a couple of interesting books

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by pattern14, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. pattern14

    pattern14 Member

    Jul 12, 2013
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    Just recently, I picked up two books from a local S/H dealer, both in very good condition. They are both about the aerial defense of Nothern Australia during 1942 to '45, when the Japanese bombing raids were taking place on Darwin and some smaller towns. The first is called "Darwin Spitfires", by Anthony Cooper ( 2011) and gives a quite accurate account and analysis of the campaign, concentrating mainly on factual events and technical aspects. It appears very well researched, and I was surprised to read of some of the topics covered. The Japanese pilots and tactics received a well balanced appraisal, which was not always the case with the Australian and British pilots. Too much information for just one post, but it is a great read for anyone interested in this lesser known theatre of the Pacific conflict.

    The other book is called "Killer Caldwell", by Jeffrey Watson (2005), and gives a more personalised account of the same subject, although it is not a biography. I t centres around Clive Caldwell, Australia's highest scoring Ace, with 28 kills to his credit. Most of these were in north Africa, flying P40's, but the latter part was based around Darwin and in the Spitfire Mk5. The P40 was held in rather high regard, although considered inferior in every way to the BF 109. Caldwell accounted for a number of 109's, plus 5 Ju 87's in one engagement, and developed very effective deflection shooting techniques. He was less successfull against the Zero while flying the Spitfire MK V, which was plagued with engine troubles and jamming cannons. This aspect was well documented in the other book as well. The story bogged down a little with his Court Martial, the illegal alcohol trade and the infamous "Morotai Mutiny" which tarnished his war record. Still, an entertaining read and well worth the effort if you get the chance.
  2. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

    Apr 11, 2005
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    Agreed. "Darwin Spitfires" is IMO, the best book on No1 FW's defence of the top end - highly recommended to everyone on this forum. "Killer Caldwell" is also a good read, however Kristen Alexanders "Clive Caldwell Air Ace" is IMO a better book overall.

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