Fighters under Construction in World War Two, Graham M. Simons

Fighters under Construction in World War Two, Graham M. Simons

This entry in the Images of War series looks at the construction of British fighters of the Second World War (and the Airacobra, but for some reason not the Mustang), as well as examining the construction of 20mm cannon, engines, propellers and the manufacturing process itself.  

In my opinion this is the best entry in the Images of War series. The pictures are truly unusual, and show a very different aspect of the war to that normally seen. The pictures of early stages in the construction process are perhaps the most interesting, showing details of each aircraft's construction that are much harder to understand just from text descriptions. A classic example is the difference between the Spitfire and the Hurricane. On the Hurricane we see the rigid framework that gave the aircraft its strength, forming a tight grid while on the Spitfire the stressed skin construction allowed the use of a lighter underlying framework built around a series of frames and the pictures really show the difference in the amount of material involved.

I was particularly interested in the section on the Mosquito, which shows the complex carpentry required to build the 'wooden wonder'. The four pictures showing the stages involved in the production of the two halves of the split fuselage are fascinating, showing the complex structure being build around a mould before most of the details disappear under the outer shell.

As well as the individual aircraft there are also sections on the construction of the 20mm cannon, the Rolls Royce Merlin and Napier Sabre engines (although the Merlin material doesn't get its own chapter heading), propellers and parts of the manufacturing process, each of which contains some fascinating pictures. The captions are also excellent, providing a clear description of what we are seeing as well as some interesting wartime captions.

This is a super book with a fascinating collection of unusual pictures that provide a valuable insight into the construction of Second World War aircraft and that will be great value to anyone with an interesting in wartime aviation.

An Organic Spitfire
A Spit wiv an 'ook'
Hundreds of Hurricanes
Typhoon Time
Napier Sabre Power
The Tempest
Wood or Metal Blades
Airacobra of the RAF!
Small Scale Track Builds
Whispering Death
Making the Best Use of Labour
Making the Cannon
The Wooden Wonder
All Wired Up
Fighters to Train - the Miles Master
Alas Poor Walrus
Continuous Cutting By Copy
Too Late to See War Service - the DH Hornet

Author: Graham M. Simons
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 128
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation
Year: 2013

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