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Steve Joubert had always wanted to be a pilot and the only way he could afford to do so, was to join the South African Air Force in the late 1970s.
As an adventurous young man with a wicked sense of humour, he tells of the many amusing escapades he had as a trainee pilot. But soon he is sent to fight in the Border War in northern Namibia (then South West Africa) where he is exposed to the carnage of war. The pilots of the Alouette helicopters were witness to some of the worst scenes of the Border War. Often, they were the first to arrive after a deadly landmine accident.
In the fiercest battles their gunships regularly supplied life-saving air cover to troops on the ground.
The incredible true story of Louis Zamperini, now a major motion picture directed by Angelina Jolie. THE INTERNATIONAL NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER In 1943 a bomber crashes into the Pacific Ocean. Against all odds, one young lieutenant survives. Louise Zamperini had already transformed himself from child delinquent to prodigious athlete, running in the Berlin Olympics. Now he must embark on one of the Second World War's most extraordinary odysseys. Zamperini faces thousands of miles of open ocean on a failing raft. Beyond like only greater trials, in Japan's prisoner-of-war camps. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini's destiny, whether triumph or tragedy, depends on the strength of his will ... Now a major motion picture, directed by Angelina Jolie and starring Jack O' Connell.
The Blitz was a defining moment of the Second World War when civilians faced total war from the air with bombing raids over Britain. This title brings back the effect of the chilling wail of the air-raid siren followed by anxious, sleepless nights and stories of bravery from ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Well-illustrated with contemporary photographs, this book explores the Blitz and its effect on places and people.
THE SUNDAY TIMES NON FICTION BESTSELLER 'The best book you will ever read about Britain's greatest warplane.' Patrick Bishop, bestselling author of Fighter Boys. `A rich and heartfelt tribute to this most iconic British machine. By focussing on the men (and women) who flew the Spitfire, John Nichol has brought a fresh and powerful perspective to the story. And by recording their bravery, humility, camaraderie, tragedy and sheer joy in flying their beloved Spits he has done them - and us - a valuable service' Rowland White, bestselling author of Vulcan 606 'As the RAF marks its centenary, Nichol has created a thrilling and often moving tribute to some of its greatest heroes.' Jon Dennis, Mail on Sunday magazine. 'A stirring portrait of a piece of aviation art in motion flown by the bravest of the brave. Nichol's Spitfire is still a sky-borne prima ballerina that kicks like Bruce Lee.' The Royal Air Force Times. 'A superb and compelling book. Brilliantly written with some incredible and astonishing stories; it is gripping, moving, emotional and sometimes humorous - just perfect' Squadron Leader (Ret) Clive Rowley, former Officer Commanding RAF Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight 'A superb journey through the remarkable tale of that British icon, the Spitfire. Brilliantly and engagingly written, this is the most readable story of the aircraft and her pilots that I have ever had the pleasure to read in a period spanning some forty-odd years of personal study and research. Truly stunning.' Andy Saunders, Editor, Britain at War Magazine. The perfect complementary narrative to the bestselling memoir by Geoffrey Wellum - First Light. Achtung, Spitfire! The iconic Spitfire found fame during the darkest early days of World War II. But what happened to the redoubtable fighter and its crews beyond the Battle of Britain, and why is it still so loved today? In late spring 1940, Nazi Germany's domination of Europe had looked unstoppable. With the British Isles in easy reach since the fall of France, Adolf Hitler was convinced that Great Britain would be defeated in the skies over her southern coast, confident his Messerschmitts and Heinkels would outclass anything the Royal Air Force threw at them. What Hitler hadn't planned for was the agility and resilience of a marvel of British engineering that would quickly pass into legend - the Spitfire. Bestselling author John Nichol's passionate portrait of this magnificent fighter aircraft, its many innovations and updates, and the people who flew and loved them, carries the reader beyond the dogfights over Kent and Sussex. Spanning the full global reach of the Spitfire's deployment during WWII, from Malta to North Africa and the Far East, then over the D-Day beaches, it is always accessible, effortlessly entertaining and full of extraordinary spirit. Here are edge-of-the-seat stories and heart-stopping first-hand accounts of battling pilots forced to bail out over occupied territory; of sacrifice and wartime love; of aristocratic female flyers, and of the mechanics who braved the Nazi onslaught to keep the aircraft in battle-ready condition. Nichol takes the reader on a hair-raising, nail-biting and moving wartime history of the iconic Spitfire populated by a cast of redoubtable, heroic characters that make you want to stand up and cheer.
Patrick Bishop looks at the lives and the extraordinary risks that the painfully young pilots of Bomber Command took during the air-offensive against Germany from 1940-1945. As featured on the BBC 1 documentary BOMBER BOYS, presented by Ewan McGregor. They came from every corner of Britain and its Empire. They were the best of their generation...heading for one of the worst tasks of WWII. Like RAF pilots, the thousands of brave young men who joined Bomber Command took to the air to help Britain triumph in World War Two. But in the glow of victory, the fighter pilots were lauded for their efforts while the Bomber Boys faded in national memory. Crucial in the heat of combat, they were politically awkward afterwards. Yet with an average life expectancy shorter than that of soldiers on the Western front in WWI, these men faced death, injury and capture time and again to send bombs through the shrieking flak onto enemy territory. `Bomber Boys' is a tribute to their strength, courage and heroism - filling in the historical blanks and immortalising their memory.
Vlamgat, literally 'flaming hole' in Afrikaans, was the nickname the South African Air Force (SAAF) gave to the Mirage F1, its formidable frontline jet fighter during South Africa's long 'border wars' in South West Africa (Namibia) and Angola from the late 1960s to the late 1980s. Battling Soviet MiG-21s over African skies, the Vlammies, the Mirage pilots as they were affectionately known, acquitted themselves with distinction and honour. Vlamgat is a gripping account of these pilots and their deeds of bravery; their experiences are authentically related with accuracy, humour and pathos - by the author, himself a Vlammie. As Willem Hechter, former Chief of the SAAF, says: "Vlamgat deserves a place of pride in the long history of this, the second oldest air force in the world."
In this viscerally exciting account, a paratrooper-turned-historian reveals the details of World War II's largest airborne operation-one that dropped 17,000 Allied paratroopers deep into the heart of Nazi Germany. On the morning of March 24, 1945, more than two thousand Allied aircraft droned through a cloudless sky toward Germany. Escorted by swarms of darting fighters, the armada of transport planes carried 17,000 troops to be dropped, via parachute and glider, on the far banks of the Rhine River. Four hours later, after what was the war's largest airdrop, all major objectives had been seized. The invasion smashed Germany's last line of defense and gutted Hitler's war machine; the war in Europe ended less than two months later. Four Hours of Fury follows the 17th Airborne Division as they prepare for Operation Varsity, a campaign that would rival Normandy in scale and become one of the most successful and important of the war. Even as the Third Reich began to implode, it was vital for Allied troops to have direct access into Germany to guarantee victory-the 17th Airborne secured that bridgehead over the River Rhine. And yet their story has until now been relegated to history's footnotes. Reminiscent of A Bridge Too Far and Masters of the Air, Four Hours of Fury does for the 17th Airborne what Band of Brothers did for the 101st. It is a captivating, action-packed tale of heroism and triumph spotlighting one of World War II's most under-chronicled and dangerous operations.
In the summer of 1940, the most important battle in the history of air warfare was fought between the British Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe in the skies over southern Britain. Only after a tightly-fought series of aerial battles did the RAF secure a narrow victory - or did it? Although glamourised by the press and cinema alike over the past 60 years, the battle was an intense war of attrition in which luck, skill, judgement and bravery all played a role. The Battle of Britain explores in detail the men, machines and tactics engaged in the epic struggle, and seeks to debunk some of the popular myths that surround it. The book examines the strength of both sides on the eve of the battle, and its wider strategic implications fo the outcome of the war, before looking at the German preparations for invasion, and the Luftwaffe's state of readiness after the Polish and French campaigns. It explains why the battle was a race against time for the Germans and highlights factors such as the lack of suitable transports and inexperience in planning a seaborne invasion that helped hinder their efforts. The book also asks whether Hitler himself was ever truly committed to invading Britain. Britain's preparations for defending herself from attack are also closely examined. The role and effectiveness of such institutions as the Home Guards and Observer Corps are covered, as well as the vital Chain Home and Chain Home Low radar networks. The Battle of Britain analyses the RAF's preparations for the battle, its main fighters, the Hurricane and the Spitfire, and the vital importance of pilots from the Commonwealth, Poland, Czechoslovakia, France, the United States and elsewhere. The Battle of Britain covers every stage of this mammoth contest in detail, beginning with the opening attacks on British shipping and ports. The book highlights how close the war of attrition against the RAF came to succeeding, when the full fury of the Luftwaffe was unleashed on its airfields. It also asks why the Luftwaffe began bombing the cities when it was so close to success. The failings of both sides are dissected: the discord between key RAF commanders, and the initial failure of the Germans to realise the importance of radar. Superbly illustrated with both full-colour artworks of the aircraft (including some three-view artworks), as well as colour and black-and-white photographs, and a detailed appendix on squadron and aircraft service history, The Battle of Britain provides an outstanding account of the conflict.
A former South African Air Force pilot who saw action throughout the region from the 1970s on, Neall Ellis is the best-known mercenary combat aviator alive. He started flying Alouette helicopter gunships in Angola, and for the past two years, as a “civilian contractor,” Ellis has been flying helicopter support missions in Afghanistan, where, he reckons, he has had more close shaves than in his entire previous four-decades put together. He saw action all over world. After Angola he has fought in the Balkan War (for Islamic forces), tried to resuscitate Mobutu’s ailing air force during his final days ruling the Congo, flew Mi-8s for Executive Outcomes, and thereafter an Mi-8 fondly dubbed 'Bokkie' for Colonel Tim Spicer in Sierra Leone. Finally, with a pair of aging Mi-24 Hinds, Ellis ran the Air Wing out of Aberdeen Barracks in the war against Sankoh's vicious RUF rebels. Twice, single-handedly (and without a copilot), he turned the enemy back from the gates of Freetown, effectively preventing the rebels from overrunning Sierra Leone’s capital - once in the middle of the night without the benefit of night vision goggles. Nellis (as his friends call him) was also the first mercenary to work hand-in-glove with British ground and air assets in a modern guerrilla war. In Sierra Leone, Ellis' Mi-24 (“it leaked when it rained”) played a seminal role in rescuing the 11 British soldiers who had been taken hostage by the so-called West Side Boys. He also used his helicopter numerous times to fly SAS personnel on low-level reconnaissance missions into the interior of the diamond-rich country, for the simple reason that no other pilot knew the country - and the enemy - better than he did.
'Fascinating, full of original material and shrewd insights ... a masterful historian of air power' Leo McKinstry, Literary Review The RAF was the world's first air force. This is the story of its founding in 1918, as a response to the new terror of aerial warfare, the struggles to keep it alive amid controversy and opposition, its crucial role in the Second World War and its unique place in Britain's history. 'Brilliantly lucid' Noel Malcolm, Daily Telegraph 'Richard Overy is to be congratulated on creating a concise exposition of the formation of the RAF ... this is a book that makes you think' Peter Hart, BBC History Magazine 'A skilful pocket history of the founding of the Royal Air Force in 1918 ... a fine introduction' Kirkus Reviews
The incredible untold World War II story of Australian hero BARNEY GREATREX - from Bomber Command to French Resistance fighter. A school and university cadet in Sydney, Barney Greatrex signed up for RAF Bomber Command in 1941, eager to get straight into the very centre of the Allied counterattack. Bombing Germany night after night, Barney's 61 Squadron faced continual enemy fighter attacks and anti-aircraft fire - death or capture by the Nazis loomed large. Very few survived more than 20 missions, and it was on his 20th mission, in 1944, that Barney's luck finally ran out: he was shot down over occupied France. But his war was far from over. Rescued by the French Resistance, Barney seized the opportunity to carry on fighting and joined the Maquis in the liberation of France from the occupying German forces, who rarely took prisoners. Later, Barney was awarded the French Legion of Honour, but for seventy years he said almost nothing of his incredible war service - surviving two of the most dangerous battlefronts. Aged 97, Barney Greatrex revealed his truly great Australian war story to acclaimed bestselling author Michael Veitch. 'fascinating . . . Veitch brings the story vividly to life' Sydney Morning Herald Pick of the Week 'Veitch has done a wonderful job . . . a fast-paced and thrilling tale' Daily Telegraph
Kill Chain uncovers the real and extraordinary story of drone warfare, its origins in long-buried secret programs, the breakthroughs that made drone operations possible, the ways in which the technology works, and, despite official claims, does not work. Through the well-guarded world of national security, the book reveals the powerful interests - military, CIA, and corporate - that have led the drive to kill individuals by remote control. Most importantly of all, the book describes what has really happened when the theories underpinning the strategy - and the multi billion-dollar contracts they spawn - have been put to the test.
Air shows are a fun day out for the family. On the ground, tank rides are on offer and armed forces' recruitment drives afford children an opportunity to indulge in their fascination with guns. There are elements of fantasy and the carnivalesque here and a clear disconnect between this 'play' and the actual effect of weapons. In Friend's photographs the beach and the landscape become uneasy, surreal spaces, temporarily militarized by the fleeting presence and roar of fighter jets. She places us at the edge of the island state where the sight and sounds of these aerial displays remind us of Winston Churchill's World War II speech, "We shall fight on the beaches". Civilian aircraft displays are interwoven with military ones, whilst nostalgia for World War II is evoked by the presence of 'war birds' such as the Lancaster bomber, only to be followed by the 'shock and awe' displays of contemporary fighter jets such as the Tornado, recently deployed in Libya and Afghanistan. By contrast, the trade days of the larger air shows such as Farnborough promote military hardware in a more direct way, while deals are negotiated behind the closed doors of the hospitality chalets.
"Top Gun" became a household name with the worldwide success of the film of the same title. The 1986 blockbuster starring Tom Cruise as a hotshot U.S. Navy fighter pilot was so popular (drawing $356 million worldwide) that recruiters set up desks in theaters that were showing it, looking to attract the next generation of combat aviators. The movie did for Navy pilots what The Right Stuff did for astronauts. With the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the real TOPGUN-as the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons program was known-approaching in 2019, and with Jerry Bruckheimer's sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, set to shoot next year, this is the time to publish the real story of the actual risk takers, disruptors, and innovators who revolutionized the art of aerial combat and created the center for excellence and incubator of leadership that thrives to this day. Here is the inside story of TOPGUN, told by the man who was picked to lead it at the start, from war to peace and back to war again, on and off the flight line, and through all six of our decades. Though Pedersen was a part of it at the beginning, some other great pilots carried on our work and he is eager to pay them tribute and make the book a celebration of our whole community. It's a great story, full of interesting characters and exciting history that American should know.
Only six years after man had successfully flown for the first time with controlled, powered flight in 1903, the Royal Navy could already see the potential of taking flying machines to sea. Initially utilised to extend the view from the ships crow's nest, the aircraft at sea would become one of the most influential strides forward in the history of the Royal Navy. This book uses 100 objects and key references that define the Royal Naval Air Service and Fleet Air Arm, setting them from other flying services. From aircraft and technology to training, language and recreation, the flying branch of the Royal Navy has long had its own specific set of objects, rules and traditions.
In the summer of 1940, the future of Britain and the free world depended on the morale and skill of the young men of Fighter Command. This is their story. The Battle of Britain is one of the most crucial battles ever fought, and the victory of Fighter Command over the Luftwaffe has always been celebrated as a classic feat of arms. But, as Patrick Bishop shows in this superb history, it was also a triumph of the spirit in which the attitudes of the pilots themselves played a crucial part. Reaching beyond the myths to convey the fear and exhilaration of life on this most perilous of frontlines, Patrick Bishop offers an intimate and compelling account that is a soaring tribute to the exceptional young men of Fighter Command.
'My fingers close around the trigger. I pause for a split second to think about the bullets I am about to spray across the ground. After today, I'll no longer be the new girl.' Captain Charlotte Madison is blonde, beautiful and flies Apache helicopters for a living. She has completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan and is currently fighting on the frontline in her third. DRESSED TO KILL shows us what life is like for a girl in a resolutely male-dominated environment. But she isn't just a woman in a man's world, she's a woman women aspire to be - glamorous as well as brave, and beating the men at their own game. Only a tiny percentage of people can multi-task to the extreme level the aircraft demands, and most airmen who try to qualify as an Apache pilot fail. Full of the exciting, adrenaline-filled action that has made other military memoirs so successful, DRESSED TO KILL is also unique. A highly intelligent and brilliant young woman, Charlotte is Britain's first female Apache pilot, and the first British female pilot to kill in an Apache. We have, quite simply, never seen the landscape of 21st-century frontline conflict from a perspective like hers. DRESSED TO KILL will appeal to anyone interested in current affairs, but it will also speak to a whole generation of young women who will relate to 27-year-old Charlotte in a way they never imagined possible.
Oswald Boelcke was Germanys first ace in World War One with a total of forty victories. His character, inspirational leadership, organisational genius, development of air-to-air tactics and impact on aerial doctrine are all reasons why Boelcke remains an important figure in the history of air warfare. Paving the way for modern air forces across the world with his pioneering tactics, Boelcke had a dramatic effect on his contemporaries. The fact that he was the Red Barons mentor, instructor, squadron commander and friend demonstrates the influence he had upon the German air force. He was one of the first pilots to be awarded the famous Pour le Merite commonly recognised as the Blue Max. All of this was achieved after overcoming medical obstacles in his childhood and later life with a willpower and determination. Boelcke even gained the admiration of his enemies. After his tragic death in a midair collision, the Royal Flying Corps dropped a wreath on his funeral, and several of his victims sent another wreath from their German prison camp. His name and legacy of leadership and inspiration live on, as seen in the Luftwaffes designation of the Tactical Air Force Wing 31 Boelcke. In this definitive biography RG Head explores why Oswald Boelcke deserves consideration as the most important fighter pilot of the 20th century and beyond; but also for setting the standard in military aviation flying. This book will appeal to enthusiasts of the German air force, military aviation in general and World War One in particular.
The Essential Aircraft Identification Guide: Allied Bombers offers an highly-illustrated guide to Allied bomber aircraft during World War II in the European theatre. Featuring all the main models flown by the Allied air forces from 1939 to 1945, the book offers a wealth of detail, including unit markings, unit organization, numbers of aircraft flown by campaign and exhaustive specifications for each model. The book is arranged first by country and then chronologically by campaign so that every aspect of bomber warfare is covered. The guide features bombers from throughout World War II, including early models, such as the French Breguet 693, Belgian air force Fairey Battle and British Whitley Mk I, right up to those aircraft that contributed to the final defeat of Germany, such as the Soviet Ilyushin Il-10, American Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and the British Lancaster GR Mk III. The bomber had a variety of combat roles, and the guide features aircraft that were used for daylight raids over Europe (such as the B-24 Liberator), night raids (the Vickers Wellington), maritime operations (the Consolidated Catalina), ground support (the Tupolev Tu-2) and coastal command (the Lockheed Hudson). Packed with 200 colour profiles and dozens of archive photographs of every major Allied bomber aircraft, The Essential Aircraft Identification Guide: Allied Bombers is an key reference for modellers and World War II aviation enthusiasts.
Alarmstart (scramble) charts the experiences of the German fighter pilots in the Second World War, based on extensive recollections of veterans as well as primary documents, diaries and flying log books, with photographs from the veterans themselves, many never previously published. For anyone interested in the air war 1939-45, the information provided is of inestimable value. There are no more than a handful of WW2 Luftwaffe members alive today. Patrick Eriksson had the foresight to record their experiences first-hand before it was too late. Some witnesses ended up as senior fighter controllers, and one was even a Luftwaffe psychologist. The recollections and views of the former pilots are put within the historical context of the German aerial war. By no means all the witnesses were from the ranks of the `aces', and the awful strain of the conflict is manifest: `My friend Leo, Kapitan of the 8/JG 54, in the last weeks on the Channel front developed insomnia, anxiety attacks. He was "flown out" (abgeflogen) and should have been relieved. He was shot down and killed in September 1940.' This first volume covers Poland, Denmark and Norway, the Phoney War, the invasion of France and the Low Countries, the Battle of Britain, combating the RAF sweeps in the West, and finally, the Battle of Germany (home defence).
This is a story written by a young man who trained as a pilot, and then flew with the Royal Flying Corps in France during the First World War, eventually to become an ace. It is one of survival against the odds at a time when the conduct of air operations depended so much on individual skills, innovation, courage - and luck. Hugh White flew F.E.2D Scout aircraft as a reconnaissance patrol pilot and later in the war was promoted to squadron leader of squadrons flying the S.E.5a which was Britain's best fighter aircraft at the time. During the two years of flying, he experienced and survived a series of escapades including a dramatic mid-air collision with the enemy. Told by Hugh in his own words, he gives a unique insight into war in the air. With the break-up of his squadron and being reduced to a substantive rank - simply because of his young age, Hugh's writing ends in 1919. From this point, the story is continued by his younger son Christopher. He describes Hugh's life and RAF career from flying in India during the 1920s through the Second World War until his retirement as an air vice-marshal in 1955. This book includes a foreword by Sir Frederick Sowrey (Hugh's nephew) which puts Hugh White's early wartime service into context. It is a timely reminder, following the centenary of the end of the First World War, of the difficulties that young pilots faced at the time. A must-read for those interested in wartime exploits.
THE PERFECT STOCKING FILLER for anyone who thinks they'd survive the world's most hostile environments - or at least imagine they could do. ----------------------------- First issued to British airmen in the 1950s the beautifully illustrated Air Ministry Survival Guide provides invaluable practical tips and instruction on how to keep calm and carry on in any hostile environment. Whether you're lost in the desert, arctic, jungle, or adrift on the open ocean, you'll be better off armed with sensible advice on how to: - Build a structurally sound igloo - Pull faces to prevent frostbite (and when to expect bits to fall off should you fail) - Fashion a mask to prevent snowblindness - Make a hat out of seat cushions - Behave in the event of meeting hostile locals - Stay safe from poisonous reptiles and insects - Use a 'fire thong' - Punch man-eating sharks (which are cowards)
SKUNK WORKS is the true story, told for the first time, of America's most secret and successful aerospace operation. As recounted by Ben Rich, the operation's brilliant boss for nearly two decades, the story of Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works is a high-stakes drama of Cold War confrontations and Gulf War air combat, of extraordinary feats of engineering and human achievement against fantastic odds. SKUNK WORKS is dramatic and immediate. Direct from the cockpits of these astonishing aircraft - U-2 spy-plane, SR-71 Blackbird and F-117 Stealth Fighter. It is a tribute to genius in the unrelenting contest for mastery of the skies.
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