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Spitfire: The Story of a Famous Fighter

Spitfire: The Story of a Famous Fighter

Ref: 4876

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{detailed description}When in August 1940 Sir Winston Churchill made his now famous and oft-quoted tribute to the heroic work of the 'Few' he might also have associated with them the means by which they had achieved their victory-the Spitfires and Hurricanes they flew. Almost certainly the yeoman service these aircraft had given at even that early date was recognised although not specified in his statement. At that time, on the threshold of a long and notable life of service, the Spitfire had acquired a reputation as the premier fighting aircraft in the Allied armoury; an enviable title, which, through all its subsequent development in the ensuing four and a half years of varied war activity, it may justifiably claim to have retained. Certainly no other British, and very few foreign, designs can rival this record.
The day of the Spitfire is over, and it seems that now-the evening of its life-is an appropriate time to reflect back on the history of this remarkable aeroplane whose name was, for years, on everyone's lips, and to tell, for the first time, the full story of the Spitfire. Foremost of the fighters, it was the only British or Allied fighter aircraft to remain in production throughout the whole of the Second World War, and the only British fighter used operationally in squadron service by the Americans. Here is the history of this ubiquitous aircraft with service in the 'Free' Air Forces of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Holland, Norway, Poland, and countries who continued the fight, from adopted homelands, for the freedom of the world in general, and the liberation of their own nations in particular. A fully illustrated story that commences with the foundation of the Supermarine works in 1912, details the Schneider Trophy seaplanes and other experimental aircraft that led to the Spitfire, and follows the history of the Spitfire itself right through to the present day, ending with a listing of surviving examples now on display around the world.
Copiously illustrated by photographs, diagrams, line drawings, and introducing in a `HARBOROUGH' book for the first time the two-tone drawing style, the lineage of the Spitfire is traced from the Supermarine S.4 of 1924, and is followed through to the post-war Spiteful. Since the Seafire was essentially a 'Sea Spitfire', that aircraft too, is similarly covered up to, and including, the Seafang.
Every possible aspect of the Spitfire/ Seafire story is covered, pre-war, wartime and post-war; as a fighter, fighter-bomber or fighter reconnaissance aircraft, in photographic reconnaissance roles, use as an advanced trainer or communications aircraft, or adapted for air-sea rescue or meteorological duty: in R.A.F., American or Commonwealth service, or `civilianised', not forgetting exhibition Spitfires and those used by film companies'. Detail is thus a feature of this book. Its really extensive scope may be gauged from the fact that, recorded for the first time anywhere, are not only the 20,351 Spitfires and 2,408 Seafires built, but details of the full 25,091 and 4,052, respectively, ordered.
Invaluable, interesting, and hitherto unrevealed information concerning Spitfire colour schemes, instructional airframes and Merlin/Griffon engine types is to be found in the comprehensive supplements. Whenever possible, throughout the book, captions to illustrations detail the type, mark and serial of aircraft, rank and name of personnel.
Much has already been written about the Spitfire, but much of the information in this new book has never before been recorded. It is a revelation! Did YOU know -that Douglas Bader was not the only legless pilot to fly Spitfires?-that 88 Spitfires were lost in one day in 1942 ?-of the intrigues whereby Israeli Spitfires, in Burmese markings, flown by British pilots, were impounded in Lebanon ?-that Egyptian Spitfires shot up a British Spitfire squadron on the ground in 1947 ?-that Israeli Spitfires shot down several R.A.F. Spitfires ?-that the first aircraft shot down by Spitfires were Hurricanes?-that an official report considered the Curtiss Hawk superior to the Spitfire?-that over 1,000 Spitfires of one mark alone were shipped to Russia ?-that a Spitfire operated from Malta a year before the official histories record the arrival of the first Spitfires there ? -that several Spitfires were damaged by seagulls?-that Bomber Command operated Spitfires ? And what do YOU know of the deeds of such Spitfire squadrons as Nos. 548 and 549, or of the 30 operational cannon-armed Spitfires in the Battle of Britain? These are but a few of the hundreds of questions that could be posed on the episodes described in this book.
The author, well known to readers of earlier `HARBOROUGH' books, has had an association with Spitfires since 1938 when, as an aircraft component inspector, he was concerned with the first production Spitfires. He observed Spitfires during their pre-war initial service flying trials, operating from United Kingdom airfields during the Battle of Britain and the later sweeps, from the beach-head airfields in Normandy in 1944, and later still, from airfields in the Far East. His research into the subject thus has the advantage of a personal interest and association with this famous aircraft. This is the latest HARBOROUGH' book. Quite the most authentic and comprehensive ever to be published on the Spitfire.
D. A. RUSSELL
{Author / Publisher / Date}by Bruce Robertson
Autumn 1960 1st edn. 211pp profusely illustrated with b&w photos, tone drawings etc. index. 22x28{condition}lightly bumped at foot of spine otherwise very good, d/j edge-worn with small losses
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