311 Squadron RAF
History of the successful Czechoslovak bomber squadron in the RAF during WW2. No. 311 (Czechoslovak) Bomber Squadron was established as the second Czechoslovak combat squadron within the Royal Air Force during the summer of 1940, and became the only wholly Czechoslovak bomber squadron in the RAF.
The Czechoslovak pilots flew Wellingtons and B-24 Liberators on operations, and returned to their homeland with the latter at the end of the war.
The book contains: * Superb colour illustrations of camouflage and markings, rare b+w archive photographs. Essential reading for aviation enthusiasts, historians & scale aeromodellers.
Amazon.co.uk customer review (2nd) 2015-09-14
Amazon.co.uk customer review (1st) 2014-08-27
Air Modeller No. 53 2014-08-27
Model Aircraft 04/2014 2014-08-27
IPMS UK Magazine No. 1 2014 2014-08-27
Reviewed by: Mike Van Schoonhoven, IPMS# 41627
This is the first publication from MMP that I have had the opportunity to read. I found the book very informative and look forward to reading other offerings from this publisher.
The RAF 311 bomber squadron was the second Czechoslovak combat squadron within the RAF and it was the only one composed completely of Czechoslovakian members. It was formed in 1940 and served until the end of the war in 1945.
This book covers how the Czechoslovakians escaped the Germans and made their way through Europe, exiting Dunkirk and making it to the UK. From there they begin their induction into the RAF and begin flying bombing missions with the first coming in September 1940 against a marshalling yard in Brussels. The unit suffered high losses with mixed results in the beginning, but as the war dragged on they proved themselves as very brave combatants and achieved great results. Most of their combat was in the Vickers Wellington in both fixed target raids and then in anti submarine warfare. In 1943 they transferred to the B-24 and continued with the anti submarine missions.
This book is very well written and goes into great detail giving the accounts of each mission flown, including aircraft losses, aircrew losses and after action reports. The pictures in this book are amazing, with some being claimed to never having been seen before. For example there are multiple period pictures of one particular Wellington that was flown by the 311 squadron in both RAF markings and in captured German markings. Included also is a listing of all the members, aircraft, POW's from the squadron and twenty four pages of color drawings of aircraft from the squadron.
I highly recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in RAF squadrons or just plain military history. I would like to thank MMP and IPMS/USA for allowing me to be able to review this book.
The Downsman Magazine, April 2014. 2014-08-27
By Chris Banyai-Riepl
The 311 (Czechoslovak) Bomber Squadron was the only Czech bomber squadron serving in the RAF. Formed in 1940, 311 Squadron initially flew the Wellington in the skies over Europe before switching to Coastal Command in 1942. Operating over the Atlantic, 311 Squadron traded their Wellingtons in for Liberators in 1943, and continued to fly that type while seeking out German u-boats and shipping. In 1945, they returned to Czechoslovakia with their Liberators, where they continued to fly the type until 1948.
This latest title in the Mushroom Model Publications Blue Series provides a very thorough history of 311 Squadron, from its beginnings in 1940 through to the post-war years in Czechoslovakia. The text is nicely written and engaging, while the photo coverage is both thorough and interesting. Of course, no Mushroom book would be complete without color profile illustrations, and this book provides those as well.
What is really nice about this book, though, is the number of appendices. Nearly a dozen of these fill out the last few dozen pages of the book, and these cover just about everything you could possibly want to know about 311 Squadron. These include the bases of 311 Squadron, number of sorties, operations and losses, targets, aircraft flown, aircrews of the squadron (including portraits), and the training provided to the aircrews. There is truly a treasure trove of information provided in these appendices, and it makes for a nice ending to a well-researched title.
This is the history of the successful Czechoslovak bomber squadron in the RAF during WW2. No. 311 (Czechoslovak) Bomber Squadron was established as the second Czechoslovak combat squadron within the Royal Air Force during the summer of 1940, and became the only wholly Czechoslovak bomber squadron in the RAF.
The Czechoslovak pilots flew Wellingtons and B-24 Liberators on operations, and returned to their homeland with the Liberators at the end of the war.
The book contains: Superb colour illustrations of camouflage and markings, rare b+w archive photographs. Essential reading for aviation enthusiasts, historians & scale aircraft modellers.
If you like your Wellingtons and Liberators you’ll like this book because it shows those two bombers in a rather uncommon context: in Czechoslovak service, under secondment to the RAF. (There’s even a Wellington with German markings, captured by the Luftwaffe!) Called up early in WWII, 311 Squadron was the second Czech combat squadron but the first, and only, bomber squadron and flew 3140 sorties over much of Europe during WWII.
This is the first treatment in English of the 311 and, being quite specialized, will be primarily of interest to people who served in it, RAF scholars and, of course, scale modelers who are always looking for ways to customize their builds (and for once won’t have to possess superhuman skills in creating decals from scratch).
Vančata, a Technical Support Engineer with serious aviation interests, had previously contributed to No. 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron 1940–1945 (ISBN 2-9526381-1-X) in Philedition’s “RAF in Combat” series that was started around 2008 and one day will run into the hundreds of books of mainly squadron histories. The 311 book too is primarily a personnel/operational rather than an aircraft history; coverage ends in 1946. Just to illustrate the human aspect, consider that the first casualty was a suicide by Verey signal pistol when a downed airman shot himself to avoid spending the rest of the war as a POW and the second is also attributable to a Verey, this time an accidental in-flight discharge that took down an Anson killing 5 of the 7-man crew. The book is very precise in terms of names, ranks, serial numbers, sorties etc. There is drama at every turn so anyone with an eye for the human condition will find these vignettes relatable—and lamentable. There are lots of excerpts from action reports including diagrams of engagements, flight paths etc.
The book is amply illustrated with comprehensively captioned photos, five of them in color which is a rarity for the time. From weddings to the last farewell to fallen comrades, Vančata paints a rich picture. Most of these photos have of course not been published before so that alone is a reason to have the book. The aircraft photos reveal useful detail that is sometimes specifically called out in the captions.
The 25 color profiles (side views only) by Marek Radomski focus on paint and markings. Only four of them are Liberators, and three are Ansons. The first of the illustrations happens to be an Anson, p. 139, and it’s not clear why it is there and not at the back with the other two. It is also missing the first couple of lines of type so something may have gone altogether wrong there.
Preceded by footnotes and a Bibliography, one third of the book consists of Appendices, mostly lists: bases, sorties, losses, honor roll, crews, aircraft, targets. Some of this is in fairly microscopic type. Appendix 9 is a useful and necessary (foreign languages!) list of abbreviations.
This publisher’s books are almost always most reasonably priced and even by that measure this particular book is an exceptional value at its lowly £13.
Copyright 2013, Sabu Advani (speedreaders.info).
Revi 94 2014-08-27
Model Airplane International 2014/02. 2014-08-27
SAMI 02/2014 2014-08-27
Amazon.com customer review (1st) 2014-08-27
By David L. Veres
Thousands escaped the tyranny of Nazi-occupied Europe to fight for the Allies during World War II. And among these were expatriate Czechoslovak airmen.
Now some are the subject of a terrific tome from MMP Books.
311 Squadron – part the publisher's Blue Series and available in North America from Casemate – tells the total tale of this proud RAF bomber unit in an abundantly illustrated, absorbing account.
Author Pavel Vancata has mined amazing amounts of archival detail. Names. Dates. Aircraft. Serials. Markings. Movements. Year-by-year. All packed into 160 pithy pages.
The RAF's only all-Czechoslovak bomber squadron flew Vickers Wellingtons and Consolidated B-24 Liberators on bombing and maritime missions. And dozens of photos and color plates illustrate 311 Squadron aircraft – including utility types. Maps, tables, biographic sidebars and eleven appendices further support this solid study.
Engrossing details also pepper MMP's narrative. You'll learn, for instance, that, before joining RAF service, F/O Jan Roman Irving flew rare Amiot 351 bombers with the Armée de l'Aire's GB I/21 during the Battle of France. How many can claim that distinction? Jumped by seven Ju 88's, P/O/ J. Strach's Liberator destroyed one and damaged two attackers – and completely escaped without damage. What's the chance of that?
MMP has forged justly radiant repute with gems like this. And I loved this brilliant little book.
Skrzydlata Polska 12/2013 2014-04-03
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