Well-written account of the flying career of Wing Commander Swale, based on diaries and family documents. The Great War saw some fighter pilots achieving more than 80 kills, but that was a result of the practice of flying until the pilot himself became a victim, and where many kills were of much inferior aircraft. In the final year of conflict, 17 kills against the formidable Fokker VII was a great achievement. Highly Recommended.
NAME: Camel Combat Ace, The Great War Flying Career of Edwin Swale CBE OBE DFC FILE: R2459 AUTHOR: Barry M Marsden PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PAGES: 100 PRICE: £16.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWI, World War 1, World War One, The Great War, trench warfare, Western Front, RAF, Sopwith Camel, Fokker VII, 210 Squadron ISBN: 1-47386-684-7 IMAGE: B2459.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/zzoe5fh LINKS: DESCRIPTION: Well-written account of the flying career of Wing Commander Swale, based on diaries and family documents. The Great War saw some fighter pilots achieving more than 80 kills, but that was a result of the practice of flying until the pilot himself became a victim, and where many kills were of much inferior aircraft. In the final year of conflict, 17 kills against the formidable Fokker VII was a great achievement. Highly Recommended. The RAF was formed in 1918 by combining the pilots of the RFC and the RNAS. This was not entirely a popular decision amongst air crew, but they had little choice for six months, at which time many opted to return to their parent service and give up flying. The military case for forming the RAF was not sound, but it made sense to politicians who hoped to save money. It became a period of marking time, relying on pilots who were already trained by the RFC and the RNAS, mostly flying aircraft developed for the RNAS. One of the early victims of the merger was the RNAS plan for an attack on the German fleet in harbour, using carrier aircraft flown off a fleet of carriers. A good plan which had to wait until the Royal Navy again controlled naval aviation and was able to seriously damage the Italian Fleet in port, forming the model for the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbour. On the Western Front, flying simply carried on and some pilots were still flying in their old uniforms. The main change was that fighter aircraft had matured and there was technical parity between Germany and the Allies. Tactics had also matured and there was a close similarity between the pilots engaged in the air battle over the trenches. The Sopwith Camel was the latest in a line of incremental aircraft from the proven Sopwith design team. Sopwith had become one of the trusted suppliers to the RNAS from the start of WWI. The two-seat One and a Half Strutter was light years ahead of the flimsy products of the Government Aircraft factory that was monopoly supplier to the RFC at the start of war. The One and a Half Strutter formed the basis of the Pup single-seater fighter that performed very well and was used as the basis of the Sopwith Triplane that performed so well that the Germans bought the DR1 triplane from Fokker and immortalized it as the chosen mount of the Red Baron. The Camel was a further development of the earlier Sopwith planes and proved an outstanding fighter. Although it faced the formidable Fokker VII and Fokker E-V. The Camel was equipped with the rotary engine as a favoured power plant for Sopwith. This, together with an excellent airframe, was superb but required a good pilot. In several respects, it could be described as dynamically unstable. Today, dynamic instability is standard for jet fighters that have a computer to manage the instability, but the Camel pilot had to do that for himself. The result was that any pilot who mastered the characteristics of the aircraft achieved success and became a formidable opponent. Those that failed to do this didn't last very long, more likely killed by their Camel than by the enemy. Edwin Swale was a good pilot and was rewarded with an impressive number of kills against the most formidable fighters available to German pilots. The author has made a very good job of recounting the career of the subject and his time as an Intelligence Officer during WWII. The very readable text is supported by a most interesting selection of images in the photo-plate section.