South African Air Force Fighter Colors #1
|Piet van Schalkwyk & William Marshall|
|$48.95 from www.casematepublishing.com|
80 pages, A4 format,
It has been about three years since I reviewed the first book in this series and now we have the second. Like the initial offering, this one is an interesting subject and one that few know much about. This first offering concentrates on the SAAF in East Africa during 1940-42.
It was decided that the SAAF would handle most of the work in this theater in regards to air defense and supporting the Commonwealth cause. For the most part, these forces were up against the Italians and so it was a fairly good match-up as both sides were equipped with fairly obsolescent aircraft types. The SAAF even had some Hawker Fury biplane fighters and Vickers Valetta bombers and transports. Against them, the Italians had Ca.131 bombers transports as well as CR.32/42 biplane fighters. In response the SAAF was able to get some Gauntlet and Gladiator fighters and a bit later some early mark Hurricanes and some Curtiss Mohawks.
Fortunately these were more than capable of doing the job required. Good thing as the RAF was fairly busy in other theaters of the war and had precious little new equipment to spare, though this changed as the war progressed. I'm sure that the second volume on the subject will have more to do with North Africa, but it is very much a delight to have East Africa covered as it is a bit of an unknown to most of us.
The book has the majority of chapters concerning the squadrons operating in theater. This means that you get a chronological order history that includes not only the battles fought but also the implementation of various types in service and the development of any unit markings/badges. This takes up about half the book.
The second half is dedicated to aircraft finishes (camouflage and markings), and is divided more by aircraft type than by unit. The final section of the book are color profiles. These are all based on photos in the book and are as interesting as the rest of the read. In fact, there are a goodly number of photos throughout the book. The info sheet says 112 photos and 23 full color profiles. In all, it makes for a great read on a subject that is interesting. Well worth picking up and one I can easily recommend.
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