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Tillman, Barrett. U.S. Navy Fighter Squadrons in World War II. North Branch, MN: Specialty Press, 1997.
Preface; Introduction to FitRons; photos; Selected Biographies; Recommended Reading; index.
Appendices: The Squadrons; The Aces; The Ships
In the 1960's the Historical Division of the US Air Force prepared a pair of reference works containing the historical records of all its combat units and squadrons during World War II. Barrett Tillman, one of the most distinguished American aviation writers, has undertaken a similar survey of a somewhat smaller topic: the fighter squadrons ("FitRons") of the US Navy in World War II.
Of these there were approximately 150 established during the war years, of which around 90 were "flying offensive missions in any theater before 15 August 1945." That group serves as the subject of the volume.
For each squadron Tillman presents an array of dates and data, including designation; nickname; date of establishment; date of redesignations (if any); date of disestablishment; dates and locations of deployments (with aircraft models); numbers of victories, aces, and pilots lost; names and scores of leading pilots; names of COs; and several paragraphs of narrative. Many also feature a photo of pilots or aircraft. Here's a typical entry:
Appendices round out the book with a wealth of tables covering "Highest Squadron Daily Claims", "Top Navy Aces by Aircraft Type", "Aces in a Day" and many more. Tillman provides biographical data for twelve Navy fliers, representing "not only the top-scoring Navy aces, but those who made lasting contributions beyond their victory scores, or whose aerial combat achievements were unique."
Well done. An outstanding research tool.
Available from mail order booksellers, local bookshops, or directly from Specialty Press.
Thanks to Specialty Press for providing this review copy.
Reviewed 17 August 1997
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