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No.313 (Czech) Squadron 1941-1945

No.313 (Czech) Squadron 1941-1945 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2015 Title No.313 (Czech) Squadron 1941-1945
Author Phil Listemann Publisher Philedition
Published 2015 ISBN 9782918590750
Format 42 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $14.95


Phil Listemann is a publisher from southwestern France that specializes in interesting historical monographs examining individual RAF squadrons during World War II. These titles are extremely well done and come from a direction that is overlooked by similar publishers these days, from the aspect of the people involved.

In this title, the authors take a look at 313 Sqn, one of a number of squadrons that were formed from pilot volunteers that were refugees from European countries taken by the Germans. 313 Squadron was an interesting example of this composition as most of these pilots were had fighter experience prior to the war, but many had just come to the UK after flying for the Czechoslovakian Air Force before that country was annexed into Germany. While many of the pilots were experienced, they had to be retrained to follow RAF flight procedures.

The squadron came online after the Battle of Britain and conducted a variety of combat and reconnaissance missions. This title breaks down the men, aircraft, and major events that characterized the 313 Sqn's RAF service. Of the 42 pages, most are detailed appendices:

  • One page summarizing the history of the squadron and the aircraft types assigned
  • One page summarizing the squadron leadersip and their dates of assignment
  • One page summarizing the operational diary and major unit awards
  • Half-page summarizing combat victories
  • Nine pages of combat and training losses
  • Half page listing the known registration numbers assigned to a particular aircraft code letter
  • One page roster of assigned pilots
  • 18 pages of period photographs of aircraft and pilots
  • Three pages of color profiles
  • and more

Where most publishers will focus on the history of the unit and try to animate that history through 'war stories' from eyewitnesses, this title goes straight to the heart of any combat unit and provides a roll call and summary of each pilot who served.

The format of this title is very well done and I wish that others would likewise go back to many of the famous squadrons of the war and look at the men behind the exploits. Where some historians and modelers are inspired by flashy nose art, many more are inspired by the men themselves and here is an excellent tool to find out about virtually any pilot who flew with 313 Sqn.

This title is highly recommended and I certainly hope to see many more in this format in the future!

My sincere thanks to Phil H. Listemann for the review sample.