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The Berlin Airlift
Images of Aviation

Pen & Sword Books

S u m m a r y

Publisher and Title:

The Berlin Airlift– Images of Aviation
by John Grehan
Pen & Sword Books

ISBN: 978 1 52675 826 2
Media: Soft Cover paperback size; 184 pages..

£12.80 plus shipping available online from Pen & Sword Books
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Covers Berlin Airlift on an almost day to day basis, Excellent concise history including the backdrop of the Soviet occupation of Germany.
Disadvantages: None.

Highly recommended for both military and civilian aircraft enthusiasts. Must read articles.

Reviewed by Al Bowie

HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com



In Late June 1948 after a month of incidents denying the Western Allies the agreed access to their zone of Berlin the Soviets enacted a full ground blockade by cutting off all land corridors used to access the devastated city. Stalin’s aim in this was to drive the Western allies out of Berlin and place it completely under Soviet control. This placed the West in an extremely difficult situation as they could not just abandon the city yet needed a huge amount of supplies just to keep the people alive let alone run utilities and industry.



A unique solution using the vast airlift capacities of the Western Allies was quickly put into action and over the next 10 months the Air Forces of the US, Britain, France and from across the Commonwealth supported by commercial operators flew staggering amounts of food, fuel and supplies in the face of severe and reckless Soviet provocation.

This title in the Images of Aviation series from Pen & Sword by John Grehan details this momentous effort in creating an air bridge that eventually became more effective than the previous ground-based supply system of Rail and road. It is a fantastic title and is not just a pictorial history but backs this up with an amazing amount of detailed history all in an easily read format in 9 Chapters:

  • Introduction

  • Chapter  1     – The Curtain of Iron

  • Chapter  2     – The Airlift begins

  • Chapter  3     – Practicalities

  • Chapter  4     – Inside Berlin

  • Chapter  5     – Sustained Effort

  • Chapter  6     – Winter

  • Chapter  7     – The Easter Parade

  • Chapter  8     – Victory

  • Chapter  9     – Never Forgotten

This book is fantastic treasure trove of information and images of the Berlin Airlift which delivered in excess of 2,223,000 tons of supplies in 266,600 flights between Jun 48 and May 49. These are staggering amounts given the available airlift types of the period which shaped the future of Airlift Aircraft into the future.

The B&W images are well selected and cover the operation from start to finish covering the machines and the personnel who made this work. It gives a great feel for the situation at the time and the wider ramifications of the dilemma facing the Western Allies and I found myself having problems putting it down.


  • Berlin Airlift Book Review by Al Bowie: Image
  • Berlin Airlift Book Review by Al Bowie: Image
  • Berlin Airlift Book Review by Al Bowie: Image
  • Berlin Airlift Book Review by Al Bowie: Image
  • Berlin Airlift Book Review by Al Bowie: Image
  • Berlin Airlift Book Review by Al Bowie: Image
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This title is a great tribute to the 70 British and American Aircrew who were lost during the operations and the five German ground crew. I cannot recommend this enough due to the high quality of material within. I will continue to be adding a lot more of this range to my library.

Thanks to Pen & Sword Books for the review sample.

Review Copyright 2019 by Al Bowie
This Page Created on 29 August, 2019
Last updated 29 August, 2019

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