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In 1947 the Cold War got colder and the Russians tried to isolate Berlin from the West by cutting all land communications. The Allies now had the problem of sustaining the population of Berlin during the winter of 1947-48 - one of the coldest on record. The answer was the Berlin Airlift - code-named Operation Plainfare. This is the complete narrative of that operation. Highly recommended, particularly for its detailed treatment of the whole operation.
Intelligence summaries from January to August 1939 were issued monthly, and this is a reprint of the summaries that appeared up to August. (The continuing series, issued weekly, are also being reprinted by MLRS). They cover every country that had an air force of interest to the RAF, and this volume includes Afghanistan to Jugoslavia, looking at Germany, China, Japan, Iraq, Kuweit [sic], the USA and the USSR among others. Of great interest in that the reports show the development of air forces throughout the world, and lead in to the subsequent weekly reports, which were also wide-ranging.
Air Intelligence went into overdrive when the war started and this is the first wartime volume (to be followed by all the others). Concerned naturally with Germany and the Luftwaffe there are still other interesting items included. Now part of the complete series of reports available from MLRS covering the whols of the Second World War.
All of the volumes in this series have a wealth of information on allied, enemy and neutral air forces, aircraft and operations and they serve as a most valuable adjunct to war diaries and other sources in that they fill in details of air matters often skated over in ground warfare accounts. There is no doubt that without knowledge of the air effort during ground campaigns the picture of the whole remains somewhat lacking - these volumes provide that information in spades!
"Air navigation is the art of conducting an aircraft from place to place by dead reckoning and fixing position by observations of terrestrial objects and celestial bodies." The first sentence in the book, which does not take account of weather, cloud, darkness or the opposition, but the bomber was always going to get through anyway! This is the state of that art in 1940, and the book is best read in conjunction with the later 1944 manual which is much more professional, although this book is very comprehensive and is of course valid today if you have the many instruments illustrated in the text.
This report is a very good introduction to the air operations that were part of Operation NEPTUNE - the assault in Normandy on D-Day. It will give the reader a good general picture, and works well as an introduction to the RAF Monograph ( North West Europe Volume III) - see also our RAF CAPS section. With 6 maps.
Many readers will already be familiar with Otway's history of airborne forces and with Bill Buckingham's equally important history of the development of airborne forces (also published by MLRS). This is the story from the point of view of the Air Ministry and is a very good companion to the already mentioned texts. It covers the initial stages of formation of airborne forces, and then covers the operations. Appendices add more detail about parachutes, gliders, aircraft, operating procedures and other factors. Accompanied by some valuable maps and photographs.
There is little one can say about this RAF manual save to note that it contains details and drawings of every type of ordnance that could be dropped from an aircraft. It covers bombs from 2 to 22,000 pounds, with a multitude of line drawings and a detailed text describing each and every one. As a reference work it is unparalleled, and its worth today for bomb and EOD personnel cannot be estimated.
Convincing an aerial enemy to bomb empty fields rather than a factory or a military dump was a factor which involved considerable effort and skilled subterfuge during the Second World War. This book looks at the problems and the solutions, not just in the UK but abroad (including German efforts) as well. It is complete with all diagrams and illustrations, and gives an insight into what was a fundamental deception task for all involved in bombing and ground-attack - on both sides.