by: Andy Brazier [ ]
Originally published on:
Introduction The book is available in three formats, paperback, and two eBooks (PDF and ePub).
The paperback is priced at £30.00 and is numbered 9781472825407.
The two eBooks are both priced at £25.20 and are numbered -
The hardback book is printed on glossy paper, and is fairly large at 10 inches wide with a height of just over 11 inches, (sorry old school, don't do metric lol). The book is 349 pages, with colour photos on pretty much all the pages apart from the early chapters, where colour wasn't invented then lol.
This is what I call a coffee table book, just pick it up at will and browse through the photos and text as and when the mood takes you.
About the book The Royal Air Force: A Centenary of Operations will set the record straight, dispelling these as it uncovers - in both words and photographs - the true exploits and accomplishments of RAF personnel over the last 100 years. From its formation as an independent service in the dying days of World War I, its desperate fight against the Axis air forces in World War II, to its commitments during both the Cold War and modern times, this is the complete story of how the RAF has defended Britain for a century.
In the book The book is dedicated to the RAF from its inception to the present day and covers each era in a fair bit of detail, with the operations, tactics and campaigns it has served in, along with the commitments to overseas operations.
Each chapter covers the major events during that time and even the forgotten campaigns, such as the Mesopatamia, India's Pink War, the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, and the Rhodesian UDI crisis, to name a few.
W.W.2 covers two chapters with the first chapter "Holding the Line" covering the Battle of Britain, North Africa, daylight bombing and a few other operations. Although most of the pics in the two chapters are black and white, there is a few colour pics scattered around.
After W.W.2 the British Empire was on its last legs and this chapter covers the various insurrections against colonial rule, and the RAF's beginnings as a nuclear power.
The Cold War covers around 4 chapters, with pretty much all the little wars and operations the RAF was involved in during those years between 1948 and 1988.
After 1988 the RAF's main focus was NATO missions and US led missions against in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Each chapter is well researched with photos of the aircraft used in that particular mission alongside the text, with a bit of history of the aircraft thrown in.
I didn't identify any spelling errors, and the pictures are in stunning quality, even the early photos have transferred well to print.
A quick summary of the chapters -
Chapter 1 - 1918-28
Formation & Early Years; WW1 operations - Western Front (including Independent Air Force and Home Defence), Italy, Greece (Salonika), Palestine, Mesopotamia; Russia 1918-20; Somaliland (Force Z) 1919-20
Air Control - Aden, Iraq, Palestine, Trans Jordan, Sudan, India; India (including ‘Pink's War' 1925); Shanghai Defence Force 1927; Kabul Rescue 1928
Chapter 2 - 1928-1938
Re-armament & Expansion; Air Control - Aden, Iraq, Palestine, Trans Jordan, Sudan, India; Long-Range Flights 1933, 1938; High-Altitude Flights 1936;Schneider Trophy 1929-31; Empire Air Days; Radar; Fighter Command; Bomber Command; Coastal Command (including Fleet Air Arm)
Chapter 3 - 1938-1948
Second World War; 1940 - France, Norway, Eritrea, Battle of Britain; 1941 - Egypt & Mediterranean (-1944), Far East (-1945); Day bomber ops, Fighter sweeps, Coastal Ops (Bay of Biscay, Norway); Bomber Offensive
Bomber ops over Balkans & Central Europe from Italy; Photo-Recce; Air-Sea Rescue; RAF Regiment; Java 1947
Chapter 4 - 1948-58
Beginnings of Cold War & End of Empire; Berlin Airlift 1948; Malaya 1948-58; Korea 1950-53 (including RAF pilots fly with USAF); Kenya Mau Mau 1952-56; Suez 1956; Cyprus EOKA 1956-60; V- Bombers; Operation Grapple H-Bombs 1956-58;NATO
2 TAF Germany; RAuxAF
Chapter 5 - 1958-68
Cold War; Thor IRBM 1958-63; V-Force Blue Steel 1963-70; Air-to-Air refuelling; Earthquake relief Morocco 1960; Famine Relief Kenya & Somalia 1961-62; Hurricane relief Honduras 1961; Kuwait Crisis 1961
Berlin Crisis 1961;Indonesia Confrontation 1963-66; Cyprus 1964; Rhodesia UDI
Zambia 1965; Torrey Canyon 1967
Chapter 6 - 1968-78
Re-equipment; RAF Germany; Humanitarian relief - East Pakistan 1971, Nicaragua 1972, Nepal (Op Khana Cascade) 1973; Belize 1971 Harrier Force (-93);Northern Ireland - Op Banner (Helicopter Force) 1972-2002
Interceptions of Soviet aircraft in UK airspace.
Chapter 7 - 1978-88
Last Days of the Cold War; Falkland War Op Corporate 1982; Lebanon Op Pulsator 1983; Famine Relief; Ethiopia (Op Bushel 1984-85); Rhodesia, Zimbabwe 1979, Gibraltar; Falkland Air Defence
Chapter 8 - 1988-98
Back to Operations; End of Cold War 1988; Gulf War Op Granby 1991;Op Warden Northern Iraq 1991-2001
Op Jural, Southern Iraq 1991-2001; Op Desert Fox Iraq 1998; Bosnia 1993-98; Zaire (Canberra PR) 1996; RAF Regiment in Cambodia (UN)
Chapter 9 - 1998-2008
Continued Operations; Kosovo Op Engadine 1999; Iraq Op Jural, Sierra Leone Op Palliser 2000;Gulf War 2 - Op Telic 2003-11; Afghanistan - Op Herrick 2002-14; Air Defence of Falklands
Chapter 10 - 2008-2018
Iraq - Op Telic -2011;Afghanistan - Op Herrick -2014 ;Libya - Op Ellamy 2011; Iraq
Syria - Op Shader 2014-present; Baltic Air Policing
Michael Napier joined the RAF in 1978 as a university cadet and studied aeronautical engineering at the Imperial College, London. After qualifying as a fast jet pilot in 1985, he was posted to RAF Bruggen in Germany where he spent two tours flying Tornado GR1s. He then enjoyed a short spell as a tactics instructor, flying Hawks at the Tactical Weapons Unit at RAF Chivenor in Devon, before returning to Bruggen - and the Tornado GR1 - as a Flight Commander. His military flying career encompassed both the Cold War and operations over Iraq after the Gulf War. After completing two tours as a headquarters staff officer, he left the RAF in 1997 and joined British Airways. He has over 15,000 hours' flying experience and lives in the UK. Michael has written a number of articles for aviation magazines including Aircraft Illustrated, Flypast, Aeroplane Monthly and Cross & Cockade. He has also appeared on BBC radio and television and BFBS radio. He is the author of four books: Winged Crusaders: The Exploits of 14 Squadron RFC & RAF 1915-1945, Blue Diamonds: The Exploits of 14 Squadron RAF 1945-2015, Tornado Over the Tigris: Recollections of a Fast Jet Pilot and Gloster Javelin: an Operational History.
Author info from Osprey Publishing
Conclusion Whats not too like about this book, a great and interesting read, stunning photos, of which many I had never seen before, and well laid out and researched.
A truely great book, which just begs to be looked at again and again.
This book is worth having just for the photos alone. Highly recommended.
The only downside of this book in my eyes, is that I can't read it in the bath (where most of my reading takes place), as its way to heavy to hold for long periods lol.
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