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Old 08-02-2016, 08:53
Bushy Bushy is offline
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Default Fire in the Sky

I realize it is not a new book on the streets, but for those who have not read it worth finding and reading.

Fire in The Sky, The Australian Flying Corps in the First World War by Michael Molkentin, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest NSW 2010. 340 pages telling the stories of the small band of pioneers who made up the AFC 1914 to 1919. Only 880 officers and 2,840 men served in the corps in the period. Of that number there were 410 pilots and 153 observers.

The book draws on extensive research of documents and recollections of relatives of AFC members. As the author says, all who had served in the AFC were dead before he began his research - he is only a young tad, in his 30s at this stage working at ADFA.

Michael appears to have gained a good feeling for the Corps from his research. As a flyer from a later era I can understand and admire what the aircrew achieved in that war when the aircraft was nothing more than a novelty before the conflict. The damage that air power can inflict on people and equipment on the ground, and the effect that seeing the death and destruction can have on the people wreaking damage is one great lesson.

This book deals in detail with the operations of and operators in No 1 Sqn in the Middle East and No 2 Sqn, No 3 Sqn and No 4 Sqn in France and Belgium. Mention is also made of the training squadrons in the UK.

I enjoyed the book. marvelling at the courage and innovation shown by the aircrews, and comparing their bravery with the easy time I had in bombing the Cong in Viet Nam. Still I could see similarities - do the best you can while flying then back to base for other activities, especially a beer or three. Don't think too much about the effects on people on the ground.

One piece I liked was mention of flying arseholes (PP 131-2). Friendly rivalry between pilots and observers. That went on to the time I flew, officially as a navigator, but in practice an operator of weapons systems. The bomb aimer on Canberras, the GIB (guy in back) on the F-4 with primary control of the radar and RHAWS, and wizzo (weapons systems operator) on the F-111. On the Phantoms as GIBs we referred to the pilots as nose gunners, and there was always some rivalry between members of the aircrew categories.

Have a read of this one. It's been around for five or six years, but better late than never.
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Old 17-02-2016, 03:34
setter1 setter1 is offline
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Bushy - I agree I reviewed it when it came out for some mags - its an excellent work
Kind regards
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Old 26-04-2016, 08:00
Les Peintres Les Peintres is offline
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I found a copy in the local library and agree it is well worth reading.

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