...new Orange Series title from MMP Books
Title: Gloster Gauntlet
Author: Alex Crawford
Publisher: Stratus Books/MMP
This new softcover book from MMO is an updated and expanded version of an earlier one of their books, this time focussed specifically on the one aircraft type, the Gloster Gauntlet. It was the last open cockpit fighter operated by the RAF, though not the last biplane because the Gladiator did serve on a little longer. This is a smaller, A5 format book of 80 pages.
The book starts with a basic introduction that sets the scene quite neatly and moves on to cover the Development and Production story, including archive photos and a series of fine 1/72 scale plans. That goes on to the Entry into Service, when No 19 Squadron received their first aircraft in February 1935. This includes more archive photos and scale plans, and there is even more detail contained in the useful captions to all the photos. Then we get the service history of the Gauntlet, with action in the desert of the Middle East with some detailed accounts of their missions, followed by service with a number of Commonwealth nations at the outset of the war in North Africa, taking on their Italian opponents.
Once retired from the front line it stayed in use with second line units, and then a section detailing camouflage and markings, with the individual squadron markings explained. The Gauntlet was also used by a couple of foreign air forces, and there are details of both Dutch and Finnish service machines. This takes us on to the second part of the book, which has modern colour photos of a preserved example in Finnish colours, along with detailed structural illustrations taken from original Technical Manuals, which together provide ideal references for modellers. The final 14 pages provide some excellent colour artwork with profiles and squadron markings all among the illustrations. Some interesting looking camouflage schemes which I am sure will inspire many modellers to want try them out. A fine book for aviation historians, especially with a part of the story of the Fighter in RAF service, and an ideal modellers reference to have on your bookshelf.
Thanks to MMP Books, who kindly provided my review copy.