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.
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.
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