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Torpedo Bombers, 1900–1950 (Hardback)

An Illustrated History and Guide

WWII Aviation Aviation in WWII Photographic Books WWII Photographic Books

By Jean-Denis Lepage
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 394
Illustrations: 300+
ISBN: 9781526763471
Published: 27th January 2020

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The torpedo-bomber was a very short-lived weapon system, operational for scarcely half a century from just prior WWI to the 1960s. Yet during its brief existence it transformed naval warfare, extending the ship-killing range of ships and coastal defences to hundreds of miles. The Royal Navy and Fleet Air Arm led the way, recording the first sinking of a ship by aerial torpedo in August 1915 but all major navies eagerly developed their own torpedo bomber forces.

The torpedo-bomber reached its zenith in WWII, particularly from 1940-42, with notable successes at the Battle of Taranto, the sinking of the Bismarck and Pearl Harbor. It was the weapon of choice for both the US and Japanese in the big Pacific battles such as Midway. In the latter stages of the war, increasingly effective anti-aircraft fire and interceptor aircraft started to render it obsolete, a process completed post-war by long-range anti-ship missiles.

Jean-Denis Lepage traces the development of torpedo bombers worldwide, describing their tactics, operational history and the aircraft themselves, including such well-loved types as the Swordfish, Beaufighter and Avenger. Over 300 aircraft are beautifully illustrated.

Torpedo Bombers 1900-1950 is a little bit more than just a survey of warplanes in a bygone era. Lepage handles his material well, offering valuable insight into not just the machines but how they were used as fearsome weapons in the arsenals of multiple airforces. These type of books usually have photographs, but the abundance of illustrations in Torpedo Bombers makes up for that deficiency. All in all, this is an interesting reference book and an enjoyable read.

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Beating Tsundoku

This in an excellent reference work, covering a remarkable number of aircraft from an impressive range of countries.

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History of War

This offering from Pen and Sword is a one stop offering covering the aircraft used in the torpedo attack role by the Navy’s and Air Force’s around the globe. The development and advances of the torpedo weapons system is covered to my satisfaction where aircraft dropped weapons are concerned. The aircraft all look to be there as everyone I thought of was in the title and so I believe it will be a rare aircraft that is missed.

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Armorama

A fascinating look at a particular type of aerial warfare, the Torpedo Bomber stretches from its beginnings in 1900 through to the 1950’s when it was superseded by other aircraft. This is a fantastic book, it’s like the holy bible of the subject and is very comprehensive in its text and drawn artwork. The book takes you through the various conflicts and then further separates the planes into those from each country and as I said the text is so comprehensive and detailed it is excellent. But in the text it goes into great detail and technical plans but not too much as to be over technical, your average reader will get a lot of enjoyable interest from reading this.

The illustrations that also dominate the book are hand drawn in black, white and grey they really do look beautiful and really do make the book the fine book it is. This book has over 300 planes illustrated along with the torpedo weapons they used. If anything it’s nice to see from the drawings how much the planes changed that were used over time. This was an excellent book and very good read. 4.5 stars out of 5.

UK Historian

A book that is a small encyclopedia on torpedo bombers, easy to consult and with drawings instead of photos that make it very original.

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Old Barbed Wire Blog

Video review on Scale Modelling Now

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About Jean-Denis Lepage

Jean-Denis Lepage was born in 1952 at Meaux (France) near Paris. After studying English at the University of Angers (Maine-et-Loire), Jean-Denis worked in the UK before moving to Groningen in The Netherlands. He now works as a free-lance translator, illustrator and author. He has published several books with the accent on fortifications and WW 2.

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