goldfish Club.

Posted home and commissioned, he spent time instructing in Scotland, surviving yet another accident in which his pilot crashed into a mountainside. Volunteering for a second tour, John joined 78 Squadron in the summer of 1944, being crewed with one of the flight commanders. He completed his tour, this time as a wireless operator, in March 1945, by which time they were operating in daylight in support of the Allied advance. He was awarded the DFC.

John is one of the only surviving wartime members of the Goldfish Club, and has a fascinating record of 63 operations that covers both the forgotten bombing war in the Middle East in 1941/42, operating from strips of sand in the barren desert, to a main force heavy bomber squadron in the snow of Yorkshire at the end of the war.

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Confounding The Reich

By Martin Bowman

Confounding The ReichDescription:

On 23 November 1943, 100 (Bomber Support) Group of RAF Bomber Command was formed. The object was to consolidate the various squadrons and units that had been fighting a secret war of electronics and radar countermeasures, attempting to reduce the losses of the heavy bombers - and their hard pressed crews - in Bomber Command. The book contains many first-hand accounts from pilots and crew and provides a fascinating record of 100 Group's wartime history.

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Consolidated B-24 Liberator

By Graham Simons

Consolidated B-24 LiberatorDescription:

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was almost certainly the most versatile Second World War Bomber. Apart from its bombing role in all theatres of operation, the B-24 hauled fuel to France during the push towards Germany, carried troops, fought U-boats in the Atlantic and, probably most important of all, made a vital contribution towards winning the war in the Pacific. Its most famous single exploit is possibly the raid on the Ploesti oilfields in August 1943.

The B-24 ended World War Two as the most produced Allied heavy bomber in history, and the most produced American military aircraft at over 18,000 units, thanks in large measure to Henry Ford and the harnessing of American industry. It still holds the distinction as the most produced American military aircraft. The B-24 was used by several Allied air forces and navies, and by every branch of the American armed forces during the war, attaining a distinguished war record with its operations in the Western European, Pacific, Mediterranean and China-Burma-India theatres.

This book focuses on the design, engineering, development and tactical use of the many variants throughout the bomber’s service life. The overall result is, as David Lee, the former Deputy Director of the Imperial War Museum at Duxford said upon reading the final manuscript, to be acquainted with ‘...all you never knew about the B-24!’

The book is enlivened by the many dramatic photographs which feature, and this coupled with the clarity of Simons' prose makes for an engaging and entertaining history of this iconic Allied bomber, a key component in several of their biggest victories and a marvel of military engineering

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Constant Vigilance

By Dr Nigel W M Warwick

Constant VigilanceDescription:

The RAF Regiment was created in the early years of World War II for the active dedicated defence of RAF airfields and installations. This books concerns the Regiments operational history in South-east Asia Command and draws on the diaries and recollections of the men who served in that theatre. It is strongly supported by maps and diagrams from official records.
The Regiment played a vital and significant role in the two major battles for Burma, Imphal and Meiktila. The struggle at Imphal ranks alongside Stalingrad and Alamein in its significance for the defeat of the Axis. 

From humble beginnings, the Regiment in Burma had by 1945 become a highly-trained specialist ground force capable of defensive and offensive action. The successes of the 14th Army were founded on the support of the transport, fighter and bomber squadrons. The RAF could not have done this as effectively without the confidence that its airfields and vital installations were safe under the constant vigilance of the RAF Regiment.

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D-Day Dakotas

By Martin Bowman

D-Day DakotasDescription:

On 18 December 1935 when the first flight of the Douglas DC-3 took place, few could have imagined that it would become one of the world’s most celebrated aircraft of all time, not just as a commercial airliner but also as the C-47 military transport. When production ceased in the summer of 1945, a total of 10,926 had been built.

This wonderfully versatile aircraft played a significant part in airborne operations around the world; but perhaps its most notable employment occurred during the June 1944 Normandy campaign. This important episode within the wider history of ‘D-Day' is enlivened here in classic fashion by Martin Bowman, in a narrative that features both extensive historical notes as well as deeply personal accounts of endurance and individual gallantry.

This amplified account of events as they unfolded in the skies above France on D-Day (5/6 and 6/7 June, 1944) reveals the invaluable contribution these workhorses of World War II made to the overall success in Normandy. It follows the author’s comprehensive five part work published by Pen & Sword (Air War D-Day) that included a multitude of personal military accounts from both Allied and German personnel who took part in Operation ‘Overlord’ and the Normandy campaign.

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Dambuster Crash Sites

By Chris Ward

Dambuster Crash SitesDescription:

Many of the 617 Squadron crews who took part in the famous attacks on the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe Dams and also the raids on the Dortmund-Ems Canal did not return. This book takes the reader to many of the crash sites that resulted. They include the coast off Texel, Rees, Marbeck, Emmerich, Hamm, Ostonnen, just north of the Mohne Dam, the former airfield at Gilze-Rijen in Holland and Castricum-aan-Zee, also Holland. The Dortmund-Ems Canal sites are Noordhorn, Recke, Bergeshovede, Ladbergen and Den Ham in Holland. All these sites can be visited within a week's tour by car or public transport. The book is illustrated with then-and-now photographs of the sites, the personnel involved and the aircraft originally flown. Local places of interest are listed to allow those aficionados of this famous squadron to broaden their knowledge and also enjoy a continental break.

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Dambusters - Remembering the Legend 70 Years On

By Aitfix

Dambusters - Remembering the Legend 70 Years OnDescription:

The mission became popularly known as the Dambusters raid, and was immortalised in a 1954 war film. It was one of the most famous air operations of World War II.

Casualties for the raid were high. Eight of the original 19 Lancaster bombers were damaged or shot down, and of the 133 aircrew, 53 were killed and three captured. On the ground, too, almost 1,300 people were killed, including 749 Ukrainian prisoners of war based in a camp just below the Eder dam.

The spectacular, daring nature of the raid was a significant boost to British morale. But militarily, it was a failure. The squadron failed to breach the Sorpe dam; and the disruption to the German war production was minimal. Water supply in the Ruhr valley was back to original levels six weeks later.

The aircrew, however, became famous as war heroes, and the leader of the raid, Wing Commander Guy Gibson, was awarded the Victoria Cross.

This bookazine tells the full story of the raid, from planning to the missions themselves along with details of the aircraft and equipment used. Also included are details of the men who took part and their fate.

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Dambusters - The Raid Sixty-Five Years On

By Rebecca Lawther

Dambusters - The Raid Sixty-Five Years OnDescription:

This magazine looks at the training of the aircrew of Bomber Command, some of whom would later form No 617 Squadron; the formation and development of the plan for raid on the dams; how the weapon was designed and tested, and how the Lancaster was adapted to carry the weapon. The magazine also focuses on several of the pilots and their crews who took part in the raid, including some of those who did not make it back.

The success of the Dambuster raids has been somewhat debated in the years since they took place: although the bombs fulfilled their purpose and two of the dams were successfully breached, the attack was costly in lives and did not have the long-term effects that had been hoped on the Ruhr's industrial output. However, as described in the latter chapters of this magazine, it did have enormous propaganda value for the Allies.

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Dambusters: The Forging of a Legend

By Andy Lee, Andreas Wachtel, Chris Ward

Dambusters: The Forging of a LegendDescription:

617 Squadron of 5 Group RAF Bomber Command was without doubt the most famous RAF Squadron in World War II. It was formed to carry out the precision low-level attack on the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe Dams, using Barnes Wallis's newly developed rotating mine, now commonly referred to as ‘The Bouncing Bomb’. The raid was a tremendous success, although costly to the squadron, and proved to be a great morale booster for the war-weary British public. Guy Gibson VC was tasked with organising the formation and training of the new squadron and the Dambusters have been national heroes ever since. Although many books have explored this epic adventure previously, this publication offers fresh perspectives on the long and envious history of 617, from their very first raid until the end of the war.

This retelling of the Dams raid pays particular attention to timings. It is often easy to overlook the fact that this was a complex three-phase operation, spanning 8 hours and 47 minutes, with action occurring simultaneously at widely dispersed locations. The book also attempts to settle, once and for all, the circumstances of the losses, by examining the testimony of eyewitnesses on both sides. Previous accounts can be criticised for being contradictory or at variance; here, efforts have been made to present arguments in such a way as to help readers decide for themselves what actually happened. 

In the later war years, 617 suffered greatly during an attack on the Dortmund-Ems Canal, but they recovered. Their list of prioritised special targets went on to include Hamburg, the German missile research plant at Peenemu&#776;nde, the U boat pens at La Pallice and the sinking of the battleship Tirpitz. The legendary Leonard Cheshire VC led the Squadron for much of that period. Contained within this newly researched publication are a host of first-hand accounts from squadron members as well as German and Dutch witnesses who were present at some of the most spectacular raids. These eyewitness accounts help to explain many of the mysterious losses of the Squadron's aircraft. Lengthy appendices contain a Roll of Honour, lists of Commanders, airfields and aircraft, operational statistics and aircraft histories.

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Daring Raids of World War Two: Heroic Land, Sea and Air Attacks

By Peter Jacobs

Daring Raids of World War Two: Heroic Land, Sea and Air AttacksDescription:

The Second World War saw a host of heroic raids enacted across the various theatres, all delivered valiantly in a variety of ways by British combatants; on land, by sea and from the air. Daring exploits such as the raid on Rommel, the endeavours of the Cockleshell Heroes and the Dam Busters have become legendary in the annals of warfare. All feature here, alongside details of fascinating lesser-known operations.

It goes without saying that not all the raids were a success; in fact, some went disastrously wrong but the men who carried them out did so with extreme courage and in the knowledge that they might not return. Here, Peter Jacobs tells the gripping stories of some of the most heroic raids of the entire conflict. These include the disastrous landings at Dieppe; the amphibious assault on the dry dock at St Nazaire (more Victoria Crosses were won during this raid than in any other operation of the war); the airborne assaults on the German radar installation at Bruneval and later on Pegasus Bridge as a prelude to D-Day; and the low-level raid by RAF Mosquitos on the prison at Amiens to release members of the French Resistance.

This is an intriguing and insightful historical record of thirty of the most daring and strategic raids of military history and is sure to appeal to all enthusiasts of the genre.

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Day Fighters in Defence of the Reich

By Don Caldwell

Day Fighters in Defence of the ReichDescription:

Day Fighters in Defence of the Reich is a detailed, comprehensive daily reference to the air operations flown by the Luftwaffe. These operations were designed to combat the daylight strategic missions by the United States Army Air Force targeting the German Reich and the western zone occupied by Germany.

This volume is a unique look at the German air defences as they struggled to cope with the threat posed by the American 8th and 15th Air Forces, which were charged with destroying Germany's critical war industries and wresting control of the air over the Reich from the Luftwaffe.

The previous volume in this series, The Luftwaffe over Germany: Defence of the Reich is an award-winning narrative history published by Greenhill Books. This book extends the story in an unprecedented fashion and includes:

• A brief narrative and a table of statistics detailing every mission of every Luftwaffe unit defending the Greater German Reich or the western occupied zone against strategic raids by the USAAF.
• A summary of every 8th and 15th US Army Air Force strategic mission over this area in which the Luftwaffe was encountered.
•Tables of monthly sorties, losses and victory claims by the USAAF and the Luftwaffe over the Reich and the western occupied zone. The growth of the American juggernaut can be followed in detail, as can the ever more futile struggle by the Reich Defence Force. The data allow validity of USAAF and Luftwaffe victory claims to be estimated.
• Quarterly orders of battle and casualties for the Reich Defence Force, broken down by aircraft type. The unsuccessful struggle of the Luftwaffe to keep its fighter units up to strength while introducing superior types and the relative vulnerability of its various fighters can be seen at a glance.
• Maps for 32 major missions showing the tracks of the bombers and every defending Luftwaffe unit, including their points of attack on the bombers.
• 189 photographs of Luftwaffe personalities and aircraft, many previously unpublished.
• 72 combat accounts by Luftwaffe pilots, most previously unpublished and all readily available in English for the first time.

This unique and authoritative book is based on documents in the German, American and British government archives and German pilot logbooks and interviews from the author's extensive collection. Caldwell is well known for his balanced presentations and the clarity of his writing. This book is a must-have for anyone with a serous interest in World War II aviation history.

This book completes the story begun by Caldwell and Dr. Richard Muller in The Luftwaffe over Germany: Defence of the Reich, which won the US Air Force Historical Foundation award for Best Air Power History Book of 2008. Critical praise for this book has been widespread.

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Defending Britain's Skies 1940-1945

By John Grehan, Martin Mace

Defending Britain's Skies 1940-1945Description:

Despatches in this volume include that on the Battle of Britain, and air fighting 1940-1941, by Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh C.T. Dowding, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Fighter Command, Air Operations by Fighter Command between November 1940 and the end of December 1941, the anti-aircraft defence of the United Kingdom between 1939 and 1945, and the report on air operations by Air Defence of Great Britain and Fighter Command in connection with the German flying bomb and rocket offensives, 1944-1945.

This unique collection of original documents will prove to be an invaluable resource for historians, students and all those interested in what was one of the most significant periods in British military history.

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Dinghy Drop

By Tom Docherty

Dinghy DropDescription:

September 1941 approval was given for the formation of two long-range Air-Sea Rescue squadrons. No 279 Squadron was formed at Bircham Newton in Norfolk. In the period leading up to the formation of the squadron there had been much work done in relation to air-dropped survival equipment such as the Lindholme Dinghy Dropping Gear, the Bircham Barrel and the Thornaby Bag. These contained such items as water, food, first-aid kits and distress signals. 279 was the first squadron to employ the airborne lifeboat, which was carried beneath the bellies of the portly Hudson. In January 1942 a practical boat, fitted with oars, sails and engines was put into production with the intention of slinging it under the bomb bay of the Hudson and to drop it by parachute. In October 1944 the Squadron re-equipped with Warwick Mk I aircraft moved to Thornaby in the NE of England. By now its ASR net was cast wide and there were detachments at Tain, Fraserburgh, Wick and Banff (all in northern Scotland) and Reykjavik.

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Dogfight: The Battle of Britain

By Adam Classen

Dogfight: The Battle of BritainDescription:

This book tells the story of Australians and New Zealanders in one of the Second World War's defining and most memorable campaigns. From 9 July until 31 October 1940, the German air force (the Luftwaffe) sought aerial supremacy in skies over England as a prerequisite for an invasion of Britain (Operation Sealion). The ensuing conflict of Luftwaffe and RAF aircraft in the long summer of 1940 became forever known as the Battle of Britain. 

Of the 574 overseas pilots in the campaign, the New Zealand contingent of 134 airmen was second in size only to the Polish contribution. The Australian involvement, though smaller, was a healthy 37. 

Thus a fifth of overseas pilots were Anzacs. Among these colonials were some of the Battle of Britain's widely admired aces. Of the top ten pilots with the greatest number of victories two were New Zealanders (C. F. Gray and B. Carbury) and one an Australian (P. Hughes). Australian and New Zealand aircrew were also employed in attacking enemy Channel ports and airfields as part of Bomber and Coastal Command's attempts to thwart invasion preparations and blunt the Luftwaffe aerial onslaught. The Anzacs also had a fellow compatriot at the highest level in the Fighter Command system: the highly regarded New Zealander Air Marshal Sir Keith Park, who was instrumental in devising and implementing the integrated air defence of Britain around Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft, radio control and radar. In the spring of 1940, he was given the command of Group 11, which would face the brunt of the German aggression in south-east England. The success of Park's plans and operational initiatives, and the role played by Anzac pilots and aircrew, would all contribute to the conflict's eventual successful outcome.

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Dogfight: The Supermarine Spitfire and the Messerschmitt Bf109

By David Owen

Dogfight: The Supermarine Spitfire and the Messerschmitt Bf109Description:

Innumerable books have been published on the two most famous fighter aircraft of all time, the Supermarine Spitfire and the Messerschmitt Bf109. But books setting out to tell the story of both aircraft are very much rarer - probably fewer than the fingers of one hand. Yet their joint story is one which bears retelling since both were essential to the air campaigns of World War Two.

Incredibly, the men who designed them lacked any experience of designing a modern fighter. R J Mitchell had begun his career working on industrial steam locomotives, Willy Messerschmitt had cut his aeronautical teeth on light and fragile gliders and sporting planes. Yet both men not only managed to devise aircraft which could hold their own in a world where other designs went from state-of-the-art to obsolete in a staggeringly short time, but their fighters remained competitive over six years of front-line combat. 

Despite the different ways their creators approached their daunting tasks and the obstacles each faced in acceptance by the services for which they were designed, they proved to be so closely matched that neither side gained a decisive advantage in a titanic struggle. Had either of them not matched up to its opponent so well, then the air war would have been a one-sided catastrophe ending in a quick defeat for the Allies or the Axis powers, and the course of twentieth century history would have been changed beyond recognition.

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