Fighter Aces

Knights of the Sky

John Sadler, Rosie Serdiville

An accessible history of flying aces, from the first aces in 1915 to the high-powered aerial dogfights of WWII and beyond.
Date Published :
July 2017
Publisher :
Casemate
Language:
English
Series :
Casemate Short History
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781612004822
Pages : 160
Dimensions : 7.75 X 5 inches
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In stock
$12.95

Overview
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The Casemate Short History Series presents readable and entertaining introductions to military history topics.

Just over a decade after the first successful powered flight, fearless pioneers were flying over the battlefields of France in flimsy biplanes. As more aircraft took to the skies, their pilots began to develop tactics to take down enemy aviators. Though the infantry in their muddy trenches might see aerial combat as glorious and chivalric, the reality for these ‘Knights of the Sky’ was very different and undeniably deadly: new Royal Flying Corps subalterns in 1917 had a life expectancy of 11 days.

In 1915 the term ‘ace’ was coined to denote a pilot adept at downing enemy aircraft, and top aces like the Red Baron, René Fonck and Billy Bishop became household names. The idea of the ace continued after the 1918 Armistice, but as the size of air forces increased, the prominence of the ace diminished. But still, the pilots who swirled and danced in Hurricanes and Spitfires over southern England in 1940 were, and remain, feted as ‘the Few’ who stood between Britain and invasion. Flying aircraft advanced beyond the wildest dreams of Great War pilots, the ‘top’ fighter aces of World War II would accrue hundreds of kills, though their life expectancy was still measured in weeks, not years.
World War II cemented the vital role of air power, and postwar innovation gave fighter pilots jet-powered fighters, enabling them to pursue duels over huge areas above modern battlefields. This entertaining introduction explores the history and cult of the fighter ace from the first pilots through late 20th century conflicts, which leads to discussion of whether the era of the fighter ace is at an end.

About The Author
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John Sadler is a military historian born and living in Northumberland. He has written extensively on a range of periods and is a battlefield tour guide who covers most of the major battles from both world wars (and numerous others). He also lectures on military history at Newcastle University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, a member of the Battlefield Trust and Guild of Battlefield Tour Guides.

Rosie Serdiville is a social historian and re-enactor with a particular interest in the wider impact of war on civilian populations. She delights in spending time in archives: some of the most interesting characters in this volume have emerged from archival materials.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Prologue
Timeline
Aces of Aces
Introduction: Tumult in the Clouds

1: Above Flanders Fields (1914-16)
2: Bloody April (1917-18)
3: Their Finest Hour (1939-41)
4: War Without Pity (1941-45)
5: MiG Alley, Desert Skies and Story Seas (post 1945)

Postscript: The Last Aces?
Sources

REVIEWS
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"These books would be excellent for someone with an early interest in military history or for someone talking history at school. Very readable and easy to understand with some good illustrations."

- Army Rumour Service

Fighter Aces – Knights of the Sky offers a broader perspective to our area of study and is recommended.”

- Over the Front, Autumn 2017

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