The Supermarine Spitfire has achieved iconic status due to its exceptional design and the enduring bravery of its pilots during the conflicts of World War Two. Revered by pilots, this high-performance fighter aircraft is best remembered for operations with RAF Fighter Command in the defence of Britain in 1940, although the Spitfire went on to serve in every theatre of war.
Using the Spitfire’s speed, manoeuvrability and impressive firepower, Allied pilots enjoyed great success in aerial combat against all the leading Axis fighter types from 1940 through to VJ Day. No fewer than ten marks of Spitfire saw action as fighters during World War Two, and more than 460 RAF, Commonwealth and USAAF pilots claimed five or more enemy aircraft shot down to achieve ace status.
The exploits of 40 aviators that made ace from Australia, Canada, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa and the US are examined in this volume. Alongside the more famous names of ‘Johnnie’ Johnson, Douglas Bader and ‘Sailor’ Malan, lesser-known aces including Bill Rolls, Brian Carbury and Don Laubman are included. Their stories, and the deadly conflicts in which they took part, are told through combat reports, first-hand accounts, award citations and autobiographical extracts. This volume contains more than 240 photographs of the aces and the various Spitfires (and other fighter types) that they flew, as well as 40 meticulously researched, specially commissioned profile illustrations.