Boeing B-17 Fortress...

...In RAF Coastal Command Service, from MMP Books

Title:  Boeing B-17 Fortress in RAF Coastal Command Service

Author: Robert M Stitt

Publisher:  MMP

ISBN:  978-83-65281-54-8

A new, revised edition of this book is now available from MMP books, another fine addition to their White series of soft-cover books and an ideal companion to their other recent release of a book covering the various foreign operators of the Boeing B-17. The RAF did not take on the use of the American built bomber for use by Bomber Command, but they did use them within Coastal Command.

In this book we get a very highly detailed account of Coastal Command's use of the aircraft, where they were designate Fortress I and Fortress II, depending on the model.

After the introductions, which includes how the author, already an aviation enthusiast, became enthused by the history of the B-17 in Coastal Command service. Strangely enough it seems it all stemmed from a B-17 wreck he visited in 1977 in Papua, New Guinea, an airframe where the US paint had worn off over the years revealing an RAF serial and markings, including the colour scheme.  The book starts with the long list of reference sources the author used, plus information from many aircrew who have now passed away, along with their family and remaining log books, photos etc. It goes on to tell the story of the two squadrons (and for a short time, a third) and includes copies of documents, archive photos of aircraft and aircrew, to tell the story of the B-17s with Coastal Command. At first they were used as part of the long range hunt for U-Boats as part of the Battle of the Atlantic. They sunk U-boats from as far South as the Azores to Greenland in the North. At one point, as featured in this new edition, a couple were even detached to North Africa for a time. It also includes accounts from members of the Coastal Command aircrew of their own experiences operating in the B-17. Finally replaced in the anti-submarine role, the Coastal Command B-17 went on to perform a valuable role in Meteorology reconnaissance.

The final third of the book has some scale drawings which highlight the modification made to the basic aircraft as delivered to make them suitable for their Coastal Command role along with a series of appendices which give extra details, such as camouflage and markings, a list of all the individual aircraft serials used by the RAF, 11 pages of super colour profile artworks and much more.

This second edition follows on from the original which was published back in 2008, and has additional information and photos, along with corrections from that earlier edition. The publishers MMP continue to manage to find what I think is an excellent balance between research information that will interest military and aviation historians alongside detail that will be welcomed by aircraft modellers. Easy to recommend.

Thanks to MMP Books, who kindly provided my review copy.