Between 1942 and 1943, Qantas lost eight aircraft during its involvement in Australia's war against the Japanese. Over sixty passengers and crew died as a result. Yet Qantas' exemplary contribution to Australia's war effort and the courage of its people in those difficult times has been forgotten.
Courage in the Skies is the remarkable story of Qantas at war and the truly heroic deeds of its crew and ground staff as the Japanese advanced towards Australia. Flying unarmed planes through war zones and at times under enemy fire, the airline supplied the front lines, evacuated the wounded and undertook surprising escapes, including carrying more than forty anxious civilians on the last aircraft to leave besieged Singapore.
Absorbing, spirited and fast-paced, above all this is a story of an extraordinary group of Australians who confronted the dark days of World War II with bravery, commitment and initiative. They just happened to be Qantas people.
'In this most readable book, Jim Eames captures the experiences of a small band of brave, professional and pioneering aircrew who confronted the dangers of war, the challenges of unforgiving oceanic and tropical weather and the uncertainty of navigation in unarmed flying boats and conventional aircraft.' - Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Ret'd)
The Rolls-Royce Merlin is the most recognisable aero engine in the world. It powered the Battle of Britain aircraft, the Spitfire and Hurricane, as they defended the shores of Britain against the Luftwaffe, foiling Hitler's plans to invade in summer 1940. It also powered the Lancasters and Halifaxes of Bomber Command as they went on their missions of destruction to the German heartland. And the `wooden wonder', the Mosquito, was powered by the Merlin, its pinpoint bombing accuracy and reconnaissance work proving vital to the war effort.
For the Americans, the Merlin was the power plant of the Mustang escort fighter that protected the US Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress and B-29 Super Fortress bombers on their daylight raids to the enemy. The P-51 was also used in the North African, Mediterranean and Pacific theatres.
So the Merlin worked day and night to secure the eventual Allied victory. It has rightfully been described as the most significant aircraft piston engine in history and in the twentyfirst century its distinctive `drone' can still be heard over England as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight take to the air on special occasions - most recently on the centenary of the RAF - with its Lancaster leading the Merlin-powered Spitfires and Hurricanes in formation.
Retired military and commercial pilot Gordon Wilson tells the human story of the development of the engine and its operational use during the war, featuring the voices of air crew who relied on this technological tour de force.
By 1943, the tide of World War II had started to turn against Germany. Defeated at Stalingrad, the Third Reich's armies regrouped only to be defeated at Kursk. Elsewhere, the Germans surrendered in North Africa, met Allied invasions in Sicily and Italy, and saw their Luftwaffe and navy increasingly dominated by the Allies. The war would drag on for two more brutal years, but the end was now in sight. No longer could the Germans mount their feared blitzkrieg. Mitcham chronicles the turning-point year of 1943 with insight and drama.
In 1939 and 1940 the Nazi blitzkrieg crushed Poland and the Low Countries and France. This was a new type of warfare with air and ground forces working hand-in-glove and sweeping away all resistance. On the ground the new panzer divisions symbolised this combat revolution, and in the air its symbol was the all-conquering Luftwaffe with its fleets of Stuka dive bombers.
When Hitler looked further east in 1941, the Luftwaffe turned with him, spearheading the largest invasion in world history as the Wehrmacht launched Operation Barbarossa to annihilate Stalin's Soviet Union. Within weeks they had destroyed thousands of Red Air Force planes and ruled the skies. Yet less than four years later that same Red Air Force was flying unopposed over Hitler's burning Reich Chancellery in Berlin and his much-vaunted Luftwaffe lay in utter ruins. How did this happen?
Using original research and exceptional illustrations, including photos of planes from both sides, this book explains how the Nazi Luftwaffe's certain victory in the east was transformed into ashes through incompetence, misjudgement and hubris.
D-Day, the Allied invasion of Europe, began on the night of 5-6 June 1944. At 07.00 hours on the 6th, Britain's First Corps and XXX Corps came ashore on Sword and Gold beaches, to withering fire from the entrenched German forces. Within the initial and critical couple of hours some 30,000 soldiers, 300 guns and 700 armoured vehicles were landed, a magnificent achievement and, though the sands were soon choked with the mother of all logjams, exacerbated by a swelling tide, the British were firmly lodged; a bridgehead had been secured, albeit a rather flimsy one at this juncture.
This is the story of the British soldiers' experience of the beach landings on that fateful morning - the spearhead of Operation Overlord.
'Extraordinary...serious naval history and a detective story, told with passion.' The Times
'Vividly detailed...compelling yet comprehensive.' Los Angeles Times
'Simply outstanding.' Booklist (starred review)
'Gripping... This yarn has it all.' USA Today
The sinking of the USS Indianapolis is still the biggest single loss of life at sea to be suffered by the United States navy.
From a crew of 1,196 men, only 317 survived.
Torpedoed by the Japanese, dying of thirst and eaten by sharks.
For 70 years, the story of the USS Indianapolis has been told as a sinking story, or a shark story, or a story of military justice gone awry. But in Indianapolis, the true story of this mighty vessel is revealed. As the USS Arizona embodies the beginning of the Pacific war, the USS Indianapolis embodies its fiery end. From its bridge, Admiral Raymond Spruance devised and executed the island-hopping campaign that decimated Japan's Navy and Army. Its crew led the fleet from Pearl Harbour to the islands of Japan, notching an unbroken string of victories in an exotic and uncharted theatre of war. When the time came for President Harry S. Truman to deal Japan the decisive blow, Indianapolis answered the call. And super-spy Major Robert S. Furman climbed aboard, secreting the components of the world's first atomic bomb. Four days after delivering her ominous cargo to the island of Tinian, the Indianapolis was sunk by a Japanese submarine, with nearly 900 men lost. The captain, Charles B. McVay III, was wrongly court-martialled for negligence over the sinking. Decades after these events, the survivors of the Indianapolis, as well as the Japanese submarine commander who sank it, joined together to finally exonerate McVay.
Illustrated with detailed artworks and full-colour photographs, Military Jets is a comprehensive study of key air superiority and ground attack aircraft developed since World War II. Arranged chronologically, each aircraft has a cutaway artwork labelled with key items of interest, and accompanying photographs showing both the aircraft's cockpit and exterior in detail, from every angle.
With detailed specifications for each fighter aircraft, all the major types are featured, including the Phantom II, MiG-21 and F-22 Raptor, making Military Jets an essential reference guide for modellers and aviation enthusiasts.
The year 1919 has often been ignored in historians' dizzy haste to enter the world of the Roaring Twenties but it was a year of enormous challenges and change. After a brief period of celebration after the Armistice, reality began to sink in. Returning servicemen were resentful at the prospect of unemployment and lack of available housing. Many of the troops had lost their jobs to women on lower rates of pay. Soon there were strikes, with soldiers and tanks on the streets of Britain. This is also the year in which The Troubles began in earnest.
The Spanish Flu epidemic continued to take its toll. Even the gilded few were unhappy with rising taxation and a scarcity of servants. Worse, men who had made fortunes from the war had invaded their exclusive clubs. The bars and smoking rooms were full of regional accents and loud suits. Remarkably, something like 40 per cent of all the tax revenue the government raised in the twenties was swallowed up by the war bonds debt. The emerging `bright young things' embraced sex, drugs and Dixieland jazz.
Motor transport was replacing horses, whilst the first crossing of the Atlantic by air showed the way forward. There was entertainment to be had, with sport providing a popular outlet. Long queues formed outside cinemas to see the latest silent films. Theatres and music halls played to packed houses. It was a year of creativity and invention within the arts but also one of nostalgia for old Edwardian certainties. The nation rediscovered a love of shopping in the expanding number of department stores.
The year was also a pause for breath after the horrors of war; a time to take stock before rushing into an uncertain future that was rapidly announcing itself.
With a plot to grace any comic opera, the 1859-72 'Pig War' broke out when an American living on a quietly disputed small island in the Gulf of Georgia shot a British pig he found rooting up his garden produce. The authorities on nearby Vancouver Island and the military leadership of the adjacent Washington Territory both felt they had good reasons to escalate a trivial incident into a full-blown war between the United States and Great Britain.
Despite the outbreak of the American Civil War, and British intervention on the Confederate side, the hot-heads were restrained and, eventually, it was decided that the problem should become one of the earliest examples of international arbitration. The German Kaiser was brought in and - from the British point of view - came to the wrong decision. Set against the framework of US attempts to gain control of the whole North American continent, The Pig War is a highly readable account of a little-known episode in Anglo-American history.