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Knights of the Skies Armour Protection for British Fighting Aeroplanes

£19.95

Foreword by Group Captain Billy Drake DSO, DFC & Bar, DFC (US)

In June 1940 Billy Drake was shot down in his Hurricane over France. A German cannon shell exploded behind his head, but he survived thanks to a sheet of armour.

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SKU: 1-871187- 50-8 Category: Tag:

Foreword by Group Captain Billy Drake DSO, DFC & Bar, DFC (US)

In June 1940 Billy Drake was shot down in his Hurricane over France. A German cannon shell exploded behind his head, but he survived thanks to a sheet of armour. Had he been shot down a few weeks earlier he would have been killed, because armour was considered ‘unnecessary’; Only a fool would allow himself to shot at from behind said the men at the Air Ministry.

At the start of the First World War armour had also been considered ‘unnecessary’, its weight reduced the performance of the underpowered aircraft too much, but some pilots and squadrons made and fitted their own protection. By 1918 the view of the Air Ministry had changed and it commissioned designs for an armoured ‘Trench Fighter’ that must have a fully armoured cockpit – lessons had been learned, but the price in pilots killed had been high.

Between the wars performance again became the primary concern and the lessons of the First War were forgotten. So it was that the Hurricane squadrons went to France with no rear armour; and no front armour either. Soon every RAF combat aircraft was fitted with armour, saving hundreds of lives.

In this carefully researched book Michael Fox takes the reader through the development of aircraft armour from 1910 to 1945, using the stories of pilots to illustrate how vital it could be. The technology and aircraft design is also examined, with little known aircraft as the ‘Sopwith Salamander’ and ‘Farnborough Ram’ playing an important role.

Weight 0.6 kg
ISBN

1-871187-50-8

Size

235 x 155 mm

Extent

298 pages

Book Jacket

Softback

Published By

Air Research

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