Author: David Owen
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Innumerable books have been published on the two most famous fighter aircraft of all time, the Supermarine Spitfire and the Messerschmitt Bf109. But books setting out to tell the story of both aircraft are very much rarer - probably fewer than the fingers of one hand. Yet their joint story is one which bears retelling since both were essential to the air campaigns of World War Two. Incredibly, the men who designed them lacked any experience of designing a modern fighter. R J Mitchell had begun his career working on industrial steam locomotives, Willy Messerschmitt had cut his aeronautical teeth on light and fragile gliders and sporting planes. Yet both men not only managed to devise aircraft which could hold their own in a world where other designs went from state-of-the-art to obsolete in a staggeringly short time, but their fighters remained competitive over six years of front-line combat. Despite the different ways their creators approached their daunting tasks and the obstacles each faced in acceptance by the services for which they were designed, they proved to be so closely matched that neither side gained a decisive advantage in a titanic struggle. Had either of them not matched up to its opponent so well, then the air war would have been a one-sided catastrophe ending in a quick defeat for the Allies or the Axis powers, and the course of twentieth century history would have been changed beyond recognition.
The story of the Supermarine Spitfire has been told across many years and the debate about it is enduring, yet the Spitfire remains a true icon. For aviation enthusiasts, for historians, for modellers, the word Spitfire conjures many stories and affections. This book presents the Spitfire enthusiast with an up-to-date history of the Spitfire - not just in its design and application in war, but also as a flying memorial and as an aero modellers' vital focus. The text examines recently revealed forgotten aspects of the Spitfire story; by combining the elements of design, the story of a weapon of war and a revered scale model, this book frames an essential chapter in aviation history. Packed with original and contemporary images and information, and displaying unique Spitfire model collections, the narrative bridges an important gap and is a worthy addition to the FlightCraft series.
Author: Phil Listemann
Publisher: Harcourt Young Classics
The Spitfire is one of the most legendary fighter planes of the Second World War. More than 22,000 were made and it saw action on all fronts where the RAF was engaged. This aircraft was constantly updated throughout its career and there were no less than fourteen different versions and three generations of Spitfire which were put into service between 1938 and 1946.
Paradoxically, the Mk.V, which ended up being the most numerous variant of the famous fighter built, was not even an intended development of the design. Indeed, it was only considered because of the abandonment of the Spitfire Mk.III. As the Luftwaffe was continually improving its formidable Messerschmitt Bf 109, the latest version of which, the Bf 109F, clearly outclassed the Spitﬁre Mk.II, the British had no other option but to rapidly ﬁnd a successor to the latter. At this time, at the end of 1940, the British did not know what the Germans' were planning and expected them to carry on undertaking daylight raids upon the return of nicer weather. The RAF, therefore, wanted to be ready to counter the new German fighter developments. A solution was soon found by mounting a Merlin 45 (former Merlin III), a simpliﬁed version of the Merlin XX, on a slightly strengthened Spitﬁre Mk.I or Mk.II airframe. Several Spitfires were thus modiﬁed, with either a Merlin 45 or Merlin 46, during the first weeks of 1941. The resulting feedback was good and the Air Ministry requested that Supermarine modify, as early as possible, Spitﬁres already on the assembly lines so they could be put into service as rapidly as possible. This is how the Spitfire Mk.V came to be. In 1941, the Spitfire Mk V progressively became the backbone of the Fighter Command and among the squadrons that switched onto the Spitfire Mk V, there are the three Eagle Squadrons manned by American pilots, Nos. 71, 121 and 133 Squadrons. This is their story on the Spitfire V made of 44 pages, 30 photos and seven colour profiles.
Paradoxically, the Mk.V, which ended up being the most numerous variant of the famous fighter built, was not even an intended development of the design. Indeed, it was only considered because of the abandonment of the Spitfire Mk.III. As the Luftwaffe was continually improving its formidable Messerschmitt Bf 109, the latest version of which, the Bf 109F, clearly outclassed the Spitﬁre Mk.II, the British had no other option but to rapidly ﬁnd a successor to the latter. At this time, at the end of 1940, the British did not know what the Germans' were planning and expected them to carry on undertaking daylight raids upon the return of nicer weather. The RAF, therefore, wanted to be ready to counter the new German fighter developments. A solution was soon found by mounting a Merlin 45 (former Merlin III), a simpliﬁed version of the Merlin XX, on a slightly strengthened Spitﬁre Mk.I or Mk.II airframe. Several Spitfires were thus modiﬁed, with either a Merlin 45 or Merlin 46, during the first weeks of 1941. The resulting feedback was good and the Air Ministry requested that Supermarine modify, as early as possible, Spitﬁres already on the assembly lines so they could be put into service as rapidly as possible. This is how the Spitfire Mk.V came to be. In 1941, the Spitfire Mk V progressively became the backbone of the Fighter Command while new squadrons were formed that year. Some were called 'Gift' squadrons and named after a country, region or organisation that had donated sufficient funds to equip one or more units. Of these, two were connected to the City of Bombay: No. 122 and No. 132 and the book is made of 34 pages with about 30 photographs and five colour profiles.
A detailed study of the operations of the Spitfire Mk.V in the Far East.Introduced in the Far East at the end of 1943, the Spitfire played a major role in the following months. With plenty of photographs and first hand material. Includes three colour profiles.
The Hawker Hurricane was the first modern British fighter before the outbreak of World War II. Until 1941 the Hurricane was the most widely used combat aircraft from the Royal Air Force and the one that bore the brunt of the first clashes with aircraft of the Luftwaffe in the skies of France and Britain. Almost 3,000 aircraft of this type were delivered to the USSR, for the law Rentals & Loans, but the Soviet pilots were generally very critical of the fighter Hawker, considered inferior, not only to the German fighters, but also its. First fighter monoplane of the RAF, the first aircraft equipped with eight machine guns, was the plane means available in greater numbers to counter the waves of attack by the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain. Available in twenty-six departments in the early summer of 1940, to August, there were thirty-two against nineteen Spitfire. Piloted by aces like Douglas Bader that made him a legend, the Hawker Hurricane Mk I, although less than the Bf 109-E, however, he proved to be a horse race, and especially at high altitudes could be more maneuverable and thus, to this, more suitable bomber hunter. "His majesty the Spitfire". This airplane is an air legend, a real brand, and his image is inextricably linked to the British victory in the Battle of Britain. It is one of the few, perhaps the only one, whose name evokes some images even in a profane things of historical aviation. Excellent defensive machine, heavily armed, very agile, climbing fast, but the lack of range and of sufficient load capacity has not helped in the war below. The Spitfire name was suggested by Sir Robert MacLean, director of Vickers-Armstrongs at the time, who called his daughter Ann "a little spitfire," a saying Elizabethan to indicate a person impetuous.
The Silver Spitfire
Author: Tom Neil
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
A brilliantly vivid Second World War memoir by one of 'the Few' Spitfire fighter pilots. Following the D-Day landings, Battle of Britain hero Tom Neil was assigned as an RAF liaison to an American fighter squadron. As the Allies pushed east, Neil commandeered an abandoned Spitfire as his own personal aeroplane. Erasing any evidence of its provenance and stripping it down to bare metal, it became the RAF's only silver Spitfire. Alongside his US comrades, he took the silver Spitfire into battle until, with the war's end, he was forced to make a difficult decision. Faced with too many questions about the mysterious rogue fighter, he contemplated increasingly desperate measures to offload it, including bailing out mid-Channel. He eventually left the Spitfire at Worthy Down, never to be seen again. THE SILVER SPITFIRE is the first-hand, gripping story of Neil's heroic experience as an RAF fighter pilot and his reminiscences with his very own personal Spitfire.
The Decisive Duel
Author: David Isby
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.
Spitfire vs Bf 109
Author: Tony Holmes
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Churchill's words, "never was so much owed by so many to so few," came to encapsulate how, in a few critical months, the entire fate of the British Empire, if not the war, hung in the balance, to be determined not by world leaders or armies of millions, but by a handful of pilots fighting tirelessly in the skies over Britain. Tony Holmes describes the key conflict of the Battle of Britain, the clash between the Spitfire and the Bf 109 - detailing not only the key elements of both aircraft types - the airframe, engine, armament and flying characteristics, but also the pilots' training and both British and German tactics. The growing influence of radar and the efforts of British coastal defences are also examined, as are real-life engagements - from both German and British perspectives. With a wealth of previously unpublished material including first-hand accounts from the veterans who strapped themselves into these now legendary machines as well as lavish illustrations and cockpit-view artwork, this book puts the reader in the midst of a dogfight. This is a unique insight into one of the greatest duels of history in the world's first major aerial battle.
The inability of the Italians and Germans to invade Malta proved decisive for Allied victory in the Mediterranean during World War II, as the islands provided the Allies with a base from which to project air power. Early Italian efforts to pound the islands into submission were supplemented by major German forces from January 1942 and in a few weeks the situation for the defenders reached a critical stage; in response, in March 1942 the first Spitfires were delivered to Malta. Throughout the summer C.202s fought over Malta, escorting tiny formations of Cant Z.1007s, SM.79s and Ju 88s. The fighting subsided in August and September, but grew in strength with the arrival of more C.202s. In October the Regia Aeronautica could muster three Gruppi with a total of 74 C.202s. For ten days the Italians pressed a relentless attack before attrition brought the offensive to a halt. Throughout the bombing campaign the British were able to supply Malta with ever increasing numbers of Spitfires.
The full history of the first Griffon engined Spitfire variant is told, squadron per squadron, with the list of all claims, losses. The success of this variant paved the way for the subsequent Griffon engined variants. With over 30 photos, and two printable colour profiles. It is an updated and revised edition of the Allied Wings No.1 published in 2008.
Griffon Spitfire Aces
Author: Andrew Thomas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Modified for low-level operations to counter Luftwaffe attacks on the south coast, the Griffon-powered Spitfire XIV became the best low-level fighter of World War II. Squadrons moved to south-eastern England to counter the V1 flying bomb offensive, where daring pilots pioneered the technique of tipping the V1 over with the aircraft's wingtip to disorientate the bomb. Andrew Thomas also investigates the role played by the modified Spitfire squadrons after the V1 offensive, both in the attack on Germany and after the war in Malaya and Palestine. First-hand stories, photographs and colour profiles complete this account of the aces who flew the most powerful Spitfire variant ever built.
Author: Jeffrey Quill
Publisher: Crecy Pub
An exceptional test pilot, Jeffrey Quill took charge of some of the most important military aircraft of his time and, in particular, the immortal Spitfire from its experimental, prototype stage in 1936 to the end of its production in 1948. He used his first-hand experience of combat conditions fighting with 65 Squadron at the height of the Battle of Britain to help turn this elegant flying machine into a deadly fighter airplane.