Messerschmitt Roulette:- The Western Desert 1941-42
|PUBLISHED (THIS EDITION):||February 2003|
This is sterling writing, a marvellous read. For the first time we have a clearly honest account of the war from a recce pilot's viewpoint. Barrett Tillman The grit, grime, tension and raw fear of having to fly when completely exhausted and lacking enough sleep comes through over and over again. Jeff Ethell
This book provides a stunning view of the war in the Western Desert across the borders of Egypt and Libya during 1941-1942 at a time when the British Empire stood alone against the Axis. It is the history of 451 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, as seen through the eyes of an RAF pilot. Equipped with ageing Hurricane Mk.1 aircraft, 451 Squadron was assigned to perform armed reconnaissance and photo missions, frequently at low altitude. They were constantly at a disadvantage to faster, higher flying German and Italian fighters, and many Hurricanes and pilots were lost during these dangerous sorties.
The author, an English officer, had to battle not only enemy flak and fighters but the early scorn of his Australian comrades. The junior pilots of the squadron, mostly Aussies, were disgusted with the recce assignment and peeved that senior officers were Royal Air Force and not Australian. But the desperate war situation flung these unhappy companions into the same unit, and the story of their months in combat is described herein in all its griminess, humour and terror.