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Spitfire Aces of Burma and the Pacific

Spitfire Aces of Burma and the Pacific Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review May 2013 Title Spitfire Aces of Burma and the Pacific
Author Andrew Thomas Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2009 ISBN 9781846034220
Format 96 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $22.95

Review

Many historians regard 1943 as the year that broke the Axis back.  It's also when the legendary Spitfire joined combat against Imperial Japanese forces during World War II.

That's the topic of Osprey's handy, informative Spitfire Aces of Burma and the Pacific.

Format follows Osprey's proven prescription.  Liberally spiced with absorbing anecdotes, contents chronologically and geographically course through Spitfire operations over Australia, Southeast Asia, India and the East Indies.

Six chapters span the whole stimulating story:

  • Churchill Wing
  • Darwin Operations
  • Fighting Further North
  • India and the Arakan
  • Burma Finale
  • Last Victory

Action proves predictably thrilling.  Well known figures like "Killer" Caldwell and "Ginger" Lacey make obligatory appearances.  And they're joined by notables like Flt Lt Doug Vanderfield, who actually achieved "ace" in Buffaloes over Malaya – and Wg Cdr Bobby Gibbes, who lamented the lack of enemy opposition at war's end!

Surprises abound, too.  Spitfire pilots regularly misidentified enemy aircraft.  And in one singularly strange segue 136 Sqn's CO curiously claimed Ki 44 "Tojos" "looked not unlike Spitfires"!

Unfortunately, no color notes detail Chris Davey's competent color profiles.  And no annotations support the selected bibliography of exclusively secondary sources – nearly a third of which derive from just two authors.

Still, I enjoyed Osprey's handy re-release.  If you're looking for compact, convenient coverage of Spitfire operations against Imperial Japan, grab Thomas' little book.

Recommended.

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!

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