Bolts from the Blue
From Cold War Warrior to Chief of the Air Staff
Trained as a jet pilot in the late 1950s when Britain was still a leading air power, Richard Johns achieved the top rank in the RAF in 1997, by which time Britain's military capacity had been much reduced. His autobiography examines his key operations as commander, including the First Gulf War and Balkan conflict in the 1990s, as well as reflecting on the evolution of the RAF and the other services during his career.
German Luftwaffe Prototypes 1930–1945
Aviation technology advanced rapidly as Germany prepared for war and research continued throughout the conflict despite the chronic lack of fuel and raw materials by 1945. This analysis of the myriad projects undertaken by manufacturers such as Junkers, Messerschmitt, Dornier and Heinkel lists over 200 experimental aircraft from the period, including jet fighters, supersonic planes and helicopters, and includes over 300 contemporary photographs from the test sites of Nazi Germany.
True Stories from Forty Memorable Years of the Last V Bomber
The last of the 'V bombers' was withdrawn from front line service in 1968 but continued to be used by the RAF for reconnaissance and refuelling long afterwards, its final engagements being in Iraq in the early 1990s. This analysis of Handley Page's bomber draws on the accounts of pilots and ground crew, beginning with the recollections of test pilot Johnny Allam, who first flew a prototype model in 1952.
Forgotten Aerodromes of World War I
British Military Aerodromes, Seaplane Stations, Flying-Boat and Airship Stations to 1920
Biggin Hill and Duxford are famous today thanks mainly to events of the Second World War but owe their origins to the First – the rapid development of military aviation resulting in the establishment of over 500 sites in Britain by the end of the conflict. Organized by country and county, this illustrated gazetteer identifies every location, including aerodromes, aircraft factories, airship, seaplane and kite balloon stations, describing each base, its operational history and what remains today.
Black September 1918
WW1's Darkest Month in the Air
By the last months of the war, the Allies had achieved air superiority, with American squadrons now operational and significantly greater numbers of aircraft available. Nevertheless, the effective German fighters inflicted the highest casualties of the air war during the fighting of September 1918.
Reaching for the Sky
One Hundred Defining Moments from the Royal Air Force 1918–2018
Scott Addington uses infographics, fact boxes and photographs to present this concise overview of RAF history, which includes the first military balloon, the design of the roundel insignia, leading aces of the world wars and a list of pilots’ slang. Each entry has played its part in shaping the service, and the selection reflects the innovation, courage and heritage of the world’s first independent air force.
Best Foot Forward
The Autobiography of the RAF's Other Legless Fighter Pilot
A training accident in a Fleet Air Arm Tiger Moth in 1939 resulted in Colin Hodgkinson losing both his legs but, with Douglas Bader as a role model, he was determined to resume his duties as a pilot. This memoir, first published in 1957, recounts his wartime experiences, including rehabilitation under the surgeon Archibald McIndoe, active service in Spitfires and time spent in a PoW camp after crash-landing in France.
The Women Who Flew for Hitler
The True Story of Hitler's Valkyries
Pioneering aviators Hanna Reitsch and Melitta von Stauffenberg shared the distinction of being the only women test pilots in the Luftwaffe, but their backgrounds and personalities were sharply contrasted. This double biography gives an account of their parallel rise to prominence, their remarkable aviation careers and their differing attitudes, mirroring the divisions in Nazi Germany: Hanna, the glamorous darling of the new Reich; and the aristocratic Melitta, implicated in the plot to assassinate Hitler.
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.
The Red Baron
A History in Pictures
By 1918, the Red Baron was a national hero and his death in April of that year was a significant loss for the German Air Force and the nation; the event has been the subject of conflicting accounts and theories ever since. This biography is led by a collection of archive photographs of Richthofen during the war years, as well as significant people, places and aircraft.
The Fallen Few of the Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain (1940) was the first military campaign to be fought entirely in the air and was a turning point in the Second World War. This book lists all 544 British and Commonwealth pilots who gave their lives over the skies of southern England. The entries are listed in chronological order and each includes a short biography, the type of plane, name of squadron, previous missions and the manner of death.
Operation Big Ben
The Anti-V2 Spitfire Missions
To defend the home counties from the terrifying V2 rocket attacks, formations of Mark XVI Spitfires carrying 250 lb and 500 lb bombs divebombed launch sites in Holland between 1944 and 1945. Drawing on records declassified in 2004, this updated account of Whitehall’s covert operation not only covers the daring raids of five different Spitfire squadrons, but also the intelligence-gathering activities in Europe of special commando units, including Ian Fleming’s 30 Assault Unit.
The Cooler King
Long before the USA entered the Second World War, William Ash (1918–2014) had left Texas, joined up in Britain and was flying Spitfires with 411 squadron. In 1942 he was shot down over France, captured and incarcerated in Stalag III; he spent the rest of the war trying to escape from various Nazi PoW camps, including Oflag XXIB in Poland. In this book, Bishop explores the PoW experience while telling the exciting and inspirational story of Ash’s determined efforts to break free.
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.
The Kamikaze Hunters
Fighting for the Pacific, 1945
The final effort of the Second World War against Japan is remembered as mainly an American affair, but the British fleet was there too and British airmen flying from carriers, mostly in leased American Corsair planes. This book recounts those last days of the Pacific War through the eyes of the Royal Navy pilots who flew hundreds of missions over Japan and in the face of desperate Japanese kamikaze attacks during the summer of 1945.
One of the Few
A Story of Personal Challenge Through the Battle of Britain and Beyond
One of the most successful RAF squadrons during the Battle of Britain in 1940 was 303 Polish Squadron, manned by exiled Poles but led by Johnny Kent, a Canadian pilot who had joined the RAF in the mid 1930s and had already won the Air Force Cross for his work as a test pilot before the war began. His memoir, first published in the 1970s, is presented here in an expanded edition with additional biographical information and photographs.
German Elite Pathfinders
KG 100 in Action
With its formation rooted in the development of German 'X-system' radio navigation, KG 100 was an elite Luftwaffe pathfinding and special operations bomber unit during the Second World War, flying Dornier 217s, Heinkel 111s and Heinkel 177s. From missions in Norway and Britain to the Eastern Front and North Africa, this book captures the operations of KG 100 throughout the war in a series of photographs and extended captions.
German Bombers Over England
The Luftwaffe favoured light bombers in support of ground forces during the blitzkrieg advances of 1939 and 1940 but turned to heavy bombers for the mass attacks on England in 1940 and 1941. Including Heinkel 111s, Junkers 88s, Messerschmitt 410s and Dornier 217s, this book presents 100 photographs of German bombers and their crews from the preparations for Operation Sea Lion in 1940 to the V1 and V2 rocket attacks.
A Complete Account of the RAF's Support Role during the Audacious Commando Raid on St Nazaire, March 1942
The British raid on St Nazaire in March 1942 deprived Germany of an important seaport for the duration of the war but the RAF's diversionary role in the attack has been criticized as ineffectual. This new assessment of the RAF's part in Operation Chastise explains the restrictive orders that hampered the bombers and outlines the other crucial functions that they performed: sweeping the Bay of Biscay and searching for survivors in the aftermath.
The Dam Buster Raid
A Reappraisal, 70 Years On
Barnes Wallis's bouncing bomb and its use on the Ruhr dams is one of the best-known stories of the Second World War. This reappraisal of the events examines the mission itself but also assesses the real effectiveness of the attack on the German war effort, follows the careers of the protagonists of 617 Squadron beyond May 1943, and explores the legacy of the raid and how the legend of 'the Dam Busters' was born.
1 Group: Swift to Attack
Bomber Command's Unsung Heroes
Formed in June 1940, No 1 Group Bomber Command became one of the principal offensive weapons wielded by Britain over the next five years, the force including squadrons that flew the most sorties, dropped the most bombs and suffered the highest casualties of any during the war. This account describes 1 Group's wartime activities, explaining its structure, analysing its aircraft, reviewing principal operations and paying tribute to the 8,760 men who lost their lives.
"If Chaos Reigns"
The Near-Disaster and Ultimate Triumph of the Allied Airborne Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944
The success of German paratroops in the invasion of Crete in 1941 convinced the Allies that airborne forces would be crucial as the war progressed, but the high casualty rate persuaded Hitler of the opposite. This book analyses the development and training of American, British and Canadian parachute and glider units and explains the critical role they played on D-Day, describing how close they came to failure in securing key locations ahead of the invasion.
Somewhere in England
American Airmen in the Second World War
In 2012 the Imperial War Museums acquired a remarkable collection of 15,000 photographs showing American servicemen who were stationed at air bases in Britain during the Second World War. This selection presents more than 70 of the images illustrating the GIs’ work and recreations, both at military sites and among local communities. The accompanying text gives brief biographies of those pictured and celebrates the resilience and bravery with which pilots flew deep into enemy territory.
The Secret Life of Fighter Command
The Men and Women Who Beat the Luftwaffe
The Battle of Britain may have been won by 'the Few' but resistance to German aerial attack in the early part of the Second World War also relied on a well-organized network of support staff. Based on interviews with members of this formidable team, the book pays tribute to the men and women who enabled the Spitfires and Hurricanes to prevail, from radar engineers and coastal spotters to Wrens in the control rooms and pilots in the air.
Honour to the Airborne
Part One: 1939–48
The British Airborne forces were created during the Second World War and took part in crucial campaigns in Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East between 1939 and 1948. This definitive record of the honours achieved by its personnel during that period is an updated edition of the reference work, now including the battalion of each recipient, brief narratives of the events rewarded and an index of recipients.
Yanks In The RAF
The Story of Maverick Pilots and American Volunteers Who Joined Britain's Fight in WWII
Before Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into the Second World War, American pilots seeking adventure, or with strong political motivations, volunteered for the RAF to fight the Germans. From cultural conflicts with their English hosts to action over France, particularly the Dieppe raid of August 1942, this book charts the experiences of the 270 airmen who flew in the three RAF 'Eagle' squadrons of American volunteers before being reassigned to the USAAF by late 1942.
Heroes of Fighter Command Surrey
Surrey was a key area in the effective defensive system operated by the RAF during the Second World War, with important fighter airfields such as Kenley and Croydon as well as radar stations on the coast. This history describes the air war in the county and profiles the principal aircraft involved as well as some of the aces, such as 'Johnnie' Johnson and Peter Townsend, who flew from Surrey aerodromes.
Finding the Fallen: Outstanding Aircrew Mysteries from
the First World War to Desert Storm Investigated and Solved
Major Mick Mannock, who was shot down behind enemy lines in July 1918, is the first aviation mystery scrutinized in Saunders's third book, which widens the field of enquiry beyond the Second World War to include other 20th century conflicts including Korea, Vietnam and the First Gulf War.
Special Ops Liberators
223 (Bomber Support) Squadron,100 Group and the Electronic War
Although the value of radar to the defence of southern England during the Battle of Britain is well known, little has been written about the electronic arms race that developed thereafter. In addition to radar tracking and communication, radio technology became increasingly important in target and bomb-guidance systems. This book tells the story of the RAF support squadron that provided vital protection to Bomber Command operations by employing radio jamming and radar countermeasures against German defences.