07 June 2018
The Multirole Fighter
Author: Philip Birtles
Reviewed by: Duncan Evans
While the glamorous Spitfire is the British WWII fighter that everyone loves, there were in fact more Hawker Hurricanes involved in the Battle of Britain. However, it was the Hurricane’s flexibility, ability to take a good pounding and ease of subsequent repair that made it so useful. This large book by Philip Birtles, printed on nice-quality paper so there are photos throughout, sets out to showcase just how useful the Hurricane was to the war effort.
The Battles of France and Britain are covered but the scope of the narrative widens to include RAF organisation and the development and use of the radar network. This is all to set the scene but it does make for heavier reading than it might have been. Still, it’s seeing where the Hurricane was deployed that makes for the interest here – off to Russia to help defend against the Nazi onslaught, into the desert of North Africa and even from the decks of merchant ships. There’s plenty of detail on the disposition of forces, how the planes performed, but what’s lacking are personal anecdotes from those who flew the aircraft. What is interesting, though, is how the Hurricane was constantly modified for whatever threat or objective it was facing. It all goes to show just how valuable the Hurricane was.
• Fonthill Media
• 452 pages • Hardcover • £40
As reviewed in The Armourer November 2017