Price begins with two chapters dedicated to the Spitfire V itself, looking at its initial development as a stop-gap while the Spitfire III was under development, its adoption as the main version of the Spitfire, and the efforts made to improve it.
He then moves on to look at the active service of the Spitfire V, first over North West Europe in 1941 and then on Malta. These chapters contain a well written narrative history supported by a number of illuminated quotes from the pilots themselves. Tactics of a Malta Ace concentrates on one pilot, Reade F. Tilley, an American who had volunteered to join the RCAF and who spent four months on Malta at the height of the battle. This is a particularly interesting chapter, giving a good insight into the experience of one pilot.
From Malta we move to North Africa, and then finally to Australia, Russia, Sicily, Italy and South East Asia. This is the chapter that most resembles the more standard fight by fight narrative of the Aircraft of the Aces series, partly because the Spitfire V spent less time in those theatres.
Price finishes with biographies of the top twelve Spitfire V aces, allowing us to follow these pilots through their Spitfire V careers in a way that is difficult in the rest of the book.
This is a nicely balanced well illustrated look at the combat career of the Spitfire V and of the men who flew it.
Stop-Gap Spitfire Variant
Improving the Breed
In action over North-West Europe
Air Battle for Malta
Tactics of a Malta Ace
Spitfire Vs Far and Wide
Top Spitfire Mk V Aces
Author: Dr Alfred Price