On November 18th, 1967, Private First Class Davis’s artillery unit was hit by a massive enemy offensive. At twenty-one years old, he resolved to face the onslaught and prepared to die. Soon he would have a perforated kidney, crushed ribs, a broken vertebra, his flesh ripped by beehive darts, a bullet in his thigh, and burns all over his body.
Ignoring his injuries, he manned a two-ton Howitzer by himself, crossed a canal under heavy fire to rescue three wounded American soldiers, and kept fighting until the enemy retreated. His heroism that day earned him a Congressional Medal of Honor—the ceremony footage of which ended up being used in the movie Forrest Gump.
You Don’t Lose ’Til You Quit Trying chronicles how his childhood in the American Heartland prepared him for the worst night of his life—and how that night set off a lifetime battling against debilitating injuries, the effects of Agent Orange and an America that was turning on its veterans.
But he also battled for his fellow veterans, speaking on their behalf for forty years to help heal the wounds and memorialize the brotherhood that war could forge. Here, readers will learn of Sammy Davis’s extraordinary life—the courage, the pain, and the triumph. Locate his book at www.amazon.com
Through unspeakable grief, they found an unbreakable connection—through their love, the joy of second chances. For Dixie and Sammy Davis, the road to each other’s arms was paved with tragedy. But through their marriage, they each found a new beginning filled with blessings, joy, and hope—a testament to the power of love after loss.
In Endless Love and Second Chances, Dixie Davis, with Sherry Maves, describes the joys and heartbreak of Dixie’s marriage with musician Tim “Doc Holiday” Taylor, tragically cut short by terminal cancer. Years later, Dixie makes an unexpected connection with mutual acquaintance Sammy Davis—one of seventy-seven living Medal of Honor recipients who has dedicated his life to spreading the values of “duty, honor, and country.”
An inspirational love story of hope, faith, and redemption, this heartfelt memoir follows Dixie and Sammy as they both recover from the profound grief of losing their spouses to find the love and healing in each other that they needed to move on. As the couple continues to travel throughout the country in the name of veterans’ awareness, this book pays a touching tribute to the difference they have made to each other—and to veterans everywhere. Locate their book at
Supporting the book by Len Sandler on behalf of the Monti family and supported by Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston
Details located at www.seeyouonthehighground.com
Enemy in the Dark Captain Peter Spoden
Books available at www.amazon.com or to order signed copies please make your request to the email or address: [email protected]:
Peter Spoden 597499 Packstation 101 Frankfurt am Main, 60325
Peter Spoden in World War II
Order books from Hans personally signed by writing to him at:
Hans Meyer 1137 Sherry Ave. Virginia Beach, VA 23464
Book Price $20.00 and inquire for postage at [email protected]
Artist Poster Below by David Ails is Available call 301-524-3687
Hans Meyer ofJG-54 scoring one of his 5 victories over Soviet Pilots
Brigadier General William Weise, USMC (Ret)
Navy Cross, Purple Heart
Bill Weise led the "Magnificent Bastards" during the hellis three day Battle of Dai Do/Dong Ha in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam from May 1-3, 1968. A veteran of Korea and with more experience in the field than most senior officers, his hands on leadership and excellent Marines under his command led to a decisive victory. This is explained in detail in our book Noble Warrior to which he contributed. See Bill's life and service in this next great offering authored by Mark Huffman at www.amazon.com
Adam Makos of Valor Studios
(see website at "links" or go to the website www.valorstudios.com)
Adam Makos Discussing A Higher Call on the Dianne Rehm Show
Adam Makos on Fox and Frends on Jan. 12, 2013 at Fox News
A Higher Call
by Adam Makos
New York Times Best Seller!
See the video of Franz Stigler and Charlie Brown at
See the New York Post article at
See book reviews at Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites
?This book grips you like a movie. It's part Top Gun, part Valkyrie, and more!??Marcus Brotherton, author of the New York Times bestseller, We Who Are Alive and Remain
?It is often said that ?war is hell??and it is?however, this story reveals how the human spirit can shine in the darkest hours. A Higher Call is an eye-opener.??Colonel Charles McGee, Tuskegee Airman, WWII
??Can good men be found on both sides of a bad war?? The author asks the question and delivers the answer. A powerful, haunting read.??Chuck Tatum, author of Red Blood, Black Sand
?A Higher Call exemplifies beautifully the brotherhood of warriors, and will forever change how you look at World War II.??Eric Blehm, author of the New York Times bestseller, Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown
?From the horrors of the most savage war in history emerges this beautiful story of a brotherhood between enemies. Simply told, splendid, and well worth the read.??Joe Galloway, coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller, We Were Soldiers, Once?and Young
More About A Higher Call
Above: Sir Ernie Hamilton's painting of Franz Stigler's fighter while serving with Hans-Joachim Marseille, Werner Schroer, Friedrich Korner, Gustav Rodel, Eduard Neumann and the others in North Africa with JG-27. See all these men and their interviews in The Star of Africa.
The book highlights the Dec. 20, 1944 encounter when near Bremen, Germany, Franz was dispatched to shoot down a straggler from a B-17 formation.
Upon flying alongside Ye Olde Pub Franz looked out from his Me-109G-10 and saw just how badly torn up the aircraft, dead and wounded on board were. Despite having already shot down a B-17 that day, he decided in what would become an act of almost unparalleled chivalry (not his first in the war), to escort the bomber part way over the
Above Left to Right: Charlie Brown, pilot of the B-17 Ye Olde Pub, Franz Stigler and artist Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette with paintings of their respective aircraft.
Go to the links below for more information including a recreation video of the event
Segments of Colin's many interviews with many other pilots who knew Franz (who also flew with Marseille in JG-27) during the war are also being used as a courtesy. Franz later flew the Me-262 jet with Galland, Steinhoff, Krupinski and others in JV-44.
Adam's Second Book
Adam's latest book
Colin Heaton's Review
Dr. Dennis Showalter
Preeminent historian Dr. Dennis E. Showalter is a professor of history at Colorado College specializing in German military history. He was president of the American Society for Military History from 1997 to 2001, and is also an advising fellow of the Barsanti Military History Center at the University of North Texas.
Dr. Showalter has previously taught at the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Military Academy at West Point, and the Marine Corps University. He has written extensively on the wars of Frederick the Great, the German Wars of Unification, World War I, and World War II. His book Tannenberg won the American Historical Association's Paul M. Birdsall Prize for best new book of 1992.
His book Voices from the Third Reich, on oral history of World War II from various German participants is also a very worthwhile read, featuring the experience of Generalleutnant Johannes Steinhoff, who was Colin's friend and featured in several of Colin's and Anne's books.
Dr. Showalter was kind to read and contribute to the book The Star of Africa, providing his opinion on the merit of the work.
A Few Books by Dennis Showalter
Jeffrey L. Ethell
Below: Just a few of the 60 books Jeff either authored and adiditonal 20 he coauthored with other luminaries. All of his work is outstanding, and he and Colin worked together and shared research, stories, and attended reunions.
Jeff will always be remembered as not only the world's premier aviation historian, but also as a premier pilot, father, minister, husband and all around just great guy. He is sorely missed by all who knew him.
New Book and Special Mention
Book review: It's a popular, Stephen Ambrose-style history of American bomber crews in combat. It focuses on the mission of February 3, 1945 when the Eighth Air Force sent 1,003 B-17 Flying Fortresses to Berlin and 454 B-24 Liberators to Magdeburg, escorted by 402 P-51 Mustangs and 48 P-47 Thunderbolts. My presentation is about the life of a bomber crewmember during this era.
Review from Defense Media Network
Mission to Berlin is an amazing account of American heroism in the last months of World War II, when American airpower reigned supreme. Germany was beaten but still capable of a vicious defense of its capital, Berlin. The very scale of the attack defies belief, with more than 1,000 bombers and several hundred fighters launching from Allied bases to attempt to crush the life from the heart of Nazi Germany. Each of the bombers carried a crew of ten (later nine) young men, each one hoping to survive enough missions to be returned, alive and unwounded, to the United States. Not all would be so lucky.
This mission, famous for its target, size, results and losses, took place on Feb. 3, 1945, and author Bob Dorr gives a minute-by-minute account of its progress, from pre-takeoff drills to the final landing. This well paced, gripping narrative, provides the skeleton of the book, a gripping portrait of many of the fliers participating. In his customary style, Dorr uses first person interviews and letters to lend immediacy to his tale. Then he fleshes the absorbing human story out with a comprehensive worldview of the mission, placing it in context with the progress of the war and with the great personalities involved.
In many ways this is a technical order on the operations of a B-17 crew, as Dorr intersperses his human tales with detailed descriptions of how each man functioned at his particular job. There are some surprises here, as we learn that contrary to most accounts, the belly gunner’s position did not suffer the most casualties in combat. More important, we gain a clear concept of what the duties and the techniques were of each man’s crew position on the aircraft. This is done in a fascinating narrative style, one that puts you in the left seat for take-off, in the rotating belly turret in flight, handling the Norden bomb sight on the run in, and man-handling the big .50-caliber machine guns to ward off the still tenacious German fighters.
One fact that struck me as something I should have realized before, but had not, was that on board every aircraft the navigators were going through the same tedious drill with their maps, drift-meters, manual computers and other elements to chart the course of their particular aircraft. They were doing it even though they were part of a huge procession of aircraft, formed up over England and led by the top navigators in the units. And it was not busy work. Each navigator had to be prepared to take the B-17 home on its own if it suffered damage and was forced to drop out of the formation.
Dorr’s fascinating tale will be read at different levels, depending upon the knowledge of the reader. For some one just beginning to have an interest in World War II bombing operations, the author’s overall picture of the powerful event will lure the reader into reading more, and the author provides an excellent bibliography for that purpose. The knowledgeable reader will savor Mission to Berlin for its intimate detail and the rarely seen level of information about aerial warfare in both large and small scale. And for the expert, the person every author dreads, sitting there reading, waiting to pounce on each and every error, Dorr will offer a genuine challenge – he makes no mistakes.
But for everyone, Dorr’s method of bringing the reader into the life of the crews is the best reason to read the book. The author brings you inside the courageously painted aircraft, with their sometimes patriotic (“Hitler’s Hoe-Doe”) or sometimes romantic (“Maude and Maria”) names, and makes you understand the feeling of family and unity that binds the crews together. But be warned – there is a cost to this, as sometimes the very crew with whom you feel the greatest sympathy is taken from you, as it was in the skies over Germany, by a burst of flak that leaves nothing but flaming debris in its wake.
As I devoured the book, I recognized that Dorr had crafted four books into one unique package. The first of these recognizes that it is the last year of the war, that if the crew survives just a few months, it will have lived, and not died, in World War II, but that combat is just as dangerous as it ever was. The second book tells us how the air war affected the very young (late teens and early twenties) men who had been tending cows or driving trucks the year before and were now flying four-engine aircraft and shooting huge machine guns.
The third book, and the one that experts will avidly dissect, takes the reader back in time to discuss the technical development of the aircraft, flying techniques, defensive measures and other details of both the American and the German forces. The final book will be seen only by the philosophical reader, who will be forced to wonder how it was that in 1945 the United States, just emerging from a depression, could afford to send perhaps sixteen hundred aircraft with thousands of young airmen into combat on a single mission, when today, after decades of sumptuary wealth, we have trouble funding our forces.
The late Stephen Ambrose popularized the technique of using accounts of personal experiences to tell the story of combat. He has been imitated by many since, often with mixed results. Dorr’s book is a model of how to use these personal recollections in an expert manner, integrating them into a broader and more purposeful narrative. He can do this only because of the broad base of his knowledge and the depth of his research.
This is a memorable book, one that you will want to have in your library, and one that you can give as a gift with pride. Copies are available from the author at [email protected]
Books by Robert F. Dorr
Vietnam veteran, West Point graduate and author is also represented by Dr. Gayle Wurst at Princeton International Agency for the Arts
Wounded Soldier, Healing Warrior: A Personal Story of a Vietnam Veteran Who Lost his Legs but Found His Soul
It was early morning, June 17, 1967, and Dak To Special Forces camp in Vietnam was under attack. A mortar exploded, and West Point graduate Allen B. Clark Jr.’s life was changed forever. This is the story of how one soldier, so gravely injured that both of his legs were amputated, turned his grievous loss into a personal triumph.
Clark describes his struggle through a year-long recovery and a severe bout of post traumatic stress disorder, so little understood at the time. He tells of earning his MBA from Southern Methodist University and finding employment as a personal financial assistant to Ross Perot, of moving on to public service and founding the Combat Faith Ministry, a lay ministry to veterans. Clark's story of growth and spiritual fulfillment wrested from his wartime tragedy is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and is of special relevance in our day of so many soldiers returning wounded in body and spirit from Iraq.
From the Back flap:
“Wounded Soldier, Healing Warrior is an exceptional read—captivating, inspirational and educational. Allen Clark is an American patriot who has lived the West Point values of Duty, Honor, and Country everyday. From experiencing the rigors of combat during the War in Vietnam to becoming Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs, he did not allow physical disabilities detract from his intent to care for others and serve his nation. Allen provides a clear message—through strong values and faith in God, we can overcome adversity and be all we want to be.”
Lieutenant General Robert F. Foley (USA-Ret.)
Medal of Honor Recipient
“Allen’s story of quiet unpretentious heroism will introduce the reader to the sights and sounds and smells of an ugly part of history and the triumph of God’s grace through the meanest of circumstances.”
Richard Halverson, former chaplain, U.S. Senate
This is the story of how one soldier, so gravely injured that both of his legs were amputated, turned his grievous loss into a personal triumph. “I know how much determination, courage, and faith it took for Allen Clark to travel his long journey back to life. . . . In telling his story, he will help others make it, too.”--Bob Dole
From the Inside Flap
Front flap copy:
“[Clark] is an unusual American and a pilgrim whose quest the reader will find poignant and illuminating.”--Bill Moyers.
“There are a host of heroes to whom this country owes a debt it can never repay. Allen Clark lost both his legs while serving his country in Vietnam. When he came home, his body was broken, but his spirit never faltered. He went back to school. He earned his masters degree in business administration. He served his state in a high government post and is now a successful businessman. He’s an inspiration to all who know him.”
President Ronald Reagan
The White House
September 10, 1984
“From my own experience, I know how much determination, courage, and faith it took for Allen Clark to travel his long journey back to life. But, he has made it, and in telling his story he will help others make it, too.”
Senator Bob Dole
“When I first met Allen Clark in the early 1970s, I knew instantly this was a young man struggling to come to terms with his experiences, to make sense of tragedy and the conflict of his country’s claim on his allegiance and the consequences of his patriotism. His spirit touched me then, as this book does now. He is an unusual American, and a pilgrim whose quest the reader will find poignant and illuminating.”
American journalist and public commentator
"All of us encounter challenging and potentially life-changing events at some time. Wounded Soldier, Healing Warrior is proof that despite the cards we are dealt, each of us can persevere and overcome obstacles to lead a fulfilling, meaningful life. Allen Clark’s autobiography inspires us all to see the possibilities and encourages us to make a difference."
Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback
"Wounded Soldier, Healing Warrior by Allen Clark is an inspiration to all soldiers who are injured in the field, especially in the case of mortar attacks and IED bombs. I enjoyed reading how he and other wounded soldiers managed to rehabilitate themselves with the help of the VA hospital system, their faith in God, and their determination to not let their injuries destroy their lives."
Robin Moore, author of The Green Berets,
The French Connection, and The Hunt for Bin Laden
New Book by Allen B. Clark
About the Author
Vietnam veteran Allen B. Clark Jr. is founder of the Combat Faith Ministry. He served in the federal government as an assistant secretary in the Department of Veterans Affairs and later director of the National Cemetery System from 1989 to 1993. He lives in Dallas, Texas. For information on his ministry, visit www.combatfaith.com.
The Honorable Allen B. Clark
Founder, Combat Faith Ministry
Author: Wounded Soldier, Healing Warrior
Valor in Vietnam:
Chronicles of Honor, Courage, and Sacrifice 1963-1977
Linda Clark www.voices.name
Col. Wesley Fox, USMC (Ret.)
Medal of Honor
Col. Fox started his Marine Corps career in 1950, where he distinguished himself as a young infantryman in the Korean War. Rising to the highest enlisted ranks, he was commissioned and served as a company commander during Vietnam, earning our nation's highest honor for bravery in the face of the enemy in 1969 during Operation Dewey Canyon, and he served 43 years on active duty.
Colin met him several times, and stated that he was, like Col. Jay Vargas and Maj. Gen. Livingston, the humblest of men who accomplished the most extraordinary of things. Col. Fox is also an author, and his books should be read by all leaders, whether military or civilian, as a guide to what proper leadership by example is.
Books by Col. Wesley Fox
The links below highlight Col. Fox's career
Col. Wesley Fox Tribute http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfazSNJ-gtA
Col. James Nicholas Rowe
As as military historians and authors, and having known Nick Rowe, and been a victim of his infectious sense of humor, we highly recommend his book. Since his death sales climbed a little, and as we wrote Noble Warrior, we wanted to ensure that he was once again remembered.
He did more than train us; he superimposed the meaning of what freedom was to him, and should be to all of us. When Colin left the Army and joined the Marines, Rowe was based out of 1st Bn, 1st Special Forces Group at Torii Station, Okinawa after leaving the JFK SWC. Colin was at Camp Schwab. The call started with: "What the f*** did you join the Corps for?" Such was the greeting, followed by a laugh. He was one of a kind.
Maj. Gen. Livingston provided comments about Nick as they worked together in the Philippines, until Nick was assassinated, which is all detailed in Noble Warrior. Read Nick's first person account. This book will make you understand what it meant to him to be an American.
Oberleutnant Walter Schuck
Knight's Cross, Oak Leaves
206 Victories in World War II
Walter's book is a great read for anyone who wants to see the air war from the polar region to the cockpit of the Me-262 jet. Achieving 206 victories, with the last in the jet fighter, Walter has penned his own story, which is well worth reading. Walter will sell signed book plates for those who wish to have them.
You may contact Colin at [email protected] if you wish to place an order. Book plates cost about 10.00 Euros each, and price is subject to change. Contact Colin, and he will confirm with Walter. A sample is posted below, which is the same as those in the limited edition The Me-262 Stormbird book.
Walter's Autobiography as a World War II Combat Pilot
MSGT Roy Benevidez
Medal of Honor
Roy was one of a kind, and was a member of one of the most elite fraternities, the Medal Of Honor Society as a recipient, while a member of the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam. Roy has left us for many years now, but we would still like to honor him and post his book, which should be required reading along with the others posted here. RIP Green Beret.
Generalleutnant Johannes Steinhoff
Knight's Cross, Oak Leaves, Swords
Below is a link to a Galland and Steinhoff video interview
Johannes was a legendary figure in the Luftwaffe during and long after WW II. His professionalism, humanity, intelligence and sense of honor almost saw him court-martialed and possibly even executed during the Fighters' Revolt of january 1945. Following his long and successful career as a fighter ace and leader, and his eventual retirement as a NATO commander, he and Colin became good friends.
Colin's interviews with many German aces were the result of Johannes making the initial introductions. He and his wife Ursula are missed, but his books should be required reading for military leaders, pilots, and people interested in his display of chivalry in a world gone mad. His daughter Ursula Bird and her husband Michael Bird live in Arizona. His son Dr. Wolf Steinhoff lives in Germany. See parts of his story in A Higher Call, The German Aces Speak and The Me-262 Stormbird.
Joe Galloway is the finest combat correspondent of our generation---a soldier's reporter and a soldier's friend."
-Gen. (ret.) H. Norman Schwarzkopf-
"I looked over and saw Joe Galloway sitting with his back against a small tree, camera in his lap, rifle across his knees. I knew why I was there. I'm a professional military man and it's my job. But what the hell was HE doing there? Turned out he was doing his job too."
-Lt. Gen. (ret.) Hal Moore-
"Joe Galloway has more time in combat, under fire, than anyone wearing a uniform today. He rode along on the 24th Division's tank charge through 250 miles of the western Iraq desert in the Persian Gulf War, and did a splendid job of telling the story."
Gen. (ret.) Barry McCaffrey
Joe Galloway in Vietnam
A native Texan, Joseph L. Galloway joined United Press International as a reporter in 1961. During 22 years with UPI, he served in news bureaus in Kansas City, Topeka, Tokyo and Saigon, and was chief of bureau in Jakarta, New Delhi, Singapore, Moscow and Los Angeles.
Galloway served a 16-month tour as a war correspondent in Vietnam beginning in April of 1965 shortly after the first American combat troops landed on China Beach in Da Nang. He returned to Vietnam on three other tours in 1971, 1973 and again in 1975 when he covered the fall of Cambodia and South Vietnam.
In addition to Vietnam duty Galloway covered the 1971 India-Pakistan War and half a dozen other regional conflicts during 15 years of foreign service. Galloway joined U.S. News & World Report as West Coast editor in 1982. He later became a senior writer based at the magazine's Washington, D.C., headquarters. In 1990-91 Galloway returned to duty as a war correspondent in the Persian Gulf and accompanied the Army's 24th Mech Infantry Division on its tank charge through the western Iraq desert. Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf who has known him in two wars calls Galloway "the finest combat correspondent of our generation---a soldier's reporter and a soldier's friend." Joe later joined McClatchy Newspapers as Senior Military Correspondent. He is now semi-retired, though still writing a weekly column, and has recently issued, along with LTG. Hal Moore, a sequel to "We Were Soldiers Once....and Young". "We Are Soldiers Still" was published in September 2008 by Random House and is receiving critical acclaim.
Galloway received the 1991 National Magazine Award for an Oct. 29, 1990, U.S. News cover story marking the 25th anniversary of the first major battle of the Vietnam War, and the 1992 News Media Award of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States for his coverage of the Persian Gulf War. In 1999 he received the President's Award for the Arts of the Vietnam Veterans of America. In 2000 he was decorated with the U.S. Army Infantry Association's Order of St. Maurice, the patron saint of the Infantry. Galloway is co-author of two books: Triumph Without Victory: The History of the Persian Gulf War, published in 1992 by Times Books---and the New York Times bestseller "We Were Soldiers Once and Young" published in late 1992 by Random House.
During the course of researching WWSOAY Galloway returned to Vietnam three times for interviews, including several with Senior General Vo Nguyen Giap. "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young", written with Army Lt. Gen. Hal Moore is a detailed accounting of the Ia Drang Campaign, the first major clash between American and North Vietnamese regular troops in November 1965, and the bloodiest of any battle fought during the entire war. Moore commanded one of the battalions in the Ia Drang, and Galloway, then a 24-year-old reporter, was on the ground throughout the action. The book is the basis for the movie, We Were Soldiers, which stars Mel Gibson with Barry Pepper playing the role of Galloway, and Greg Kinnear as Maj. Bruce Crandall.
On May 1, 1998, the Army awarded Galloway a belated Bronze Star with V for rescuing a badly wounded soldier under heavy fire in the Ia Drang Valley on 15 November 1965. His is the only such medal of valor awarded to a civilian by the Army during the Vietnam War. Galloway is a member of the board of advisers of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and the 1st Cavalry Division Association; and the board of directors of the non-profit organization No Greater Love. Today Joe Galloway writes a nationally syndicated newspaper column and resides on the Texas coast.
Walter was one of Colin's students at American Military University, earning the rare status of Honors Student for his Holocaust research paper. He also edits and consults. His books listed below and his website may be found at http://www.wzaponline.com/
Bryan and Colin have been friends for years and have shared research. They were both professors at American Military University, and assist each other whenever possible. Bryan's books are, in our opinion, must reads for anyone looking into the dark and less well-known side of World War II. Bryan served in the Israeli Army and later as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Jon has been a long time editor at Weider Publishing, going back to then Primedia and Cowles History Group days. He is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books on history, and was often a guest historian on the History Channel, in particular the World War I episodes of the series Dogfights. He is also a retired veteran and great friend, who attended a reunion of the Luftwaffe pilots in Strasbourg, France with Colin Heaton in 1999.
Jon giving a WW II aviation presentation
Jon is working on his new book, a compilation of the top aces representing every nation in WW II. His new research uncovers previously unknown information, including the identities of the pilots who fought against, and even shot down each other. He also provided a great website with the listing of Jewish pilots flying for the Allies during the Battle of Britain, located at the following website:
Reviews of Jon's Books
Account of 'the King of the Air Fighters!', November 8, 2012
By Michael OConnor "Wordsmith" (Wausau, WI USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME) This review is from: Sopwith Camel (Air Vanguard) (Paperback)
The Sopwith Camel is arguably the most famous Allied fighter of World War I. A handful to fly, the hump-backed, pugnacious biplane was a dogfighter par excellence. Jon Guttman details the combat life and times of this iconic fighter in in SOPWITH CAMEL, #3 in Osprey's 'Air Vanguard' series.
Guttman does a nice job of summarizing the Camel's development, World War I combat career and post-war service. The bulk of the book is devoted to Camel combat ops over the Western Front, Italy, the Eastern Med, etc. and makes for exciting reading. The text is complimented by vintage photographs, color profiles by Harry Dempsey and top-notch color artwork by Simon Smith and others.
SOPWITH CAMEL is the first 'Air Vanguard' volume I've come across. I have to say I'm very impressed by the total package. Guttman's book offers a smooth-flowing, comprehensive text, great illustrations and an easy-on-the-pocketbook price tag. World War I air war buffs will enjoy. Recommended.
Moving on in their 'Air Vanguard' series, the third title is on the Sopwith Camel. Osprey seems to be spreading things around a bit in terms of eras and this is, so far, one of the earliest aircraft done.
During WW1, aircraft development was at one of its fastest paces ever. Sopwith's team had designed some very successful aircraft starting with the 1 1/2 Strutter, a two seater that was used as a bomber, recce plane and with the forward cockpit covered over, as a fighter. This led to the delightful Sopwith Pup, but the need was there to increase the armament from the single gun so the Camel was developed. This carried twin guns and a more powerful engine, something that the Pup could not handle.
The result was an aircraft with much of its weight in the forward section of the airframe and it was this that made it such a tricky plane to learn. It also made the Camel extremely maneuverable, something that the Germans came to respect as the war went on. This maneuverability came at a bit of a cost as the Camel was not the fastest in a straight line nor could it dive all that well. By the last year of the war, the faster and less maneuverable German planes were operating with hit and run tactics against the Camel so negating its major benefit.
For the Royal Naval Air Service, a shipboard version, the 2F1 was developed. This generally had a single gun on the fuselage and one above the wing. It was the main aircraft that operated from the first aircraft carrier, HMS Furious. Unfortunately, as the ship was not built as a carrier, it had a launching deck in the front and a recovery deck on the rear with the ship's funnel and bridge in the middle. This sort of make landings impossible as there was no arrestor hook system yet worked out. However, the planes could take off and once completing a mission, simply crashed into the sea for the plane and pilot to be rescued. Several missions were undertaken in this manner late in the war.
The Naval Camel also was launched from platform atop guns or from sleds towed by ships. Again, landing was the major issue and ditching was the only real option.
Not only did the Camel operated in Western Europe but also in the Near East during the last year or so of the war. Many were operated by the Greek Air Service against the Turks. Even post war, the Camel was used against the Bolsheviks in the various wars against the new Soviet Union and some came to be in the air forces of the Baltic States and Poland. The US operated several Camels, but mostly as trainers and hacks as they were seriously obsolete by the end of the war.
As with other books in this series, author Jon Guttman covers the aircraft's initial design and development as well as its introduction into unit service. Much of the book is dedicated to its combat record, as well it should. In this part of the publication we get the majority of pilot stories. The book is full of period photos as well as profiles and other artwork to make for a well rounded title. In line with the previous title, this one has a back page foldout that provides a cutaway of the Camel, a nice feature of this series.
In all, a book I can highly recommend and I very much look forward to others in this series.
Pour les inconditionnels de la Première Guerre mondiale, le Sopwith Camel est un avion incontournable, surtout pour les deux dernières années de guerre. Une huitaine de profils et une quarantaine de photos viennent illustrer ce titre formaté comme le veut cette nouvelle collection dont la présentation a été faite auparavant.
Contact Jon at the Weider History Group. http://www.historynet.com