Caudron-Renault CR.714 Cyclone: The Ultimate Story Book Review
|Date of Review||December 2019||Title||Caudron-Renault CR.714 Cyclone: The Ultimate Story|
|Author||Bartlomiej Belcarz, et al.||Publisher||Mushroom Model Publications|
|Format||456 pages, hardbound||MSRP (USD)||$85.00|
“Blitzkrieg-era” aircraft enthusiast? Buy, beg, or borrow this brilliant book.
MMP/Stratus’ Caudron-Renault CR.714 Cyclone: The Ultimate Story – and available in North America from Casemate – offers the first authoritative, English-language study of this spellbinding topic.
Author Bartlomiej Belcarz – with able assistance of several respected associates – methodically mines and milks original sources. And in some cases, he literally examines physical evidence to craft his amazingly absorbing account.
Nearly 500 pages across five chunky chapters chart the total tale:
- Technical description and photo album
- The CR.714 with the Polish Air Force
- CR.714 in Finland
- CR.714 Camouflage & Markings
Quests for “cheap, light, fast” fighter designs of non-strategic materials course through international aviation history. And the “sports successes of the Caudron aircraft” held promise that a “lightweight aircraft with a relatively low power engine (thus less expensive to purchase and operate) was able to achieve speeds that few military aircraft could attain had a great effect on the imagination of the Armée de l’Air leaders”.
From history and heraldry through development and deployment, a simply staggering scope of revelations saturates this colossal compendium.
Seeking undercarriage details? Look here. Cockpit equipment? Definitely. Camouflage patterns by serial numbers? Ditto. Combat histories? Absolutely.
Metaphorical mountains of mind-numbing minutiae dominate every chapter.
Specifications. Access panels. Armament. Camouflage colors. Memoirs. Even airfield sanitary and culinary conditions. You name it – and, chances are, MMP/Stratus’ magnificent monograph includes it.
Mysteries, too. Unfortunately, the author fails to elaborate why the “‘Koolhovens’, that our pilots praise are better than those [CR.714s and MS.406s]”!
Several hundred photos, drawings, diagrams, and maps flavor this fulsome feast. Karolina Holda’s outstanding color plates remain among of the finest, most meticulous anywhere. Just check the accuracy of her work against reference photos. And you’ll easily see why.
“The history of aviation,” Belcarz observes, “knows many ideas and concepts that seem very promising in the beginning, but proved not so successful or even complete failures once really done.”
The CR.714 ultimately proved a one of those. But MMP/Stratus’ terrific tome isn’t.
Amazing. Astonishing. Astounding. Extraordinary. Sure, the translation’s diction sometimes sounds strange. And you’ll endure occasional typos. But I can’t muster sufficient superlatives to praise this stunning survey.
Bartlomiej Belcarz’s colossal compendium has easily established a quality benchmark for future aircraft monographs. I relished every page of this vital volume.
With thanks to Casemate for the review copy.