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The Pocket Encyclopaedia Of World Aircraft In Colour: Fighters 1939-45: Attack and Training Aircraft
Despite major expansion and re-equipment programmes begun in the middle 1930s, by the outbreak of the World War 2 biplane fighters still predominated in most of the world's leading air forces. Germany alone possessed a major operational force of monoplane fighters, which in the Spanish Civil War and the early European campaigns of 1939-40 had summarily disposed of the technically and numerically inferior opposition it had encountered. In the autumn of 1940, however, the RAF's Hurricanes and Spitfires gave the Luftwaffe a sharp reminder that numerical superiority alone is not enough to win a battle.

It would be invidious here to compare the relative technical abilities of the Allied and Axis powers, for there were brilliant designers and manufacturers on both sides; but between them, given the impetus of war production, they advanced the state of the art in piston-engined fighter design to an even greater degree than their predecessors had done in 1914-18. Maximum speeds alone increased by up to fifty percent; the cannon largely superseded the machine gun as the staple fighter armament; and bomb or rocket carrying fighters became widely adopted for the tactical role in place of the dive bombers that were so much in vogue in the late 1930s. Finally, as the war drew towards its close, the introduction of the first jet and rocket powered interceptors brought about the need to evolve new tactics for air fighting at the higher speeds which they made possible.

Moreover, no other conflict in history created the need for so many different categories of aircrew to be trained in such numbers and in such haste. The profusion of combat types in service in 1939-45 has necessarily left space for the inclusion of only the most prominent wartime training aircraft, but those which do appear are rightly remembered, along with their more belligerent comrades-in-arms, as some of the most celebrated aeroplanes of their time.

This volume deals, in a now familiar style, with the principle wartime types in each of the three categories covered by the title.
Kenneth Munson
Blandford Press

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The Club Library is an open resource for all Club Members. All the books listed are available for general reading or as an aid to modelling research. Any Member can borrow any amount of the listed books — just email the Club Secretary with a list of the titles required and you can either collect from the Secretary’s home address or at the next Club meeting.

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