22 February 2017
Seaplanes, suicide planes and Americans in Suffolk are the subjects of a trio of new books from Fonthill Media.
Schneider Trophy Seaplanes and Flying Boats by Ralph Pegram
The Coupe d’Aviation Maritime Jacques Schneider – commonly called the Schneider Trophy, or prize or cup – was a prize competition for seaplanes. Announced by Jacques Schneider in 1911, a financier, balloonist and aircraft enthusiast, it offered a prize of roughly £1,000 and was held eleven times between 1913 and 1931. It was meant to encourage technical advances in civil aviation, but became a contest for pure speed with laps over a triangular course.
The races were very popular and attracted crowds of over 200,000 spectators. The race was very significant in advancing aeroplane design, particularly in the fields of aerodynamics and engine design, and would show its results in the best fighters of World War II. The streamlined shape and the low drag, liquid-cooled engine pioneered by Schneider Trophy designs are obvious in the Supermarine Spitfire, P-51 Mustang and Macchi C.202 Folgore fighters.
Schneider Trophy Seaplanes and Flying Boats: Victors, Vanquished and Visions is a history of the 100+ different aircraft types designed to contest for the Schneider Trophy from its inception in 1912 through to the final postscript in 1934. The narrative covers the political dynamics of the contests, the rivalries and the partnerships that led to the development of these aircraft. Each aircraft and engine is described along with the story of their construction and testing.
The core of the book is a set of detailed 1:72 scale three-view drawings and photographs from the author’s personal collection, most of which have not been published previously. The text and drawings draw upon the author’s comprehensive library of drawings, photographs, blueprints, reports, books and magazines on the subject, and contain much new information. Most of these aircraft, including some of the better-known types, have been served poorly in the past in terms of availability of drawings.
The book will appeal both to readers with a casual interest in the Schneider Trophy and to those seeking a comprehensive source of information on the subject.
- Price: £40
- ISBN: 978-1-78155-179-0
- Format: Hardback, 352 pages
Axis Suicide Squads by Justo Miranda
During the Second World War, Germany and Japan developed several types of anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles; however, the Allies were technologically superior in electronic warfare by mid-1944 to interfere with the guidance systems of first generation missile weapons. Consequently, the Japanese were believed to have found the tactic to stop US invasion fleets with terminal dive bombing and the Germans adapted their Sturmjäger hunting squadrons with ramming tactics learnt from the Russians.
Once the radio frequency war was lost, Axis scientists tried to develop other control techniques, but the acoustic, electrostatic and infrared sensors, together with television guidance systems, were not ready on time and broken cables made the wire-guided bombs frequently fail. Both countries began to design ramming fighters and suicide bombers when the futile devastation of their cities by Allied bombers ensured that there would not be a lack of volunteer pilots.
A fascinating book for the military historian, modeller and those interested in aviation, Axis Suicide Squads: German and Japanese Secret Projects of the Second World War is gloriously illustrated and covers all known designs of Axis suicide and panic fighters.
- Price: £30
- ISBN: 978-1-78155-565-1
- Format: Hardback, 288 pages
The USAAF in Suffolk by Roy Brazier and Peter W. Bodle
The East of England, particularly Suffolk, became a new home for thousands of American airmen during the Second World War. After their arrival in 1942, there were over 10,000 in the country by 1943. The largest concentration was in Suffolk, which had more USA airfields than any other English county. Their arrival was called the Friendly Invasion as they suddenly found themselves in the middle of the East Anglian countryside. The Americans brought with them chewing gum, Coca-Cola and peanut butter, and introduced the big band sounds and jitterbugging dancing. In return, the British taught the GIs the gentle art of darts and dominos when the newcomers ventured into the sacred English public houses.
The USAAF in Suffolk examines the meeting of two cultures, while stories are related of the aircraft victories and losses, plus accidents, which sometimes shook the countryside. Missions by the bombers and fighters of the USAAF are included to show what desperate times these were for airmen and country folk of Suffolk.
- Price: £20
- ISBN: 978-1-78155-346-6
- Format: Hardback, 224 pages