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Aircraft Salvage in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz (Paperback)

Aviation Battle of Britain The Blitz

By Andy Saunders
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 128
ISBN: 9781783030408
Published: 31st May 2014
Last Released: 19th May 2014

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Aircraft Salvage in the Battle of Britain and Blitz will comprise of some 140-150 images of the work of RAF and civilian salvage squads during the Battle of Britain, the Blitz and beyond. The images will depict losses across Britain, both RAF and German, during this period. Each picture will tell its own story, and will be fully captioned with historical detail. The author will be covering a topic that has rarely been examined in this detail.

Each section will have a short introduction and the images will include those of shot down aircraft, including relatively intact machines, badly damaged/destroyed wreckages, photographs of pilots and other related illustrations. All images are from the author's unique collection of wartime photographs of Luftwaffe losses, collected from a variety of sources across some thirty-five years of research.

This fascinating softback title features 150 monochrome rare images of German and Royal Air Force aircraft downed over the British Isles during 1940-1941, taken from wartime archives. Each picture ‘tells its own story’ and is fully captioned with historical detail. The photographs show how and where a wide variety of aircraft crashed and how they were subsequently salvaged; some depict relatively intact machines, while others show only badly damaged wreckage. All the images are from the author’s own archive of wartime photographs, amassed over a period of almost 40 years.

Freelancer, Stuart Asquith

This Images of War title was published back in 2014 but one I have only recently had a look at. What an interesting one it is too. With all the aircraft over the UK during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, large numbers were shot down, and not only Luftwaffe aircraft, but it included RAF and Italian Air Force machines as well. I found it interesting in a number of ways. Firstly there is simply the issue of having to clear up a mess but that was complicated by a number of other factors. Some aircraft impacted the ground and buried themselves in, meaning that they had to be dug out, a scene these days associated with the enthusiast groups who still search for aircraft wrecks that remained unrecovered during the war. Others crash landed on the ground and remained relatively intact, and one of the photos in the book shows a Heinkel He III fitted with a balloon cable cutting device that proved unwieldy in practice so was soon removed from operational bombers. Interesting to see one example pretty much intact though...

... The variety of aircraft types featured is wide, from the Me 109 and Heinkel He 111 there are also Me 110 (including the one flown by Rudolf Hess) and Ju 88s plus Spitfires and Hurricanes, along with Italian Fiat CR42 biplanes and the larger Fiat BR20 bomber. A really interesting mix. There is lots of detail to be seen of the various airframes and plenty of ideas for modellers who might want to try their hand at a diorama showing an aircraft recovery scene. I think I'd go so far as to say this is one of my favourites in the extensive Images of War series.

Military Modelling Online - Robin Buckland

Part of a sprawling series, Aircraft Salvage in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz gives us a really entertaining look at aircraft wrecks.

War History Online

This softback publication provides an important record of the RAF's salvage operations in the UK during the first 18 months of the war... There is a useful introduction with some 150 well-captioned images.

Royal Air Force Historical Society Journal

It was probably the dream of every child, who today would be an adult of a certain age, to have discovered a long forgotten crashed World War Two aircraft. If you have a real interest in aircraft wrecks from the last war then ‘Aircraft Salvage in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz’ is the book for you. What a treat it was for me to receive this photograph packed book, for review, from the kind people at Pen & Sword Military Books.

The author, Andy Saunders, is a prolific military history writer and TV/magazine contributor with a specific interest in historic aviation. More recently Andy has been appointed as the new editor of ‘Britain at War magazine'. For this cracking book Andy has provided many original photographs from his own personal collection and reveals a fantastic archive of rare military aircraft photographs gifted to him, along with other pertinent documents collected by Mr Arthur Nicholls. Arthur’s vehicles were actually used to transport the mangled remains of many downed aircraft during World War Two. The acknowledgement page of this book reads like a veritable who’s who of military history and aviation authors, with names like Chris Goss and Martin Mace to name a few. Contributions from this rogues gallery of aviation and World War Two enthusiasts has ensured the production of a very well informed book.

Not only has the author detailed many of the aircraft crash site locations in Great Britain from between 1939-1945, he also provides photographs of the aircraft wreckage and profiles of the aircrew. Many of the original photographs are complemented with background stories pertaining to the image. It’s refreshing to see an author talk about the little known RAF Maintenance Units which were located around the country and comprised of military and civilian staff. It was the role of the MU’s to locate and dismantle downed aircraft on British shores. The author explains that many of the serviceable Luftwaffe aircraft parts were salvaged. Some of the more interesting items of equipment were sent away for examination by intelligence analysts who were always looking for new advances in German technology. Other less interesting parts, found to be in serviceable condition, were reused and re-fitted to a motley flight of intact, captured, Luftwaffe aircraft which toured Great Britain. The ex-Luftwaffe aircraft were flown by an RAF flight who were dubbed the RAFWAF. Parts that were un-salvageable were sent to scrap yards and ultimately melted down and reused to support the war effort. Several RAF and Allied aircraft which crashed in Great Britain are also mentioned in this book.

This fantastic paperback from Pen & Sword’s own ‘Images of War’ series boasts 164 black and white photographs. Having researched several crashed Allied and Luftwaffe aircraft in the past I was pleased to notice that I had not come across the majority of these images in any other publications. This book opened my eyes on several levels. For instance, I was amazed to discover that Great Britain had, in November 1940, been attacked by Italian bi-planes in a daring mass daylight raid on Harwich. The photographic proof of a downed Fiat bi-plane on British soil exists within the pages of this book.

This is a well documented photographic portrayal, detailing a plethora of aircraft shot down and salvaged in Great Britain during World War Two. This book is especially good for military researchers and aviation enthusiasts alike.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Stand Easy Blog
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