This month the book vote looks at the Duel series, with five books focussed on aerial combat battling for your vote. Find out more about them in the descriptions below, and then let us know which one you'd be most interested in!
DUE: Ju 87 Stuka vs T-34 (Eastern Front 1941-45
DUE: Mi-24 ‘Hind’ vs FIM-92 Stinger (Afghanistan 1980-89)
DUE: Royal Navy Torpedo Bombers vs Axis Warships (1939-42)
DUE: PB4Y Liberator vs H6K Mavis/H8K ‘Emily’ (Pacific 1944-45)
Ju 87 Stuka vs T-34 (Eastern Front 1941-45)
The Ju 87 was one of the Luftwaffe’s most iconic weapons of war, while the Soviet T-34 tank was the mainstay of the Red Army on the Eastern Front. These types first fought each other during the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa, in June 1941, with Stukageschwader 1 and 77 being called on to target T-34s that the Wehrmacht could not knock out with its inferior Panzers. The ultimate tank-destroying Stuka variant was the Ju 87G, which was fitted with a single 30mm cannon under each wing expressly for anti-T-34 operations. Being heavily armoured, quick and relatively agile, the T-34 was no easy target for the Ju 87. The tanks also boasted two 7.62 mm machine guns that were routinely used to engage aerial opposition.
Sunderland vs U-boat (Battle of the Atlantic 1940-44)
The Sunderland was RAF Coastal Command’s most effective flying-boat at the start of World War 2, and therefore a key weapon in the Battle of the Atlantic in the fight against the U-boat menace. At least 26 U-boats fell victim to Sunderland crews between January 1940 and November 1944. Despite such losses, the U-boat crews were routinely prepared to stand their ground, with the types, I, VII, IX and X being fitted with a single 88 mm deck gun forward and increasingly powerful anti-aircraft weaponry (usually rapid-firing MG 151 20 mm cannon) aft of the ship’s tower. U-boat crews claimed to have shot down as many as 120 Allied aircraft during the war, and at least 11 of these were Sunderlands.
Mi-24 ‘Hind’ vs FIM-92 Stinger (Afghanistan 1980-89)
The conflict in Afghanistan during the 1980s saw the first widespread use of Man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADS) against both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. The principal MANPAD fielded by the Mujahideen in-theatre from 1980 was the US-built FIM-92 Stinger, which proved deadly against both Soviet and Afghan government helicopters and aircraft. The Stinger was supplied to the Mujahideen to counter the deadly Mi-24 ‘Hind’ battlefield helicopter, used predominantly as a gunship in Afghanistan. Initially untouchable in-theatre, the Mi-24 suffered increasing losses to Stinger missiles, forcing a change in tactics and an improvement in the helicopter’s anti-MANPADS equipment.
Royal Navy Torpedo Bombers vs Axis Warships (1939-42)
Despite having to rely on the Swordfish biplane as its principal torpedo-bomber for the first years of the war, the Fleet Air Arm nevertheless struck a series of telling blows against Axis warships in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The achievement of the ‘Stringbag’ against Italian vessels in Taranto harbour in 1940 and the Bismarck in 1941 proved that despite its antiquated appearance, the Fairey torpedo-bomber could be a deadly foe in the right circumstances. Equally, Swordfish and Albacore crews suffered high losses to defensive fire from capital ships in particular during failed attacks, when the biplanes’ slow speed made them east targets.
PB4Y Liberator vs H6K Mavis/H8K ‘Emily’ (Pacific 1944-45)
The clashes between the long-ranging US Navy PB4Ys and Imperial Japanese Naval Air Force (IJNAF) H6K ‘Mavis’ and H8K ‘Emily’ flying boats in the central and western Pacific saw leviathans of the skies fighting it out over the open ocean, hundreds of miles from land. All three aircraft types were heavily armed, and the Liberators were operating from atoll-sized islands on reconnaissance missions in search of Japanese warships and merchantmen. Similarly, the IJNAF flying boats – arguably the best of their type operated by any fighting force in World War 2 – were tasked with scouting out the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet as it progressed ever closer to the Japanese Home Islands.
Make your vote by clicking here!
Last month we asked you what would you like to see published in our Weapon series. Thank you to everyone who voted and provided feedback, the full results are listed below!
|WPN: The Dreyse Rifle||18%|
|WPN: Naval Boarding Weapons||17%|
|WPN: Weapons of the US Navy SEALs||15%|
|WPN: Sniping Rifles in the Asia–Pacific War 1937–45||13%|
|WPN: Weapons of the Trench Raider 1914–18||36%|
Did your favourite win? Which Duel title did you vote for? Let us know in the comments!