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Sopwith Camel

Sopwith Camel Book Review

By Rachel E. Veres

Date of Review December 2012 Title Sopwith Camel
Author Jon Guttman Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2012 ISBN 9781780961767
Format 64 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $18.95


Osprey author Jon Guttman recounts the Sopwith Camel's history as an impressive opponent in World War 1 aerial combat.  From Sopwith Aviation Company's drawing board to dogfights, Guttman details how this classic combatant became the most successful WWI Allied fighter aircraft with 1,294 victories.

Most famous among credited kills involved Capt. Arthur Roy Brown, Canadian ace, and Geschwaderführer (Squadron Leader) Baron Manfred von Richthofen – the infamous "Red Baron".  Brown pursued von Richthofen as the latter chased a low-altitude, jinking Camel piloted by 2nd Lt. Wilfred R. May deep into Allied lines.  Though recent evidence shows von Richtohofen likely died from Australian ground fire, the opposing Camel's maneuverability doubtlessly contributed to his demise.

Artwork and colour profiles by Harry Dempsey, Simon Smith, Richard Chasemore and Peter Bull enhance historical WWI photographs – and provide plenty of project inspiration for both average and avid hobbyists.  Included is the Sopwith Camel flown by 2nd Lt Hardit Singh Malik – first commissioned Indian officer in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

Only one minor criticism – Guttman assumes the reader has at least a rudimentary knowledge of German.  A simple German-to-English translation glossary would limit any confusion.

Highly recommended.

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!