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Brothers in Arms (ePub)

The Story of a British and a German Fighter Unit, August to December 1940

WWII Aviation Battle of Britain Aviation in WWII

By Chris Goss
Imprint: Air World
File Size: 34.3 MB (.epub)
Pages: 296
ISBN: 9781526782908
eBook Released: 10th May 2021

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The unforgiving and deadly combats fought in the skies over the United Kingdom during the Battle of Britain were, in many respects, personal affairs – one man against another. These duels, and the emotions and stress they generated, are revealed in this day-to-day, blow-by-blow account of the part that two front line fighter units, one British and one German, played in the events of the summer of 1940.

This is the story of the Battle of Britain as seen through the eyes of the men of 609 (West Riding) Squadron, based in southern England, and 1/JG53, a Luftwaffe staffel based in northern France. The tense action of aerial combat and the relief felt by individual pilots surviving these encounters, the elation of a successful ‘kill’, or the tragedy of seeing a friend shot down, highlight the common fears felt by airmen on both sides of the fight.

We learn of exhausting, unremitting action, and days of frustrating weather-induced inactivity, along with those brief moments of leisure and pleasure grasped from the daily struggle for survival. What we also discover is that there was, in many regards, little difference in the experiences and reactions between the men defending king and country and those fighting for the Führer – creating a form of bond derived from those shared experiences, of indeed, brothers in arms.

This is a revised version of a book that was printed in 1994 by Crécy, with some replacement (ie better) photos and updated text, which tells the story of two fighter units from opposing sides that took part in the Battle of Britain – No 609 (West Riding) Squadron RAF and I Staffel, JG 53 of the Luftwaffe.
The narrative, split into ten chapters, is well researched, informative and east to read, covering both units’ operations from August to December 1940. There are one, or often two, relevant photos on virtually every page, sometimes taking up the whole page and sometimes interspersed with the text.
Many of the photos you may have seen before, but there are many that you may not have – at least I hadn’t – including shots of 1/JG 53’s Bf 109Es, in some of the unit’s unique, non-standard camouflage schemes, as well as a good selection of 609’s Spitfires, and many photos of other aircraft types from both sides that took part in the Battle.
This is an ideal book to while away a few hours reading in a comfy armchair that you can then use as a modelling reference at a later date, and is recommended, especially to anyone interested in the Battle of Britain period.

Neil Robinson, IPMS No. 6 November & December 2021

As Featured In

Scramble 1940

This is a fascinating book as we are introduced and go through the history of two squadrons, the British 609 Squadron and the 1 Staffel of the Jagdgeschwader 53 “Pik As”. These two squadrons would meet each other in the skies above in England in the Battle of Britain, a unique book in that we just read about these two flying squadrons. I have read a book before by Chris Goss, I think Luftwaffe Aces of the Battle of Britain is another excellent book and very well written by Goss as he goes into great detail and it is good to read about someone who is such an expert on the German Luftwaffe.

This book uses personal accounts and accounts from unit newspapers to help bring the story together. This book is very much a ‘Brothers in Arms’ story in that it brings the stories together of stories of men from both sides essentially doing the same craft in order to have the winning outcome, with only one able to win. I really enjoyed this book and it was I felt, another good book from an excellent historian in Chris Goss.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

An interesting look at the military exploits of two opposing units at the culmination of one of the decisive battles of World War II: the Battle of Britain.

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

Chris Goss interview on the station’s The Arts Club programme with presenter Serena Spencer-Jones

Marlow FM, 8th January 2021

More extraordinary revelations about various Battle of Britain conflicts. Chris Goss's book goes into great detail and the result is amazing and personal.

Books Monthly

About Chris Goss

After a 32-year career in the RAF and three years working for a civilian company as its Head of Operations Chris Goss is now a full-time aviation author and military historian. He has an MA in War Studies from Kings College London and has been a regular, sought-after contributor to major aviation and historical journals in the UK, France and Germany since 1983. He also the author of over 40 critically acclaimed books covering aspects of the World War II air war over North-West Europe. He is a historical consultant for a number of major projects, such as the recovery of the Dornier 17 by the RAF Museum and Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and for TV programmes such as The History Channel and Channel 5's The Battle of Britain: 3 Days that Saved a Nation.

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