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Operation Overlord Vol 2

Operation Overlord Vol 2 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2012 Title Operation Overlord Vol 2
Author Neil Robinson Publisher AIRfile
Published 2011 ISBN 978-0-9569802-1-2
Format 72 pages, softbound MSRP (Euro) €17.99


We examined Volume 1 of this series a few months ago ( look here) which focused on British and Commonwealth aircraft operating in Operation Overlord, the allied invasion of Europe - D-Day. This first title also looked at the Luftwaffe forces operating on the 'Western Front' in opposition to the invasion. In this second installment in the series, the author and illustrator take us through the aircraft and squadrons of the Mighty Eighth and Ninth Air Forces of the USAAF, also within the same period of time as Volume 1 - June-September 1944.

This volume, like the first, focuses on the colors and markings of most of the aircraft types that took part in the invasion and over the subsequent days and months that followed. The author briefly describes the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces and their strategic roles in the war against Germany. From there is a brief description of the state of operations during and following the invasion as flight operations were focused on blunting any attempt by the Germans to counter the allied foothold on continental Europe.

The colors and markings coverage starts with the standard USAAF camouflage and the application of standard markings. This extends to the application of those same markings on aircraft that remained bare metal (less weight and drag). Next comes the assigned colors and color patterns assigned to the fighter and bomber groups to provide a quick identification of aircraft operating in the vicinity as well as to the application of the now infamous 'D-Day Stripes'.

The author guides the reader through the Order of Battle for the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces during this period, breaking down each air division into its wings, groups, and squadrons with the aircraft type assigned and each unit's home base. From there, the illustrator provides a very nice selection of color profiles showing some of the more famous aircraft and their distinctive markings as well as the colorful personal markings applied for/by each pilot and/or crew.

While the author and illustrator have done a terrific job of cramming loads of useful information into these 72 pages, I really wish they'd used that space in the Orders of Battle for the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces to also list the two-letter (or two digit) squadron codes applied to all of these aircraft. These are the AB-C type codes in which the AB identifies the group (in addition to the assigned group color patterns) and the C is the idenfication of an individual aircraft in that squadron (same system used in the RAF).

If you're looking for some good examples to inspire your next World War II project, this is just the place to start.

My sincere thanks to AIRfile Publications for this review sample!