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The Battle of Britain (ePub)

Aviation > WWII > Battle of Britain WWII

By John Frayn Turner
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
File Size: 4.5 MB (.epub)
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781783034079
Published: 10th May 2010


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The Battle of Britain was one of the crucial conflicts in the history of civilisation. It started officially on 10 July 1940 and ended on 31 October 1940. Hitler’s plans for the invasion of England were thwarted by two types of fighter aircraft, the Spitfire and Hurricane, and a relative handful of young pilots, The Few.

This fine book tells the momentous story of this unequal struggle, from the key events leading up to it, by graphic day-by-day accounts recording the action and commentary on the strategy.

The author’s personal knowledge of key figures means that there are many thrilling first-hand accounts by the aces, such as Peter Townsend, Bob Standford Tuck, Douglas Bader, Richard Hillary, Sailor Malan and other great men.

This well-rounded book covers the contributions of Fighter Command’s three Groups (10, 11 and 12) as well as the key roles played by RAF and WAAF groundstaff without whose tireless efforts the Battle would have been lost.

A superb book which is unlikely to be bettered in its class.

John Frayn Turner is a distinguished historian and author. Pen and Sword have published numerous of his books including VCs of the Second World War, Service Most Silent and Periscope Patrol. He is the author of Douglas Bader – The Biography and The Bader Wing.

He lives at Leatherhead, Surrey.

The book does a great work at dissecting the campaign in a day-to-day narrative, detailing the contribution of all pilots and squadrons from Fighter, Bomber and Coastal Commands, with a focus on 12 Group with its Big Wing and in the involvement in the defense of London, while also not forgetting the contribution of the ground crews and the WAAF.

Read the full review here

The Aviationist

For almost four months, between July and October in 1940, the famous Battle of Britain took place as Hitler planned to invade England. Through twenty one chapters, this fascinating book gives detailed facts, accounts and stories all about the the conflicts as well as the key events leading up to it to bring the true feeling of bravery, courage and frustration to life for the reader. Recommended to those interested in war and war aircraft as many photographs and descriptions of the fleet are included, particularly the Spitfire and Hurricane. Written by established author John Frayn Turner who has written a fine collection of war books including 'British Aircraft of World War 2' and 'Service Most Silent', this is sure to be an excellent addition to your collection.

Kate (Customer Review)

"The Battle of France is over," proclaimed Winston Churchill in 1940, "the Battle of Britain is about to begin."
With the French Army defeated and a miraculous rescue of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, it was only a matter of time before the German Army invaded England. Plans for Operation Sea-lion, the German proposed invasion of England, had been drawn up and a significant number of resources had been diverted to building up the invasion force. There was however, one thing that stood in their way: the RAF.
This brilliant book is a must for anyone with a passion for military history. With over 100 excellent illustrations and gripping text, the book gives a detailed blow-by-blow account of the Battle of Britain, one of the most crucial and decisive conflicts in history. With the author's personal knowledge of key figures of the conflict means the book contains many excellent accounts from RAF Aces including Peter Townsend, Douglas Bader, who fought on despite losing both his legs, and the South African pilot, Sailor Malan. The book looks at Luftwafe's major offensive against England, Eagle Day, and how this huge attack ultimately fizzled out when put against the Hurricanes and the Spitfires of the RAF. The book also covers the key roles played by Fighter Commands three groups, (10, 11, and 12) which covered the whole of south east England and bore the brunt of the Luftwafe's attacks, and also the key roles played by the RAF and WAAF ground staff, for without their expertise in the operations room, they would not have been able to direct the pilots.
This well-written book is the ideal way to submerse yourself back into the lives of people of the RAF and WAAF, and to re-live how, with the whole world watching and against insurmountable odds, they triumphed over the seemingly invincible Luftwaffe and thwarted Hitler's plans to invade and ultimately changed the course of the War.

Paul (Customer Review)

Highly respected, and with personal knowledge of the key figures, John Frayn Turner provides a thorough and perhaps definitive account of the infamous Battle of Britain. His expertise provides accurate commentary on strategy and tactics, and his privileged insiders' position ensures there are gripping first-hand accounts from aces interspersed with thorough coverage of the chronological, day-by-day narrative of the battle. The many dramatic photographs complement the text well, and as well as pleasing the enthusiast with its detail, Turner's accessible prose provides a military history novice with an intriguing way into the story of the thwarting of Hitler's plans for the invasion of England through innovations in aviation, the Spitfire and the Hurricane, and the talented band of elite young pilots nicknamed 'The Few' by Churchill.

Jayne (customer review)

The Battle of Britain is perhaps one of the most recognisable episodes of the Second World War. Fought between July and October 1940, this struggle for supremacy in the skies over South-East England pitted a handful of British, Commonwealth and Allied pilots against the might of the victorious Luftwaffe. In this comprehensive account, experienced aviation author John Frayn Turner details the day-by-day development of the battle, whilst extensive eye-witness accounts put the reader in the cockpit with 'The Few' and those against whom they flew. Turner takes a national perspective on the battle, highlights the invaluable contributions of both RAF and WAAF ground staff to the battle, and provides a particular insight into the often overlooked role of 12 Group, placing this in its proper historical context. The overall effect being to provide a refreshing new look at a familiar subject.

Roger Fielding

Beginning officially on 10 July 1940, and concluding on 31 October 1940, the Battle of Britain is notably recalled as one of the most pivotal conflicts in the history of mankind. Turner's thrilling account of Hitler's dashed plans to invade England incorporates accounts of the key events in its manifestation, graphic daily retellings of unfolding battle in action, as well as the provision of specialist commentary on the implemented tactics and strategies which, in the end, won the day. Key roles played by, and the contributions of, Fighter Command's three Groups (10, 11 and 12) and the RAF and WAAF groundstaff, are portrayed through engaging text, detailed illustrations, and all-round fascinating personal contributions from aces such as Peter Townsend, Bob Stanford Tuck, Douglas Bader, Richard Hillary, and Sailor Malan among others. All this makes this fine book an idillic means by which to re-live this momentous event, in effect, first-hand.

James Tweal

"Never have so many owed so much to so few" was Churchill's tribute to the heroic efforts of 'The Few' pilots who fought solidly for over three months in 1940, over our own skies in what is surely one of the most famous conflicts in history and crucial to thwarting Hitler's planned invasion. Romantic notions of the Spitfire, of Douglas Bader, 'Tally Ho' and all that are ingrained into our psyche but John Frayn Turner's book gets us right into the thick of the real action with a gripping in-depth account of the key moments in battle all the way through to eventual victory. Day-to-day, almost diary-esque accounts of the events, coupled with first hand testimonies (including from Bader himself) aid in fully immersing the reader as the battle rages from Dunkirk, Biggin Hill and epic raids over London skies, towards the eventual crescendo. It would however be churlish to say that Turner's fine work focusses only on the action in the sky; this well-rounded book also covers the sterling support work done on the ground, including Bomber Command communications and the efforts of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). Aviation enthusiasts will also enjoy the brief history of the famous Spitfire and Hurricane planes. What the author makes clear from the outset is that the book actually focusses more on 12 Group (those with existing knowledge will know that it was actually 11 Group who bore the brunt of the fighting) which gives a different perspective to the battle and therefore still offers enough fresh interest more well-versed readers. For the rest of us, this is a fitting guide to one of the most epic struggles in history.

Carl (customer review)

About John Frayn Turner

John was the highly respected author of thirty non-fiction books – mainly militaria and biography associated with World War 2. We are proud to have sixteen of his fine works in print including all the titles mentioned below.

Although born in Portsmouth with a Naval family background, he became closely connected with aviation and the Royal Air Force. During the Second World War, John worked at HMS Vernon on magnetic and acoustic mine trials before being conscripted from 1946 to 1948. Shunning a career in accountancy, he went into publishing culminating as editor of House Beautiful magazine. In the 1960’s John joined the Air Ministry and was responsible for RAF publicity and recruiting literature. He made numerous test flights, flew at twice the speed of sound and accompanied the Red Arrows. He later became managing editor of five London-based arts magazines. He wrote countless theatre and film reviews.

In 1968, already a well-respected author, John met the legendary Douglas Bader. The two men worked closely on Fight For The Sky and The Bader Wing. Bader wrote the Introduction to John’s classic British Aircraft of World War 2.

Our list also includes acclaimed epics like Invasion ’44, arguably the first full account of D-Day, Fight for the Sea, The Battle of Britain and the definitive VCs of the Second World War and The Awards of the George Cross. He also wrote The Life and Selected Works of Rupert Brooke.


Start of Battle of Britain

10th July 1940

The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces, and was also the largest and most sustained aerial bombing campaign to that date. Beginning with Channel Battles on 10 July, the Luftwaffe moved on to attacking RAF defences, airfields and ports.

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