This month the book vote looks at the Duel series, with five books focussed on aerial combat battling for your vote. Read more about the options below and cast your vote using the form below. Plus, check out the results of last month's Weapon book vote below.
DUE: Fw 190F vs Soviet Tank Destroyers (Eastern Front 1944-45)
DUE: B-29 Superfortress vs Japanese Nightfighters (Japan 1944–45)
DUE: RAF Fighters vs Ju 87B Stuka (Channel Front 1940)
DUE: P-38 Lightning vs Bf 109 (MTO 1942-43)
DUE: Me 163 Komet vs B-17 Flying Fortress (Europe 1944–45)
Fw 190F vs Soviet Tank Destroyers (Eastern Front 1944-45)
The Fw 190F was the ground-attack variant of the famous Focke-Wulf radial-engined fighter and fighter-bomber. It equipped several Luftwaffe Schlachtgruppen in 1944–45, and was armed with two 20mm MG 151 cannon as well as centreline and underwing bomb racks specifically for work against armour. The principle opponents for the Fw 190F were the masses of Soviet armour thrusting from the East, across Poland and into the Third Reich in 1944–45. Only the Fw 190F, with its mixed ordnance, could operate with relative efficiency at low-level against the mighty Su-85 and Su-100 tank destroyers. It became essential for beleaguered German ground forces that these formidable machines were stopped and destroyed, for they were more than capable of taking out the latest types of German armour.
B-29 Superfortress vs Japanese Nightfighters (Japan 1944–45)
The USAAF’s strategic bombardment of Japan succeeded due to the B-29’s ability to strike the Home Islands at night with impunity. Yet the reasons Japan’s night time air defences, especially its nightfighters, failed is rarely examined. The battle, when joined would be decided by radar, electronic countermeasures, and such things as weapons targeting. A Japanese victory would have required overcoming the B-29s defences, while USAAF crews relied on evasion as much as its defensive weapons. This volume will look at the battles between B-29s and Japanese nightfighters, revealing why Japan fell short against the Superfortress.
RAF Fighters vs Ju 87B Stuka (Channel Front 1940)
The Stuka first saw action during the attack on Poland and then advanced across Europe with the invading Wehrmacht. It had something of a reputation as a ‘terror weapon’ and was used to great effect during those campaigns. However, RAF fighters quickly learned how to master the type in combat when it was encountered over the Dunkirk evacuation beaches, although, given its reputation as being easy to shoot down, perhaps the losses were not necessarily as high as might have been expected. That said, RAF fighters scored heavily against the type during attacks on British south coast targets on 16 and 18 August 1940. Indeed, several RAF pilots became ‘Stuka aces’, although it was certainly the case that it was arguably the aircraft against which the most significant overclaiming by RAF pilots occurred.
P-38 Lightning vs Bf 109 (MTO 1942-43)
Although the P-38 Lightning would prove to be the ‘Cadillac of fighters’ in the Pacific Theatre, where it prevailed over its Japanese counterparts, it was a very different story in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations. Despite being well trained, USAAF P-38 pilots with little or no combat experience found their Axis opponents in Bf 109F/Gs a stubborn foe thanks to the battle-hardened nature of the Jagdflieger and Italian pilots encountered over North Africa and the Mediterranean. Some of the leading Bf 109 units (JG 27 and JG 77, for example) and their high-scoring aces feature in this volume, as do some early Lightning aces from the 1st, 14th and 82nd Fighter Groups.
Me 163 Komet vs B-17 Flying Fortress (Europe 1944–45)
By mid-1944 the B-17 Flying Fortress was the workhorse of the USAAF’s daylight heavy bomber campaign, and it was devastating Germany from the air. Now escorted by long-range P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang fighters, the bombers could not be halted by conventional German aircraft. The alternative was to deploy a radical new concept in aerial warfare – the rocket-powered Me 163 Komet, dedicated to the singular purpose of bomber interception. Essentially a manned projectile, the aptly-named Komet could climb to combat altitude at an unprecedented rate, and in level flight achieve speeds hitherto undreamed of. Appearing out of nowhere, it could slash through bomber formations and then vanish, moving too fast for the gun turrets of the lumbering Flying Fortresses to keep up.
Last month, we asked you what you would like to see published in our Weapon series. Thank you to everyone who voted and provided feedback. The results were very close, check out the full results below to find out more!
|WPN: Chinese Swords 1600 BC–AD 1644||21%|
|WPN: European Polearms 1000–1800||27%|
|WPN: Matchlock Firearms 1400–1700||16%|
|WPN: Wheellock Firearms 1500–1700||16%|
|WPN: Cavalry Swords 1500–1918||21%|
Did your favourite win? Which Duel title did you vote for? Let us know in the comments!