Boeing B-17 Fortress
in RAF Coastal Command Service
Check out the second edition of the book.
Rejected as a bomber by the RAF, the B-17 was used extensively as a long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft by Coastal Command. This book tells the fascinating story of these operations, a vital but often overlooked part of the fight against the U-Boats. All the aircraft involved are listed, and the tedious but essential work of their crews described, including some epic encounters with enemy submarines. Fully illustrated with many wartime photos, and scale plans of the airframe modifications. Full colour profiles of representative aircraft.
- IPMSUSA.org 2012-11-04
- Scale Aircraft Modelling 09/2010 2012-11-04
- Aeromilitaria, Autumn 2010 2012-11-04
- Amazon.co.uk customer reiew 2012-11-04
- Flieger Revue Extra, no. 30 2012-11-04
- Model Airplane Int. 12/2010 2012-11-04
- Aeroplane 01/2011 2012-11-04
- AIR Modeller no 31 2012-11-04
- Amazon.com customer review 2012-11-04
- Amazon.co.uk customer review 2012-11-04
- Catalina News 78 2012-11-04
- Arifix Model World 03/2011 2012-11-04
- Cybermodeler.com 2012-11-04
- www.aircrewremembrancesociety.com 2012-11-04
- ModelingMadness.com 2012-11-04
- Flypast 2012-11-04
- MAM, August 2010 2012-11-04
- Hyperscale.com 2012-11-04
- www.aerostories.org 2012-11-04
- scalemodelingnow.com 2012-11-04
- MiniReplika 67 2010-10-17
- SP 10/2010 2010-10-17
- plastikowe.pl 2010-10-17
Reviewed by: John Ratzenberger, IPMS #40196
This is Mushroom's 100th book, and a grand one it is!! It's 248 pages in their fairly new A-4 format and although still a soft-cover, it includes a dust jacket with ads for about 18 forth-coming books, including the much anticipated (by me) Gloster Gamecock and Grebe and another in the Gladiator series.
This book couldn't be more timely. I have long been a fan of the Fortress, way back since I read Bert Stile's "Serenade to the Big Bird" and John Hershey's "The War Lover" some 50 years ago. Since then I've collected a few dozen books on the aircraft, the 8th Air Force, and its Bomb Groups. The "Queen of the Skies" is probably my favorite aircraft and I am always glad to add something really new to my library.
This year, a group of us established the IPMS/UK Coastal Command SIG. My interest in "The Cinderella Service" is an extension of my interest in the Battle of the Atlantic. For our inaugural display at Scale Model World 2010, I was going to do the Academy B-17C/D in Coastal Command scheme. You may have seen the side view photo of the Fortress I AN537 'NR-L' over a convoy. There are two versions of that photo, one with the squadron code and aircraft serial air-brushed out. Some captions claim that the ASV radar antennas were also air-brushed out but I have no images of any Fortress I with ASV antenna and was hoping this book would help me out.
RAF Coastal Command was established in 1937, from the post-WW1 Coastal Area, to provide land-based aircraft to cooperate with the Royal Navy. Its roles were reconnaissance (general and photo), air escort of convoys, anti-submarine, anti-shipping, air search, and meteorological survey. It is called the "Cinderella Service" not because they went to the ball with the prince in a wonderful coach, but because they were overshadowed by Fighter and Bomber Commands, last in priority for needed aircraft and equipment, and even yet there has not been an official history written to acknowledge their contribution. Coastal Command was caught right in the middle, between the great concern over the Battle of the Atlantic to keep the supply routes open and the emphasis on the strategic bombing of Germany, and struggled to get the long-range aircraft (i.e., heavy bombers) necessary to do its job.
At the start of WW2, Coastal Command had old biplane flying boats and torpedo bombers, the Avro Anson, and even some Tiger Moths for inshore patrol. Aircraft types expanded and the ability to provide air escort expanded accordingly -- the Lockheed Hudson being a particularly good performer as were the Sunderland and the Catalina (Canso) -- but a real long range aircraft was needed. The Liberator was the desired aircraft, and eventually became the workhorse, but in the interim some 75 Flying Fortresses were provided -- and this is what the book is about.
75 B-17's were furnished in 4 versions: Fortress I (8 B-17C), Fortress IIA (45 B-17E), Fortress II (19 B-17F), and the Fortress III (3 B-17G). The Fort's were used for air escort and anti-submarine duty, then when supplanted by Liberators, took on meteorological flying where its stable flight characteristics and ability to hold its own in ice made it a natural. The book is focused on the Fortress II and IIA and on the air-escort/anti-sub role -- this is where a high-altitude strategic bomber flies recon/escort over a convoy at a few thousand feet and then dives to attack a U-Boat at 50 feet altitude!!! If the U-Boat submerged, that was one thing, but if the U-Boat chose to fight it out on the surface, as was the directive for a while, then that crew and aircraft were flying into a hail of point-blank 20 and 30mm.
This book takes full advantage of a fairly limited topic -- 75 aircraft, 3 squadrons, and a single area of operations (well, mostly) -- and covers every aspect of it. The book is not a primer on the B-17 and, in fact, assumes some familiarity with it. After that, it's great history of Coastal Command covering their struggles to get aircraft and equipment and operations over the Atlantic, interspersed with action and crew vignettes. There's detailed lists of aircraft, crews, losses, and kills. Also included are operational instructions, and a final section on met-flights. All the background one could ask for -- amply illustrated with photos.
For modelers, along with all the photos, there is a 2-page chart of variants, 6 pages of scale drawings of the Fortress II and IIA, detailing all the items unique to the Coastal Command version of the B-17. The scale drawings also contain the conversion factors to scale them to 1/72 or 1/48, if you're arithmetically challenged. There's a 15-page discussion of camouflage and markings -- if you've ever dipped your toe in the Lend-Lease paint color pool, you'll know how complex that can be. One US-supplied variant of the Temperate Sea scheme (Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey) was described as 'sewage and slime'. And there are 10 pages of color profiles to finish it off.
If you want to know more, there is a 4-page list of sources and references, although I'm surprised that Air Chief Marshall Sir Philip Joubert's "Birds and Fishes: The Story of Coastal Command" is not listed -- I consider it the best one-volume read on the history and development of Coastal Command.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough -- well written, virtually error-free, comprehensive, and not just a rehash of over-published information, but a significant contribution to the slender volume of knowledge about RAF Coastal Command and a useful addition to the wealth of information available on the B-17 and the Battle of the Atlantic. This book is a complete one-volume source on the topic it covers.
I would like to sincerely thank Mushroom Model Publications for their superb effort and for the review sample, just as I would like to thank IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review it.
Oh, yes, and what about AN537, my aircraft project? Well, good news, bad news -- I found what I needed but it wasn't what I wanted. AN537 did indeed fly air escort, but sans the ASV radar. It went to the Coastal Combat Development Unit where the ASV was installed along for testing, still in its 220 Sqn markings -- there is a short report and a sketch of the antenna on the spine and sides. The ASV was removed before the aircraft was returned to service with 206 Sqn. So I can model AN537 NR-L with ASV, but while in test service, not combat. However, this all became moot - the SIG Leader asked that I do Lloyd Trigg's VC Liberator GR.V for the display, so the Fortress has been put back on the shelf for just a little while.
Scale Aircraft Modelling 09/2010 2012-11-04
Aeromilitaria, Autumn 2010 2012-11-04
Amazon.co.uk customer reiew 2012-11-04
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply superb,
4 Oct 2010
By Mr. Kelvin T. Youngs "Aircrew Remembrance Soc... (Norfolk, England)
This is one of the best book on this part of the aviation war. Very little is written about coastal command and this great, well illustrated book fills part of the gap. A must for any serious researcher.
Flieger Revue Extra, no. 30 2012-11-04
BOEING B-17 FORTRESS by Robert M. Stitt, Verlag Stratus 2010, A4, 248 Sides. Bound. ISBN 978-83-89450-88-3. 100
A book by the Polish publishing house Stratus with distribution by Mushroom (UK) addressing the “B-17 in RAF Coastal Command Service." This area has barely been highlighted before, so this publication fills a gap. The many historic photos illustrate the series of technical drawings depicting the various antennas and radar equipment added to the individual machines, which are also meticulously listed. And do not forget that these B-17 were also used for weather reconnaissance. There are six fascinating pages of three-view drawings by Juanita Franzi. These show, among many other details, the alternate external mounting for the cylindrical British depth charges (250Ib Mk.XI Torpex-filled depth charges, see facsimile right). Also interesting are the appendices making up nearly a third of the total pages. These include the ferry flights and Fortress crews in detail. A special gem, however, is a full reproduction of Coastal Command’s anti-submarine Tactical Instruction No. 41. This document leaves no more open questions about tactics. Some maps complement the text. Appendix L, consisting of 26 pages and 15 colour profiles, is solely concerned with camouflage and markings for the B-17 with RAF Coastal Command. Overall, an outstanding publication.
Model Airplane Int. 12/2010 2012-11-04
Aeroplane 01/2011 2012-11-04
AIR Modeller no 31 2012-11-04
Amazon.com customer review 2012-11-04
Average Customer Review
5.0 out of 5 stars (1 customer review)
By John Matlock "Gunny" (Winnemucca, NV)
Until this book I had no idea that Coastal Command flew any B-17's. Most of the accounts of Coastal Command talk about the earlier shorter ranged planes such as the Lockheed Hudson and the Short Sunderland. Then they move directly to their replacement by the B-24. Little known was the use of the B-17 as described in this book.
Coastal Command had several requirements for their patrol planes that couldn't be met by the standard B-17. These requirements included more fuel for longer range, less bomb load, fewer guns. In order to maximize their production runs, Boeing built only standard B-17's. These were then flown to the Cheyenne (Wyoming) Modification Center operated by United Airlines.
In another unknown incident described in the book, a United modified B-17 set up for very high altitude operation and very long range made a recon flight over Japan taking pictures to be used in planning the Doolittle Raid.
Amazon.co.uk customer review 2012-11-04
5.0 out of 5 stars A thorough study of one of the B-17s more unusual roles, 27 Feb 2011
By Howard Mitchell (United Kingdom)
In 1977 Robert Stitt was working in Papua New Guinea. An aviation enthusiast, he went to visit a wrecked B-17 near the town of Wau, a relic of the Pacific War. The aircraft he found was broken in half but otherwse in surprisingly good condition. Its paint was eroding, and its USAAF insignia had worn away to reveal, of all things, RAF markings. This book is the results of his research into the story of this particular aircraft and its fellows and covers a little known aspect of the Battle of the Atlantic, where a bomber designed to fly in close formation at high altitude ended up patrolling singly a few hundred feet above the ocean.
RAF Costal Command was always desperate to get as many long range aircraft as it could to counter the threat posed by U-Boats. The ideal aircraft for this was the B-24 Liberator, but such was the demand for these that the B-17 was also used. Enough B-17s (called the Fortress in British use) were provided to equip two squadrons. The Fortress had tremendous range, if not quite as long as the Liberator, and it was easy to fly, an important point for lengthy patrols. But it was not ideal - the bomb doors took 30 seconds to open, an eternity when an encounter with a diving U-Boat could last only seconds from start to finish, and critically its forward fire power was weak, a major drawback if a U-Boat decided to fight it out on the surface.
Stitt describes in details the procurement of Fortresses for Costal Command and their delivery across the Atlantic. The introduction of the type into service and early operations over the North Atlantic are described in detail, as is the transfer of the Fortress squadrons to the Azores when the U-Boats shifted their operations Southwards after their defeat in the Spring battles of 1943. The Fortress played a crucial part in this defeat for at the time it was one of few types with the range to influence the convoy battles raging in the mid Atlantic. With few aircraft in service Stitt is able to give a very thorough account of their use. Towards the end of the war the Fortress was re-assigned to Meteorological reconnaissance squadrons and their service in these is also covered.
The book also describes the various radar installations used by Fortresses. Initial American equipment was quickly replaced as it simply did not work. There are also evolutionary charts showing the modifications made to Fortresses through their life. For example the ball turret was removed when they deployed to the Azores due to the lack of any aerial opposition.
There are numerous annexes covering individual aircraft histories, crew profiles, colour schemes, U-Boats sunk or damaged, etc. One of these is a lengthy history of the New Guinea B-17 Stitt visited. (It had been ready for delivery to the British but taken back into USAAF service at the last minute). The book is very well illustrated with photographs many of which are very clear but some are more typical of WW2 era photography. A few are in colour and all informatively captioned. Scale plans and colour profiles are also included.
This is a very impressive, very thorough book. There are few areas of the Second World War air war which have not been written about and Stitt is to be congratulated on having produced such a fascinating volume on one of them. This is the 100th book published by MMP and they can also take pride in having presented such an interesting book so well. Well recommended to anyone with an interest in the Fortress or Costal Command.
Catalina News 78 2012-11-04The third book from Mushroom Model Publications/Stratus reviewed this time is Boeing B-17 Fortress in RAF Coastal Command Service by Robert M Stitt. The relevance of this book to wartime Catalina fans is obvious as the Catalina a n d t h e B - 1 7 s o f C o a s t a l ’ w e r e contemporaries and at least initially were tasked with similar anti-submarine responsibilities. They were also being delivered under Lend-Lease across the Atlantic to the UK at the same time. Latterly, the B-17 was re-tasked (not r e l e g a t e d ) o n t o m e t e o r o l o g i c a l reconnaissance duties, the results of which many Catalina crews were no doubt grateful for. So, the Catalina occasionally crops up in the narrative and there are two excellent photos showing 190 Squadron’s Catalina FP102/L rescuing the crew of the 206 Squadron Fortress II FA704 after it had been shot down by the German U-boat U-417 on June 11th, 1943. But the B-17 is of course the ‘star’ of this excellent book and Robert Stitt provides a detailed account of how it found its niche in Coastal Command after initial use of early versions by Bomber Command in the night-bombing role was less than successful. It’s all here – design and development, early bombing use, trials, acceptance by Coastal Command, operations, personal accounts, some very nice colour side views, data tables and crew casualties. In summary, a very welcome addition to any library of Coastal Command books. Like the Liberator book reviewed above, this is a solid A4 softback of 248 pages, reflected in the price of £24.99. The ISBN is 978 83 89450- 88 3. All three of these Mushroom Model Publications books are distributed by Orca Book Services and were provided by Chris Lloyd Sales and Marketing.
Arifix Model World 03/2011 2012-11-04
by Ray Mehlberger
Date of Review June 2010
Mushroom Model Publications is based in the UK. Their books are printed in Sandomierz, Poland by their associate Stratus Publications in the English language. Stratus also does books in the Polish language too.
This book is announced as being the release of MMP/Stratus’s 100th bookl. It is an in-depth history of the B-17 Fortress in RAF Coastal Command service during WW2.
Best known as a heavy bomber with the USAAF, the Fortress was rejected as a bomber by the RAF, but found an invaluable niche as a maritime reconnaissance aircraft with Coastal Command. For a brief, but critical period from late 1942 to mid 1943, the small number of RAF B-17’s played a major role in combating the U-boat menace, flying from bases in the UK and the Azores.
Once sufficient B-24 Liberators became available the B-17’s were phased out, but took on the equally important, but less permanent, role of meteorological reconnaissance, flying long and lonely sorties to provide the weather data essential for the bomber offensive.
The author, Roger Stitt has spent many years researching this history, and has been in touch with many of the (sadly dwindling number of) surviving air and ground crews. He describes in meticulous detail the history of those operations, quoting many personal reminiscences. He was born in Kent and spent much of his youth plane-spotting at airports around south-east England. Following Technical training with Hawker Siddeley aviation at Brough in Yorkshire, he spent five years managing projects among the former battlefields of the South-West Pacific, where he developed a keen interest in aviation archaeology. After moving to Canada, Robert worked in the aerial forest fire-fighting industry, where he began chronicling the fascinating variety of “retired” types employed in specialty aviation. In-depth articles on other rarely covered aviation topics followed, totaling some twenty published works to date. Robert lives with his wife on Vancouver Island.
The book is 248 pages long, soft-cover bound with a paper cover jacket in 8 ¼” x 11 ¾” page format. There 276 black and white photos. 77 of these are of aircraft crews and single individuals. 13 are portraits of crewmen that were killed and 9 are shots of nose arts on B-17’s used by the RAF. The book’s cover art is in color as well as 7 other photos in the book. 3 maps are included. There are 3 technical drawings, one of which shows how dorsal antennas were fitted.
Renowned aviation artist Juanita Franzi has drawn up accurate line-drawing plans of all the B-17 variants used by Coastal Command, including all the special modifications and radar fits. She has also prepared full color profiles of the colors and markings used by these aircraft, to provide modelers and enthusiasts with accurate information and inspiration. There are 18 of these color profiles. A full index is at the rear of the book and 23 information lists are included.
There are numerous cover arts of forthcoming books shown on the paper jacket of this book:
Desert Prelude, Operation Compass
Invincible Black Brigade, Polish 10th Cavalry Brigade 1939
Warpaint, Colours and Markings of British Army Vehicles 1903-2003
AFV’s in Irish Service Since 1922
Russo-Japanese Naval War 1905, Vol. 2
U.S. Army Ordnance Museum Aberdeen
Polish Aviation Museum Cracow
Gamecock & Grebe
Polish Tanks & Wheels, Vickers E, 7tp, C6P, C7P
Polish Wings no. 5, Ex-USAAF Aircraft 1945
Polish Wings no. 11, Mig-29
Polish Wings no. 12, Mig-29/Mig-29-UB
French Wings no. 1, Latecoere 290 & 298
French Wings no. 2, Nieuport Delage NiD 29 & NiD 62 Family
Swedish Fortresses, The Boeing F-17 Flying Fortress in Civil & Military Service
Consolidated Mess, The Illustrated Guide to Nose-turreted B-24 Production Variants in USAAF Combat Service
www.aircrewremembrancesociety.com 2012-11-04Any book that is published with information regarding Coastal Command is worth buying. This one goes beyond that need - 248 pages packed with first class information on the part played by the B-17 in R.A.F. Coastal Command. Great index and appendix showing many different records. This reference book contains hundreds of black and white photographs, a selection of colour plates, copies of various log books, colour profiles of the Fortress, artwork, the list goes on. Robert Stitt has a background of technical training with Hawker Siddeley Aviation and has also studied aviation archaeology. Now living in Canada, Robert continued with his interest working in the aerial forest firefighting industry. The book is currently sold as a paperback with a beautiful colour dust jacket, the printing layout is superb and well worth adding to the researchers library 10/10. Best book of it's type.
Reviewer: Scott Van Aken
This new book from Mushroom Models Publications provides us with the complete history on the Boeing B-17 in Coastal Command service. I mean the complete history. Within its 248 pages is more information on this use of the famous Fortress than you will find anywhere else.
With the German U-boat menace a major problem and no truly long range aircraft to help cover the inter-ocean gap, the RAF was looking for something that had the range needed. So they went shopping in the US and bought Liberator and Fortress bombers. Well, at least they thought they did. Actually, the US wasn't all that keen on quickly filling the orders as they were soon involved in the war themselves and felt that sending a lot of bombers to Britain wasn't in their best interest at the moment. The result is that the aircraft sort of trickled in.
Initially training on the older Fortress I (B-17C/D) aircraft, the crews learned first hand what a delight the plane was to fly. Unlike the Liberator, which was a bit of a struggle for most pilots, the Fortress was down right easy. It was also quickly discovered that these planes really didn't have the ultra long range that was needed. Of the two, the Liberator did have more range, but both types needed to reduce payload and increase fuel tankage. The normal place to put it was the bomb bay so on the Fortress, external racks were developed to carry additional depth bombs that could no longer be carried in the internal bay. Many Fortress IIs (B-17F models) also dispensed with the belly turret. The gunners who had to squeeze in there didn't like them and found they became easily disoriented. Makes one wonder how the USAAF gunners managed.
Getting back to the story, from the time period of 1942-43, the B-17 was available in larger numbers than the Liberator and it was much their usage from bases in the UK, Iceland and the Azores, that there was some air cover for convoys in the dangerous Atlantic route. These aircraft not only kept the U-boats at bay, but were successful in sinking a few as well. Eventually, they were replaced by Liberators and were turned over to Meteorological flights. Even here, they provided sterling service until the end of the war when most of these planes were scrapped.
The author does a superlative job of telling this important, but often overlooked saga of the Fortress history. There are an incredible number of sections to the book covering every aspect of the initial purchase of the planes through their various war bases and units until the very end of their existence. This is illustrated by a superb selection of period photos, some in full color as well as various charts, graphs and an excellent section of profiles. Included are full plans on the aircraft as well as a short history of each plane and the ever popular 'More'. Actually, there is so much information in the book, that is truly impossible to cover it in this brief review. Let us just say that when you pick up this book, you will not be disappointed. Like other Mushroom Model/Stratus publications, it is superbly done and I give it my highest recommendation.
MAM, August 2010 2012-11-04
Reviewed by Glen Porter
Considering this is Mushroom’s 100th title, there's no need to state how prolific they are, only to say in my opinion they just get better and better.
When the RAF first tested the B-17 Fortress Mk I, they rejected it for night time bombing and as they were unwilling to revert to daylight raids they handed them over to Coastal Command who were desperate for long range aircraft to close the mid Atlantic air cover gap. The B-17 was ideal, being easy to fly, reliable and comfortable considering they would be in the air for ten or more hours.
After a short introduction and two forewards we get into the book proper, with titles like Past Lessons, Long-Range Operations, Middle East Side Show, Search Tools, Conflicting Demands and Early Operations. These chapters all concern the early B-17C/Fortress Mk I and its suitability to Bomber Command, trials in North Africa, development of air-bourn radar and handing over to Coastal Command.
What follows is the Cheyenne Modification Center, Fortress II, Transatlantic Delivery, Pioneer Crews, Testing and Into Service. This covers the first major modification to the B-17, the “E” and “F” models/ Fortress IIA and II, work done on the aircraft schedualed for RAF delivery, the crews who flew them across the Atlantic and getting them into service with Coastal Command.
This is just the first twelve chapers of over forty covering the use of the B-17 by Coastal Command, initially from air bases in Northern Scotland (Benbecula) followed by a short stint in Southern England and then a move to the Azores. All the while there are decriptions of establishing the base at Lagens airfield in the Azores, a tipical mission, attacking a U-boat, successes, failures and accidents.
By the end of 1943, the Battle Of the Atlntic had been won and although some anti-submarine patrols were still flown the main emphisis for long-range Coastal Command squadrons began to change to meteorological data gathering, boring but necessary.
An aside from the main story is the fate of a B-17E “Mystery Ship” wreck seen near Wau in Papua New Guinea by the auther nearly forty years after it crashed there where most of the US markings had weathered off to reveal a set of RAF colours and markings. Its US serial was 41-9234, still visable on the tail and it turned out to be one of the aircraft earmarked for the RAF via Lend-Lease but subsequently retained by the USAAF for service in the Pacific.
Six pages of scale drawings showing the main modificatione done to most of the aircraft followed by the Appendixes, A to M listing everything from individual aircraft histories, U-boats sunk or damaged to Met Profiles Performed and nose art.
Last but certainly not least are the 15 profiles by Juanita Franzi. Superbly presented in full colour, there are 3 Mk Is in various schemes, 10 Mk IIAs including one that had a large gun fitted in the nose and three of the New Guinea “Mystery Ship” and finally two Mk IIs including plan and underside views. In the captions for these profiles are included the page numbers where photos of each may be viewed.
This is another great book published by Dr. Wallgrove, its just a pity the Academy kit doesn't live up to the book but then Revell is about to release a 1/72nd scale B-17 which I'm told will be a “G” but could there be an”E” or “F” in the future? Hmmm!
The Boeing Flying Fortress in the RAF did not meet the success the British expected and the British use of the B-17 is always overshadowed by the American B-17s. However, even used in small numbers, the Flying Fortress in the RAF made its war during three long years. After a disastrous debut of the B-17C with Bomber Command, the career of the B-17 with the British could have been stopped as early as beginning 1942. But after positive trials of the type with Coastal Command and a desperate need of long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, the RAF decided to introduce a limited numbers of Flying Fortresses into its front-line squadrons.
Robert Stitt told us in depth this part of the RAF history which has been neglected in the past. In the first 140 pages, the author explains in details what has been the career of the Fortress in the RAF, as maritime reconnaissance aircraft first, then in the Meteorological squadrons. The last 100 pages are dedicated to numerous appendices and this put altogether, we have the feeling to have a good and instructive book in hands illustrated with about 200 photographs.
For sure, this book will find its way on any B-17 Flying Fortress enthusiast’s bookshelves and will seduce anyone interested in the RAF and its aircraft. This book is filling a big gap which was missing for too many years.
Reviewed by Geoff Coughlin
As you can imagine, much has been written about the B-17 Flying Fortress – indeed I have a book or two staring at me from my bookshelf. However, what makes this, the 100th release from MMP so interesting is that the whole of this new title is devoted to the Fortress in RAF Coastal Command Service during WWII. Best known as a heavy bomber with the USAAF, the Fortress was rejected as a bomber by the RAF but found an invaluable niche as a maritime reconnaissance aircraft with Coastal Command. For a brief but critical period from late 1942 to mid 1943 the small number of RAF B-17s played a major role in combating the U-Boat menace, flying from bases in the UK and Azores. Once sufficient B-24 Liberators became available the B-17s were phased out. They took on the equally important but less prominent role of meteorological reconnaissance, flying long and lonely sorties to provide the weather data so essential for the bomber offensive.
The author, Robert Stitt has spent many years researching this history and has been in touch with many of the (now sadly dwindling number of) surviving air and ground crew. He describes in meticulous detail the history of these operations, quoting many personal reminiscences and the book is illustrated by many rare photos drawn from the official archives and personal collections.
To compliment the text and photos, renowned aviation artist Juanita Franzi has drawn up accurate plans of all the B-17 variants used by Coastal Command, including all the special modifications and radar fits. She has also prepared full colour artwork of the colours and markings used by these aircraft, to provide scale modellers and enthusiasts with accurate information and inspiration. Scale modelling focus…
This title is going to appeal to everyone, mainly because the focus of the book is so original – we’ve rarely seen anything like this written about the B-17 Fortress before. The images are certainly inspirational – just look at the weathering around the front of the Fortress in the image above. The nose art is also worth noting. Perhaps some of the extra modelling attraction comes in the form of the superb colour profiles by Juanita Franzi – these are amongst the best I’ve seen anywhere and add real value to the title from a scale modelling perspective. Importantly, several profiles are offered with a plan and underside view adding to their value still further.
Plans are always helpful when trying to make an accurate representation of any model and in this instance the RAF Coastal Command Fortresses had plenty of extra aerials and antennae that are well illustrated.
The separate section dealing with individual aircraft histories is particularly helpful and will help you pin down serial numbers applicable to any individual aircraft that you are trying to model.
What I liked most of all is the readability of the text – informative certainly, but written in a way that encourages you to read on and discover more. As I have said, this is a title for everyone remotely interested in the RAF and WWII aviation history.
MiniReplika 67 2010-10-17
SP 10/2010 2010-10-17
Informacje o Coastal Command są w Polsce dość rzadkie, jako że sama formacja nie jest u nas zbyt dobrze znana. Dla większości zaskoczeniem może być fakt, że 304 Dywizjon od 7 maja 1942 do 30 maja 1945 roku wchodził w skład Coastal Command. O jednostce tej można przeczytać w książce 304 Squadron. Wellingtony przeciwko U-bootom, wydanej przez Mushroom Model Publications pod numerem katalogowym #7106.
Najnowszy tytuł MMP nie omawia całości działań Coastal Command. Skupia się na historii zakupu i zastosowania bombowców Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress w siłach obrony wybrzeża. Osoby czytujące nieistniejący już historyczny magazyn lotniczy AIR Enthusiast mogą pamiętać serię artykułów dotyczących B-17 w Coastal Command. Na potrzeby niniejszej publikacji zostały przejrzane oraz znacząco uzupełnione i poprawione.
Książka omawia potrzeby Coastal Command na początku wojny o Atlantyk, genezę zakupu i modyfikacji B-17 do potrzeb zwalczania U-Bootów oraz akcje bojowe. Opisano także zadania dywizjonów rozpoznania meteo. Licznie cytowane są relacje z akcji, autor podaje również szereg informacji dotyczących załóg oraz losów poszczególnych samolotów.
Całość oparta jest o bardzo bogatą bibliografię przedmiotu, w tym dokumenty źródłowe z archiwów Wielkiej Brytanii i Australii. To rzadkość na dzisiejszym rynku wydawniczym, gdzie prym wiodą publikacje będące kopiami innych publikacji. Ponownie wydawnictwu MMP i jego ekipie należą się wyrazy uznania za publikację kosztownych i trudniejszych, lecz zdecydowanie bardziej wartościowych tytułów. Jakość edytorska
W przypadku publikacji MMP ta część recenzji jest nudna do bólu: wysoka jakość papieru i druku. Podobnie jak w przypadku innych publikacji z „białej serii”, tak i w tym przypadku słabszym punktem jest miękka okładka. Dzięki niej książka ma niższą cenę, więc jest to zdrowy kompromis.
W przypadku tej publikacji należy także uważać na okolicznościową obwolutę. To już setny tytuł wydany przez Mushroom Model Publications, więc życzę wydawnictwu kolejnych setek o równie dużej zawartości tego, co wszyscy lubią najbardziej. Plany, zdjęcia i profile
Na sześciu stronach (140–145) opublikowano dokładne plany samolotów w skali 1/108, wraz z przelicznikiem do powiększeń dla skali 1/72 oraz 1/48. Dodatkowo wyrysowano szereg rysunków ze szczegółami zmian konstrukcyjnych, wynikających z modyfikacji do zadań zwalczania okrętów podwodnych oraz rozpoznania meteo. Te rysunki na ogół opublikowano w skali 1/72, pojedyncze opublikowano w skali 1/48 i 1/32. W tej ostatniej pokazano także wyrzutnik bombowy oraz bombę głębinową Mark IX.
Zdjęcia prezentowane w książce są mało znane polskiemu czytelnikowi. Większość będzie bardzo pomocna przy budowie modeli, pokazując podział plam kamuflażowych czy detale konstrukcji. Szczególnym zainteresowaniem będzie się cieszyć pięć barwnych zdjęcia z epoki.
Plansze barwne są duże i przedstawiają pełen przekrój malowań brytyjskich B-17 w służbie Coastal Command. Od kamuflażu amerykańskiego, przez szereg odmian malowań typowych dla lotnictwa obrony wybrzeża, aż po malowanie w naturalnej barwie metalu z 1944 roku. Doskonale uzupełniają obszerny (11 stron) rozdział o malowaniu i oznakowaniu.
Książka jest obowiązkową lekturą dla osób zainteresowanych lotnictwem obrony wybrzeża oraz bitwą o Atlantyk. Jest także niezbędna wszystkim tym, którzy chcieliby zbudować interesujący model bombowca B-17 z okresu II wojny światowej. Decyzja o budowie modelu B-17 w wersji i malowaniu Coastal Command jest gwarancją uzyskania interesującego modelu w kolekcji.
Książkę do recenzji udostępniło Wydawnictwo Stratus. Dziękujemy.
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