BATTLE OF BRITAIN: The Pilots and Planes that Made History

Book number: 91769 Product format: Paperback Author: SIMON PEARSON

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Bibliophile price £4.50
Published price £10.99

Written on the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the book brings to life the pilots and planes involved through the stories of 18 airmen, nine from each side, and 18 different aircraft. The authors have chosen pilots from seven nations: Germans, Britons, two New Zealanders, two Swiss, one Canadian, one Pole and an Italian. Many of the featured pilots are not well known, several died in action and others spent years in captivity. A few suffered terrible wounds, while many survived remarkably unscathed, physically at least. What all these men had in common was a love of flying and a willingness to take risks that are unimaginable for those who enjoy the comfort and safety of commercial jet travel. The variety of aircraft includes the four-engine Focker-Wulf Condor and the Fiat CR42 Biplane Fighter on the Axis side, and the Boulton Paul Defiant fighter with its rear turret and the Walrus Seaplane on the Allied side. The superstars Spitfire and Messerschmitt Bf109 represented considerable achievements in engineering, design and manufacturer. One or two like the Defiant and the Stuka were 'found out' in the testing cauldron of the Battle of Britain. Relatively few lives were lost on each side - 3,149 all told - yet casualty figures and the strategic significance of the Battle of Britain should not be confused. The Canadian Lord Beaverbrook, a key ally of Churchill's, transformed aircraft production in Britain, and made sure that Dowding and Park the RAF Air Chief Marshalls had the Spitfires and Hurricanes they needed to see their plan through. We meet the New Zealander who 'borrowed' a seaplane from the Royal Navy to set up a freelance air-sea rescue service that saved the lives of dozens of British and German pilots; the Swiss baron who claimed to have destroyed six British fighters in a day; the vainglorious commander whose RAF squadron was wiped out trying to disrupt Nazi invasion plans; and the German bomber pilot who fought the first battle involving foreign troops on British soil since Culloden, before repairing to a pub for a pint with soldiers who had taken him prisoner. Illus. with contemporary photos of pilots and their aircraft. 222 page paperback.

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ISBN 9781529378085

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