Recommended readings

Battle of Britain – Combat Archive

BoB - combat archives

One would say that it is another series on the Battle of Britain, but if the topic is far to be new, it must said that it brings a really fresh air to this well-known air battle. It is indeed the first time that an author is trying to detail, day by day and combat by combat what actually happened over the UK and its coastal waters during that period of time. For each significant combat, a map illustrates the approximate number and position of the forces at the beginning of the engagement and the places where the aircraft fell. That’s a kind of new, and those maps are probably the biggest asset of this series, because they do help in having a better understanding of the situation. Otherwise, we find the basic information of a list of claims and losses of both sides, combat reports, and the whole illustrated with colour profiles and many photographs of aircraft and pilots. It is not the first book on the Battle of Britain I read, but to be true, I really like the lay-out, modern and colourful and done like this, it is very educational. A very good job, really.

Vol 1 and 2 are so far available covering the period 10 July – 22 July and 23 July – 8 August.

http://www.wingleader.co.uk/

Phil Listemann

The Battle of Britain

BoB

Not a new book as such, but a paperback edition of a book published in 2010, and this to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. This book is interesting in many regards in detailing all the aspects of the Battle of Britain and the dramatic events which occurred before the Battle , including the political and military situation and the decisions made, the RAF and the Luftwaffe, both seen in their pre-war evolution, and how actually the bomber strategy had become important over the fighters in UK and in Germany alike and actually really predominant. Illustrated with photographs mainly coming IWM collection. Also, all the statistics are included in the appendices at the end of the book avoiding to have these figures in the main text, something apreciable. A very subtle analysis; a good book to make short.

Phil Listemann

SPITFIRE SAGA – Volume V

Spitfire Saga V

Even written in Norwegian with English summaries, this book of almost 380 pages (hardback) deserves largely to be mentioned. This saga started in 2009 and details the operations of the two RAF Norwegian fighter squadrons formed during WW2, Nos. 331 & 332 Squadrons. The 331 would become one of the best Spitfire Mk.IX units of the RAF, a unit which also was among the very first ones to introduce this mark in operation in 1942. This fifth volume, released at the end of 2014 covers the activities of those two units during the Invasion of the summer 1944. This A4 format books contains over 550 photographs, but the five volumes have the same number of pages more or less and are very well documented, with first hand material, on aircraft and the pilots alike.

Phil Listemann

BLOOD, SWEAT AND VALOUR

41 Sqn

Over the last fifty years, many RAF squadron histories have been published. This one, is really special for at least two reasons, one, it is the first, if I’m not wrong on the 41, and two, and for that I’m sure, it is deepest study ever done on a wartime fighter unit. This volume is covering the wartime actions of the 41 in 1939-1942…close to 1000 pages which include the appendices very detailed (the last 250 pages)…just astonishing!!! If you are now expecting the rest of the history, the volume covering the years 1942-1945, well actually the book is already out and since 2012! I know, a bit strange to release the end of the history first, but that’s it; and this volume contains close to 1000 pages too. So in all, 2000 pages, with plenty of photographs and other first-hand material. For me it is simply THE reference for the 41 Squadron during WW2, can’t be better than this.

Phil Listemann

http://brew.clients.ch/product_bsc.htm

SPITFIRES IN THE SUN (or the Spitfire in IAF 1944-1957)

Spitfires in the Sun

Interesting reading in many ways. Books or articles on the Indian Spitfires are rare, so a book of close to 200 pages dedicated in those ‘forgotten’ Spitfires is really a good news. When British India split into two countries in 1947, only the RIAF chose to include in its inventory the Spitfire, the RPAF choosing to use the Hawker Tempest only. However, for the Indians, the Spitfire was only a temporary measure waiting for more modern equipment. Consequently, their usage would be limited, and they spent most of their career in the RIAF/IAF as advanced trainers, even if they were used in action during the invasion of Kashmir. Even if I’m not a big fan of any chapter about the survivors – over 40 pages here! -,  in any case, there is a lot of valuable information and data in this book, not counting the photographs.

Phil H. Listemann

COLD WAR SHIELD – Volume 2

Cold War Shield

This is an intersting book dealing with the RAF Fighter squadrons between 1950 – 1960, a decade which has been little covered so far. This volume of over 360 pages is exploring the squadrons which were equipped with Vampires, Venoms, and Sabres, and comes after volume One which has detailed the Spitfire, Tempest, Hornet, Mosquito and Meteor squadrons.

This the second of the three volumes dedictated to the RAF fighter squadrons of the fifties. Each volume is deeply researched, with plenty of photographs; and will please any person interested in the RAF.

Phil H. Listemann

More information at:

http://www.coldwarshield.co.uk/

Osprey – Spitfire Aces of Northwest Europe

Another good reading from Osprey – Spitfire Aces of Northwest Europe 1944-1945 – and a must for anyone interested in the RAF during the war and the Spitfire in particular. This series was released about 20 years ago with over 120 titles published so far, and despite this, Osprey is still able to find very interesting subjects like this one. This is a first class source of information where the author, Andrew Thomas, is narrating concisely how 35 Spitfire pilots became an ace and 72 more increased their scores while flying the late Merlin-engine marks of the legendary British fighter in 1944 and 1945, mainly while fighting with the 2 TAF for the liberation of the occupied Europe. This book is, as usual, illustrated with plenty of photographs and 30 colour profiles, signed Chris Thomas. This volume is coming to complete a bit more, the long list of previous volumes already published by Osprey about  Spitfire aces.

Phil Listemann