Books on War in the Air

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Books - War in the Air

Images of War: Twin Mustang - the North American F-82 at War, Alan C. Carey. A photographic history of the unusual Twin Mustang, the last piston engined fighter to be purchased in large numbers by the US Air Force and a short-lived aircraft that saw limited combat during the Korean War, scoring the first UN aerial victory of the war. [read full review]
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Soviet Spyplanes of the Cold War, Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov. . Looks at two Soviet spyplanes - the high flying Yak-25RV and the high speed reconnaissance versions of the MiG-25. Covers the development and service records of the real aircraft as well as reviews of the limited number of available models. [read full review]
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Russian Gunship Helicopters, Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov. Looks at the Mil Mi-24 (Hind), Mil Mi-28 and Kamov Ka-52, three Soviet and Russian helicopter gunships, with histories and descriptions of all three, supported by excellent photos and plans and model reviews. Interesting material on the development of each type, and model reviews that don't pull their punches. [read full review]
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First World War

Air Raids on South-West Essex in the Great War, Alan Simpson. Looks at the impact of German air raids on the north-eastern suburbs of London, which at the time into south-west Essex, and on the rural approaches to the city. Despite the sub-title the book covers both the Zeppelin raids and the later aircraft raids. As well as looking at the raids themselves, the author also follows the British response, both on the ground and in the air, to provide a useful snapshot of the 'first blitz'. [read full review]
Images of War: Great War Fighter Aces 1914-1916, Norman Franks. Covers the air war from the outbreak of conflict to the end of 1916, the period in which fighter aircraft were first developed, and the first 'aces' appeared. The majority of the photos are of those aces, a mix of formal portraits and pictures around their aircraft, with a smattering of other related pictures. Each chapter starts with a brief introduction to the air war in that period, along with potted biographies of the main people shown in the photos [read full review]
The First Blitz - Bombing London in the First World War, Ian Castle. A detailed raid-by-raid study of the German bombing offensive against London in the First World War, looking at the nine Zeppelin raids and eighteen aircraft raids that reached the capital. Follows the story from both sides, tracing the development of the German units, the British response to the raids and the details of each of the individual raids. [read full review]
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The Birth of the Royal Air Force, Wing Commander Ian Philpott.. A useful reference work on British air power during the First World War, covering the RFC, RNAS and the formation of the RAF, with useful sections on organisation, aircraft, airfields, actual operations on the home front, the Western Front and further afield as well as the training and background structure of all three organisations [read full review]
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In the Teeth of the Wind: Memoirs of the Royal Naval Air Service in the First World War, Squadron Leader C P O Bartlett DSC.. Very different to the more familiar RFC memoirs, this traces the wartime experiences of a RNAS bomber pilot, mainly operating near the Channel coast, taking part in the first sustained bombing campaign in military history [read full review]
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The First Blitz, Andrew P Hyde. Inspired by a family connection to one of the victims of a bomb that hit a London primary school in June 1917, this book looks at the development of the German aerial attacks on Britain, with a focus on the most successful period of Gotha raids, the unit that carried them out and the leader who briefly turned that unit into an effective weapon. [read full review]
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Somme Success: The Royal Flying Corps and the Battle of the Somme 1916, Peter Hart. A compelling account of the aerial battle fought alongside the more famous fighting on the ground during the long battle of the Somme. Focuses on what the air forces were attempting to achieve and how successful they were, with the more familiar duals between air aces and technological developments placed more firmly in context than is normally the case. [read full review]
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Aircraft of World War I - 1914-1918, Jack Herris and Bob Pearson. Takes an unusual approach for a book on aircraft, organising its subject chronologically and by topic, thus bringing together all of the aircraft involved in a particular battle or campaign, and tracing how they developed. As a result the air war is better tied to the battles on the ground than in books organised aircraft-by-aircraft. [read full review]
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Fighter Aces - The Constable Maxwell Brothers, Alex Revell. An unusual double biography, looking at two brothers who served as fighter pilots, one in the First World War and one in the Second. As a result we get a clear picture of the vast increase in the complexity of aerial warfare in the two decades between the wars, from the standing fighter patrols of the first war to the radar guided interceptions of the Battle of Britain or the complexities of the night fighters, both on defensive and offensive duties [read full review]
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US Air Force Special Operations Command, Rick Llinares and Andy Evans. A look at eight types of aircraft either currently or recently in use with the US Air Force Special Operations Command, from the AC-130 Hercules Gunship to the CV-22 Osprey Tilt-Rotor aircraft, with a large number of impressive detailed photographs show each aircraft from a wide variety of angles. [read full review]
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Korean War


Sunderland over Far-Eastern Seas, Group Captain Derek K. Empson. The autobiography of an RAF navigator who served in Sunderland flying boats in the mid 1950s, and a successful attempt to explain why the crews of flying boats felt that 'being on boats' was so special. Looks at the unusual nature of service on flying boats, as well as the author's combat experience over Korea and Borneo. [read full review]
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MiG Menace over Korea: The Story of Soviet Fighter Ace Nikolai Sutiagin, Yuri Sutiagin and Igor Seidov. An invaluable account of the career of the leading Soviet fighter ace of the Korean War, this book gives us a fascinating view of life in the Soviet Air Force during its top secret involvement in the Korean War, the only time when Soviet and American fighter pilots clashed in large numbers during the Cold War. [read full review]

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Link to review of Sabres over MiG AlleySabres Over Mig Alley, Kenneth P. Werrell. Based on interviews with American pilots this book details the battles for air superiority over Korea, fought between the US Sabre and the Russian MiG-15 [see more].
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De Havilland Vampire


Link to review of De Havilland Vampire De Havilland Twin-Boom Fighters: Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen, Barry Jones. Aviation historian Barry Jones traces the history of the Vampire and its twin boom fighter stable mates in UK and overseas service. This is a modern, up-to-date 192 page book with a great level of detail about these much loved aircraft and plenty of illustrations and archive photographs. [see more]
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Fokker Dr. I


Fokker Dr I Aces of World War I, Norman L.R. Franks. This book looks at the Fokker Dr. I from the point of view of the pilots who flew it, and the combat record that they established [see more].
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Fokker Dr I Triplane, Paul Leaman. A well received, well researched and well illustrated book on this classic first world war fighter [see more].
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Handley Page Halifax


Review of Halifax Squadrons by John lake Halifax Squadrons of World War II , Jon Lake. This is a very good book on the combat record of the Handley Page Halifax. It covers much more than just its role as a front line bomber, with chapters on the Halifax with Coastal Command, the Pathfinders and SOE, amongst others. [see more]
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Halifax Squadron: The Wartime Operations of No 640 Squadron, Leconfield, Bill Norman, 2005. A complete operational history of the squadron from its formation in January 1944 to the end of the war. Packed with interviews with members of the squadron, this book gives an invaluable insight into the life of a Bomber Command squadron in the last two years of the Second World War. [see more]
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Hawker Tempest and Typhoon


Typhoon and Tempest Aces of World War War 2, Chris Thomas. This book tells the tale of the troubled Hawker Typhoon, concentrating on its use as a fighter rather than its more successful career as a ground attack aircraft, and its transformation into the excellent Tempest, one of the best fighters of the later years of the Second World War [see more]
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Heinkel He 111


Heinkel He 111, Ron Mackay (Crowood Aviation). A comprehensive look at one of the most famous German aircraft of the Second World War, taking us through its pre-war development, its time as the Luftwaffe's most important bomber early in the war, to its long decline and the eventual collapse of the German bomber force.[see more]
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Heinkel He 112


Heinkel HE 112 in Action, Dénes Bernád. This is an interesting book dedicated to one of the more obscure aircraft produced in Germany before the Second World War. [see more]
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Messerschmitt Bf 109


Messerschmitt Bf 109: Pt. 1, John R. Beaman, Jr. This work provides a good technical history of the 109, tracing the development of the fighter from the early prototypes up to the 109E, the model used during the Battle of Britain. [see more]
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109 in Action 2Messerschmitt Bf 109: Pt. 2 , John R. Beaman, Jr. This second volume continues on from part one, beginning with the Bf 109F, probably the best version of the fighter, and taking the story to the end of the war and beyond. [see more]
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Messerschmitt Bf 110

Messerschmitt Bf 110 Zerstorer Aces of World War 2 (Osprey Aircraft of the Aces), John Weal. This book concentrates on the career of the Bf 110 as a daylight fighter. At the start of the war the aircraft had an impressive reputation, which survived to the end of the French campaign but faded once the aircraft had to face modern fighters. Weal traces the story of the Bf 110 through to the final disastrous attempts to use it against American heavy bombers.
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Sopwith Camel


link to review of Sopwith Camel AcesSopwith Camel Aces of World War 1, Denes Bernad. The Sopwith Camel is probably the most famous British aircraft of the First World War. This book looks at the careers of the fighter aces who captured the imagination of the British public and provided some relief from the gloom of the Western Front [see more]
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Sopwith Triplane


Link to review of Sopwith Triplane AcesSopwith Triplane Aces of World War I, Norman L.R. Franks. An excellent guide to the operations of the Sopwith Triplane, covering all four RNAS squadrons that used the aircraft in 1916 and 1917. Although the Sopwith Triplane was not produced in large numbers, it [see more]
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France


link to review of French Fighters of WWIIFrench Fighters of World War II, Alain Pelletier. This book tells the story of the French fighter aircraft that attempted to stand up the Luftwaffe in 1940. It covers seven main aircraft and a larger number of minor variants. Each aircraft is taken from development and prototypes through the battle of France and into the period after the armistice. [see more]
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Naval Aviation

On the Deck or in the Drink, Flying with the Royal Navy 1952-1964, Lieutenant Brian R. Allen RN. The autobiography of a pilot in the post-war Fleet Air Arm, recounting his experiences flying a wide range of aircraft from old wartime Avengers to the Fairey Gannet and some alarming early helicopters [read full review]
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Sea Flight: The Wartime Memoirs of a Fleet Air Arm Pilot, Hugh Popham. First published in 1954 this was the first memoir produced by a fighter pilot from the Fleet Air Arm, and captures the feel of the times while the nine year delay means that Popham had time to put his experiences into a wider context, both personally and within the framework of the war. [read full review]
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Fleet Air Arm Carrier Warfare, Kev Darling. A complete history of the Fleet Air Arm's use of aircraft carriers, from the earliest experiments during the First World War, through the Second World War, where the carriers became the most important capital ships in the navy, the Korean War, which saw the Fleet Air Arm involved from the beginning to the end, the Falklands War, which re-emphasised the important of the carrier and right up to the current 'super-carriers'. [read full review]
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On and off the Flight Deck: Reflections of a Naval Fighter Pilot in World War II, Henry 'Hank' Adlam On and off the Flight Deck: Reflections of a Naval Fighter Pilot in World War II, Henry 'Hank' Adlam. A rare example of an autobiography produced by a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm. Adlam served on escort carriers in the Atlantic, and on fleet carriers with the British Pacific Fleet, and gives us his opinions on the aircraft he flew or observed, the command structure in the Royal Navy and an account of the campaigns he fought in. [read full review]
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RAF Coastal Command in Action, 1939-45, Roy C. Nesbit. This is an excellent photographic history of Coastal Command during the Second World War. The book is split into six chapters, one for each year of the war. Each chapter begins with a brief introduction to the events of the year, and the aircraft that equipped the command before moving on to the photos. Each chapter contains a mix of pictures of the aircraft used by the command and pictures taken by the command. [see more]
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The Fleet Air Arm Handbook 1939-45, David Wragg. This is an excellent book on the Fleet Air Arm, combining a well written history of British Naval Aviation during the Second World War with a detailed reference section on the squadrons and ships of the Fleet Air Arm [see more]
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