S u m m a r y
||Osprey Aircraft of the Aces #81 - Griffon Spitfire Aces
by Andrew Thomas
||Soft cover, 96 pages
||GBP£12.99 / USD$22.95 available online from Osprey Publishing
||Well written text, interesting selection of photographs, superb colour profiles
Osprey's Griffon Spitfire Aces book is available online from Squadron.com
Throughout its service life, the iconic Spitfire underwent a steady stream of upgrades.
One of the most radical changes was the mating of the 2000 hp Rolls-Royce Griffon engine to the airframe. The definitive version with this power-plant was the Mk XIV and it was destined to be one of the best low level fighters of World War II.
Only 14 pilots became aces in the Griffon powered Spitfire, in part due to the reduced number of chances they had so late in the war. There were another 13 aces that claimed a portion of their total in the type and this book covers their exploits over a total of 94 pages.
The book starts off with the first victory by a Griffon powered Spitfire, which was a Mk XII downing a Ju 88 by Flg Off Dickie Hogarth of No.41 Sqn.
The development of the type follows with informative accounts from the pilots themselves. This is most revealing, especially when the tactics used to out manoeuvre the Bf 109 and the Fw 190A are discussed .These needed to be revised when the Fw 190D came along and this too is discussed by the participants involved.
The Fieseler Fi 103 flying bomb, or V1 as it became known, was also a victim of the upgraded Spitfire and there are plenty of accounts explaining how these were taken care of.
The book continues to follow the Griffon Spitfire squadrons as they move to the Continent as part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force. It all finally comes to a head when at the end of the war they were “restyled” as the British Air Forces of Occupation after Germany’s surrender.
All this is conveyed in an easy to read way which keeps one’s interest all through the book. The constant inclusion of narratives from the people involved maintains the story’s liveliness and allows the reader to gain a true insight into how it felt for the participants involved.
Over 90 photographs help describe the tale and each is accompanied by an informative caption.
Colour profiles form a major part of this series and the modeller is not let down here. Thirty two aircraft are presented and all are expertly done by Chris Davey. There are 4 Mk XIIs, two FR 18s, a single Mk XXI, with the remainder being of the Mk XIV.
Andrew Thomas gives an entertaining insight to those aces that scored in this potent version of the Spitfire.
This is done by combining an informative text, excellent artwork and some useful appendices. These include a list of the Griffon-engined Spitfire Aces, Griffon-engined Spitfire V1 Aces, and even Aces that flew Griffon-engined Spitfires but made no claims.
Scale side profiles finish the package and this all adds up to a welcome addition to the Osprey Aces series.
Osprey Publishing for the review sample
Review Copyright © 2008 by Rob Baumgartner
Page Created 22 June, 2008
22 June, 2008
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