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The Greatest Air Aces Stories Ever Told

The Greatest Air Aces Stories Ever Told

by Robert Barr Col. Smith, Laurence J. Yadon


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In thirty-five chapters, The Greatest Air Aces Stories Ever Told covers many of the leading American and British Commonwealth fighter aces of WW I and II, together with a few bomber crews whose gallantry made a substantial contribution to the end of WW II. Other nations had their aces,
but this book concentrates on American and Commonwealth pilots.

These aviators were chosen not only because of their "scores" and their great courage, but also for other qualities which set them apart, like the WWII Royal Air Force Wing Commander who shot down more than 20 Germans while flying with two artificial legs.

Here are a few of the aces. Note that the air forces of Europe and the United States did not always have today's names, used here for simplicity's sake:

Albert Ball, RAF, son of the Lord Mayor of Nottingham, winner of the Victoria Cross. He had 44 victories in WWI when he was killed at the age of 20, well known to his German foes, who much admired him.

Gabby Gabreski, USAF. Son of hard-working Polish immigrants. An ace in WWII with 28 kills and later in Korea, with another six. He was an accomplished commander, finished a long career as a colonel.

Mick Mannock, RAF. Tough and aggressive in spite of his fear of fire, he won not only the Victoria Cross, but five other high awards for gallantry. Highest British scorer of WWI with 73 victories, he detested Germans, and rejoiced with every kill. He was shot down by ground fire in the last year of the war.

David McCampbell, USN. Scored 34 WWII kills to become the U.S. Navy's all-time ace. In 1944, set an all-time record with nine victories on a single mission. Winner of the Congressional Medal.

Pick Pickard, RAF. Led the RAF rooftop bomber raid on Amiens Prison In WWII, freeing many underground members, some of whom were facing death, and who were promptly spirited away by French partisans.

Frank Luke, USAF. Deadly American famous for his busting of German observation balloons in WWI. Shot up over German territory, he managed to land safely, but, being Luke, tried to fight it out with enemy infantrymen with only his pistol.

The book will also touch on the equipment these aces flew, from the famous Fokkers and Sopwith Camels to the ungainly two-seater FE2b, which was driven by a pusher engine and looked like a bathtub with wings and a miniature oil derrick glued on the back. Also included are our own Grumman carrier fighters, the P-40s, the P-38s, as well as the P-51 Mustang, probably the finest fighter of the war, a happy marriage of an American airframe and a British engine. The deadly, graceful Spitfire has its place, as do the Hurricane, the biplane Gladiator, and even the four-engine Lancaster.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493026623
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 04/03/2017
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Robert Barr Smith entered the United States Army as a private in 1958. He served in Vietnam with 4th Infantry Division, more than seven years in Germany, and with troop units and on posts throughout the United States, retiring as a Colonel. He is a Senior Parachutist, and holds the Legion of Merit (two awards), the Bronze Star, and other decorations. He holds two degrees from Stanford University and is a Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Oklahoma, where he also served six years as Associate Dean for Academics and Associate Director of the Law Center. He lives in the Ozark Hills of southern Missouri, and is the author or co-author of sixteen books and more than a hundred magazine articles, primarily in military and western history.

Table of Contents

Foreword v

World War I 1

Chapter 1 The Coming of Armageddon (1914) 3

Chapter 2 Only a Broth of a Lad Albert Ball 9

Chapter 3 Deadly and Ruthless Mick Mannockp 19

Chapter 4 The Pride of Canada Billy Barker 29

Chapter 5 When the Royal Navy Ruled the Air Raymond Collishaw 37

Chapter 6 Escadrille Americaine 43

Chapter 7 Hometown Hero Eddie Rickenbacker 49

Chapter 8 No Engine, No Wings, No Bloody Hope 61

Chapter 9 Burning Balloons Ahead Frank Luke 69

Chapter 10 A Canadian Original Billy Bishop (RFC Canadian) 79

Chapter 11 The Red Baron Freiherr Manfred von Richthofen 87

Chapter 12 A Brilliant Pilot James McCudden 95

Chapter 13 Fierce Little Beast The Sop Camel 101

Chapter 14 Small Package, Deadly Contents Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor 111

Chapter 15 Too Young to Vote George Edwin Thomson 115

Chapter 16 One Tough Irishman George McElroy 121

World War II 125

Chapter 17 A Man of Dash and Gallantry Robert Stanford Tuck 127

Chapter 18 The Man with the Tin Legs Douglas Bader 133

Chapter 19 An Enigma Pappy Boyington 141

Chapter 20 All-American Boy Joe Foss 159

Chapter 21 Untiring Patience and Energy Johnnie Johnson 165

Chapter 22 One-Armed Mac James MacLachlan 171

Chapter 23 The Finest Natural Pilot I Ever Met Richard Bong 179

Chapter 24 The Greatest Flying Ace Pat Pattle 187

Chapter 25 The Cream of the Crop David McCampbell 193

Chapter 26 Young Finucane of the Shamrock Paddy Finucane 203

Chapter 27 Adlertag 215

Chapter 28 Just One More Gabby Gabreski 221

Chapter 29 Ace of Aces Adolf Galland 231

Chapter 30 Faith, Hope, and Charity The Battle for Malta 239

Chapter 31 The Boys from Shangri-La In Which Jimmie Doolittle Visits Tokyo Uninvited 247

Chapter 32 The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot 255

Chapter 33 The Nelson Touch Swordfish at Taranto 261

Chapter 34 Graceful Lady When Enola Gay Brought the Fires of Hell to Japan 281

Afterword 287

Bibliography 289

Index 291

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