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An aviator’s true story of WWII air combat, including two dramatic weeks in the skies above the besieged island of Malta. Twenty-five thousand feet above Malta—that is where the Spitfires intercepted the Messerschmitts, Macchis, and Reggianes as they swept eastward in their droves, screening the big Junkers with their bomb loads as they pummeled the island beneath: the most bombed patch of ground in the world. One of those Spitfire pilots was George Beurling, nicknamed “Screwball,” who in fourteen flying days destroyed twenty-seven German and Italian aircraft and damaged many more. Hailing from Canada, Beurling finally made it to Malta in the summer of 1942 after hard training and combat across the Channel. Malta Spitfire tells his story and that of the gallant Spitfire squadron, 249, which day after day ascended to the “top of the hill” to meet the enemy against overwhelming odds. With this memoir, readers experience the sensation of being in the cockpit with him, climbing to meet the planes driving in from Sicily, diving down through the fighter screen at the bombers, dodging the bullets coming out of the sun, or whipping up under the belly of an Me for a deflection shot at the engine. This is war without sentiment or romance, told in terms of human courage, skill, and heroism—a classic of WWII military aviation.
An RAF fighter pilot’s “intensely vivid” account of the siege of Malta in World War II (The Times Literary Supplement). In the summer of 1942, Malta was vulnerable to air attack from the Germans and Italians, and defended by a handful of Spitfires and a few anti-aircraft guns. Denis Barnham, a young and inexperienced flight lieutenant, spent ten hectic weeks on this indomitable island; he left a well-ordered English aerodrome for the chaos and disillusionment of Luqa. His task was to engage the overwhelming number of enemy bombers, usually protected by fighter escorts, and shoot down as many as possible. The Spitfires were bomb-scarred and battered. Oftentimes they could only get two or three in the air together, and the airfields were riddled with bomb craters, but they managed to keep going and make their mark on enemy operations. Barnham has written a powerful account of his experiences in Malta, starting with his trip in an American aircraft carrier through the ceaseless battle and turmoil during the desperate defense of the island, through his departure by air back to England, having seen the reinforcements safely landed and the tide of battle turning. With thrilling and terrifying descriptions and illustrations of the air action, this account, told with humor and compassion, is one of the best firsthand accounts of aerial combat ever written.
In the desperate battle for Malta in 1941-2, when German and Italian bombers pounded the island, the arrival of Spitfire Vs helped turn the tables in favor of the Allies. Flown from RN and USN carriers, and some even direct from Gibraltar, the Spitfires significantly enhanced the defenses. For many years arguments have raged about the precise color schemes carried by these aircraft in this new book Brian Cauchi looks at all the evidence, from photos and personal memories through to surviving parts of these aircraft, and presents his personal interpretation of the many color schemes, official and otherwise, carried by these hard-pressed and hardworking warplanes. REVIEWS For anyone interested in the air war in the Mediterranean or interesting Spitfire camouflages, this is an excellent book to have.Internet Modeler
An authoritative account of the final Allied victory over Malta.
The siege of Malta during World War 2 is one of the great epics of aerial warfare. In 1942, it was described alternately as both a 'fighter pilot's paradise' and 'the most bombed place on earth'. During the peak of the Axis efforts against Malta, it suffered 154 consecutive days and nights of bombing, 100 nights more that London suffered during the Blitz. The destruction of Axis convoys by Malta-based aircraft proved to be one of the decisive factors in the defeat of Rommel's forces in North Africa. This vital position would have been lost if it had not been for the successful defence of the island by a handful of greatly outnumbered Royal Air Force fighter squadrons. In the brutal and unforgiving air war over Malta only the very best fighter pilots succeeded, and all too often that was no guarantee of living another day. This book details the heroic story of the Spitfire Aces based on Malta. Drawn from an international team of Australians, British, Canadians, New Zealanders, Rhodesians and South Africans these pilots fought against extreme deprivation, physical hardships and overwhelming odds in one of the most crucial and decisive air battles of World War II.
The introduction of Italy into the Second World War on 10 June 1940 signalled the start of the siege of Malta, and for the next two and a half years the Axis powers did all they could to batter the small island into submission. Maltas defences were initially verging on non-existent but the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, could not give up on the island. Laying at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, where the supply route between Italy and the Axis armies in Libya crossed the Allied sea route between Gibraltar and Alexandria, almost exactly at its mid-point, Malta was strategically too important and held the key to the door of the desert war being fought in North Africa.If Malta could be held then it would allow British forces to maintain an offensive capability in the Mediterranean and prevent Axis supplies from reaching North Africa. But everything needed to fight a campaign people, food, fuel, ammunition, medical stores, aircraft and spares would have to be delivered to Malta in sufficient numbers and on a regular basis. It would take a monumental air and maritime effort just to survive, let alone hit back, and to manage both would require those in command to carefully balance Maltas precious and limited resources. Otherwise, it meant surrender and who knows what the outcome of the Second World War might have been had the island fallen. Here, the accomplished military author Peter Jacobs tells the extraordinary story of the heroic defence and re-supply of the Fortress Island of Malta during the longest siege in British history.Links End Links Author

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