Britain and the Commonwealth's War in the Air 1939-45, Volume 2

Ben Kite

‘Undaunted' is the second volume of the ‘British Commonwealth's War in the Air 1939-45'. It combines detailed studies into the tactics, techniques and technology that made British air power so effective, together with the personal accounts of the aircrew themselves

‘Undaunted' includes chapters on air intelligence, photographic-reconnaissance and
Date Published :
August 2021
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
194 b/w photos, 16 color maps, 12 b/w figures
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781913118594
Pages : 568
Dimensions : 9.5 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : Out of stock


This book provides a comprehensive explanation of the British Commonwealth’s war in the air during the Second World War. It combines detailed studies into the tactics, techniques and technology, together with the personal accounts of the aircrew themselves, as they executed some of the most hazardous operations of the war. The first volume Through Adversity covered how the British achieved air superiority, conducted bomber operations and supported maritime operations.

‘Undaunted’ is the second and final volume of the series. It begins by explaining how Air Intelligence functioned and how the British used signals intelligence, interrogation and air photographic reconnaissance to develop a sophisticated understanding of the enemy. It continues by investigating the work of the Special Duties squadrons, explaining how they maintained contact and supported resistance and intelligence organisations in occupied countries in Europe and the Far East. The second volume’s major focus is on the support provided to Ground Forces, relating the compelling story of how a disaster in France in 1940, forced a conceptual and organisational redesign of how Britain executed ground support operations. This pioneering work began in the Western Desert, reached maturity in Italy and was then used with devastating effect in NW Europe and the Far East. ‘Undaunted’ also covers the role British Commonwealth Air Forces played in air transportation. Examining the techniques of parachute and glider borne operations in Europe, as well as the decisive part air transport played in the Far East, particularly Burma where it became a hallmark of the Fourteenth Army’s operational design.

Like its predecessor, ‘Undaunted’ continues to balance explanations of the tactics, techniques and equipment used by the British with veteran’s anecdotes, which bring the human dimension of the air war to life. The final four chapters in particular cover the experiences of the ‘Guinea Pigs’ burns victims, airmen downed in the sea, those escaping and evading and most poignantly of all the Prisoner of War Experience.

‘Undaunted’ reflects the global and cosmopolitan nature of the British Commonwealth’s wartime operations. It includes exciting and thought-provoking accounts from not only RAF personnel, but also those of the RAAF, RNZAF, RCAF, SAAF, The Fleet Air Arm, as well as Poles, Frenchmen and other personnel from occupied countries.

It is exceptionally well Illustrated with over 150 photographs and diagrams, many never published before, as well as over 15 maps and diagrams. The book will undoubtedly appeal not only to aficionados, who will find considerable new information and insights on some of the rarer aspects of the air war, but also the more general reader who will appreciate it as the most comprehensive explanation on Britain’s war in the air to date.

About The Author

Ben Kite is a serving senior British Army Officer. He has served in a variety of different roles in his thirty year Army career including deployments to Belize, Bosnia, Kurdistan, South Africa, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. His service included operational roles with Royal Marine and Royal Air Force Units. Ben Kite has instructed at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and is a graduate of the Higher Command and Staff Course. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the British Commission for Military History. He is the author of the best-selling Stout Hearts -The British and Canadians in Normandy 1944, published in 2014 to wide acclaim.


"…a timely reminded of the close and important ties that endure to this day between the RAF and its sister services across the Commonwealth of nations. This important book is essential for any student of air warfare and is highly recommended."

- Flypast Magazine

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