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Night Fighter Over Germany: 'The Long Road to the Sky' Kindle Edition
In 1941, Graham White was passing a Royal Air Force recruiting center and, on the spur of the moment, signed up. As a non-commissioned RAF pilot, he went on to fly long-range night-fighters against the Luftwaffe. White experienced badly designed and dangerous aircraft, such as the Beaufighter with its Merlin engine. But he also flew some of the finest planes ever built, like the “Wooden Wonder” Mosquito.
In this candid memoir, White offers a rare glimpse of what life was really like in that time of international crisis. He pulls no punches as he describes the blinding errors made by officers who conceived impossible operations for young airmen to fly. But he also shares tales of nights out on the town, when crews could relieve the stress of combat.
About the Author
- ASIN : B00DN5U0K4
- Publisher : Pen & Sword Aviation (March 28, 2007)
- Publication date : March 28, 2007
- Language : English
- File size : 1915 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 405 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #756,268 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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There's plenty here for plane buffs and students of the air war, but it's also a wonderful portrait of White's life during the war. The writing does not aspire to literary heights, and comes complete with hundreds of jokes - some of which have aged better than others (sexism and anti-Irish prejudice make repeated appearances). I guess I'd sum it up as the great stories you wish your dad had told you.
It's pretty much full-on English and American readers - even those fairly familiar with English popular culture - will occasionally be puzzled. But overall, highly recommended.
"141 claimed 70 aircraft shot down, 4 probables, and 21 damaged for 11 Mosquitoes (0.09 percent) lost. 141 suffered performance problems with its Mosquitoes and their Serrate radar. Warrant Officer Graham 'Chalky' White and Flying Officer Mike Allen were top scorers of 141 - 13 German aircraft at night."
I would love to be able to read about the interception and tactics used by a night fighter pilot and especially a pilot who flew long range intruder missions. Nonetheless, this is an interesting read but it does not have much directly related to combat.
In a way, it’s a little reminiscent of the story in “Top Gun” in the detail of his life-long friendship with his navigator nicknamed Dagwood – much like Tom Cruise’s friendship with his radar officer, “Goose” but with no tragic ending.
I thought the lack of combat and operational memories would make this a dull read but it really wasn’t dull. Each chapter is a discrete story in itself about a particular (and usually amusing) episode because they really tell a lot about the private lives of the men White flew with. He does relate a little bit about operational flying over Germany as a night bomber escort or as free ranging intruder. Since he flew more than 30 night missions, it would have been more interesting had he related more about these than about pubs and pranks.
The book goes on a just a tad too long because when he runs out of personal anecdotes he starts to tell additional stories about other pilots. I think about ¾ of the way through the book there is a definitive ending to all the memories but then he seems to start all over again with more stories about his pals and they are certainly not as interesting.
All in all, a nice read and it did give me a little more depth of understanding about the lives that some R.A.F. pilots lived on and off the base during and after the war.
Top reviews from other countries
Night Fighter over Germany is a book that should appeal to readers of both genders and a wide range of ages.
Heartily recommended as an enjoyable and chuckle-rich read!
In all seriousness though, this book is written in such a style, you can practically hear Chalky's voice.... Wonderful. Modest to the last, there's no boasting about surviving over 30 ops at a time when the attrition rate was utterly horrendous!
Many times I smiled and or laughed out loud at their antics during WW 2. I heartily recommend this to you.
Thanks Mr White, both for your service and committing this remarkable narrative to posterity!
Some of the comments on Amazon regarding this book are critical as the Title does not reflect the content. This is a valid criticism as the book hardly touched on the Author’s 30+ operations flying as a Night Escort towards the end of the 2nd world war. Instead the book covers the life of an operational NCO pilot from his enlistment in 1941 to demob in 1950. The fact that the Author continued to fly after the war is a testament to his skill as a pilot so it is a shame that operational missions over Germany are not covered.
Nevertheless, the Author’s story is an interesting one. Sent to the USA for initial training he returned to the UK to find that unlike the rest of his course he did not go to a Bomber OTU (which likely saved his life) but to fly as a Staff pilot flying trainee Navigators in Avro Ansons in Northumberland. This sidetrack then took him to Night Fighter training which was carried out in Beaufighters before eventually arriving on a Mosquito squadron in 1944. As already mentioned there is little in here about operational sorties but there is a wealth of stories about the daily escapades of squadron aircrews during the war. These stories were at times laugh out loud and reminders of Service Humour including the fatalistic black humour still common today in the armed forces. At other times there are poignant reminders about just how dangerous even non-operational wartime flying was – stories Mosquitoes crashing during formation flying practice or Bomber Affiliation sorties or of Target towing aircraft simply vanishing over the North Sea.
If you want an action packed tale of Night Intruder work then this is not the book for you. If you want a great read and a good laugh then get yourself a copy.
I would still recommend this book as one to read if you are interested in this subject area.
A reminder of dark times where friends were lost in training even before joining the front line and even more after entering the fray. I ended the book knowing far more about the amazing Mosquito than I thought there was to know. No technical stuff for geeks, but you definitely get to know what the plane could do, and what a joy it was to fly despite the reasons for flying it.
I hereby recommend this book