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Swordfish (Paperback)


Imprint: Key Publishing
Series: Historic Military Aircraft
Pages: 96
Illustrations: Over 160, black and white
ISBN: 9781802824810
Published: 2nd August 2023



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The Fairey Swordfish story is one of an aircraft initially frowned upon when it entered service in 1936, respected by the beginning of World War Two and deemed legendary by the time peace was declared. The Swordfish was the only torpedo bomber Britain had in significant numbers at the beginning of the war and it would prove to be so much more. Designed with one role in mind, the Swordfish evolved into one of the most versatile of naval aircraft. Its slow speed, which was criticised from the outset, proved to be one of its strengths, especially when it came to anti-submarine work. Affectionately nicknamed the ‘Stringbag’, the aircraft achieved an outstanding war record beginning with operations in Norway. The attack on the Italian harbour at Taranto that crippled the Italian Navy displayed what the aircraft was capable of and that it was clearly not be underestimated. The Swordfish also played an important role in the invasion of Madagascar, which kept the Japanese at bay early on in the war. The bravery displayed by the aircrew during the attacks on the Bismarck is legendary, while equal, but fruitless, courage was exhibited during the ill-fated Channel Dash. The latter incident, in particular, not only says a lot about the aircraft, but also about the crews. They were under no illusion, being aware that the Swordfish was not the best aircraft they could have gone to war in, but they would fight in it to the death nevertheless. Regardless, it outlived its operational replacement, the Albacore, by some years, mainly because the Swordfish was more suited to escort carrier and Mac-ship operations, a duty it carried out to the bitter end, protecting convoys far and wide. A new book edition of Aeroplane Icons: Swordfish, this book explores the history, creation, development and service of the Swordfish.

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