S u m m a
Title and Author
(Czechoslovak) Squadron 1940-1945
||Soft cover; B5
format; 96 pages plus covers
19.00 € available online from Philiedition's website
||An interesting and easy to read text, inclusion of a wealth of facts and figures, superb collection of colour profiles, relevant selection of photographs.
||No “chapters” to separate dissimilar subject matter.
Reviewed by Rob Baumgartner
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Continuing on from other Unit histories, the publisher now turns his attention to No.312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron during the years 1940-1945.
This soft cover book is slightly larger than A5 and considering its size, a lot of information is contained within the 98 pages.
Complimenting the text are over 70 black and white photographs and a healthy number of illustrations. The images have been well chosen for their relevancy and display concise but informative captioning. The commentary flows very well with only a hint of what appears to be an English translation.
Activities start with the establishment of No.312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron on 29th August 1940. We follow the unit as it receives its first Hurricane Mk.I fighters, scraps its way through the Battle of Britain and ends up joining the Kenley Wing.
Eventually in May 1942, the purely Czechoslovak fighter Wing became a reality and No.312 becomes a member, along with No.310 and No.154 Squadrons. They were already flying Spitfires at this time and used various types of this aircraft till the end of the war.
Amongst other adventures, the book explains the activities over Dieppe, the trials of escorting American bombers, and duties with the 2nd TAF. Other tasks that are discussed are the D-Day beaches, drop zones of Operation “Market Garden” and the ushering of Lancasters into Germany’s heartland.
After an eventful few years the RAF officially disbanded the Squadron on 15th February 1946.
Sadly the book is not divided up into clear chapters and this makes finding specific data quite frustrating. Instead, various pieces of information are randomly dispersed throughout the publication. A better idea would have been to group some of these interlopers together in an appendix or section of their own.
Fortunately these snippets are enlightening and cover areas such as the origin of the squadron’s badge, code names for various offensives and lists of bases in the United Kingdom and Continental Europe.
There are also short articles on the types of aircraft flown, the role of Fighter Command and the problems involved with recruitment. The 2nd Tactical Air Force comes under the spotlight as do accident reports, aircraft loses, sorties completed, and enemy claim lists.
Thirty four pages are devoted to the “Squadron Roster” and here there is short biography on the individuals in alphabetical order. These make for a good read and it’s not the dry narrative one might expect from a summary of this type.
The artwork is beautifully done and this is courtesy of Malcolm Laird. He profiles 12 aircraft of which 4 are Hurricanes and the rest Spitfires. Where it’s considered necessary, extra views are provided to show more specific details.
No.312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron gets a good outing in this publication.
The story of this unit is well told with many interesting anecdotes to keep the reader entertained. There is quite a bit of information to be absorbed and the illustrations are inspiring for any avid modeller.
The muddled presentation is disconcerting but that is no reason to dismiss the book.
It just takes a little longer to find what you’re looking for.
for the review sample
Review Copyright © 2008 by Steven Eisenman
This Page Created on 27 April,, 2008
27 April, 2008
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