True Tales from the Operators of Britain's First Jet Fighter – From 1944 to Date
‘I saw a V1 coming in south of Dover and caught up with it about three miles south of Canterbury. I was flying at 400mph and had no difficulty overtaking …’ This book features long-form interviews with over 40 veteran pilots of the beloved Gloster Meteor, the RAF’s first jet-powered aeroplane, which came into service in 1944 and played a significant role in the early stages of the Cold War, despite being alarmingly accident-prone.
From Jet Provost to Strikemaster
A Definitive History of the Basic and Counter-Insurgent Aircraft at Home and Overseas
Over 700 Jet Provost and Strikemaster aircraft were produced in Britain between 1954 and 1983, the former responsible for training generations of RAF jet pilots, the latter an armed version of the Provost which saw action during the Dhofar War in Oman. This well-illustrated history of both aircraft charts their evolution, from initial production in 1954 to the final sales of three aircraft to Ecuador in 1988. A comprehensive appendix lists the complete production and technical histories of both jets.
McDonnell Douglas's F4 Phantom entered service with the US Navy in 1960 as an interceptor but its versatility saw it take on a host of other duties, from fighter-bomber to reconnaissance plane, and it also proved a highly successful international export. This book tells the story of its design, construction and active service for air forces around the world, up to the 1990s, and is illustrated with hundreds of photographs, diagrams and illustrations detailing different liveries and variants.
Boeing B-52 Stratofortress
Warrior Queen of the USAF
First entering service in 1955, the jet-powered, long range Boeing B52 Stratofortress became the backbone of the US Airforce during the Cold War and beyond, the last variation, the B52H, leaving the assembly line in the early 1960s and continuing in service to this day. This book charts the long design process that began in the mid 1940s, the production history and the service career of the iconic aircraft from the Vietnam War to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Imperial Russian Air Force 1898–1917
In Photographs at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century
Compared with the US and France, Russian colonization of the skies was almost a decade behind, but by 1910 a nascent aviation industry, with its flying schools, festivals and maiden flights, began capturing the nation’s imagination. This collection of over 400 photographs documents the flying machines of pre-revolutionary Russia, from turn of the century balloons and dirigibles to First World War bombers, and portrays the enthusiasts and aviators that made the Russian skies come alive.
Combat Aircraft of the United States Air Force
Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives
The United States relied on British and French aircraft designs during the First World War, but during and after the Second World War developed a pre-eminence in military aircraft design and manufacture that has continued up to today's cutting-edge models, such as the bat-winged B-2 stealth bomber. This volume is a succinct and highly illustrated guide to the most notable aircraft deployed, including classics such as the P-51 Mustang and B-52 Stratofortress.
Aircraft Since 1939
The Russian MiG aircraft company was set up in 1939 and produced some of the world's most advanced and capable military planes during its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, including the long-serving and widely exported MiG-21. This concise handbook provides descriptions of all MiG aircraft, including prototypes, up to the MiG-35 of 2011, with tables of key data and additional information about model variants.
Having revolutionized air travel in the 1930s, the Douglas DC-3 was adapted so successfully for military use that General Eisenhower identified it as one of the four most important pieces of equipment of the Second World War (along with the Jeep, the bulldozer and the 2½ ton truck). This large-format volume tells the story of the groundbreaking airliner and is extensively illustrated with archive photographs, memorabilia and promotional materials from the DC-3's civil and military career.
The RAF's Disastrous Raid of 19/20 February 1944
On the night of 19 February 1944, 79 heavy bombers failed to return from the third RAF raid on the industrial city of Leipzig. Some 420 aircrew were killed and 131 taken prisoner of war. The bombers' target was the Messerschmitt factory, but they seemed to fly into a trap of night fighters and flak. Cooper gives an in-depth account of the first two raids, analyses what went wrong on the third and describes the subsequent USAAF daylight raid on the city.
The Spitfire Manual
Before being let loose in a Supermarine Spitfire, fighter pilots would have to familiarize themselves with the 'Pilot's Notes' which comprehensively detailed the aircraft's equipment, controls and operation. These instructions are reproduced in this book together with examples of log books, combat reports and other contemporary training booklets advising on such skills as identifying enemy aircraft, estimating range and combat flying.
A Detailed Illustrated History of the Vickers Wellington in Service, 1938–1953
Over 11,000 Wellingtons were produced between 1936 and 1945 and, until the Lancaster was introduced in 1942, it was the backbone of Bomber Command. This comprehensive analysis of the 'Wimpy', as it was nicknamed, draws on first-hand accounts to tell the story of the aircraft from design and construction and front-line deployment in the early years of the war, to later roles as a submarine hunter and long-range bomber in North Africa and the Far East.
The Story of The Spitfire
An Operational and Combat History
The Spitfire is often cited as being superior to its competitors during the Battle of Britain and beyond, but the aircraft was continually in a development race with rivals and its ultimate effectiveness was in the hands of the pilots. Drawing on official reports and summaries as well as pilots' accounts, this study focuses on the evolution of the Spitfire, pilot training and the changing combat tactics employed in different theatres throughout the war.
German Night Fighter Force
Concentration on the offensive capabilities of the Luftwaffe in the late 1930s meant that German night defence fighters were not employed until the success of British bombing raids made it a necessity in 1940. Organizational problems and the Allies' superior radar technology continued to make air defence problematic thereafter. Originally published in German, this book assesses the development of the Luftwaffe's night fighter force and its considerable operational and technical achievements during the war.
Soldiers With Spanners
The Ground Crews' View During the Second World War
During the spring of 1943, American B-24 and B-17 bombers with their USAAF aircrew became an increasingly familiar sight in the towns and villages of East Anglia. This collection of more than 230 photographs focuses on the servicemen who undertook the vital task of maintaining the planes and supporting the crews over the next two years. Drawn from several private archives, the snapshots show GIs hard at work as well as relaxing on base and venturing into local communities.
Marked for Death
The First War in the Air
Unreliable and flimsy aircraft and insufficient training added to the grave dangers of aerial combat during the First World War, leading to the deaths of 50,000 airmen. Beyond the glamorous reputation of the first 'aces', here the author of Empire of the Clouds examines the harsh reality of the pilots' struggle, and reveals how equipment and tactics developed rapidly so that by 1918 air power was recognized as imperative to any military strategy. Silk marker.
Bomber Command 1939-1940
The War Before the War
The period from the declaration of war in September 1939 to the beginning of the Battle of France in May 1940 is usually known as the 'Phoney War' or even the 'Bore War'. RAF Bomber Command, however, was far from inactive, losing 68 aircraft and crews in the four months of 1939 alone. This book describes the struggles of Bomber Command to become an effective offensive force in 1939 and 1940, flying missions in Scandinavia, France, Belgium and Germany.
The Second World War in the Air in Photographs
The progress of the air war is followed month-by-month through Archard's remarkable collection of contemporary photographs of aircraft in action, air crew, anti-aircraft defences and the devastating effects of Allied and Axis bombing. This volume covers the intensive Blitzkrieg on the Eastern front as Germany invaded the USSR and, later in the year, the widening of the war following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
A Trenchard Brat at War
Receiving his early training via Lord Trenchard's Aircraft Apprentice Scheme, Tom Lancashire switched from ground crew to flight duties in 1940 and took part in almost 40 bomber raids to Germany. He was eventually shot down over Belgium but escaped with help from the local Resistance. This biography recounts his extraordinary experiences, which continued after the war, as he was involved in important aviation projects for Avro in Canada and Boeing in the USA.
Heroes and Landmarks of British Military Aviation
From Airships to the Jet Age
In a relatively short period of time, between the late 19th century and the middle of the 20th, the British aviation industry produced a profusion of groundbreaking and history-making inventions, establishing the names of aircraft designers and manufacturers such as de Havilland, Sopwith, Hawker and Handley Page. Each chapter in this review of the era looks at one of these key innovators, from airship pioneer Ernest Willows to Spitfire designer RJ Mitchell and the inventor of the jet engine, Frank Whittle.
Politics and Decline of Britain's Post-War Air Force
Although Britain was in decline as a world power after the Second World War, advances in military technology made the RAF ever more important to its defences as increasingly sophisticated aircraft patrolled the front line of the Cold War. In this assessment of the RAF and its planes since 1945, Ian Watson charts a golden age for the service and decries the political wranglings and budget management of recent years that has led to calls for its abolition.
RAF at Home
The History of RAF Air Displays from 1920
Seeking to improve the public perception of the fledgling RAF, and even justify its existence as a separate service, the first Hendon Air Pageant was organized in 1920 and was soon established as a popular annual event. Examining the history of RAF displays from these beginnings, and the first Battle of Britain memorial 'at home' days, to the present day, this book includes archive photographs and detailed appendices cataloguing participating aircraft.