Fighters over the Fleet, Naval Air Defence from Biplanes to the Cold War

This book is probably the most comprehensive study of naval aviation and the importance of the fighter to provide defence to a fleet. The author has produced extensive notes, bibliography, data and index to help the reader find a way through the considerable amount of detail on naval aviation from the major navies – Most Recommended


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NAME: Fighters over the Fleet, Naval Air Defence from Biplanes to the 
Cold War
FILE: R2445
AUTHOR:  Norman Friedman
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Seaforth
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  460
PRICE: £45.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Naval aviation, carriers, battle groups, air cover, new 
capital ships, first flights, biplanes, monoplanes, jet aircraft, 
fighter direction
ISBN: 978-1-84832-404-6
IMAGE: B2445.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/hjbz8a4
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: This book is probably the most comprehensive study of 
naval aviation and the importance of the fighter to provide defence 
to a fleet. The author has produced extensive notes, bibliography, 
data  and index to help the reader find a way through the considerable 
amount of detail on naval aviation from the major navies - 
Most Recommended 

A sad aspect of reviewing books is the shrinking availability of 
lending and reference libraries in many countries. With a book of 
this quality, the price is inevitably beyond many pockets and 
particularly of young readers. This book is an excellent starting 
point for every young reader who wishes to develop an understanding 
of the amazing development of aviation. The publisher is well-known 
for aggressive marketing and discounting of its books and this will 
ease the situation but not eliminate it. The reviewer's advice to 
young readers is to try to find a way to buy a copy of this book 
because it is the most complete and multi-national work on the subject. 
For enthusiasts and professionals, it is not so much an issue. 
However extensive a personal or corporate library, this is a book that 
must be on the shelves.

Three nations shaped naval aviation. The US Navy and the Royal Navy 
were at the forefront of development from the beginning and from time 
to time swapped technology and technique. Within just a few years of 
the Wright Brothers first flight, these two navies were making the 
first flights from ships and the Royal Navy opened its first flying 
school in 1911 to train naval officers. This enabled the Royal Navy 
to consider how to make best use of aircraft to help it fulfil the 
missions which it would be tasked with. The result was that the Royal 
Navy broke free, of political attempts to constrain it under War 
Office control, to establish the Royal Naval Air Service, only weeks 
before the outbreak of WWI. This in turn resulted in the RNAS having 
aircraft built by commercial defence contractors and delivered as 
integrated weapon systems that could fight surface and submarine 
warships, aid naval blockade, fight enemy airships and conduct 
tactical and strategic bombing raids on German targets. By contrast, 
the Royal Flying Corps had to live with frail and obsolescent 
aircraft designed and produced by the Government Aircraft Factory. 
These aircraft were only intended as aerial scouts searching for 
intelligence on enemy troop locations, movements and strength.

The impetus of war took the Royal Navy some way ahead of the US Navy 
during WWI. This lead was to be frittered away as the politicians 
again forced the army and naval aviators together in the new RAF. 
However, the Royal Navy retained control of aircraft carrier 
development and fought a guerilla war to regain control of naval 
aviation which it eventually won in 1938 in time to prepare for WWII. 
The Americans very wisely allowed their military aviation to develop 
within the well-established family of military commands. The result 
was that the US Navy was not only able to fund much larger aircraft 
carriers, but also move much faster to a metal monoplane force of 
carrier aircraft and to retain control of shore-based land planes 
and seaplanes for maritime reconnaissance and attack.

The third nation was Japan. This country recognized the power of 
naval aviation in future battles and built an impressive fleet of 
aircraft carriers with a range of competent to outstanding naval 
aircraft. The Japanese observed US and British developments in naval 
aviation and in particular drew inspiration from the British Fleet 
Air Arm's attack on the Italian Fleet in harbour. This attack had 
been based on plans draw up in 1917 to destroy the German Fleet in 
harbour, using fighters and attack planes flown from a carrier battle 
group. This planned attack did not take place because the formation of 
the RAF resulted in a lack of understanding and  interest in the 
well-developed plans and equipment of the Royal Navy to wage tactical 
and strategic attacks as a new battle front on Germany. The success of 
the raid on the Italian Fleet was used by the Japanese as a template 
for their plans to attack the US Pacific Fleet in port in Pearl Harbour.

The end of WWII saw naval aviation based on carrier fleets reduced to 
the US Navy and the Royal Navy, although several countries experimented 
with naval aviation on a much smaller scale. Before the end of WWII, 
the Royal Navy had already operated jet aircraft and helicopters from 
ships at sea and were responsible for some of the vital innovations that 
would make possible the operation of heavy jet aircraft from ships. The 
angled flight deck was a significant step forward for safety and improved 
operational rate. The mirror landing system was a similar major step 
forward and the steam catapult proved the answer to launching much 
heavier aircraft with success at sea.

Later, the Royal Navy pioneered the introduction of VSTOL fighters and 
invention of the ski-ramp to allow VSTOL launches at full fuel and 
weapons load. This made possible the rapid deployment of a Task Force to 
the Falkland Islands to eject the Argentinian invaders 8,000 miles from 
home.

In time, aerial refuelling and radar were to dramatically increase the 
power of naval aviation. These larger faster jets could carry 
conventional and nuclear weapons, making British and American carriers 
the most powerful and flexible warships ever built.

The author has been able to present this amazing process of 
development and illustrate the text with some fine images.