Luftwaffe Fighter-bombers Over Britain: The Tip and Run Campaign, 1942-1943 - Chris Goss

For all the great prose and considered analysis of the historians, nothing compares with the accounts of the men that actually did the fighting. The collection of huge numbers of first-hand accounts is one of the hallmarks of Chris Goss’s publications, and Luftwaffe Fighter-Bomber Over Britain is typically crammed with the dramatic words of the airmen that flew the so-called “Tip and Run” attacks against Britain between March 1942 and June 1943.

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Dam Busters Failed to Return - Robert Owen, Steve Darlow, Sean Feast and Arthur Thorning

The Dams raid of 16/17 May 1943 has been the subject of so many books, particularly in recent months with the increased attention shown due to the 70th anniversary of Operation Chastise, that it may seem superfluous to add yet another title to that long list. Dam Busters Failed to Return is, however, a little different from the rest.

Instead of merely repeating the story of the design, development and deployment of the bouncing bombs (though the book does open with a brief explanation of the build-up to Operation Chastise, as one would expect), the authors have concentrated on the crews of the eight Lancasters that crashed, either through accident or enemy action. To do this, they have delved, in detail, into the backgrounds and earlier service histories, as well as the final moments, of some of the fifty-six men who did not return (of whom, three were captured and became prisoners of war) – Pilot Officer Vernon Byers, Flight Lieutenant Bill Astell DFC, Pilot Officer Tony Burcher DFM (PoW), Flight Sergeant John Fraser (PoW), Pilot Officer Robert Urquhart DFC and Squadron Leader Melvin Young DFC & Bar.

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Battle Lines: Ypres: Nieuwpoort to Ploegsteert - Jon Cooksey and Jerry Murland

Ypres: Nieuwpoort to PloegsteertFew names resonate more loudly in the British conscience than that of Ypres. From the First World War only the Somme conjures up more graphic images in the public imagination than those of that fortified city in Flanders. Ypres, or Ieper, is now a lovely place to visit, as so many do; the daily ceremony at the Menin Gate being the spectacular and intensely moving highlight attended by huge crowds. Understanding exactly what happened in and around Ypres almost 100 years ago, however, is far from easy and a detailed guide book is essential, thus the need for publications such as Jon Cooksey’s and Jerry Murland’s book, the first of a new series.

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Graphic War: The Secret Aviation Drawings and Illustrations of World War II - Donald Nijboer

Graphic WarIt is a truism that a picture tells a thousand words. Thus it was that during the Second World War that to assist air and and ground crew to understand their own and their enemy’s aircraft, visual aids were used in the form of large posters and diagrams.

Whilst some such illustrations were simple depictions of the silhouettes of enemy aircraft, others were highly detailed cutaways. They were produced by highly-skilled artists and amongst that number was Peter Castle, whose illustrations are included in this unique book.

Graphic War is packed with highly detailed drawings of aircraft from all the main combatant countries of the Second World War, including such interesting posters as demonstrating the safe height for bombers to explanations of fighter tactics for Soviet pilots.

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Historical Quotes

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. upon it depends our own British life and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us now. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will say, 'This was their finest hour.'
Winston Churchill