Enemy at the Gates...
...Panic Fighters of the Second World War, from Fonthill Media
Title: Enemy at the Gates
Author: Justo Miranda
Publisher: Fonthill Media
This new 288-page hardback book from author Justo Miranda is another fascinating look at some of the aircraft development by a wide variety of countries around the world as they were faced with the rapid approach of conflict at the start of WW2. It concerns both those European nations which were threatened by the emergence of a Nazi Germany, and equally those nations in the Far East, threatened by the Japanese.
It begins with an Introduction that sets the scene, and then this is followed with 32 chapters, each one with a set of dates appropriate to the stories, and each one also accompanied by a set of line drawings, sometimes just profiles and some with additional views, all of which relate to the notes in the text which opens each country's chapter. Some of the profiles you will easily recognise, but others did not get off the drawing board, while others did sometimes get to prototype form, or a limited production run. While aircraft such as the Hurricane and Me 109 will be instantly recognisable, others such as the French C.A.O. 200, C.A.P.R.A. R.30, Polish PZL P.55, Dutch De Schelde s.21, French Bugatti 110 C.1 and Hungarian Marton RMI-8 X/V all look somewhat stranger. Some has twin tail booms, forward swept wings, even a cockpit escape module. Countries include Britain, France, Belgium, Poland and others in Europe, plus Thailand, China, the Philippines, Australia and the Dutch East Indies just to pick some from the Far East.
WW2 came at a time of huge technology changes for aircraft design, and this is reflected in so many of the designs. From biplanes to monoplanes, cannon armament, retractable undercarriages and new powerful engines, even with contra-rotating propellers, so much changed so quickly. It also highlights how reliant many smaller countries were on larger ones, such as France, German and the UK for example, to provide aircraft and or engines for their own designs. However, with war on the horizon, Home defence came first. If like me you have read any of the authors earlier books on German late war design projects, I am sure you will enjoy this one just as much, featuring so many more allied designs. The drawings are done to fit the pages, so few are at a set scale such as 1/72, but there is still plenty to tempt/inspire the modellers among us, and lots to interest the aviation historian. Recommended without any doubt.
Thanks to Fonthill Media for our review copy.