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Battle of Britain 1940

Battle of Britain 1940 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review January 2018 Title Battle of Britain 1940
Author Douglas C. Dildy Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2018 ISBN 9781472820570
Format 96 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $20.00

Review

Osprey launches its new "Air Campaign" series with Battle of Britain 1940: The Luftwaffe's 'Eagle Attack'.

After introductory remarks and a two-page chronology, author Douglas C. Dildy sets the stage with background details of the Nazi German Luftwaffe and British Royal Air Force.

The attacker's proven prowess in the air would face the defender's pioneering integrated air defense system – notably early warning radar, Hurricane and Spitfire fighters, and high frequency direction-finding capabilities.

Recapping key campaign personalities, Dildy subsequently segues to "campaign objectives".

The Luftwaffe chiefly aimed to neutralize RAF fighter defenses as a "threat to any cross-Channel operation". It also targeted "ports, communications, aircraft and aero-engine factories, RAF depots and bomber airfields" – as well as "Royal Navy units in ports and at sea" along England's southern coast. The fighting's first phases – Kanalkampf, or "Channel Battle" – began 2 July 1940, barely two weeks after France's collapse.

Over 40 of 96 pages later, main combat coverage commences. And author Dildy competently chronicles major campaign phases and engagements from mid-August through September 1940.

Photos, extended captions, action paintings, maps, diagrams, and sidebars augment the account. And an analysis, selected bibliography, and index complete contents.

Nitpicks?

I chafed at the author's vexing and, largely, needless use of anachronistic acronyms – like "CONOPS" and "OCA". Ditto for incongruous patois like "packages" for mission elements. As my dissertation advisor ceaselessly stressed, "plain English, please" – not arcane argot.

Irritants aside, Battle of Britain 1940: The Luftwaffe's 'Eagle Attack' remains an excellent introduction to one of World War II's most emblematic episodes. Dildy adeptly marshals British and German records to present a largely "myth-free" account. Make it your launchpad to further study of this crucial campaign.

Recommended!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!