Reviewed Books - Vintage Airfix


Reviewed Books

Contents:
- Spitfire! - By Dilip Sarkar MBE
- Stug III and Stug IV - By Dennis Oliver
- Sydney Camm: Hurricane and Harrier Designer - By John Sweetman
- T-54/55 - By Robert Jackson
- Take These Men - By Cyril Joly
- Tank Destroyer - By Dennis Oliver
- Tank Wrecks of the Western Front, 1940-1945 - By Anthony Tucker-Jones
- The Berlin Airlift - By John Grehan
- The Boy Airman - By Richard Petty
- The English Electric Lightning - By Martin Bowman
- The First Helicopter Boys - By David Taylor
- The Great Eastern Railway in South Essex - By Charles Phillips
- The Handley Page Victor - By Roger Brooks
- The History of Toy Soldiers - By Luigi Toiati
- The Jeep - By Lance Cole
- The Reich Intruders - By Martin Bowman
- The Royal Navy Wasp - By Larry Jeram-Croft, Terry Martin
- The Vultee Vengeance in Battle - By Peter C Smith
- The Zeppelin Offensive - By David Marks
- Tiger I - By Dennis Oliver

 


 

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Spitfire!

By Dilip Sarkar MBE

Spitfire!Description:

As a child, Dilip Sarkar was fascinated by the haunting image of an anonymous RAF Spitfire pilot. Taken minutes after landing from a Battle of Britain combat, this was Squadron Leader Brian Lane DFC, the commander of 19 Squadron, based at Fowlmere – and author of the stirring first-hand account Spitfire! The Experiences of a Fighter Pilot, published under the pseudonym B.J. Ellan. Deeply moving was the discovery that in 1942 Brian was reported missing after a futile nuisance raid over the Dutch coast.

During the mid-1980s, Dilip began researching the life and times of both Brian Lane and 19 Squadron, forging close friendships with many of the unit’s surviving Battle of Britain pilots and support staff. This enabled identification of the wartime censor’s blanks regarding people and places in Brian’s book, and the publication in 1990 of Dilip’s first ever book, Spitfire Squadron: 19 Squadron at War 1939-41.

Nearly thirty years later, sadly all of the survivors are now deceased, but Dilip’s close relationship has provided a huge archive of correspondence and interviews in addition to a unique photographic collection. Furthermore, the author, a retired police detective, has thoroughly investigated the life – and death – of Squadron Leader Lane.

This completely new book, Spitfire!, covers everything we would ever need to know about such a unit during the critical pre and early war period: the social, political, aviation and military history all in one volume – emphasising the human experience involved and the stories of casualties. With an immense photographic collection – many published here for the first time – this book is destined to become a classic.

So, strap yourself in, turn gun button to ‘fire’, and join 19 Squadron’s Spitfire pilots during our Darkest and Finest Hours … the ultimate ‘Band of Brothers’?

Vintage Airfix Review:

A highly readable and detailed history of the RAF in WWII and in particular Squadron Leader Brian Lane DFC, 19 Squadron and Duxford. The book is full of quotes from the time all interweaved with the authors brilliant commentary and detail. Dilip’s research which, for this book, was triggered from seeing a picture of 3 Spitfire pilots (on the book cover) when he was a child, is simply outstanding.

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Stug III and Stug IV

By Dennis Oliver

Stug III and Stug IVDescription:

In the last years of the Second World War the Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III) and Sturmgeschütz IV (StuG IV) played a vital role as assault guns during the German army’s struggle to block the Allied advance on the Western Front. As the Wehrmacht’s tank forces declined, these armoured vehicles were thrown into every defensive operation. They are not as well known as the Tigers and Panthers, but German resistance would have been much weaker without them. They were also among the most frequently encountered German armoured vehicles on the battlefields, which is why they are such a fascinating subject for Dennis Oliver in this volume in the TankCraft series.

He uses archive photos and extensively researched colour illustrations to examine the StuG III and StuG IV deployed by the German army and the Waffen-SS during these doomed campaigns. A key section of his book displays available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also examined providing everything the modeller needs to recreate an accurate representation of these historic armoured vehicles.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Another great issue of the Tank Craft series. The Stug has always been a great kit and all the best ones are mentioned in this must have reference book.

 

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Sydney Camm: Hurricane and Harrier Designer

By John Sweetman

Sydney Camm: Hurricane and Harrier DesignerDescription:

‘This Man Saved Britain’ ran a headline in the News Chronicle on 18 February 1941, in a reference to the role of Sydney Camm, designer of the Hawker Hurricane, during the Battle of Britain. Similarly, the Minister of Economic Warfare, Lord Selborne, advised Winston Churchill that to Camm ‘England owed a great deal’.

Twenty-five years later, following his death in 1966, obituaries in the Sunday Express and Sunday Times, among other tributes, referred to ‘Hurricane Designer’ or ‘Hurricane Maker’, implying that this machine represented the pinnacle of Camm’s professional achievement. Sir Thomas Sopwith, the respected aircraft designer and Hawker aircraft company founder, believed that Camm deserved much wider recognition, being ‘undoubtedly the greatest designer of fighter aircraft the world has ever known.’

Born in 1893, the eldest of twelve children, Camm was raised in a small, terraced house. Despite lacking the advantages of a financially-secure upbringing and formal technical education after leaving school at 14, Camm would go on to become one of the most important people in the story of Britain’s aviation history.

Sydney Camm’s work on the Hurricane was far from the only pinnacle in his remarkable career in aircraft design and engineering – a career that stretched from the biplanes of the 1920s to the jet fighters of the Cold War. Indeed, over fifty years after his death, the revolutionary Hawker Siddeley Harrier in which Camm played such a prominent figure, following ‘a stellar performance in the Falkland Island crisis’, still remains in service with the American armed forces.

It is perhaps unsurprising therefore, as the author reveals in this detailed biography, that Camm would be knighted in his own country, receive formal honours in France and the United States, and be inducted into the International Hall of Fame in San Diego.

Vintage Airfix Review:

A well-researched and informative bio however, and this is purely a personal observation and does not distract from the overall content of this otherwise good biography of a giant of aviation history.

But… there are parts of this book that seem to be almost rushed and are more akin to a list of events. I found myself waiting for a quote or further information on what happened in between the ‘he said this on this date then this happened on this date’ unfortunately it did not come.

I have very mixed feelings on this book but would still recommend it, but as a further reading if you’re studying Sydney Camm or Hawker

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T-54/55

By Robert Jackson

T-54/55Description:

During the Cold War, the T-54/55 series of tanks represented the most serious threat to Nato land forces in Europe. Available in huge quantities, it formed the core of the Warsaw Pact armoured warfare doctrine, which envisaged massed tank attacks against the weakest point in Nato’s front-line defences.

Yet the T-54/55 could be stopped by smaller numbers of tanks which had the benefit of better technology and training, as was demonstrated during the Yom Kippur War of 1973 when Israeli tanks dealt out appalling punishment to T-55s of the Syrian army. Despite these limitations, the T-54/55 was one of the most successful tanks ever produced, and this volume in the TankCraft series by Robert Jackson is the ideal introduction to it.

As well as tracing the history of the T-54/55, his book is an excellent source of reference for the modeller, providing details of available kits and photographs of award-winning models, together with artworks showing the colour schemes applied to these tanks. Each section of the book is supported by a wealth of archive photographs.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Charting the main variants of the Russian T54 and T55 tanks, of which I was shocked to find out how many where built, this book is a great source of information for the AFV modeller.

The historical sections are in a chronological order, the main variants are explained and the example builds are of a very high standard.

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Take These Men

By Cyril Joly

Take These MenDescription:

Few accounts of the tank battles in the Western Desert during the Second World War have provided so vivid an evocation as Cyril Joly’s classic account Take These Men. In such inhospitable conditions, this was armoured warfare of a particularly difficult and dangerous kind.

From 1940 to 1943 battles raged back and forth as one side or the other gained the upper hand, only to lose it again. Often the obsolescent British armour was outnumbered by the Italians or outgunned by Rommel’s Afrika Korps, and frequently it suffered from the ineptitudes of higher command.

Cyril Joly’s first-hand narrative of these campaigns, highly praised when it was originally published in 1955, tells the story through the eyes of a young officer in the 7th Armoured Division, the famous Desert Rats. It describes in accurate, graphic detail the experience of tank warfare over seventy years ago, recalling the fortitude of the tank crews and their courage in the face of sometimes overwhelming odds.

Vintage Airfix Review:

A surprising account of desert warfare by a young officer. Although largely a work of fiction, It is a gripping read and highly recommended bringing events of the time to life in it own way.

Nicely broken into 6 parts marking events from 1940 to 1943. It’s a touching, and in places amusing account of tank warfare in a rough environment.

I must add however, the physical layout of the book is a little distracting with a huge border around the body of the text. You do get used to it over time plus, I don’t need to move my big thumbs out of the way!

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Tank Destroyer

By Dennis Oliver

Tank DestroyerDescription:

In this heavily illustrated volume in the TankCraft series Dennis Oliver focuses on the Achilles – the British variant of the American M10 – which was one of the most important Allied tank destroyers of the Second World War. It played a key role in the armoured battles fought on the Western Front, in particular in France, the Low Countries, Germany and Italy.

Built on an adapted Sherman chassis, with sloped armour, an open-topped turret and powerful 17-pounder gun, it was designed to counter the threat posed by the formidable panzers deployed by the German army towards the end of the conflict, in particular the Panther and Tiger tanks.

The book covers the design and operational history of the Achilles in close detail, using rare archive photographs and meticulously researched colour illustrations, as well as a detailed, authoritative text.

A key section displays available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also examined providing everything the modeller needs to recreate an accurate representation of these historic armoured fighting vehicles.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Beautifully written and wonderfully illustrated, this has some very useful colour schemes and inspiration showcases for modellers.

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Tank Wrecks of the Western Front, 1940-1945

By Anthony Tucker-Jones

Tank Wrecks of the Western Front, 1940-1945Description:

Early in the Second World War in Western Europe the German victors regularly photographed and posed with destroyed or abandoned Allied armour. During their invasion of France the Germans left 4,500 smashed French tanks in their wake, and these were a popular subject for their photographs. Then, when the tide of the war turned against them in 1944-5, their wrecked and burnt-out panzers were photographed by the victorious Allies during the key battles for Normandy and the Ardennes. These wartime photographers created an extraordinary record of the many thousands of tank wrecks that littered the battlefields, and Anthony Tucker-Jones has selected a fascinating visual guide to the fate of the numerous types of tank employed by the American, British, French and German armies throughout the conflict.

All the principal tanks are represented – Renaults, Matildas, Churchills, Shermans, Panzer IVs, Panthers and Tigers along with many others – so the book gives an insight into the rapid development of tank design during the war. It also shows how vulnerable these armoured vehicles were – and how lethal they could be for their crews – when they were hit by anti-tank guns and air attacks.

Tanks Wrecks of the Western Front will be absorbing reading and reference for anyone who is interested in the history of armoured warfare, and it will be a useful visual guide for modellers.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Another great title in the Images of War series. Showing rare images from WW2 of a selection of tank wrecks of the Western Front. It’s a great reference for diorama modellers and the information given on the development of the tank during the war years, is extremely helpful. Thank you Anthony for a fascinating addition to the series.

 

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The Berlin Airlift

By John Grehan

The Berlin AirliftDescription:

The fate of the free world hung in the balance. Stalin’s Soviet Union sought to drive the Western democracies from Germany to continue the communist advance across Europe. The first step in Stalin’s scheme was to bring Berlin under Soviet control. Berlin was situated deep inside the Soviet-occupied region of the country, but the German capital had been divided into two halves, one of which was occupied by the Soviet Union, the other, in separate sectors, by Britain, France and the USA. Stalin decided to make the Allied hold on West Berlin untenable by shutting down all the overland routes used to keep the city supplied.

The choice faced by the Allies was a stark one – let Berlin fall, or risk war with the Soviets by breaking the Soviet stranglehold. In a remarkably visionary move, the Allies decided that they could keep Berlin supplied by flying over the Soviet blockade, thus avoiding armed conflict with the USSR.

On 26 June 1948, the Berlin Airlift began. Throughout the following thirteen months, more than 266,600 flights were undertaken by the men and aircraft from the US, France, Britain and across the Commonwealth, which delivered in excess of 2,223,000 tons of food, fuel and supplies in the greatest airlift in history.

The air-bridge eventually became so effective that more supplies were delivered to Berlin than had previously been shipped overland and Stalin saw that his bid to seize control of the German capital could never succeed. At one minute after midnight on 12 May 1949, the Soviet blockade was lifted, and the Soviet advance into Western Europe was brought to a shuddering halt.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Another superb title in the brilliant Images of Aviation series. Stuffed with great images of the time and perfectly detailed information, superbly illustrating one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. 

As an aviation enthusiast, this book fulfils my needs. There are images of most of my favourite aircraft and great stories to go along with them.

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The Boy Airman

By Richard Petty

The Boy AirmanDescription:

The life of many combatants in The Great War was often short and brutish. But there were choices for some. Taking to the air was an attractive alternative to the slime, stench and gore of the trenches. The prospect of flying in the Royal Navy, the Senior Service, Nelson's Navy, must have been irresistible to any adventurous teenager – the best aeroplanes on the best ships with the best sailors that ever existed – or so he might have been led to believe. 

The Royal Naval Air Service was sorely tested, and not necessarily by the enemy. The casualties of the sea and its perils, and of accident and mechanical failure, were catastrophic. But this critical battle between young pilots in their infant flying machines and unpredictable events forged the pathway for our modern conceits of war – missiles, drones, giant aircraft carriers, weapons of space. 

A hundred years ago a young pilot took illicit photographs with his pocket camera and left a personal account of his life at sea with his 'kite'. This book tells his story illustrated by his long-lost 'snaps'.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This book is full of historical events and many wonderful photos, taken through the lens of one man’s pocket camera, Hugh Petty. Richard Petty has captured the thrills, tribulations, and courage that his father went through as a young Royal Naval Air Service pilot in the early days of aviation and warfare in WW1.

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The English Electric Lightning

By Martin Bowman

The English Electric LightningDescription:

The early 1950s were a boom time for British aviation. The lessons of six years of war had been learned and much of the research into jet engines, radar and aerodynamics had begun to reach fruition. In Britain, jet engine technology led the world, while wartime developments into swept wing design in Germany and their transonic research programme were used to give western design teams a quantum leap in aircraft technology.

The English Electric Lightning emerged at this time. This supersonic fighter aircraft of the Cold War era is perhaps best remembered for its amazing take-off performance, its exceptional rate of climb and its immense speed. Here, Martin Bowman takes us on a photographic journey, illustrating the various landmarks of the Lightning's impressive operational history.

Vintage Airfix Review:

When I first saw this book, it sparked a memory of the first time I heard the sound of the Lightning and, it would appear, it isn’t just me. In the first few pages, the unique sound of the Lightning is mentioned.

This book, from the Images of War series, has all that you would expect. Great images and details of variants and missions.

From a modeller’s perspective, I would love to have seen some colour images in here. But as an aircraft enthusiast it’s a great addition to my library and memory.

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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.

Vintage Airfix Review:

A fascinating insight into the early days of helicopter development and its use in the challenging terrain of Malaysia/Indonesia. Through the words of personnel from the time and David’s superb writing, you get a real sense of the issues the early machines had, and the resourcefulness used in a Jungle situation.

I’m not sure some of the ways these machines were maintained in the Jungle would be allowed today. As an example, changing a wheel while the pilot maintains a steady hover!

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The Great Eastern Railway in South Essex

By Charles Phillips

The Great Eastern Railway in South EssexDescription:

The Great Eastern Railway In South Essex: A Definitive History is the history of the Great Eastern’s lines from Shenfield to Southend, Wickford to Southminster and Woodham Ferrers to Maldon including their ancestor. It is the only comprehensive history of all three lines and was researched using both previously published and unpublished material. The history covers not only the history of the lines in question but also a sample of services from the opening of them to the present day, the motive power that was and is used on them and a topographical description of them. The book is intended to appeal to wide audience: in particular those with an interest in the local history of the area served by the lines, those interested in the history of Essex and railway enthusiasts interested in the railways of the eastern counties in general and the Great Eastern Railway in particular.

Vintage Airfix Review:

For anyone thinking off, or already have, models/dioramas of the Great Eastern lines in Essex. This book is right up your street. Full of interesting historical facts, useful images and a great read.

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The Handley Page Victor

By Roger Brooks

The Handley Page VictorDescription:

Some aircraft inspire passion, others nostalgia, but others, often the unsung heroes, are more of a connoisseur's choice. The Handley Page Victor easily falls into this last category.

In this follow-up to The Handley Page Victor: The History and Development of a Classic Jet, Volumes I and II, Roger Brooks extends his earlier historical narratives, this time offering an action-packed and riveting memoir of a career spanning forty years.

The book charts changes as they occurred in the aeronautical industry from the 1950's onwards and, as such, it should appeal to both individuals who were caught up in events at the time as well as students of the era. In addition to the aircraft itself, Roger worked extensively with tankers, refuelling the Victor as it took part in a variety of operations in the fraught Cold War era. He brings all aspects of his career to life across these pages, offering the kind of details that can only be gained by first-hand experience.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This book is a great read and a unique insight into a great aircraft with some personal stories from the time.

Some of the detailed information that Roger discloses can be a little to technical but for the enthusiast it is a book that you will not be able to put down.

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The History of Toy Soldiers

By Luigi Toiati

The History of Toy SoldiersDescription:

Humans have made and collected toy soldiers from time immemorial. They amuse and comfort us, awaken our curiosity, turn aggressiveness into creativity. In The History of Toy Soldiers,Luigi Toiati, himself an avid collector and manufacturer of toy soldiers, conveys and shares the pleasure of collecting and playing with them. Far from a dry encyclopaedia, it leads the reader through the fascinating evolution of the toy soldier from ancient times to the early twenty-first century. The author, as a sociologist with an interest in semiotics (the study of signs), offers truly original insights into why different types of toy soldiers were born in a given period and country, or why in a given size and material. The author's writing is packed with factual detail about the different types of toy (and model) soldiers and their manufacturers, but also with anecdotes, nostalgia, wit and his enduring passion for the subject. Hundreds of beautiful colour photographs, many depicting the author's own collection, complete this delightful book.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Wow, this book is so full of memories. If you read this book from the beginning, you’ll be taken on a ride through time from the earliest to the present-day toy soldiers. However, I found the best way to read this book is just open it and start reading… anywhere. It’s addictive, informative, fascinating and fun.

It also includes scale figures from Airfix, which is a bonus for an Airfix enthusiast.

The book is superbly produced to a very high standard and very well written. If you have any interest in this subject, you really need this book. I would even stick my neck out and say it’s the ONLY book you’ll need.

 

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The Jeep

By Lance Cole

The JeepDescription:

The Second World War Jeep was one of the most famous and influential military vehicles of all time, and over 600,000 were produced. It served with all the Allied forces during the war on every front and it has been the inspiration behind the design of light, versatile, rugged military and civilian vehicles ever since. In this, the first volume in Pen & Sword’s LandCraft series, Lance Cole traces the design, development and manufacturing history of the Jeep and describes its operational role within the Allied armies.

A selection of archive photographs showing the Jeep in service in European and Pacific campaigns gives a graphic impression of how adaptable the Jeep was and records the variety of equipment it could carry. The book is an excellent source for the modeller, providing details of available kits, together with specially commissioned colour profiles recording how the Jeeps used by different units and armies appeared.

Lance Cole's introduction to the Jeep is necessary reading and reference for enthusiasts and modellers.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This is the first in the new LandCraft series and what a great start it is. The Jeep is a very versatile vehicle which, in turn, makes it a great subject for modellers. This book has some superb 1/35 scale showcases. Along with this is everything you need to know about the development of this ground-breaking vehicle.

A must have reference book for modellers.

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The Reich Intruders

By Martin Bowman

The Reich IntrudersDescription:

This is the story of 2 Group RAF during World War II. Much of it is told by the men who flew the Blenheim, Boston, Mitchell and Mosquito aircraft that carried out many daring daylight and night-time raids on vitally important targets in Nazi occupied Europe and Germany. These were not the famous thousand bomber raids that hit the wartime headlines, but low-level, fast-moving surprise raids flown by small formations of fleet-footed and skilfully piloted twin-engine light bombers. Their targets were usually difficult to locate and heavily defended because of their strategic importance to the Nazis. 2 Group also played a vital part in the invasion of Europe both before and after D-Day. Often they would fly at wave-top height across the English Channel or North Sea to avoid detection and then hedge-hop deep into enemy territory to deliver their precision attack. Enemy fighters and anti-aircraft fire were a constant risk. This is a remarkable story of skill and bravery by a little known branch of the RAF.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Covering the light bombers of 2 Group in WWII, this book from air war historian Martin Bowman brings a high level of detail and first-hand accounts of the twin engine, low level bombers such as the Blenheim, Boston, Mitchell and Mosquito that have been largely forgotten.

After reading this you’ll look at these bombers with a whole new respect. The stories of low-level raids from the crews leave you in awe.

It’s a very interesting, authoritative, and in places, sobering read.

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The Royal Navy Wasp

By Larry Jeram-Croft, Terry Martin

The Royal Navy WaspDescription:

This book tells the story of the first helicopter in the world designed from the outset to be deployed at sea, in Destroyers and Frigates. It is primarily based on the words of those who operated it. Designed from the outset to cope with the restricted space of a warship both for stowage and flight operations it proved an immediate success. Its original role was to act as a weapon carrier to launch torpedoes and depth charges on submarine contacts out of range of the parent ship’s weapons range. Soon, it also took on a second primary role of air to surface attack using wire guided missiles. The flexibility of the machine was such that it was able to conduct a plethora of secondary roles from visual search to collecting the all-important ship’s mail. Wherever the Royal Navy was deployed on operations a Wasp was there. The book has accounts of operations around the world particularly during the Cold War of the Seventies and the Falklands War where amongst other things it had the honour of being the first RN platform ever, to fire a guided missile at a surface target.

However the story doesn’t end there. Although the aircraft went out of service in the Royal Navy in 1988, it continued to operate with other navies around the world. To this day there are still several airworthy examples flying. The second part of the book gives accounts of these machines and brings the story of the Wasp completely up to date.

Vintage Airfix Review:

The WASP is a fascinating helicopter with an interesting background and in this book, you gain a new respect for it and the people involved in its development and the pilots who flew it over the years.

It's a well-presented book with some great images, some of which are close ups of components that will be useful for the advanced modeler.

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The Vultee Vengeance in Battle

By Peter C Smith

The Vultee Vengeance in BattleDescription:

This book describes the extraordinary combat career of the American-built Vultee Vengeance dive-bomber in both the Royal Air Force and Indian Air Force service during the Burma Campaigns of 1942-45. This single-engine, all-metal aircraft was ordered by the Ministry of Supply during the darkest days of World War II when the lethal German combination of Junkers Ju.87 Stuka and Panzer tank forces had conquered most of Europe in a campaign that lasted a mere few weeks and the invasion of Britain was considered imminent.

The RAF had invented the dive-bomber concept in 1917 but had consistently rejected it in the inter-war period with the obsession of heavy bombing predominating official thinking almost exclusively. By the time the Vengeance arrived a still-reluctant RAF was seeking a precision bomber to prevent a repeat of the Japanese Naval attacks in the Indian Ocean and six squadrons were set up to counter this threat. With the Japanese on the borders of Burma and India, these aircraft, no longer required for the original role, proved by far and away the most accurate bomber aircraft operated by the British up to that time.

The Allied Armies on the ground, including Orde Wingate’s Chindits, clamoured for their continued use and considered them essential, but in vain, and by 1945 all had been replaced. Their achievements have been ignored, falsified or scorned ever since but here, from eyewitness accounts and official records, is their full and true story.

Vintage Airfix Review:

A fascinating look at a largely overlooked aircraft of the second world war. Full of comprehensive data of squadrons including the crews and the aircrafts themselves. Peter Smiths level of research and the dedication it must have taken to write this book is very apparent as you read through it.

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The Zeppelin Offensive

By David Marks

The Zeppelin OffensiveDescription:

‘Fly, Zeppelin! Help us in the war. Fly to England, England shall be destroyed by fire. Zeppelin, fly!’ Such was the hymn which the children sang; such the refrain which greeted the aged inventor, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, wherever he went. Why was there this reaction across Germany? How did a handful of aircraft giving pleasure cruises become a fearsome fleet of rapacious giants encouraged to punish Germany’s enemies? What were the images that became part of the public’s wartime consciousness?

Books on the Zeppelin raids during the First World War have, traditionally, focused on the direct impact of Britain, from the devastating effects on undefended towns and cities, the psychological impact of this first weapon of total war to the technological and strategic advances that eventually defeated the ‘Baby Killers’. Now, drawing on the largest postcard collection of its kind and other period memorabilia, David Marks tells the story of the Zeppelin during the First World War from a viewpoint that has rarely been considered: Germany itself.

From its maiden flight in July 1900, the Zeppelin evolved into a symbol of technology and national pride that, once war was declared, was at the forefront of German’s propaganda campaign. The Zeppelin links the rampant xenophobia at the outbreak of the conflict against England (it almost never called Britain), France, Russia and their allies to the political doctrines of the day. The postcards that profusely illustrate this book show the wide-ranging types of propaganda from strident Teutonic imagery, myths and legends, biting satire and a surprising amount of humour. This book is a unique contribution to our understanding of the place of the Zeppelin in Germany’s culture and society during the First World War.

Vintage Airfix Review:

A beautifully presented book. With many images of postcards from the First World War and a great narrative interwoven throughout.

An enlightening and original story of the Zeppelin airships.

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Tiger I

By Dennis Oliver

Tiger IDescription:

When at Hitler’s insistence the first Tiger I tanks went into action in Tunisia in December 1942 they rapidly gained a formidable fighting reputation despite their lack of reliability and the small number deployed. With its heavy armour and 88mm gun, it outclassed all the Allied tanks then in service and forced the Allies to accelerate the introduction of improved anti-tank guns and tanks that could match the Tiger in terms of firepower and protection.

In this, his second volume in the TankCraft series on the Tiger, Dennis Oliver uses archive photos and extensively researched colour illustrations to examine the Tiger tanks and German army units that first took them into combat in North Africa and then operated them as they fell back through Sicily and Italy between 1943 and 1945.

A large part of the book showcases available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also examined providing everything the modeller needs to recreate an accurate representation of the tanks that made such an immediate impact on the southern front during the Second World War.

Vintage Airfix Review:

The Tiger I is, and always has been, a favourite for military vehicle modellers. If you are one of these modellers, this book will be an invaluable addition to your reference library.

With it’s clear and informative campaign timeline, colour illustrations and showcase models, with aftermarket products. It’s also inspirational for your next Tiger build.

 

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