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Air War Over North Africa – USAAF Ascendant (Paperback)

Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

WWII American History Photographic Books WWII Photographic Books Military

By David Mitchelhill-Green
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Images of War
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 150
ISBN: 9781473881792
Published: 23rd October 2019

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The year 1942 began badly for the Allies. German U-boats were indiscriminately sinking merchant shipping off America’s east coast and in the Caribbean. Allied fortunes were no better in the Far East under the relentless Japanese advance. America was struggling to hold the Philippines, while the Soviet Union was fighting a series of bitter winter battles against Hitler’s Wehrmacht at the gates of Moscow. General Erwin Rommel’s surprise offensive in North Africa brought a renewed threat to the Middle East in mid-1942, which hastened the transfer of U.S. aircraft to Egypt to assist the beleaguered British.

The vast, sprawling deserts of North Africa were a new and strange terrain to American aircrew. Confronted by sand storms, flooding rains, extremes of temperature and primitive living conditions, the United States Army Air Forces were pitted against an experienced and determined enemy. U.S. air power nevertheless played a decisive role in the Allied invasion of Northwest Africa and the subsequent surrender of Axis forces in Tunisia in May 1943. Later bombing missions flown from North Africa struck Axis targets across Europe and supported the Allied invasions of Sicily and mainland Italy.

This book is a pictorial account of U.S. fighter aircraft and bombers — including the iconic B-17 Flying Fortress, P-38 Lightning and B-24 Liberator — and the aircrews that fought to establish ascendancy over North African skies and beyond.

Each chapter has a section of text on the different aircraft types, while the photos mostly have extensive and informative captions that are more extensive than we usually find in this series. The archive images are very well chosen, showing the aircraft of course, as well as so many of the pilots and aircrew, but also the maintenance work needed to keep them flying, and the extreme conditions in which they were all operating. Aviation historians will like this one, as well as re-enactors searching for uniform detail. It is the aviation modeller who will enjoy this most of all, as there is so much detail to be seen, a variety of colour schemes and some great ideas for dioramas.

Read the full review here

Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

About David Mitchelhill-Green

Over the last twenty-five years, David Mitchelhill-Green has roamed the world in search of lost stories from the Second World War. His photographic investigations have featured in the British military magazine After the Battle. With a Master’s degree in Military History, David’s extensive knowledge of the war has also appeared in numerous newspaper features and encyclopedia entries. Years spent in Japan culminated in the co-authoring of the book Castles of the Samurai, with Jennifer Mitchelhill in 2003. David lives in Melbourne, Australia.

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