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Osprey Aircraft of the Aces No. 80


American Spitfire Aces of
World War 2



Andrew Thomas


S u m m a r y

Publisher and Catalogue Details: Osprey Aircraft of the Aces #80 - American Spitfire Aces of World War 2 by
Andrew Thomas
ISBN: 9781846032028
Media and Contents: Soft cover, 96 pages
Price: GBP£12.99 online from Osprey Publishing
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: Interesting well written text, relevant period photographs, excellent artwork.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

American Spitfire Aces of World War 2 is available online from Squadron.com




American Spitfire Aces of World War 2 is the latest addition to the Osprey Publishing Aircraft of the Aces series. 

Whilst there certainly are other books around that provide you with detail on United States citizens flying the British built Supermarine Spitfire (the New Zealand published Ventura series readily comes to mind) this is the first that I have seen that gives you the “whole” story in one volume. 

The book is authored by Andrew Thomas; a serving officer in the RAF and an author well-known to RAF buffs through his previous releases under the Osprey banner.  His previous books in the Aircraft of the Aces Series include Tomahawk and Kittyhawk Aces of the RAF and Commonwealth (Aircraft of the Aces 38), Gloster Gladiator Aces (Aircraft of the Aces 44), Hurricane Aces 1941–45 (Aircraft of the Aces 57), Beaufighter Aces of World War 2 (Aircraft of the Aces 65), Mosquito Aces of World War 2 (Aircraft of the Aces 69), Royal Navy Aces of World War 2 (Aircraft of the Aces 75), and Griffon Spitfire Aces (Aircraft of the Aces 81).  

Although the United States did not enter the “European war” until December of 1941 many of their citizens were already in uniform having volunteered for service with what to them were “Foreign” nations.   Britain’s Royal Air Force was one service that benefited from these young men’s desire to fly and fight.  With the numbers of Americans in the RAF increasing the RAF took a leaf from the pages of WWI and the Escadrille Lafayette formed what was termed “Eagle Squadrons” to group the volunteers together.  The numbers of American flying Spitfires increased when the United States Army Air Corps entered the European theatre and formed what was to eventually become the “Mighty Eighth” Air Force.  The then fledgling Eighth was initially equipped with Spitfires on a reverse lend-lease basis as their intended mount, the Bell P-39 Airacobra, was found to be no match against the Luftwaffe machines it was to fly against.  In time the Eagle Squadrons too were transferred to the Eighth Air Force.  American involvement with the Spitfire was to continue throughout WWII and this new book provides the full story. 

Following Osprey's tried and true formula in layout and composition the book comprises six chapters, five appendices and an index. 

The chapters and their contents are as follows: 

In The Lafayette Tradition

  • First Ace

 ‘Eagles’ Over England

  • Spitfires for All!
  • Enter the USAAF
  • Dieppe Battle
  • Transfer of the ‘Eagles’

North African Adventure

  • First USAAF Spitfire Ace
  • Advance to Tunis
  • With the Desert Air Force

Over Mediterranean Islands

  • The Sicily Campaign
  • Corsican Sojourn

Italy – The Hard Yards

  • Anzio Cauldron
  • Triumphs and Tragedies

The Last Victories

  • The Last Ace

A complete list of all American pilots who made ‘ace’ status (five confirmed kills) whilst flying the Spitfire is the first appendix and it is laid out by name, the unit/s they part of, claims made whilst flying the Spitfire, their total claims, and the theatre in which the claims were made.  The second appendix list American who made kills whilst flying the Spitfire and went on to make ace but not exclusively on the Spitfire.  A further appendix list future American aces who flew the Spitfire but made no claims (Dwayne Beeson, Francis Gabreski, Steve Pisanos are but a few of the famous ones amongst them) The next appendix lists the USAAF groups and squadrons that flew the Spitfire and the final appendix gives comprehensive details for the colour profiles in the centre pages of the book. 

Speaking of colour profiles, there are 32 of them in all painted by Chris Davey another well known artist in the Osprey stable.  The profiles cover just about all of the schemes worn by Supermarine’s thoroughbred including a couple of the much debated “Malta blue” ones. 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


The book is well illustrated with 107 black white photos in all as well as the above mentioned colour profiles. 

The book itself has 96 pages printed on glossy paper between thin cardboard covers. 

A good yarn to say the least.  It provides you with not only an overarching view of the American involvement with the Supermarine Spitfire but also a record of those who made ace status whilst flying it. 


Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review sample

Review Copyright © 2007 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created 05 December, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007

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