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The Eagle Squadrons, A Book review

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by belasar, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    May 9, 2010
    Likes Received:
    The Eagle Squadrons, Yanks in the RAF 1940-1942, By Vern Haugland
    Ziff-Davis Flying Books, New York, 1979, 201 Pages, 14 Pages of Photo's
    Amazon, Paperback New: $18.69, Used: $2.95
    Hardback New: $40.00, Used: $0.01, Collectable: $2.75

    I have had this book in my collection for some 20 years and have just recently reread it for a review. This book covers the formation, training and combat history of the 3 Eagle Squadrons of the RAF, Nos 71,121 and 133. Also included is information on other American pilots who flew fighters in other RAF Squadrons in England, Malta and the Far East.

    A pleasent and easy read, the book seems to move nearly as fast as a Hurricane or Spitfire. Not a detailed history of the 3 squadrons, but more of a general book that gives the feeling of what it was like to be a American flying in the RAF. Stories abound about how they came to England, trained to fight, combat sorties, being shot down and high spirited pranks fill the book. One story of note concerned No. 71 Squadron when they recieved their first 'new' aircraft, Brewster Buffalo's which did not impress the pilots. the British commanded ordered them to take up all 7 aircraft, circle the field, and land their planes, without locking their tail wheels. Neddless to say all planes were damaged, and written off whith no mention of the reason!

    While reading this book I was struck by the number of aircraft lost to accidents vs. combat. It seems at least a third of all Eagle pilots were lost this way. Some 70 American's gave their lives to fight in the RAF, and all are listed in the back of the book.

    By no means a complete history of these squadrons or pilots, it is a fine little book that gives a solid general account of their 18 month history. Well worth the price of a used copy.


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