Royal Air Force - Vintage Airfix


Royal Air Force books

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

Contents:
- The Birth of the Royal Air Force - By Ian Philpott..
- The Burma Air Campaign 1941-1945 - By Michael Pearson..
- The First Helicopter Boys - By David Taylor..
- The History of RAF Aerobatic Teams from 1920 - By David Watkins..
- The Night Hunter’s Prey - By Iain Gordon..
- The Polish 'Few' - By Peter Sikora..
- The RAF Air Sea Rescue Service 1918-1986 - By Diane Canwell, Jon Sutherland..
- The RAF Air Sea Rescue Service in the Second World War - By Norman Franks..
- The RAF Battle of Britain Fighter Pilots' Kitbag - By Mark Hillier..
- The RAF Regiment at War 1942-1946 - By Kingsley Oliver..
- The RAF's Air War In Libya - By Dave Sloggett..
- The Royal Air Force - Volume I - By Ian Philpott..
- The Royal Air Force - Volume II - By Ian Philpott..
- The Royal Air Force At Home - By Ian Smith Watson..
- The Royal Air Force in the Cold War, 1950-1970 - By Ian Proctor..

 


 

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The Birth of the Royal Air Force

By Ian Philpott

The Birth of the Royal Air ForceDescription:

Ian Philpott presents us here with a compendium of facts, operational histories and photo illustrations, combined to create a comprehensive account of the early years of the Royal Air Force. Illustrated throughout, it features details of all military operations from 1914 to 1918 which impacted upon the organisation. Also included are operational details of the Independent Bomber Force throughout 1918, a supplementary historical strand that is sure to appeal to Aviation enthusiasts with a taste for features of niche focus. Details of the airfields, landing grounds, seaplane bases and various other landmarks of this era are given, and readers are encouraged to use the work as a reference book, being as it is a weighty tome of encyclopedic scope. 

Sure to make a welcome addition to any aviation enthusiast's library, this well-researched piece of work has been a long time in the making. Philpott brings his typical flair to the project, leaving no stone unturned when it comes to this dynamic, defining period of Royal Air Force history.

As featured in the East Kent Mercury and Essence Magazine.

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The Burma Air Campaign 1941-1945

By Michael Pearson

The Burma Air Campaign 1941-1945Description:

The scene is set with an overview of the respective states of the RAF and Japanese Airforce, and an explanation of how the American Volunteer Group (The Flying Tigers) came to be in China.

There is a concise description of air ops covering the Japanese invasion of Indo China, Malaya and Singapore, together with a close study of the sinking of the Prince of Wales and Repulse, which altered the air/sea power equation.

The main emphasis is on the use of air power both offensive, defensive and air transport during the protracted Burma Campaign. This embraces operations in the Arakan and the various Chindit long range penetration expeditions. These relied almost totally on air supply and evacuation.

In the later stages of the War, the US and RAF combined forces and predictably this was not without controversy. Few realize that US B29s operating from India attacked Japan itself.

Finally the role of ground attack aircraft against the retreating Japs played a significant part in the Allied advance in Burma.

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The First Helicopter Boys

By David Taylor

The First Helicopter BoysDescription:

The Indonesian Confrontation that raged from 1963 to 1966 stemmed from Indonesia’s opposition to the creation of Malaysia. Fighting in the challenging jungle terrain of Borneo and in the countryside straddling the Malaysia/Indonesia border, where there were few roads, posed significant logistical challenges to both sides. That the conflict was ultimately a victory for the Commonwealth forces was in due in no small part to the fact that they enjoyed the advantage of vastly superior helicopter resources and better trained crews – many of which were provided by British units.

During the Confrontation, many of these vital helicopter assets were flown by pilots and crews who had gained their knowledge and experience first-hand during the Malayan Emergency, one of the Cold War’s first flash-points which had begun in 1948.

Without doubt, the Malayan Emergency marked the formative years of the RAF’s and Royal Navy’s helicopter operations – the very early days in fact, when equipment and knowledge were much more basic. It was a time when operational procedures were still under development, even though the helicopters were already being flown on front line service.

Told in the main through their own words, by the RAF and Royal Navy air and ground crews involved, this is the story of how these ‘guinea pigs’ undertook many of Britain’s first rotary wing combat operations and, therefore, cemented their rightful place in the history of the helicopter.

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The History of RAF Aerobatic Teams from 1920

By David Watkins

The History of RAF Aerobatic Teams from 1920Description:

The Royal Air Force has long recognised the value of display flying for pilot training, prestige and recruiting purposes, and the standard of its formation aerobatic teams has always stood favourable comparison with those of air forces of other nations.

Aerobatics have always played a prominent part in RAF training. They are not performed merely to provide a spectacle for the public but are an essential step in the making of a pilot, giving him confidence in himself and his aircraft. Formation aerobatics give him the added factor of confidence in his leader and other members of the team.

This history of RAF aerobatic teams is the result of many years of painstaking and meticulous research from its early beginnings with five Sop with Snipes at the Hendon Pageant in 1920 to the present day 'Red Arrows'.

The book also contains an introduction which details the gradual development from experimental and 'stunt' flying of the early aviators, through the aerial artistry of using smoke to highlight manoeuvres and tied-together formation aerobatics, to the introduction of jet teams after the war. Also included in the book is a detailed index listing each team and its members from 1920 and it will undoubtedly provide an essential reference work on Royal Air Force formation aerobatic teams for aviation historians and enthusiasts.

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The Night Hunter’s Prey

By Iain Gordon

The Night Hunter’s PreyDescription:

This is the story of two airmen – an RAF Rear Gunner and a Luftwaffe Pilot.

Alexander Ollar was raised in the Highlands of Scotland. He became an exceptional sporting shot and volunteered as an RAF Air Gunner in 1939. Helmut Lent enrolled for pilot training in the Luftwaffe as soon as he was old enough. Both were men of integrity and honour.

Alec completed his first tour of 34 operations with 115 Squadron and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal by the King. After a year as an instructor, Alec was commissioned and returned to 115 Squadron as Gunnery Leader. He took part in the first 1,000 bomber raid and was described by his Squadron Commander as the best rear gunner he had ever flown with.

At the same time Helmut was building up an impressive score of victories as a night fighter pilot and a national hero who was decorated by the Führer.

In July 1942, just as both men reach the apex of their careers, they meet for the first time in the night skies over Hamburg. As this fascinating book reveals, only one will survive.

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The Polish 'Few'

By Peter Sikora

The Polish 'Few'Description:

They came to fight for freedom and their country, they came to fight Germans. Men of the Polish Air Force, who had escaped first to France and then to Britain, to fly alongside the Royal Air Force just as Fighter Command faced its greatest challenge – the Battle of Britain.

Many of the Polish airmen joined existing RAF squadrons. The Poles also formed their own squadrons, but only four became operational during the Battle of Britain: Nos. 300 and 301, were bomber squadrons, with another two, Nos. 302 and 303, being fighter squadrons. Flying Hawker Hurricanes, both 302 and 303 squadrons were active by the middle of August 1940, just when they were most needed, at the height of the Battle of Britain, with Fighter Command stretched to its limit.

The Polish squadrons, battle-hardened from their encounters with the Luftwaffe during the invasion of Poland and Battle of France, soon made their mark. In particular, 303 Squadron become the highest-scoring unit of Fighter Command.

In total, 145 Polish pilots, the largest non-British contingent in Fighter Command at the time, fought in the Battle of Britain. While Winston Churchill praised the contribution of the ‘Few’, the pilots of many nationalities who had defended Britain, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding was more specific: ‘Had it not been for the magnificent material contributed by the Polish squadrons and their unsurpassed gallantry, I hesitate to say that the outcome of the Battle would have been the same.’

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The RAF Air Sea Rescue Service 1918-1986

By Diane Canwell, Jon Sutherland

The RAF Air Sea Rescue Service 1918-1986Description:

Between 1918 and 1986 the marine branch of the Royal Air Force provided rescue facilities, support and other services to this armed service. In its pre-1941 guise as the Air Sea Rescue service, the RAF had an inventory of over 200 motorboats, supported by float aircraft engaged in rescue, towing, refueling and servicing RAF aircraft. Amongst the many characters of this early period was none other than Lawrence of Arabia. 

The Marine Craft Section itself came into existence in February 1941 as a direct result of the compelling need to retrieve downed pilots from the sea. Initially the craft were lightly armed, but as the chivalry between the British and the German rescue services deteriorated, the launches became heavily armed craft, not only capable of defence but also attack. They were supported by a wide variety of aircraft, including Lysanders and Walruses. The ASR was involved in Dieppe and D-Day and operated in the Mediterranean and the Far East. During the war years alone over 13,000 aircraft crew were saved by the ASR service, in addition to the many hundreds of other servicemen whose vessels had been hit by mines or had fallen prey to submarines

Jon Sutherland has written extensively on military history and warfare. Much of his previous work has concerned the American involvement in the European in World War I and the European theatre of World War II. Diane Canwell has written works on Crete and the Viking era and is much involved in the research for this book. Using an extensive network of former members of the service, the authors propose to intersperse the descriptive chapters with short first-person accounts of particular episodes throughout the service's history.

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The RAF Air Sea Rescue Service in the Second World War

By Norman Franks

The RAF Air Sea Rescue Service in the Second World WarDescription:

When the Second World War began in 1939 it was thought that it would be fought along the same lines as the First World War, with the Allied air forces operating from both Britain and France. With the fall of Britain’s Northern European Allies in May 1940, all that changed. From then onwards, RAF aircraft operating over enemy and enemy-held territory necessitated flights across both the North Sea and the English Channel.

This meant that aircrew in difficulties would be forced to come down in both of these bodies of water. Therefore it was essential that some form of rescue service be made available to fish these airman from the water. But there were no aircraft in existence at that time that were designed for such a task: initially all that could be done was to use land ‘planes to help locate anyone in the water, drop a dinghy to them, and then guide a boat to their position.
Obviously a quicker and more reliable way of rescue was needed, and this came in the shape of the Supermarine Walrus, an amphibian aeroplane that could land on both sea and land. Several Flights of these aeroplanes were set up around the coast of Britain, concentrated mainly around the south and south-east of England. The Air Sea Rescue airmen did a magnificent job from 1941-45, rescuing hundreds of downed RAF and USAAF aircrew. It took a special type of airman to undertake these rescues – and another kind of courage.

As the war in North Africa developed, Walrus aircraft were needed in the Mediterranean, and later on either side of the Italian coast. Walrus squadrons operated just as successfully in this theatre as around Britain and aircrew operating over any stretch of water count always count on the ASR boys coming to their aid. 

This is their story.

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The RAF Battle of Britain Fighter Pilots' Kitbag

By Mark Hillier

The RAF Battle of Britain Fighter Pilots' KitbagDescription:

The scenes are familiar ones; the young ‘Brylcream Boys’ sat at dispersal waiting for the haunting call of ‘Scramble’, lounging in their shirt sleeves and fur-lined boots, their leather flying helmets lying limp by their side. But what did the RAF fighter pilots of the Battle of Britain really wear, and what vital items would their kitbags have held?

The casual air of the dashing pilots of Fighter Command in the Spitfire Summer of 1940 conceals a necessarily professional approach to their task of holding Hitler’s Luftwaffe at bay. Therefore, each item of clothing and equipment they wore and carried had a role and a function, be it for warmth and comfort, communication, or for fighting and survival.

All the objects that an RAF fighter pilot was issued with during the Battle of Britain are explored in this book in high-definition colour photographs, showing everything from the differing uniforms, to headgear, personal weapons, gloves, goggles, parachute packs and the essential Mae West life jacket. Each item is fully described and its purpose and use explained.

Relive Britain’s finest hour as never before – through the actually clothing and accoutrements of ‘The Few’.

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The RAF Regiment at War 1942-1946

By Kingsley Oliver

The RAF Regiment at War 1942-1946Description:

In 1940, the Germans' blitzkrieg tactics and the airborne threat changed the face of warfare. In particular the Royal Air Force quickly realised that, without secure bases and airfields, operational effectiveness was in jeopardy. It also became apparent that the Army was unlikely to be in a position to deploy troops in support of the RAF and, even if it could, serious doubts existed that the forces provided would be suitable.

To meet the clear requirement for a dedicated ground and low level air defence force, the Royal Air Force Regiment was formed on 1st of February 1942 as a Corps within the RAF. 
From such uncertain beginnings in the midst of a world war, the RAF Regiment grew to become a highly professional fighting force of 50,000 officers and airmen in 240 antiaircraft, infantry and armoured car squadrons which served wherever the RAF operated and fought with distinction in every theatre of war.

Published to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Regiment's formation, The RAF Regiment At War 1942-946 records these achievements during the crucial early years. Fittingly it is dedicated to the memory of all those who served during this period and, in doing so, set the standard for their successors from then until the present day.

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The RAF's Air War In Libya

By Dave Sloggett

The RAF's Air War In LibyaDescription:

The uprising in Libya in the spring of 2011 took the world by surprise. The Gaddafi regime's brutal attempts at suppressing the uprising, however, soon prompted the international community to respond. NATO agreed to impose a no-fly zone across Libya which was led by Britain, France and the USA.

For the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, the deployment of RAF and Royal Navy assets in support of UN Resolution 1973, came at a time when severe cuts to the UK's defence spending were in the process of being enacted. With the Royal Navy aircraft carriers and their Harrier jets no longer available, would the UK be able to mount operations 3,000 miles away?

In this, the first book to analyse the Libyan campaign, David Sloggett details the causes of the uprising, and examines each stage of the war through to its termination with the death of Colonel Gaddafi.

In conclusion, Dr Sloggett considers the future prospects for a post-Gaddafi Libya and, more significantly, how NATO in general, and Britain in particular, will respond to similar events in the future.

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The Royal Air Force - Volume I

By Ian Philpott

The Royal Air Force - Volume IDescription:

The inter-war years between 1918 and 1939 saw the newly created Royal Air Force fighting for its very existence politically, being despatched to the remotest corners of the British Empire and its Protectorates in various policing roles and then finally engaged in a head-long rush to modernize in the face of the new German Fascist regime that was threatening British and European freedom. Yet this important period in RAF history and its effect on political and military rationale during the period has never been completely documented. This exhaustive and comprehensive reference is the most detailed work to be published on the subject. The author gives full information on the changing structure of the Force during the period, squadron operations, political machinations and their effects, the aeroplanes and their equipment, the personnel, technical advances in navigation and breakthroughs achieved in engine performance. The book is cross-referenced throughout, extremely well illustrated and contains an abundance of location maps and other diagrams. This book will become a Bible for anyone interested in the history of the RAF.

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The Royal Air Force - Volume II

By Ian Philpott

The Royal Air Force - Volume IIDescription:

Volume II of this mammoth reference work covers the years in which the League of Nations failed because of the emerging dictatorships in Germany and Italy and the expansionist policies adopted by Japan. Britain was still reeling from the consequences of World War I and the RAF was sadly far behind the other major world powers in aircraft design, still relying on bi-planes that were direct descendants of World War I thinking. It gradually became apparent that, despite UK government dithering, the RAF needed to develop new aircraft, engines and increase production to confront the bully-boy tactics of the Axis powers. As the turn of the decade approached extraordinary measures were taken to enable RAF to defend Britain's skies and this her freedom. As with Volume 1, this book covers every conceivable part of the RAF's history through these pre-War days. It looks at the development and invention of new equipment such as radar, monoplane fighters, metal construction and the heavy bomber. This was an era when science in aviation was rushing ahead and fortunately for Britain's freedom, it laid the foundations of victory in 1.945.

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The Royal Air Force At Home

By Ian Smith Watson

The Royal Air Force At HomeDescription:

Military public relations endeavours ultimately seek to build a sense of common interests and aims, and so generally foster good relations with the people they defend, and there in ensure a stable society. The armed forces when engaging on any public relations exercise, have traditionally sought to provide an entertaining spectacle. For years this has been typified by parades, bands, mock battles, drill displays and other relevant feats of military prowess which have captured the imagination of the public and inspired potential recruits.

The 20th Century brought a new dimension to the field of warfare and subsequently added a new strand to the fabric of public ceremony and displays by the armed forces. That new dimension was the arrival of powered flight. Display flying began within five years of the Wright Brothers making their milestone first flight. The first events staged in Britain which centred on demonstrations by flying machines, were organised by the town councils of Blackpool and Doncaster and were held within days of each other in October 1909.

1920 was the year that the first of the famed and legendary Hendon Air Pageants was staged, and this is where military air shows traditionally began. The Hendon Displays were organised and staged by the still fledging Royal Air Force and it was probably due in no small part to the prestige and spectacle of this fresh new dimension of military pageantry, together with other like events held at RAF airfields through the next two decades, that the very existence of the RAF was saved from the threat of abolition. 

The history of the RAF's commitment (one that compares almost uniquely with other air forces) toward display flying through the years after World War Two has now come of age. This account of their record in this often overlooked but then again traditional field of military customs, describes and illustrates the major public RAF events since 1920.

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The Royal Air Force in the Cold War, 1950-1970

By Ian Proctor

The Royal Air Force in the Cold War, 1950-1970Description:

Soon after the Second world War, wartime allies became Cold War adversaries, and by 1950 the perceived threat of a Soviet strike on Western Europe or Britain dominated military planning. For the next forty years, the Royal Air Force was in the front-line of the Cold War. In Britain and Germany, light bomber crews exercised in preparation for a future conflict, while interceptor pilots stood by ready to counter incursions by Soviet aircraft. Between 1956 and 1969, the elite crews of the iconic V-Force of nuclear bombers trained to perform the ultimate mission, striking targets deep in the heart of Russia. Protecting British interests overseas, personnel at stations across the Middle East and Far East were regularly engaged in supporting operations during the many colonial conflicts which occurred throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

Undertaking these duties were new British-designed aircraft introduced to squadrons from the early-1950s. The names of these extraordinary aircraft, which included the Hunter, Lightning, Vulcan and Canberra, became synonymous with the Cold War.

In this book, Ian Proctor uses over 150 highly evocative colour images from a single remarkable Air Ministry collection to portray the RAF and its personnel between 1950 and 1970. He provides a selected insight into service life, the aircraft, recruitment and training, and the operations and exercises undertaken by the RAF during a twenty year period of the Cold War.

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