The air forces were there, as Norman Franks proves, detailing the outstanding achievements of the Allied pilots who had earlier had easy victories over the Polish, Dutch and Belgian air forces.
Author: Norman Franks
Publisher: Grub Street
‘Where is the RAF?’ was the oft-quoted question asked by soldiers waiting on the beach at Dunkirk, to where they had retreated following the German blitzkrieg through northern France, and where they were now being pounded by the Luftwaffe. The air forces were there, as Norman Franks proves, detailing the outstanding achievements of the Allied pilots who had earlier had easy victories over the Polish, Dutch and Belgian air forces. The RAF’s achievement reminds us just how close Britain came to disaster in June 1940.
Walter J. Boyne, Michael Fopp. 186 Dunkirk ... Conrad C.Crane See also Berlin Air Battles; GOMMORRAH ;Hamburg Bombing Campaign; Stalingrad,Battle of;
Terror-Bombing References Angell,Joseph W.“Historical Analysis of the 14–15 ...
Author: Walter J. Boyne
Category: Aeronautics, Military
Written by more than 100 international scholars and experts, this encyclopedia chronicles the individuals, equipment, and drama of nearly a century of aerial combat.
This collection of popular air warfare stories covers the entire span of World War II, beginning when the Royal Air Force faced fascist forces on its own until the dropping of the Atomic bombs on the Japanese in 1945.
Author: John Frayn Turner
Publisher: Pen and Sword
This collection of popular air warfare stories covers the entire span of World War II, beginning when the Royal Air Force faced fascist forces on its own until the dropping of the Atomic bombs on the Japanese in 1945. Fight for the Air offers a rich mixture of accounts about such large and well-known battles and operations as the Battle of Britain, the huge Allied bomber raids over German cities, as well as more specialist operations such as the Dambusters. Individual feats of courage make for inspiring reading. The author's prose crackles with action and tension and his deep understanding of air warfare is obvious.These short stories give the reader an understanding of the global scope of air operations and their massive contribution to ultimate victory.
Franks, Norman, Air Battle Dunkirk, 26 May – 3 June 1940 (Grub Street, London,
2000). Gardner, Charles, A.A.S.F. (Hutchinson, London, 1940). Gardner, W. J. R.,
The Evacuation from Dunkirk, 'Operation Dynamo 26 May4June 1940 (Frank ...
Author: John Grehan
Publisher: Pen and Sword
The epic of Dunkirk has been told many times, but the numerous accounts from surviving soldiers and sailors were often a blur of fear and fighting with the days mingling into each other, leaving what is, at times, a confusing picture. In this book, adopting a day by day approach, the author provides a clear portrayal of the unfolding drama on the perimeter around Dunkirk, in the port itself and along the beaches to La Panne and the Belgian border.Reports from many of the captains of the vessels which took part in the great evacuation were submitted to the Admiralty immediately after the conclusion of Operation Dynamo. With access to these, and supported by the various records maintained by the Army and RAF, the author has been able to finally piece together the movements and actions of the many of the squadrons, units and ships involved.With the Admiralty reports and a mass of other firsthand accounts, many of which have never been published before, the true tale of the heroism of the rescued and the rescuers is laid bare. Operation Dynamo saw civilian volunteers and Royal Navy personnel manning every type of craft from the antiaircraft cruiser HMS Calcutta to the cockle boats of the Thames Estuary. The accounts of the men who crewed these vessels tell of being bombed and strafed by the Luftwaffe or shelled from the shore. There are stories of collisions in the dark, chaos on the beaches and tragic losses as ships went down. Similar tales are told by the men waiting on the beaches, defending the perimeter or flying in the skies overhead in a valiant effort to hold the German Army and Luftwaffe at bay.Yet this is ultimately a story, as Churchill described it, of deliverance, for against all the predictions, the BEF was saved to fight again another day. With civilians and servicemen working without respite for days and nights on end under almost continual attack to rescue the army, the nation pulled together as never before. It truly was Britains finest hour.
Air. Battle. At the outset of the German offensive in the west, on 10 May 1940, the
Luftwaffe air fleets responsible for supporting the land campaign – Luftflotten 2
and 3, commanded by Generals Albert Kesselring and Hugo Sperrle –
Author: Robert Jackson
Publisher: Hachette UK
A gripping account of the most famous military defeat and retreat in history, now the subject of a major motion picture, written and directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance. The NEW YORK TIMES of 2 June 1940 summed up the greatest disaster in British history thus: 'As long as the English tongue survives, the word 'Dunkirk' will be spoken with reverence.' This book tells the story of the Dunkirk evacuation. It traces the fortunes of the British Expeditionary Force during those dark days of May 1940 when boys armed with little more than rifles took on the might of Hitler's Panzer divisions - and held them while Allied armies crumbled on all sides. The evacuation at Dunkirk lifted more than 338,000 men from France to the safety of Britain using everything from Destroyers to pleasure yachts. It was the biggest single defeat ever suffered by British arms, but it was also one of the most astounding exoduses in history.
The opening rounds of the air battle over Dunkirk took place on 23 May, as the
Germans moved against British forces defending the nearby ports of Calais and
Boulogne. Fighter Command's 11 Group, responsible for the air defence of
Author: David Isby
Publisher: Hachette UK
London, 15 September 1940. The air battle over Britain on that day saw two of the most advanced fighter planes, the British Supermarine Spitfire and the German Messerschmitt Bf 109, battle for supremacy of the skies. The Decisive Duel tells the stories of these iconic, classic aircraft and the people that created them: Willy Messerschmitt, the German designer with a love for gliders and admiration for Hitler; R.J. Mitchell, his brilliant British counterpart, who struggled against illness to complete the design of the Spitfire. In fascinating detail, David Isby describes the crucial role the two opposed planes played, from the drawing boards to Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain to the final battles over Germany.
Richard Collier, The Sands of Dunkirk ... Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France
Then and Now: Six Nations Locked in Aerial Combat September 1939 to June
1940 (Old Harlow, Essex, UK: Battle of Britain International Ltd., 2007). Corum ...
Author: Douglas C. Dildy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Over the past 80 years, histories of the Battle of Britain have consistently portrayed the feats of 'The Few' (as they were immortalized in Churchill's famous speech) as being responsible for the RAF's victory in the epic battle. However, this is only part of the story. The results of an air campaign cannot be measured in terms of territory captured, cities occupied or armies defeated, routed or annihilated. Successful air campaigns are those that achieve their intended aims or stated objectives. Victory in the Battle of Britain was determined by whether the Luftwaffe achieved its objectives. The Luftwaffe, of course, did not, and this detailed and rigorous study explains why. Analysing the battle in its entirety in the context of what it was – history's first independent offensive counter-air campaign against the world's first integrated air defence system – Douglas C. Dildy and Paul F. Crickmore set out to re-examine this remarkable conflict. Presenting the events of the Battle of Britain in the context of the Luftwaffe's campaign and RAF Fighter Command's battles against it, this title is a new and innovative history of the battle that kept alive the Allies' chances of defeating Nazi Germany.
An essential reference series listing every combat claim submitted by RAF fighter pilots during World War Two.
Author: John Foreman
Publisher: Red Kite / Air Research
Category: World War, 1939-1945
An essential reference series listing every combat claim submitted by RAF fighter pilots during World War Two. Part One covers the Fall of France and Battle of Britain, Part Two covers the period after the Battle of Britain when RAF Fighter Command went on the offensive over Occupied Europe.
SOME OF THE 150 STORIES IN THIS BOOK: · What WWII was all about · How the German Luftwaffe began and ended · Adolph Hitler's Nazi party and the Waffen SS · 8th Air Force raids over Europe · P-51 Mustang battles with Me-109 · 1093's ...
Author: James Neel White
SOME OF THE 150 STORIES IN THIS BOOK:· What WWII was all about · How the German Luftwaffe began and ended · Adolph Hitler's Nazi party and the Waffen SS · 8th Air Force raids over Europe · P-51 Mustang battles with Me-109 · 1093's Cleveland Air Races · Wright Brother's flight in 1903 · WWI Bi-planes in France · P-40s in the Flying Tigers · D-Day and P-47 Thunderbolts · Winter War in Finland · Barbarossa and airplane battles · Zeros in Southeast Asia · P-39 Airacobras fight for Russia · War-Booty in WWII · Hitler robs art treasures · How P-51 Mustangs stopped the Luftwaffe · How the Nazi Gestapo operated · The author's personal observations of WWII This book is dedicated to Orville and Wilbur Wright who discovered flight in 1903 You may purchase this book ISBN 0-595-28235-0 from www.iuniverse.com
Author: Charles River Charles River EditorsPublish On: 2017-01-07
The Miracle of Dunkirk: The History of the World War II Battle and Evacuation that Helped Save Britain from Nazi Germany chronicles the operations that saved over 300,000 Allied soldiers from being trapped.
*Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the fighting and evacuations written by soldiers on both sides *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents "The Navy, using nearly 1,100 ships of all kinds, carried over 335,000 men, French and British, out of the jaws of death and shame [...] We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won byevacuations. But there was a victory inside this deliverance [...] we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills [...] until [...] the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old." - Winston Churchill, June 4, 1940 "Blitzkrieg" or "Lightning War" describes the Third Reich's invasion strategy during its 1940 conquest of France not only due to the speed of the Wehrmacht advance but also its devastating effect on its ill-prepared adversaries. Mired in the paralyzing muck of plodding staff college military doctrine and demoralized as a nation by their appalling losses during World War I, the French succumbed in a few weeks to German skill and vigor. Moreover, after being lured into Belgium by a large-scale German feint, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and over a million French soldiers found themselves cut off by the main Wehrmacht thrust. Heinz Guderian and Irwin Rommel, among others, led their panzers on an 11-day dash from the Ardennes Forest to the coast, trapping vast numbers of Allied soldiers in Belgium and northeastern France. The surrender of more than 1,200,000 isolated troops followed, yet in the midst of this disaster, the Allies contrived one coup that took even the victorious Wehrmacht aback: the evacuation of over 300,000 soldiers from the port of Dunkirk. This escape, hailed as "miraculous" at the time, provided England with a solid defensive force, the French with the kernel of a "Free French" army for the future, and the Western Allies with an invaluable boost to their morale during one of the war's darkest moments. Hitler's Order of the Day on June 5th, 1940 placed no special emphasis on the end of the Dunkirk evacuation save as the milestone marking full German triumph in the north. While a leader never celebrates the successes of his enemies, the Fuhrer's terse commentary - and subsequent, very real expectations that the British would sue for peace and possibly even overthrow Churchill - suggest that he attached little significance to the BEF slipping through his fingers: "Soldiers of the West Front! Dunkirk has fallen... with it has ended the greatest battle of world history. Soldiers! My confidence in you knew no bounds. You have not disappointed me." With the clarity of historical hindsight, events proved Churchill correct. Operation Dynamo, as the British named the Dunkirk evacuation mission, bolstered British morale and defenses sufficiently to keep the "Sceptered Isle" in the war. This, in turn, led to the eventual entry of the United States, whose lethal air force, powerful navy, strategic successes, and massive Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union helped doom Adolf Hitler's "Thousand-Year Reich" to a ruinous end in 1945. The Miracle of Dunkirk: The History of the World War II Battle and Evacuation that Helped Save Britain from Nazi Germany chronicles the operations that saved over 300,000 Allied soldiers from being trapped. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Dunkirk like never before, in no time at all.
Author: John T. LaSaine, Jr.Publish On: 2018-05-01
During the first year of World War I, he served with distinction as a combat pilot in France, but his real test would come in 1936, when he was assigned the critical task of reorganizing the Air Defense of Great Britain as the first air ...
Author: John T. LaSaine, Jr.
Publisher: University Press of New England
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Hugh Dowding may be described as the prime architect of British victory in the battle of Britain, and thus as one of a handful of officers and men most responsible for ensuring that Hitler's planned invasion of England never occurred. Dowding was born in 1882 at the apex of British imperial power and had an early career as a gunner on the fabled North-West Frontier of the British Indian Empire. During the first year of World War I, he served with distinction as a combat pilot in France, but his real test would come in 1936, when he was assigned the critical task of reorganizing the Air Defense of Great Britain as the first air officer commanding-in-chief of the new RAF Fighter Command. In that capacity he stood up to senior staff--and Winston Churchill--by preventing the dismantling of British air defenses during the Battle of France in the spring of 1940, defying pressure from the British Army, Britain's French allies, and His Majesty's Government to send the bulk of the RAF's front-line fighters to the Continent in what Dowding predicted would be a futile effort to stem the German onslaught. While holding back as many of his best fighter aircraft as he could, in June Dowding deployed 11 Group under his hand-picked lieutenant, Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park, to repulse the Luftwaffe over Dunkirk, covering the evacuation of some 338,000 British and French troops from the Continent. During the three months of fighting known as the Battle of Britain, the integrated air defense system organized and trained by Dowding fought the vaunted Luftwaffe to a standstill in daylight air-to-air combat. In October, the Germans abandoned their attempt to win a decisive battle for air superiority over England, turning instead to the protracted campaign of attrition by nighttime area bombing known as the Blitz. In building, defending, and overseeing the operations of Fighter Command, Dowding was thus not only one of the master builders of air power, but also the only airman to have been the winning commander in one of history's decisive battles.
RAF Fairford is still open and used by the RAF and US Air Force as well as being
the venue for an annual International ... World War they were flying Anson aircraft
on antisubmarine patrols and EBoat patrols during the evacuation of Dunkirk.
Author: Alan W. Cooper
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Over sixty years ago a battle took place that, if it had succeeded, could have shortened the Second World war by six months. The operation to take the bridges at Arnhem was given the code name 'Operation Market Garden', Market being the air side of the operation and Garden the subsequent ground operation. The main problem was communications between the ground forces and the re-supply aircraft of the Royal Air Force.Its their efforts and the courage on evident display at Arnhem that the book is based upon. Over a period of seven days troops of the 1st Airborne were taken by the RAF in towed gliders and then in subsequent days showed courage of the highest order to make sure that the ground troops were supplied with ammunition and food to sustain them in their efforts to take the bridges at Arnhem. Their efforts were costly, 309 aircrew and 79 Air Dispatchers were killed and 107 aircraft, which included the men and aircraft who supported the main re-supply armada.One of the re-supply aircraft, flown by F/Lt David Lord DFC, was shot down. Lord was later awarded the Victoria Cross. His courage and dedication are exemplary of the efforts of the men of Transport Command to make sure the men on the ground were re-supplied. The men of the Air Dispatchers, or AD's as they were known, must always be remembered when regarding Arnhem. Their efforts to make sure the supplies were released from the aircraft, and on to the besieged men on the ground, was a vital factor in getting vital supplies to the troops successfully.This is their story, vividly told, and serves a commemorative purpose, memorialising both the events and, most importantly, the men who participated.
Again how far these criticisms were justified is best judged by the actual
experience in battle.22 Artillery and air support for ground troops were substitutes
, not totally different in kind. Of course aircraft can range far more widely than
Author: Charles More
“A detailed and fascinating account” of a little known WWII showdown in Belgium between the British Expeditionary Force and the German army (Barnsley Chronicle). This is an important reassessment of a critical period in the British Expeditionary Force’s fight against the German armies invading France in 1940. On May 25, Lord Gort, the British commander, took the decision to move 5th Division north in order to plug a growing gap in his army’s eastern defenses. Over the next three days the division fought a little-known engagement, the Battle of the Ypres-Comines Canal, to hold the Germans at bay while the rest of the BEF retreated toward Dunkirk. The book describes the British Army of 1940 and outlines the early stages of the campaign before explaining the context of Gort’s decision and why it was made. Then, using British and German sources, it shows how the British doggedly defended their line against heavy German attacks, and demonstrates that the Expeditionary Force was far more than the badly equipped and undertrained army many historians have represented it as. This fresh look at the campaign also casts new light on other aspects such as the impact of the Luftwaffe and the Dunkirk evacuation itself. “This book is important for all those interested in the fighting which proceeded the general retreat to and evacuation from Dunkirk. The author has trawled numerous archival sources, which are well cited in this elegantly produced book.” —Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research
Author: Hugh Sebag-MontefiorePublish On: 2007-05-31
Also Map 1) While the French Cavalry Corps was commencing its battle against
German tanks near Hannut, Britain's Advanced Air Striking Force made a valiant
attempt to cut the 3rd and 4th Panzer Divisions' lines of communication by ...
Author: Hugh Sebag-Montefiore
Publisher: Penguin UK
* * * Special 75th Anniversary Edition * * * Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man tells the story of the rescue in May 1940 of British soldiers fleeing capture and defeat by the Nazis at Dunkirk. Dunkirk was not just about what happened at sea and on the beaches. The evacuation would never have succeeded had it not been for the tenacity of the British soldiers who stayed behind to ensure they got away. Men like Sergeant Major Gus Jennings who died smothering a German stick bomb in the church at Esquelbecq in an effort to save his comrades, and Captain Marcus Ervine-Andrews VC who single-handedly held back a German attack on the Dunkirk perimeter thereby allowing the British line to form up behind him. Told to stand and fight to the last man, these brave few battalions fought in whatever manner they could to buy precious time for the evacuation. Outnumbered and outgunned, they launched spectacular and heroic attacks time and again, despite ferocious fighting and the knowledge that for many only capture or death would end their struggle. 'A searing story . . . both meticulous military history and a deeply moving testimony to the extraordinary personal bravery of individual soldiers' Tim Gardam, The Times 'Sebag-Montefiore tells [the story] with gusto, a remarkable attention to detail and an inexhaustible appetite for tracking down the evidence' Richard Ovary, Telegraph Hugh Sebag-Montefiore was a barrister before becoming a journalist and then an author. He wrote the best-selling Enigma: The Battle for the Code. One of his ancestors was evacuated from Dunkirk.
All these questions and more are answered in Greg Baughen's third book.
Author: Greg Baughen
Publisher: Fonthill Media
In May 1940, the opposing German and Allied forces seemed reasonably well matched. On the ground, the four allied nations had more troops, artillery and tanks. Even in the air, the German advantage in numbers was slight. Yet two months later, the Allied armies had been crushed. The Netherlands, Belgium and France had all surrendered and Britain stood on her own, facing imminent defeat. Subsequent accounts of the campaign have tended to see this outcome as predetermined, with the seeds of defeat sown long before the fighting began. Was it so inevitable? Should the RAF have done more to help the Allied armies? Why was such a small proportion of the RAF's frontline strength committed to the crucial battle on the ground? Could Fighter Command have done more to protect the British and French troops being evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk? This study looks at the operations flown and takes a fresh look at the fatal decisions made behind the scenes, decisions that unnecessarily condemned RAF aircrews to an unequal struggle and ultimately ensured Allied defeat. What followed became the RAF's finest hour with victory achieved by the narrowest of margins. Or was it, as some now suggest, a victory that was always inevitable? If so, how was the German military juggernaut that had conquered most of Europe so suddenly halted? This study looks at the decisions and mistakes made by both sides. It explains how the British obsession with bomber attacks on cities had led to the development of the wrong type of fighter force and how only a fortuitous sequence of events enabled Fighter Command to prevail. It also looks at how ready the RAF was to deal with an invasion. How much air support could the British Army have expected? Why were hundreds of American combat planes and experienced Polish and Czech pilots left on the sidelines? And when the Blitz began, and Britain finally got the war it was expecting, what did this campaign tell us about the theories on air power that had so dominated pre-war air policy? All these questions and more are answered in Greg Baughen's third book. Baughen describes the furious battles between the RAF and the Luftwaffe and the equally bitter struggle between the Air Ministry and the War Office - and explains how close Britain really came to defeat in the summer of 1940.
This first of three volumes traces the history of 72 Fighter Squadron, one of the premier squadrons in the Royal Air Force.
Author: Tom Docherty
Publisher: Casemate Publishers
This first of three volumes traces the history of 72 Fighter Squadron, one of the premier squadrons in the Royal Air Force. The aircraft flown, operational personnel and missions flown are fully described with firsthand accounts from pilots and both air and ground crew.Having been first established in 1917 the squadron was disbanded in February 1918. It was re-formed in February 1937 from B Flight of 1 Squadron and was equipped with Gloster Gladiators. In 1939 it was re-equipped with Spitfires which were used in air defense and convoy protection sorties following the start of the war. In 1940 the squadron moved to assist in the evacuation of Dunkirk. During The Battle of Britain, 72 spent the early days at RAF Acklington as part of 13 Group before moving south during September to assist the main defense force. The squadron then flew penetration Circus missions over occupied Europe with the intention of causing havoc to the German forces and also to lure German fighters into combat.
But in 1940 the Allies had neither air supremacy nor battle-practised armoured
divisions; the French Army's performance in 1940 bore no resemblance to the
dogged resistance by the Americans in 1944 that contained the thrust; they did
Author: Julian Thompson
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
A masterly work of military history, Dunkirk: Retreat to Victory is also a tribute to the soldiers whose courage and self belief sustained them through their darkest hours. The evacuation of British forces from Dunkirk is one of the pivotal moments in the Second World War – an astonishing endeavour that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Sent to help the Belgians and French hold back the German army, the small British Expeditionary Force was ill-equipped and under-trained. When Hitler attacked on 10 May 1940 and the French and Belgian armies collapsed in the face of Germany's swift and brutal advance, the British soldiers found themselves in mortal danger. In Dunkirk: Retreat to Victory, Major General Julian Thompson recreates the action as the British fought hard for three desperate weeks, conducting a successful fighting withdrawal in the face of a formidable foe. He describes the individual acts of bravery and sacrifice and analyses the decisions of the commanders who made the choice to evacuate. He also takes us to Dunkirk harbour and onto the beaches, where the British army was trapped and under attack, while the Royal Navy and the 'little ships' raced against time to rescue them.
The story of the Defiant has not been allowed to mar the glorious victory won by the Spitfire and the Hurricane.
Author: Robert Verkaik
Publisher: Hachette UK
'Robert Verkaik tells the story of the Battle of Britain's unlikeliest hero with verve and phenomenal grasp of detail. He brings the Defiant fighter back into focus as an important part of the victorious RAF in the hour of its greatest trial' Mark Urban 'Meticulously researched and rich in human and social as well as military interest, Defiant fills a crucial gap in our understanding of that most perilous time' David Kynaston, author of Austerity Britain 'Firmly establishes the aircraft's role in those crucial aerial battles of 1940 and elevates the brave aircrews who fought and died in their forgotten Defiants, to rank alongside their comrades in the better remembered Hurricanes and Spitfires.' David Fairhead, director of Spitfire 'Verkaik is an excellent guide, making his case with a restrained passion, taking us through the inter-war rearmament before cataloguing the muddled thinking, the political infighting, the inter-service and personality rivalries. His research was clearly a labour of love, leaving no Whitehall paper or airman's letter unturned in his search for the truth, and he never forgets the human dimension behind the losses' Simon Humphreys, Mail on Sunday, five stars 'Defiant is both a stirring testament to the courage of the men who flew them and a welcome new examination of one of the Second World War's most famous conflicts' Alexander Larman, Observer Praise for Jihadi John: 'An exemplary account . . . The book's most important contribution is to highlight the difficulties faced by the intelligence services . . . a first-class primer on Muslim extremism in Britain.' Max Hastings, Sunday Times Praise for Posh Boys: 'The latest in the series of powerful books on the divisions in modern Britain, and will take its place on many bookshelves beside Reni Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race and Owen Jones's Chavs.' Andrew Marr, Sunday Times 'Inspired, committed, careful and kind.' Danny Dorling, author of Inequality and the 1% In this startling new perspective on the Battle of Britain, Robert Verkaik reveals the surprising truth about the battle's forgotten fighter, the Boulton Paul Defiant. The crucial role played by the Spitfire and the Hurricane has been exhaustively recorded, but, to date, next to nothing has been written about the third British fighter which took part in the battle. By writing from the unique perspective of the pilots who flew the Defiant and their air-gunners, Verkaik helps to set the record straight. The Air Staff regarded the Defiant as a state-of-the-art bomber destroyer and wanted to equip a third of all Fighter Command squadrons with this new plane. But the head of Fighter Command, Hugh Dowding, had other ideas and went to war with Whitehall over its plan to saddle him with hundreds of 'obsolete' turret fighters. Then at Dunkirk, a Defiant squadron scored a huge success against the Luftwaffe by shooting down more German planes in one day than any other RAF unit before or since. Fighter Command, enthusiastically urged on by the Air Ministry, now committed its third fighter to the coming air battle over southern England. In the desperate dogfights of the battle, Defiants shot down both German bombers and fighters but suffered heavy losses too - one squadron was almost wiped out when it was ambushed by a superior force of Messerschmitt 109s. On 30 August 1940 all Defiant squadrons were withdrawn from the front line. The families of the Defiant air crews believed that their husbands, brothers and sons had died in vain, but the truth is that their vital contribution to the battle over Dunkirk and their role in the Battle of Britain has been all but erased from the official history. The story of the Defiant has not been allowed to mar the glorious victory won by the Spitfire and the Hurricane. But Verkaik has uncovered new records, including top-secret memos written by Hugh Dowding and his deputy Keith Park as well as correspondence with the Air Staff, combat and squadron reports, pilot logs and recordings of the last interviews with Defiant crews. He has also succeeded in tracing relatives of Defiant pilots and gunners to tell the story of the Battle of Britain as it has never been told before. He reveals how the myths which have grown up around the Defiant mask some inconvenient truths.
... 49 Dukh Company, 9, 33, 44 Dulles, John Foster, 268 Duma, 5, 30 Dunkirk, air battle of, 170–72 Dunn, Paul C., 167 Eaker, Ira C., 139, 193–94, 199, 226, 278–
79 Gardiner, Reginald, 217 Garroway, Dave, 268 Gatchina, pilot training center.
Author: James K. Libbey
Publisher: Potomac Books, Inc.
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Today, air power is a vital component of the U.S. armed forces. James Libbey, in Alexander P. de Seversky and the Quest for Air Power, highlights the contributions of an aviation pioneer who made much of it possible. Graduating from the Imperial Russian Naval Academy at the start of World War I, de Seversky lost a leg in his first combat mission. He still shot down thirteen German planes and became the empire's most decorated combat naval pilot. While serving as a naval attache in the United States in 1918, de Seversky elected to escape the Bolshevik Revolution and offered his services as a pilot and consulting engineer to the U.S. War Department. He proved inventive both in the technology of advanced military aircraft and in the strategy of exercising air power. He worked for famed aviation advocate Gen. William "Billy" Mitchell, who encouraged the naturalized citizen to patent his inventions, such as an in-flight refueling system and a gyroscopically synchronized bombsight. His creative spirit then spurred him to design and manufacture advanced military aircraft. When World War II broke out in Europe, de Seversky became America's best-known philosopher, prophet, and advocate for air power, even serving as an adviser to the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. The highlight of his life occurred in 1970 when the Aviation Hall of Fame enshrined de Seversky for "his achievements as a pilot, aeronautical engineer, inventor, industrialist, author, strategist, consultant, and scientific advances in aircraft design and aerospace technology." This book will appeal to readers with a special interest in military history and to anyone who wants to learn more about American air power's most important figures.