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WWII Air War History Books

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  • Member since
    January 2015
WWII Air War History Books
Posted by Radial9 on Monday, January 26, 2015 10:23 AM

Gentlemen… I’m interested in obtaining materials, chiefly books, historically chronicling the WWII air war. I have read through the past 18 months of threads here to see what might have been discussed. I did not find the specific subject mentioned. I found a wealth of bookmarked threads for future review, but not quite what I’m looking for, so far.

I’m thinking that there may not be one definitive text that goes through the entire air war on all fronts from 1939 through 1945. Perhaps the subject is too large for one text. Perhaps finding good texts on the air war in Britain/Europe, Africa, Russian Front, South Pacific might be what I discover is the best of what is out there.

Anyway… I’m looking for more of a chronological history of the successes and failures of the air war from a historical point of view. I do have a Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft that covers much of the technical aspects of the aircraft. What I’m looking for is the actual campaigns and history of the air war in WWII. The pilots, the planes, the manufacturers, the campaigns, the stand out battles.

Would anyone recommend good historical reads? If you happen to have, besides the title, the publisher, or even better the ISBN# that would be most helpful. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I’m just having more fun here than I’ve had in years. Eventually after the dozens of hours of reading, equipment buying, airbrush learning and dozens of LHS trips I might actually start to get my hands dirty.

By the end of the year I most likely will end up with THE most expensive Hasagawa BF109 F EVER assembled as part of the Messerschmitt GB.

Thanks!

Bob, AKA Radial9

  • Member since
    March 2010
  • From: MN
Posted by Nathan T on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 9:41 AM

Obviously no one specific book will do. I'd recommend black cross/ red star for the Russian front, and the Luftwaffe Colors series by Martin Peg/Bergstrom for all Luftwaffe campaigns in all fronts. Lots of good books out there for the 8 th Air Force. You'll just have to search for each major air campaign till you come across a few titles and then post here again.

 

 

  • Member since
    December 2009
  • From: Laurel, MD
Posted by Tucohoward on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 3:01 PM

Bob, it sounds like you are not looking for reference books specific to the model you are going to build, which I could give you a bunch for the 109F. For a more historical, rather than technical book I can recommend "The War Diary of JG26 Vol. 1&2" by Donald Caldwell. Day by day history of the unit from 1939-1945 for a Luftwaffe view. "Hell Hawks!:The Untold Story of the Americans Who Savaged Hitler's Wermacht" by Robert F. Dorr is good from the US side. There are thousands more.

Jay

The Mighty Mo says no.

  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by Radial9 on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 10:22 AM

Jay & Nathan… Thanks for the info. I have ordered a few of your suggestions. I swallowed hard and ordered Volume I of Black Cross Red Star. I also ordered The War Diary of JG26 Vol. 1 and 2 along with Hell Hawks. The last three I found used on Amazon for VERY reasonable prices. The first, not so much!

I have also ordered:

Carrier Air War US Navy Combat 1939-1945

Ghosts of the Skies: Aviation in the Second World War

These should keep my quite busy into the year.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Bob

  • Member since
    March 2009
  • From: Yorkville, IL
Posted by wolfhammer1 on Friday, January 30, 2015 7:53 PM

Check out Jablonski's Airwar series for an overview of the entire WWII air war in all theaters.  Otherwise, I do not know of a good overview of the entire war.  There are regional and theater specific texts that go into more detail, but I have not seen any other overall review of the entire war in the air.  Hope that helps.

John

G-J
  • Member since
    July 2012
Posted by G-J on Monday, February 2, 2015 6:52 PM

I just read:  The War in the Air.

It was good, devoted students will notice some mistakes in the text.

On the bench:  Tamyia Mosquito Mk. VI for the '44 group build.  Yes, still.

On deck: 

  • Member since
    September 2005
  • From: North Pole, Alaska
Posted by richs26 on Thursday, February 5, 2015 5:45 PM

For the 8th AF, Freeman's "The Mighty Eighth" series is the standard for me.

WIP:  Monogram 1/72 B-26 (Snaptite) as 73rd BS B-26, 40-1408, torpedo bomber attempt on Ryujo

Monogram 1/72 B-26 (Snaptite) as 22nd BG B-26, 7-Mile Drome, New Guinea

Minicraft 1/72 B-24D as LB-30, AL-613, "Tough Boy", 28th Composite Group

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Thursday, February 5, 2015 7:01 PM

The First Team by Lundstrom is supposed to be a good overview of the USN carrier air war in 1942. The Cactus Air Force is an excellent read on both sides air operations during the Guadalcanal Campaign. To Win the Winter Sky is a very thorough look at both sides of the air campaign associated with the Battle of the Bulge. You may also want to look into the official US Army and US Navy histories that cover air war subjects.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    March 2009
  • From: Yorkville, IL
Posted by wolfhammer1 on Friday, February 6, 2015 2:43 PM

Stikpusher, Lundstrum's First Team and First Team at Guadalcanal are two of the best books I have read concerning the opening year of World War II from the perspective of US Naval aviation.  Given how long ago he published, he really set the standard for a scholarly work that is still ok to read.  Another book I have to recommend, even though it is not exclusive to the air war is Shattered Sword.  The authors break down the Battle of Midway hour by hour and in some cases minute by minute discussing the Japanese side of the battle, what the commanders knew and when they knew it and how that and their training influenced their decisions.  The appendices alone are reason to get the book.  there are many more options out there based on the specific topic you are looking for.  Enjoy!

John

Mij
  • Member since
    September 2014
Posted by Mij on Thursday, February 12, 2015 7:34 PM

I hate to admit it but the Epic of Flight series of book by Time/Life was the first dedicated WWII airwar books that I read. That was back in the 80s when Amazon and brick and mortar bookstores with a large selection was not an option going up in a small town in Nebraska. At least 5 of the books were dedicated to WWII air warfare:

Carrier War

USAAF at War

RAF at War

The Luftwaffe

Soviet Air Force at War

On the bench

1:48 Testors SPAD XIII

1:48 Revell P-47D Razorback

1:48 Hasegawa Bf 109E Galland

  • Member since
    March 2010
  • From: MN
Posted by Nathan T on Friday, February 13, 2015 8:38 AM

Mij

I hate to admit it but the Epic of Flight series of book by Time/Life was the first dedicated WWII airwar books that I read. That was back in the 80s when Amazon and brick and mortar bookstores with a large selection was not an option going up in a small town in Nebraska. At least 5 of the books were dedicated to WWII air warfare:

Carrier War

USAAF at War

RAF at War

The Luftwaffe

Soviet Air Force at War

I read all those From Time Life and more when I was just a Teen. Awesome books to get you into the Air wars and even the Golden age of flight.

 

 

  • Member since
    March 2009
  • From: Yorkville, IL
Posted by wolfhammer1 on Friday, February 13, 2015 6:11 PM

I still have them in a box in the basement.  Haven't looked at them for many years, but they were a decent overview.

John

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Friday, February 13, 2015 6:58 PM

When you really think about it, this subject area is so vast and diverse, it is hard to think of one book that would adequately break down and cover  the various aspects of WWII in the air. Every aspect of aviation was involved. Lighter than air, rotary wing, fixed wing, jets, rockets, piston engines, gliders, land planes, seaplanes... the more you look at it, the more you see.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

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