The Fairy Battle...

...a Reassessment of its RAF Career, new from Fonthill Media

Title: The Fairy Battle
Author: Greg Baughen

Publisher: Fonthill Media
ISBN: 978-1-78155-585-9

More from Fonthill Media and author Greg Baughen is an interesting examination of the Fairy Battle, an aircraft type which suffered heavily at the hands of the Luftwaffe during the Blitzkrieg of 1940.  The Battle has a reputation for being an unsuccessful design due largely to the heavy losses of aircraft and crews in 1940 and this examines just what the problem was.

The book is organised into a logical sequence of chapters, starting with the background to the development of the design and the Air Ministry specifications it was built to meet, and in some respects, exceed.  There are aspects to the design which are put into context with the wider state of aircraft designs in the same period, and the thinking about the use of single engine day bombers at that time, prior to WW2.  The development and early production problems, along with the Air Ministry 'tinkering' with the specifications did not bode well.

The next chapter is 'The Battle Becomes Obsolete' is a good indication of the speed at which things were changing in Europe during the 1930's and how the predicted requirements for the RAF were shifting.  It discusses the intended role of the Battle, whether it was a Strategic bombing asset, or a tactical one.

Then we get to the 'Operational Debut and Problems' and then 'Lessons Hard Learned' which details the story of events in France in 1940.  It includes maps to support the story in the text, and details the casualties they suffered. Then we get to chapter 5, 'The Beginnings of a Revival', where some of the lessons of the early disasters were learned and corrective action taken.  This then l into a section of 30 pages of archive photos and drawings that illustrate the Battle story and including some of its' contemporaries.  Chapter 6 takes us through the period following the withdrawal of the AASF (Advanced Air Striking Force) from France, 'A Wasted Resource' and this in turn leads on to the final chapter, a 'Conclusion', an interesting one to be sure, which rounds off the story quite nicely.  It isn't for me to say what that conclusion is, for that you should read the book. I think you will enjoy it.  Finally, there are 7 appendices that give more detailed information on the performance and production of the Fairy Battle.

I found this a very interesting look at the Fairy Battle, and one which challenges the common perception of it as a failure.  It makes an interesting companion volume to the author's earlier book on RAF policy, 'The RAF  in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain', also published by Fonthill Media.