Books
David Wragg

Fighter Operations in Europe and North Africa, 1939–1945

Fighter Operations in Europe and North Africa 1939–1945 tells the story of Allied and German fighter pilots in Europe, over the Mediterranean and in North Africa during the Second World War. The book starts with the early skirmishes as each side tested the others defenses, moves through the Battle of Britain and then the Blitz, when the emphasis switched from single-engined day fighters to twin-engined night fighters, while increasingly fighters were used to sweep over enemy air fields and lines of communication in occupied France. This overlapped with the need to provide air cover for the besieged island fortress of Malta by day and by night, as well as defensive operations against Axis forces in Crete and North Africa, but as the balance of power changed in North Africa, the Desert Air Force was formed incorporating elements from many Allied air forces and the emphasis moved to offensive operations in support of ground forces. The invasions of Italy and the South of France also called for fighter cover, initially by carrier-based aircraft. The lessons learnt in North Africa were put to good use by the 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force, which accompanied the advancing allied armies towards and eventually into Germany, achieving all important air supremacy which was a major factor in the Allied victory. The book also covers Luftwaffe fighter pilots as they sought to stop the RAF by night and the USAAF by day, against increasingly overwhelming odds.
398 printed pages
Original publication
2012

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