The role of the "few" of the RAF in World War II, as described by Churchill during the Battle of Britain, has been the subject of much mythologizing both at the time and in the years since. The recent 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, combined with the threat of significant cuts to the current RAF, have highlighted the importance of Fighter Command in the early days of World War II once more.
This title will put Fighter Command in context; describing the lack of funding and attention which it received during the interwar period, until it was almost too late. The myth of the fighter pilot will be humanized, with first-hand accounts quoted which put nervous but brave human beings from all walks of life in the cockpit, not the fearless, arrogant public school boys who appear in popular fiction. Although the Battle of Britain may not have in itself been the decisive encounter that it has historically been portrayed as, the moral victory won by the RAF, the victory that proved that Germany could be defeated, was just as important as a military-strategic victory.
Other aspects of these early days of Fighter Command will also be given a more detailed exploration - the obsolete but tenacious Gladiators over Norway, the Hurricanes in support of the BEF and air cover over Dunkirk. Thus giving a rounded picture of the early years and development of Fighter Command and its pilots.
About the Author
Table of Contents
RAF Fighter Command in the Inter-War Period 4
Recruitment and Training 9
Equipment: Flying Clothing and Uniform 15
Aircraft of Fighter Command 24
On Campaign: Conditions in Theatre 31
Belief and Belonging 42
Experience of Battle: Tactics of Air Combat 47
Museums and Surviving Aircraft 62
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book offers both a concise and comprehensive view into the pilots who flew in RAF Fighter Command during the early years of the Second World War in Europe. Though like his German counterpart, the RAF fighter pilot was well-trained in basic flying and aerobatics, he was sadly deficient at the war's outset in gunnery and saddled with antiquated formation tactics. Tactics which oftentimes in France, and later during the early phases of the Battle of Britain, put the RAF pilot at a decided disadvantage when taking on a nimble and wily enemy employing looser, more flexible tactics in the air. Consequently, through trial and error, RAF Fighter Command --- thanks to the initiative of individual pilots and units blooded in combat --- adopted better tactics which, during the critical years of the war, allowed it to hold its own against the Luftwaffe. Any aviation enthusiast will love this book. It is a valuable resource for any study of RAF Fighter Commmand between 1939 and 1942.