The Battle of Britain, John Frayn Turner

The Battle of Britain, John Frayn Turner

This is a very different book to most recent works on the Battle of Britain. The dry analytical tone of many works has been replaced by the breathless excitement of the battle itself, seen largely from the British point of view, and within that with a bias towards Leigh Mallory, Douglas Bader and the 'Big Wing'. Their views have been rather out of fashion in recent works on the battle, and it's refreshing to see the alternative view of events represented for a change (even if I don't actually agree with the author's conclusions in this case). What Frayn Turner does do is provide a more accurate view of Bader's views on the 'Big Wing' than the sometimes exaggerated accounts sometimes used to attack his ideas, making Bader seem a rather more reasonable figure than is sometimes the case.

The author has personal connections to many of the pilots who took part in the battle, and helped Bader write his own history of the Spitfire and Hurricane, 'Fight for the Sky', so the text is supported by some superb eyewitness accounts of the fighting, many of them unfamiliar. He has also written extensively on Bader and the air war, and his knowledge comes across clearly.

This is a useful addition to the literature on the Battle of Britain, presenting a different and somewhat out-of-fashion view of the battle, and serving as a valuable reminder of the controversies that surrounded Park and Dowding's handling of the battle at the time.

1 Hurricane and Spitfire Prelude
2 From Dunkirk to Day One
3 The Battle Begins
4 Enter Bomber Command
5 Eagle Day
6 15 August
7 16 August
8 Biggin Hill and Kenley
9 The Five-Day Lull
10 Battle in the Balance
11 Enter Douglas Bader
12 Airfields under Siege
13 The WAAF at War
14 London - and the Duxford Wing
15 Day and Night Raids on Capital
16 The Climax Approaches
17 The Decisive Day - Morning
18 The Decisive Day - Afternoon
19 Invasion Postponed
20 The Battle in Won
21 The Blitz

Author: John Frayn Turner
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 253
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation
Year: 2010 edition of 1995 original

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