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Royal Air Force (RAF): books - history (WW II)

A book on the Royal Air Force (RAF)? Here are books on the history, missions and aircraft of the British Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

British Aircraft of the Second World War

This unique book, now republished, was the first of its kind to be published on British aircraft of the Second World War. Aviation enthusiasts and aero-modellers can see British aircraft as they really were, through magnificently reproduced colour photographs.

Each of the 49 types of aircraft is accompanied by a brief 'biography' together with tables of the most important marks and their specifications, engine, span, length, height, weight, crew number, maximum speed, service ceiling, normal range and armament.
There is also a section on British aircraft in action, which includes accounts of outstanding exploits by the pilots of different types. John Frayn Turner, the well-known aviation author, has chosen the pictures and provided the text.

Author:John Frayn Turner
Specs:120 pages, 24.5 x 17 cm / 9.7 x 6.7 in, hardback
Illustrations:numerous b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Pen & Sword Books Ltd (GB, 2016)
EAN:9781783831197
Book: British Aircraft of the Second World War

British Aircraft of the Second World War

Language: English

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The Battle of Britain - Then and Now

First published to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, After the Battle ploughed an entirely fresh furrow across this legendary field of human conflict to produce a book which has now come to be regarded as a memorial in itself to 'The Few'.

Never before has such detailed coverage been given to the losses of either the Royal Air Force or the Luftwaffe. The graves of RAF aircrew that were killed have been listed, visited by the editorial team and photographed as a complete and lasting record of those that died. The pilots, their memorials, crashes and crash sites, and the aircraft that have survived are profusely illustrated.

Twenty of the most famous fighter aerodromes have been explored and described as they were at the time and as they are today. Also included is a complete listing of 'The Few' - more than twenty-five years' work by the late John Holloway.

Specs:848 pages, 31 x 22 x 7.9 cm / 12.2 x 8.7 x 3.11 in, hardback
Illustrations:1700 b&w photographs
Publisher:After the Battle (GB, 1987)
EAN:9780900913464
Book: The Battle of Britain - Then and Now

The Battle of Britain - Then and Now

Language: English

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Aerodromes of Fighter Command Then and Now

RAF Fighter Command was established in July 1936 to provide the airborne element in the defence of Britain against air attack. The aerodromes under the Command described in this book came under the control of several Groups: No. 9 in the west, No. 10 covering the south-west, No. 11 in the south-east, No. 12 on the eastern side of the country, and Nos. 13 and 14 protecting the extreme north.

In this volume the activities of over 90 airfields are described and illustrated in our 'then and now' theme, both on the ground and from above. Many, having served their purpose, have returned to farmland leaving only odd vestiges to recall their former role as front-line fighter stations. Others have succumbed to the encroachment of housing or industry or even been totally expunged from the map through mining activities.
On the other hand, a number have continued to be used as airfields, either for sport or business flying, and some continue as major airports with modern facilities.

Sadly the post-war years have witnessed the slow decline of the RAF presence at so many of their former bases, two having closed during our research for this book. And some have found a new lease of life with the Army . . . or even the Ministry of Justice!
All came into their own during the six years of war and the scars from that battle are still evident if one cares to look. Mouldering buildings from the former era remain as poignant reminders of the airmen and women who once habited them . . . now standing almost as memorials to the thousands who never came through. This is their story.

Author:Robin J. Brooks
Specs:360 pages, 30 x 22 x 2.9 cm / 11.8 x 8.7 x 1.14 in, hardback
Illustrations:800+ b&w photographs
Publisher:After the Battle (GB, 2014)
EAN:9781870067829
Book: Aerodromes of Fighter Command Then and Now

Aerodromes of Fighter Command Then and Now

Language: English

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Aircraft Salvage in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz - Rare photographs from Wartime Archives (Images of War)

Large collection of rare photographs, many never previously published, covering the work of RAF and civilian salvage squads during the Battle of Britain, the Blitz and beyond.
The images depict losses across Britain, both RAF and German, during this period. Each picture tells its own story, and is fully captioned with historical detail. The author is covering a topic that has rarely been examined in this detail.

Each section has a short introduction and the images include those of shot down aircraft, including relatively intact machines, badly damaged/destroyed wreckages, photographs of pilots and other related illustrations.
All images are from the author's unique collection of wartime photographs of Luftwaffe losses, collected from a variety of sources across some thirty-five years of research.

Author:Andy Saunders
Specs:128 pages, 24.5 x 19 x 1 cm / 9.7 x 7.5 x 0.39 in, paperback
Illustrations:140 b&w photographs
Publisher:Pen & Sword Books Ltd (GB, 2014)
Series:Images of War
EAN:9781783030408
Book: Aircraft Salvage in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz - Rare photographs from Wartime Archives (Images of War)

Aircraft Salvage in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz - Rare photographs from Wartime Archives

Language: English

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RAF WWII Fighters Instrument Panels

This book - the fourth in a new series called INSIDE - features detailed colour illustrations of the instrument panels from the most famous RAF World War II fighters in very great detail. Additionally, every single instrument is shown in a separate large-scale drawing.

The book illustrates and documents the instrument panels of the following RAF fighter aircraft:

1. Supermarine Spitfire Vc;
2. Hawker Hurricane I;
3. North American P-51B Mustang III;
4. Boulton Paul Defiant;
5 Bristol Beaufighter II.

Author:Dariusz Karnas
Specs:40 pages, 29.5 x 21 cm / 11.6 x 8.25 in, hardback
Illustrations:numerous drawings in b&w and colour
Publisher:MMP Books (PL, 2017)
EAN:9788365281623
Book: RAF WWII Fighters Instrument Panels

RAF WWII Fighters Instrument Panels

Language: English

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Flying into the Storm : RAF Bombers at War 1939-1942

From the lessons of the First World War, the RAF developed a fleet of modern monoplane aircraft in time for hostilities in 1939; a force that consisted of Hampdens, Whitleys, Wellingtons, Blenheims, and Battles.
These aircraft and their crews were pitted against the German war machine from day one-flying into storms of flak shells and swarms of Messerschmitt fighters in their flimsy, and often poorly armed, bombers.

From theatres as far apart as Norway and Syria, Java and France, the crews and their aircraft were at the front of every military operation without adequate fighter escorts and with poor equipment against stiff opposition.
They were the few who bravely went on 'one way ticket' missions, that saw operational life expectancy as only a matter of hours, without hesitation or complaint.

  • Covers RAF's bomber offensives around the world in the first two years of war
  • Crew experiences of campaigns and raids combined with strategic overviews
  • Comparisons of the Luftwaffe's interwar growth and arsenal with the RAF
  • Lavishly illustrated with many unpublished images: of interest to the military historian and modeller alike.
Author:Chris Sams
Specs:256 pages, 23.5 x 15.5 x 2.4 cm / 9.25 x 6.1 x 0.94 in, hardback
Illustrations:30 b&w photographs
Publisher:Fonthill Media (GB, 2017)
EAN:9781781556177
Book: Flying into the Storm : RAF Bombers at War 1939-1942

Flying into the Storm : RAF Bombers at War 1939-1942

Language: English

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Early Jet Fighters : British and American 1944-1954 (Images of War)

In almost 200 archive photographs Leo Marriott traces the course of the development of British and American jet fighters during the first pioneering decade of their production.
In many ways the period from 1944 to 1954 was one of the most exciting and innovative in the history of military aviation. Rare images show the first jet fighters flown by the RAF towards the end of the Second World War and takes the story forward to the most advanced designs that played a key role in the war in Korea.

The range of experimental and operational warplanes that were conceived and built during this short time was remarkable. The initial straight-wing jets began with the Gloster Meteor and Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star which were later superseded by the first operational swept-wing fighters such as the Hawker Hunter, North American F-86 Sabre and Grumman F9F-6 Cougar.
Development of all these benefited greatly from German Second World War advances in aerodynamics that were exploited by the British and Americans when the war ended.

Progress was so swift that, by the mid-1950s, the prototypes of the next generation of truly supersonic fighters were starting to appear, and these are featured in Leo Marriott's fascinating selection of images.
He even includes a variety of prototypes which for various reasons did not result in production orders, as well as several unusual concepts such as flying boat fighters and mixed-power designs.

Author:Leo Marriott
Specs:128 pages, 24.5 x 19 x 1.3 cm / 9.7 x 7.5 x 0.51 in, paperback
Illustrations:200 photographs
Publisher:Pen & Sword Books Ltd (GB, 2018)
Series:Images of War
EAN:9781526727770
Book: Early Jet Fighters : British and American 1944-1954 (Images of War)

Early Jet Fighters : British and American 1944-1954

Language: English

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RAF Bomber Command Operations Manual (1939-1945) : Insights into the Organisation, Equipment, Men, Machines and Tactics (Haynes Aircraft Manual)

Night after night for six years of war, RAF Bomber Commands squadrons pounded away at the cities of Nazi Germany in a determined effort to bring the Third Reich to its knees.
Pitted against Bomber Harriss aircrews and aircraft were some of the most effective and deadly defenses the world had seen up until then. For Bomber Command to launch a maximum effort raid on the Ruhr by night, or a low-level strike on a target in enemy occupied Europe by day, it involved a huge amount of planning.

Pages of the book Bomber Command Operations Manual (1939-1945) (1)

Author Jonathan Falconer describes the Command's complex organisation and the science, technology and engineering behind every raid: how were bomber airfields built? How were bomber crews trained? What aircraft did they fly and what weapons did they use? How was the Command organised? Who decided what to bomb? How was a raid planned, executed, and its effectiveness analysed? How were the 47,000 'missing' aircrew traced? How were damaged bombers repaired?

Useful appendices include a Bomber Command War Diary listing key events 1939-1945, squadrons and their commanders, an a-to-z of bomber airfields, and sample orders of battle from 1939, 1943 and 1945.
Fully illustrated with some 300 photographs, the Bomber Command Operations Manual gives a compelling insight into the workings of one of the most powerful instruments of 20th century warfare

Pages of the book Bomber Command Operations Manual (1939-1945) (2)

Click here to know more about the Haynes Aircraft Manuals

Author:Jonathan Falconer
Specs:192 pages, 27.5 x 22 x 1.6 cm / 10.8 x 8.7 x 0.63 in, hardback
Illustrations:200 b&w and 100 colour photographs
Publisher:Haynes Publishing (GB, 2018)
Series:Haynes Aircraft Manual
EAN:9781785211928
Book: RAF Bomber Command Operations Manual (1939-1945) : Insights into the Organisation, Equipment, Men, Machines and Tactics (Haynes Aircraft Manual)

RAF Bomber Command Operations Manual (1939-1945) : Insights into the Organisation, Equipment, Men, Machines and Tactics

Language: English

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Last update:15-06-2024