Swift to Battle: No. 72 Fighter Squadron RAF in Action: III 1947 to 1961 Into the Jet Age & Cold War Operations, Tom Docherty

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Swift to Battle: No. 72 Fighter Squadron RAF in Action: III 1947 to 1961 Into the Jet Age & Cold War Operations, Tom Docherty

This third volume in a history of No.72 Squadron starts with the squadron reforming in 1947 by the renumbering of No.130 Squadron, and follows it for the next fourteen years as it converted to the Gloster Meteor F.8, then the Meteor night fighter and finally the Gloster Javelin, before being disbanded in 1961. This was a peaceful period for the squadron, which spend all but six months of the period covered based in the UK, only sending one detachment into a potential combat zone - Cyprus, in the second half of 1958.

As a result the book has two main themes - daily life in an RAF squadron, and the operation of its jet aircraft. The second is probably of the widest interest, looking at the problems that came with the jet aircraft, as well as the frustration of being forced to fly the increasingly obsolete Meteor night fighter, something that became very obvious during a series of exercises in which No.72 Squadron was unable to intercept more modern jet bombers such as the Canberra.

The main text is well illustrated with numerous black and white pictures that give a really good feel of the period, but the highlight here is the section of colour plates, which include some impressive pictures of the Shuttleworth Gladiator, the Battle of Britain flight Spitfire in No.72 Squadron markings and both the Javelin and Meteor.

Chapters
1 - Odiham and Vampires
2 - North Weald
3 - Church Fenton
4 - Leconfield

Appendices
1 - Squadron Commanders, 1947-61
2 - Squadron Bases, 1947-61
3 - Aircraft Operations by No.72 Squadron, 1947-61
4 - Operation Fabulous (Dawn to Dusk Patrol)
5 - Museum Pieces

Author: Tom Docherty
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 134
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation
Year: 2010


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