Although the Battle of Britain is one of the best covered battles in contemporary World War II literature, a reader interested in its immediate predecessor, the aerial war over France had hitherto to contend himself with various rather sketchy summaries. The RAF casualties alone amounted over 1,000 aircraft and airmen, so it is easy to see that the entire area had been in need of an in-depth study. A new major book by Peter Conrwell promises to close this important gap once and for all. Entitled The Battle of France Then & Now, it will be released in mid-February.
Cornwell’s 600-pages long account begins in September 1939 when the first squadrons of the newly-formed British Air Forces in France were sent to the Continent. He goes on describing the events of the Phoney War and the fateful campaign of May-June 1940 on the day-to-day basis until June 1940, the evacuation of the BEF from France and its aftermath. The level of detail covered in the book is reportedly fantastic, going down to the fate of individual aircraft and crews. Cornwell’s work covers aerial operations of six nations: Britain, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany and even Italy.
As far as RAF fighter squadrons in France were concerned, it was an all-Hurricane show, except for the last phase of the battle in the skies over Dunkirk.
The Aviation Bookshop has announced the launch of The Battle of France Then & Now with the opportunity to meet the author and the veteran pilots participating in the battle. The date for the event is February 23rd 2008, time: 11am – 3pm at The Aviation Bookshop, 31-33 Vale Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 1BS. You can also reserve your signed copy of the book by contacting the bookshop.