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Air Battle of Malta (Hardback)

Aircraft Losses and Crash Sites, 1940 - 1942

WWII All Greenhill Books Greenhill: WWII

By Anthony Rogers
Greenhill Books
Pages: 220
ISBN: 9781784381882
Published: 18th April 2017

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In the Second World War, Malta was subjected to continual air attacks during a siege lasting nearly two and a half years.

This is part of that story, from the early days in June 1940, when only a few Gladiator biplanes were available to combat Italian bombers and fighters, to the intervention of the Luftwaffe and the tenuous defence by outclassed Hurricanes, culminating in the desperate months of fighting following the arrival on Malta of the first Spitfires in March 1942.

Of more than 1,000 aircraft destroyed during the battle, many fell into the Mediterranean or were written off in landing, and at least 200 crashed among the Maltese Islands.

This book documents all known aircraft crashes that occurred in and around Malta and Gozo during 1940–42, describing in detail the circumstances of each loss and what became of the pilot or crew, including some who even today are officially listed as missing.

The immediacy of eyewitness accounts from both sides provide a fascinating perspective of an epic battle – much of the material is previously unpublished, not least the narratives by those who were there.

This book takes a different look at Malta to the many already published, and whilst you can still discern the ebb and flow of the campaign from its pages, it is not a historic account but rather a more human story in that it details the 200 or so ‘final sorties’ that ended in ‘aviation losses’ in the Maltese Islands. It covers both RAF and axis losses; the first entry is for 10 July 1940, with an S.79, and the last is 25 December 1942, a Beaufighter of 227 Squadron. My initial reaction to the figure 200 was that this must be too low, as Malta was claiming 1,000 victories before the end date of this book, and the RAF lost large numbers of aircraft as well, although many of those were ground losses … but as the author points out ‘many of 1,000+ disappeared over the Mediterranean’ and he concentrates on the 200 for which there are wreck sites and details.

Each loss is given a short context of mission, and includes details of the combat / loss and the crash location. The author has done well to uncover the detail, especially when official records are either poor in detail or contradictory. Combat reports, personal accounts and gallantry award citations are used to ‘flesh out’ many of the entries.

Read the complete review here.

RAF HERALDRY TRUST, Ken Delve

Good research, well-written, telling the immortal story of the air defence of the tiny island of Malta GC . – This tiny island was attacked with the greatest relative concentration of bombers in history and survived – Highly Recommended.

Read the complete review here.

Firetrench

Meticulously researched. Not only documents the location of all known air crashes — Allied and Axis — that occurred in and around the Maltese Islands during those years, but also tells the often fascinating story of each and every one. Malta’s strategic location in the
Mediterranean was of vital importance to both sides, and the fighting that took place in its skies was brutal and frequent. This engagingly-written tome details the various crashes in chronological order, and includes in its appendices a table containing all the details of each crash, full endnote references and a properly compiled index, making it a valuable work of reference.

The Aviation Historian, issue 20 - by Nick Stroud

From information at the National Archives, the IWM and numerous others the result is an excellent piece of work.

Click here to read the full review

Robin Buckland - Military Model Scene

This comprehensive volume documents all known aircraft crash sites in and around the Maltese Islands and provides the circumstances of each loss are related in detail with accounts from both sides. In Germany especially there are many still unaware of the fate of family members who never returned after the Second World War. This book reveals what happened to some who even today are still officially listed as 'missing'.

Read the complete review here.

Desert Stories

This book documents all known aircraft crashes that occurred in and around Malta and Gozo during 1940-42, describing in detail the circumstances of each loss and what became of the pilot or crew, including some who even today are officially listed as missing.The immediacy of eyewitness accounts from both sides provide a fascinating perspective of an epic battle - much of the material is previously unpublished, not least the narratives by those who were there.

Read the full review here.

RECOLLECTIONS OF WWII - MEMOIRS & BOOKS WHICH SHOULD BE ON YOUR BOOKSHELF

This is a well-researched and readable volume. It is likely to appeal to those with a general interest in WW II and those with a particular interest in military operations in the Mediterranean section theatre of that conflict. Aviation enthusiasts with a particular interest in the Battle of Malta are likely to find it of interest, while the photographs could be useful to aero-modellers.

This reviewer found this volume a pleasure to read, It is a credit to the author’s penmanship, and it will probably become an ‘authoritative’ text on its subject.

NZ Crown Mines

These stirring black and white images have shed light on the RAF air battle over Malta, a ferocious but oft-forgotten chapter of the Second World War.

The Daily Mail Online 29/3/17
 Anthony Rogers

About Anthony Rogers

Anthony Rogers served in the Royal Marines on Malta. He was a photojournalist in the 1980s and 1990s, covering wars on three continents. Author of several books, he has a keen interest in events that occurred in and around the Mediterranean during the Second World War.

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