Osprey's Short Sterling Units of WW2


Jonathan Falconer


Osprey Publishing


$23.00 MSRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 96 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softbound
ISBN: 978-1-4728-2024-6

The Short Stirling is often forgotten when it comes to British WW2 bombers. This is despite the iconic photo of Winston Churchill watching a Sterling taking off. The Sterling has the honor of being the UK's first four engine monoplane bomber and it certainly was a plane that was needed. At least so it seemed to the RAF. However, it was penalized by a couple of things. One is that it had to fit into current hangars, limiting its wingspan to 99 feet. Current hangers had a 100 foot opening. Second is that its bomb bay was split into three sections longitudily. This limited the size of the bomb it could carry to 2,000 pounds.

The short wing span meant rather high wing loading. The plane required a longer than normal take off run. It also limited its altitude to about 16,000 feet, which really wasn't high enough to escape enemy anti-aircraft. Even then it could not reach that altitude with a full bomb and fuel load. The plus side is that gave the aircraft a very good roll rate. When the plane was empty of bombs and had a lightened fuel load, it could out turn all German tactical aircraft of 1940 except the 109.

The aircraft also had issues with the landing gear collapsing. In fact the first flight of the prototype ran into this issue. The relatively slow introduction of the type in service due to a myriad of issues that needed to be corrected was not something that made the RAF happy and when units were forced to start operations, the number of planes involved were generally miniscule.

By 1943 it as pretty much out of the bombing business. However, it was put into a role for the tye plane excelled and that was paratroop transport and glider tug. When the original specifications were drawn up, it was intended for it to be able to carry 24 fully equipped troops. Indeed, in the major British paratroop drops of WWII, it wasn't the Dakota that did most of the work, it was the Sterling. Once the war was over, the type was quickly scrapped and by late 1946, few were still around.

We are provided the history of the plane's development, its squadron use as a bomber and then its use as a tug/transport. We are also provided with the differences between the variants. As usual, there are some great period photographs and some excellent full color profiles of the various types and squadrons. It makes for a very well done book on this type and one that I know you will enjoy reading as much as did I. .

the Spanish Civil War along with its overseas sale. This then develops into the various operations of bomber units during the progress of the war. This is divided into three major segments covering the Mediterranean, North Africa, and East Africa. There are tons of great period photos as well as the usual fine full color profiles we expect from this series. It all makes for a superb look at this important Italian bomber and is one that I can easily recommend to you.

March 2018

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