RAF Fighter Command Pilot: The Western Front 1939-42 by Graham Turner, Mark Barber

By Graham Turner, Mark Barber

The hot seventieth anniversary of the conflict of england, mixed with the specter of major cuts to the present RAF, have highlighted the significance of Fighter Command within the early days of worldwide warfare II once again. The position of the 'few', as defined via Churchill, in the course of the conflict of england has been the topic of a lot mythologizing either on the time and within the years since.

This booklet places Fighter Command in context; describing the shortcoming of investment and a spotlight which it bought throughout the interwar interval, till it used to be virtually too overdue. the parable of the fighter pilot can be humanized, with first-hand debts quoted which positioned apprehensive yet courageous humans from all walks of existence within the cockpit. even supposing the conflict of england won't have in itself been the decisive come upon that it has traditionally been portrayed as, the ethical victory received through the RAF, the victory that proved that Germany will be defeated, used to be simply as vital as a military-strategic victory.

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Much of the Allied campaign in Europe was characterised by poor intelligence (or, more accurately, a failure to recognise information for what it was). Such was the case with the German assault in the Ardennes in late 1944. Despite considerable reconnaissance information clearly showing troop movements and supply build-ups that presaged an armoured assault, the Allies were caught completely flat-footed in the Ardennes. Quite apart from intelligence failings the Allies were seriously overstretched.

The 82nd came in by sea, the S04th PIR landing under attack from the Luftwaffe. (US Army via George Forty) SPEARHEAD: 82ND AIRBORNE THE INVASION OF NORMANDY Above right: Waco CG-4 (Hadrians to the British) gliders in invasion stripes landing in ormandy, June 1944. the stripes were put on the wings in great secrecy a few days before the invasion. (82nd Airborne Museum) Below right: Build-up to D-Day: assembling CG-4 gliders out of packing cases somewhere in England, 1944. (82nd Airborne Museum) In November 1943, as the bulk of the 82nd prepared to leave the Mediterranean, General Gavin had already gone to London to help plan the airborne part of the forthcoming invasion of France.

43 Above: The target-Nijmegen bridge, captured by 82nd Division after savage fighting. (via Bruce Robertson) SPEARHEAD: 82ND AIRBORNE The Airborne divisions meanwhile focussed on the 10,000 replacements they were going to have to train, and a major re-organisation. Activated on 2 August the First Allied Airborne Army was to be the biggest ever formed, combining American, British and Polish assets, and commanded by Lieutenant General Lewis Brereton with British General 'Boy' Browning as deputy. Brereton, who had planned the proposed parachute assaults during WWI, was an Air Force officer and staunch advocate of the effectiveness of air power.

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