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A Must read book; Strike Command

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  • A Must read book; Strike Command

    This book by John Parker, explores the Royal Air Force, from its humble beginnings as the Royal Flying Corp and the Naval Air Service, and there merger, which created the RAF in 1917, to the current force operating as part of NATO and Allied Forces in the Gulf and Yugoslavia.

    It features

    *The Battle of Britain, how the defence cuts of the depression had seriously hindered the Royal Airforce at the start of the war.

    *How, Munich bought time for the RAF to be able to get sufficient numbers of Hurricanes and Spitfires in its inventory in time to win the Battle of Britain.

    *The Strategic Bombing offensive over Germany.

    *The Dambusters

    *The Middle East, holding off Regina Aeronautica (Italian Airforce) with a few squadrons of obsolete bi-planes in the early, Abyssian and East African Campaigns, to the creation of the Desert Airforce.

    *The Campaign in Burma, where an entire Army Group (!) was kept supplied by the air.

    *Post war; Berlin Air lift, the V Bombers force for nuclear deterrent, the Labor Cuts of the 60's and 70's, the Falklens and the Gulf War and finally the future.

    One of the best features of the book is the use of narratives by those who were actually there, and it really makes it come alive. You feel you are in a Lancaster attacking Cologne, in a C-47 supplying FM Slim in Burma. This comes into its own when the more obscure campaigns are discussed. So the Battle of Madagascar gets a lot more attention than it normally would have. Ditto the bombing of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

    You get a feel for the personalities of the various men involved, and you really respect the men commanding this fine force. To tale but one example, when the Japanese began bombing Calcutta and Asaam, there were few aircraft to defend the area, and none on the way. So the RAF Commander in that theater, surreptitiously arranged with an old friend in the air ministry to transfer a few sqaudrons to India, right under he Cabinets nose! The kind of inititive without which, Britain would have surely lost.
    "Any relations in a social order will endure if there is infused into them some of that spirit of human sympathy, which qualifies life for immortality." ~ George William Russell