Commanding Far Eastern Skies

A Critical Analysis of the Royal Air Force Air Superiority Campaign in India, Burma and Malaya 1941–1945

Peter Preston-Hough

Date Published :
March 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Wolverhampton Military Studies
Illustration :
10 b/w photos, 13 maps, 13 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781910294444
Pages : 320
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781912390434
Pages : 308
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available


The war in the Far East between 1941 and 1945 is occasionally referred to as the 'Forgotten War' and this description extends to the way the campaign’s air war has been analyzed. However, the role of air power in Burma was vitally important to the campaign, in particular the attainment of air superiority in order to facilitate supply and close support operations. The foundation of these operations was dependent on the Allies achieving and maintaining air superiority and latterly air supremacy over the Japanese. The British lost air superiority during the initial Japanese attacks as their early warning system, aircraft, aircrew and tactics did not match their adversary’s capabilities.

This book will analyze how the Allies lost air superiority during the initial exchanges, and then how technical and material difficulties were overcome before air superiority was won in 1944, and air supremacy was gained in 1945. Furthermore, the book will demonstrate how Japanese industry, their war in the Pacific, and their use of air power in Burma ultimately affected the air war’s eventual outcome. The book will examine current historiography to question and corroborate existing views, as well as to reveal new information not previously published.

About The Author

Dr Peter Preston-Hough is a visiting lecturer in the War Studies Department of the University of Wolverhampton and the History Department of the University of Chester. He lectures to undergraduates and postgraduates on aspects of air power since its inception in the twentieth century. His areas of interest include the Royal Air Force; the Strategic Air Offensive 1940–1945; 617 Squadron in the Second World War; the Air Superiority Campaign in the Far East 1939–1945; and airborne warfare and airborne operations, particularly in Normandy and during Operation Market Garden 1944. Dr Preston-Hough's first book, "Commanding Far Eastern Skies", is due to be launched in May 2015 and will be published by Helion. He is currently working on a study of Airborne operations in Europe in 1944.


“ … a significant contribution to the literature on this long-neglected air campaign … This new work is highly recommended for anyone interested in the air war over Burma.”

- Aviation Historian

"The author is to be commended for his pioneering attempt at analyzing the Far eastern air campaign, and the extensive references provided in the book."

- RAF Commands

"… As with the best research, this volume challenges the pre-existing notions, especially of the official narratives prepared after the war, but which remained classified until well into the 1970s … This account is well leavened with personal accounts which underline and illuminate to best effect; it also takes pains to explain methodologies and terminology which will reward the interested, even if not specialist, reader.”"

- Society of Friends of the National Army Museum

“ … Such a study is long overdue … and is a very readable and much needed addition to the historiography of the campaigns in Malaya and Burma.”

- Bulletin of the Military Historical Society

"… a considerable achievement."

- Aeroplane

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