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A very good military read

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A very good military read

Old 25th Apr 2011, 08:23
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'Men of Air' by Kevin Wilson

'Wilson's detailed accounts and analyses of what amounted to virtual suicide missions are thorough, thrilling and profoundly moving' The Times

There is also a Fighter Pilot equivalent which some thieving gypsy has purloined (it was so good!) otherwise I could give more detail.

Fabulous reads the pair of them.........
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Old 25th Apr 2011, 10:29
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Leo 25 Airborne - Pierre Closterman - a novel about flying Broussards over Algeria during the war

Tumult In The Clouds - 'Goody' Goodson - the story of the 4th Fighter Group in WWII

'The Bandy Papers' by Donald Jack - 3 hilarious novels about a WWI 'accidental' flying ace - not sure if they are still in print tho.
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Old 30th Apr 2011, 22:37
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'There Shall Be Wings' by Max Arthur - 'Vivid personal accounts of the RAF from 1918 to today' (today being ~1993). ISBN 0-340-60386-0

I stumbled upon this through a friend and found it to be a really interesting read. First hand accounts, not just from aircrew, but erks, WAFFs, female ATA pilots, (one of whom bluffed her way into a flying job with a total of 10 hours (!) on Tiger Moths, gained about four years earlier at age 16, and who commented that she flew 260 Spitfires before she turned 22.)

Some really great stories, but the one that for me was probably the most affecting was by a WAAF pay clerk who tells about handling the back pay for POWs coming home from the war.

I also found the first hand account of the RAF's defeat of the Iraqi Army in 1941 particularly rivetting. His description of taking off - and ****ing landing!!! - at night with no lights and no moon on an very confined airfield overlooked by Iraqi artillery would send shivers down the spine of any pilot who's done any tac. night ops.

Particularly if you're a Brit, but even if you're not, this is a great read.
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Old 1st May 2011, 18:36
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Cdr Sharkey Ward's book about the Falklands.

Nothing at all to do with the other vitriolic threads about FAA vs RAF but rather my ex-FAA observer uncle died a couple of months ago and this was shoved my way to read.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and can see all of the same 'Staff' arguements happening today.

G
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Old 13th May 2011, 21:56
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"Easy Company Soldier"

ISBN 0-312-37849-1

St. Martin's Press, New York

SSGT Don Malarkey's account of his time in E Co, 506th Infantry (Airborne), 101st Infantry Division (Airborne).....and later life. If you are a Combat Veteran....this is a must read book. If you are a Soldier....and want to understand about "Leadership"...this is the book for you. Add this to the "Band of Brothers" and individual accounts by/about Dick Winters and one can find so much information about what makes a great leader of Soldiers.

Where do we find Men like these when we need them so?
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Old 14th May 2011, 12:48
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Mark Urban - Task Force Black

About SF Ops in Iraq. It seems to have had mixed reviews. I thought it was informative , gives a good insight in to what sort of work the SF guys did and has enough accounts of actions to hold the readers attention throughout.I had no idea there was so much (internal)politics involved .

Iftach Spector - Loud and Clear , The Memoir of an Israeli Fighter Pilot.

An excellent read . A good account of the history of IAF and Israel from the Six Day war to 2003 . I just felt that the author could have included a lot more about his own personal air combats which he almost seemed to skirt over , bar one or two.
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Old 31st Mar 2012, 16:55
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Just finished Air Commodore John Mitchell's "Churchill's Navigator" an excellent account of flying the great man around in his special aircraft during the war. It's unusual in so much that it also tells of his RAF career after the war.
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Old 31st Mar 2012, 22:37
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"Castles of Steel" by Robert Massie. Story of the dreadnaughts and the RN's role, almost day to day in its details, during WW1. Very well written and incredibly well researched - and it might change your opinion about some of the things you think you know about some of the personalities of the time. (I learnt a few things about the Dardanelles campaign I wasn't aware of that give Churchill a softer ride than he gets in most histories of that campaign.)

I was surprised how contemporary it felt to me, particularly in regard to the politics of the day. (In short: just like today; nothing's changed!)
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Old 1st Apr 2012, 01:39
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Way out of print but Men, Women and 10,000 kites by Gabriel Voisin. Cracking stories about the earliest heavier-than-air flying in Europe.
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Old 1st Apr 2012, 01:53
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Just finished "Callsign Hades" by Patrick Bury about an Irish Regiment Pl Cmd in Afghanistan. Also covered his time at Sandhurst and pre deployment training.
Covered the ground side of things in a fair amount of detail.
I thought it was quite good and well worth reading.
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Old 1st Apr 2012, 06:42
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The man who broke into Auschwitz.

Well worth a read.
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Old 1st Apr 2012, 16:14
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Part the way through, 72 hours about the mini sub rescue off Petropavlosk a couple of years ago. Very good RAF/RN co-operation, but most importantly the sub crew survived unlike the crew of the Kursk some years before
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Old 1st Apr 2012, 19:41
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Target Tirpitz

Just finished it this afternoon. A very good read.
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Old 2nd Apr 2012, 08:41
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Some of those that I would recommend:

Enemy Coast Ahead. Guy Gibson VC, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar. I'm not sure of the extent to which this was 'ghostwritten' but I think it's an excellent read. Apart from the Dams Raid, Gibson's accounts of earlier raids, particularly at the beginning of the war are fascinating. Mine is a very well-thumbed copy of an edition published in the mid-50s, I have a feeling it was highly censored even after the war. Was an unabridged version ever published?

Matterhorn. Karl Marlantes. I picked this up in Singapore enroute to Vietnam on holiday without realising the pedigree of the author and exactly how highly rated the novel was when it was originally published. It's staggeringly good. Suffice to say on some of the trips to the DMZ, Vinh Moc tunnels etc. I felt like I was accompanied by an extra tour guide. Chilling in parts.

The Last Enemy. Richard Hillary. I would recommend it to anyone based on its status as a work of literature alone but given the military aviation context it's well worth a look.

Bomber. Len Deighton. I always thought this would make an excellent film in addition to the radio adaptation.

My father's secret war. Lucinda Franks. A fascinating memoir of the effect of war on family relationships.
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Old 2nd Apr 2012, 13:31
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Originally Posted by Jamieone

Enemy Coast Ahead. Guy Gibson VC, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar. I'm not sure of the extent to which this was 'ghostwritten' but I think it's an excellent read. Apart from the Dams Raid, Gibson's accounts of earlier raids, particularly at the beginning of the war are fascinating. Mine is a very well-thumbed copy of an edition published in the mid-50s, I have a feeling it was highly censored even after the war. Was an unabridged version ever published?
Yes - Crecy ( website ) published an "uncensored" paperback in 2007, ISBN 978-0-859791-18-2. I have to confess it is still on my to-read pile, so can't judge how different to the originally-published version it is...
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Old 2nd Apr 2012, 14:12
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"Enemy Coast Ahead" - Uncensored version published 2007

This is a fascinating book, containing many revealing insights into the Bombing Campaign in early WW2 - stories that would never have passed the censor in wartime Britain. As an example, I was fascinated by Gibson’s account of a Hamburg raid when his crew went to the pictures before setting off on the mission hours later than the rest of the squadron. (They wanted to watch a particular film and at that stage of the war there was no comprehensive raid plan – crews set off for the target more or less when they wanted.)

Bombing tactics and release heights were entirely the Captain’s personal choice. Gibson’s preference was for 60 degree dive bombing, (At night – in a Hampden??). He described the only inconvenience being the occasional collapse of some of the cockpit transparencies during the pull-out, leading to a draughty run home.

Men of steel – Wonderful Stuff!
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Old 2nd Apr 2012, 14:36
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Two books not mentioned:

Fehrenbach: This Kind of War. An excellent overall treatment of the Korean War.

A. Gould Lee: No Parachute
This short book is a first hand account of what it meant to be a Fighter Pilot (Scout PIlkot? Pursuit Pilot?) in the RFC -> RAF. He also discusses how much flight training he had back t hen, how to fly a Sopwith Pup, then a Camel, and some of the early efforts at Close Air Support. He also explains how the new interruptor gear in the Camel made a significant improvement in air to air gunnery over the Pup. Very interesting stuff.

No Parachute is worth a read for any pilot.
His observations about what happened at Cambrai in 1917 made me look up the battle.

I read a number of the Biggles books as a boy.

In some ways, Lee's book is a welcome counter to some of the license fiction writing takes with fact. Mind you, Johns writes very well, and I still have those books on my shelf to this day.

Rhoald Dahl wrote a book about being a pilot in the early phases of WW II (before his crash and injury) that I found pretty good. I forget the title.
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Old 2nd Apr 2012, 15:16
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Fighter Pilot - Robin Olds.
I recently finished this book of his memoirs and found it very interesting There were some large gaps that it would have been useful to have filled in, but on the whole, well worth reading.

Catch - 22
Most people here will have seen the film, myself included. However I'd never read the book before, now rectifying this situation. I wouldn't like to try reading this after a few drinks, it's bad enough trying to keep track of what's going on sober.
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Old 2nd Apr 2012, 21:52
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Rhoald Dahl wrote a book about being a pilot in the early phases of WW II (before his crash and injury) that I found pretty good. I forget the title.

"Over To You" by Roald Dahl - available as a paperback on Amazon.
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Old 2nd Apr 2012, 22:07
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Warthog: Flying the A-10 in the Gulf War (Warriors)
Strike Eagle: Flying the F-15E in the Gulf War (Warriors)
both by William L. Smallwood

Both written based on interviews with the pilots and describes their frustrations and improvisation, using the seeker heads of their AGM as night vision cameras during GW1.


Strike Eagle details how the Squadrons worked up with RAF Jaguar pilots in Oman to get low flying experience and worked closely (literally) with British Special forces in hunting scuds.

Not being a pilot but having an interest I found it extremely interesting reading as the specific challenges of putting together a strike package or "train" that stretches for 60miles and how one planes timing can throw the mission.

One thing that stuck out was how valuable it was having two sets of eyes in the aircraft looking out for threats, esp when they went to "SAM Town". I be keen to know of where this was and whether it was still a bad place during GW 2
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