Friday 13 March 1942: At midday five Hurricanes of 274 Squadron and 12 Kittyhawks of 112 Squadron took off to intercept an incoming raid in the Tobruk area.

HistoryofMedAirWar_vol2

A History of the Mediterranean Air War 1940-1945
Volume Two: North African Desert Feb 1942-March 1943

By Christopher Shores and Giovannia Massimello
With Russell Guest, Frank Olynyk and Winfried Bock

Published by Grub Street; Dist. By Capricorn Link
RRP $99.99 in hardback
ISBN 9781909166127

Chapter 1 Halfway Back

The conclusion of Volume 1 found the 8th Army battered and somewhat bewildered at the end of January 1942, defending the Gazala Line, which was a few miles to the west of Tobruk, but east, not only of Derna, but of Benghazi by the full width of the Cyrenaican ‘bulge’. In but a few days, more than half of the territory that it had taken in two months of costly fighting to gain, had been lost.

So begins the second volume of the History of the Mediterranean Air War 1940-1945.

The following 730+ pages are filled with the sort of detail to satisfy the most demanding reader. The book offers a day-by-day analysis of the North African air war recording every single sortie. For each event, a table lists the participants, claims and actual losses. For the first time, the actual losses of both Allied and Axis aircraft is recorded, often down to the serial number of the aircraft involved.

For example, on Friday 13 March 1942:

At midday five Hurricanes of 274 Squadron and 12 Kittyhawks of 112 Squadron took off to intercept an incoming raid in the Tobruk area.

Compiling this book, like its predecessor, has clearly been a labour of love for all those involved. If you appreciate this level of detail to help you understand a military campaign, don’t baulk at the $100 price tag. The work of these authors is worth every cent.

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