What the author has done is to paint a picture that is a snapshot of an immortal aerial battle that is unlikely to ever be eclipsed in history.
NAME: The Hardest Day, Battle of Britain, 18 August 1940
CLASSIFICATION: Book reviews
AUTHOR: Alfred Price
BINDING: Hard back
PRICE: GB £19.99
SUBJECT: Hurricane, Spitfire, Bf109, Bf110, HeIII, Ju87, Ju88, Do17, radar, sector control, WWII, Battle of Britain
DESCRIPTION: Along with the Battle of Trafalgar, the Battle of Britain is part of British history generating many new books. With so much already written it seems that there is no new ground to be covered. In this book the author has been able to bring fresh insight. When a claim is made for the hardest, longest, greatest day, it is always open to challenge. It is the same when a historian claims a date as a turning point. It is true that every day of the Battle of Britain was hard and bitter. It is also true that there were many turning points as the air war ebbed and flowed. Here the author is on fairly safe ground because he has picked the day when British and German air forces suffered their highest casualties. The British lost 136 aircraft to 100 German loses which is more significant than it appears when considering that the Germans outnumbered the RAF two to one. This meant that the RAF had to destroy more than two German aircraft for every British loss to be able to win the battle. Eye witness accounts from both sides provide authority for a well researched book that is adequately illustrated in a black and white plate section. No reader with a firm interest in the period and in aviation can afford to be without a copy of this book. There are claims and assertions made by the author and by the contributors that will be challenged somewhere by someone. That is inevitable given the speed and confusion of the Battle of Britain where kills claimed by both sides during battle were greater than those supported later. Pilots made genuine claims on their belief in what had happened but it was not unusual for several pilots to claim the same enemy aircraft. British claims generally followed claims accepted by the Squadrons at the time. German propaganda often made greatly inflated claims but the percentage of error at Squadron level was similar to RAF errors. What the author has done is to paint a picture that is a snapshot of an immortal aerial battle that is unlikely to ever be eclipsed in history.