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Skua: The Royal Navy's Dive-Bomber: The Royal Navy's Dive-Bomber [Kindle Edition]

Peter Smith
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Blackburn Skua was the first monoplane to be designed and built for the Royal Navy in the 1930s. As a result of continued debate, it became a compromise between the Navy’s desire for a carrier-based dive-bomber and RAF’s preference for a fighter. Despite being the first to shoot down a Luftwaffe aircraft in World War II, early operations in Norway found the type woefully inadequate as a fighter.

As a dive-bomber, the Royal Navy put the design to good use from the outset of WWII. It was involved with the hunt for the Graff Spee, sunk the major warship Koln, suffered with great loss in an attack on the Scharnhorst, helped to keep the German advance at bay during the Dunkirk evacuation and attacked the French rogue battleship Richelieu in the Mediterranean.

This book relates how the final design was created, how the dive-bombing technique was developed and perfected by naval pilots and traces the wartime operational career of the type with many first-hand accounts.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 10157 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Pen and Sword Aviation (28 Mar. 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DN5U09K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #106,604 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A diligent work, but heavy going in places 3 Nov. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I do have two previous books on dive bombing by Peter Smith, which I haven't got around to reading yet, but as I am on holiday and downloaded the Kindle version of "Skua" ( great value by the way at 0.99) I have the time to read this.
Peter Smith says he has been trying for years to get a history of the Skua published, and finally succeeded. Rather presumptuously, he describes his previous books as "definitive works" ( I don't know that any writer can claim their own works to be "defintive" this is normally for other critics to decide), but whether the case or not, this certainly must be. He goes into- literally- every nut and bolt on the Skua, and this proved rather heavy going unless you are/were an aircraft fitter, but the book takes off when he gets into the operational action. Smith must be congratulated for the enormous amount of research that obviously went into this book. Anyone reading it will be both sadder and wiser at the sacrifices the young Navy flyers and gunners made in having to go up against Me 109s in these slow,cumbersome craft. Smith is no fan of the RAF, he makes this obvious. I am a fan of Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown, and wasn't too happy with Smith correcting him at one point, but never mind. Overall I would recommend this book, especially the Kindle version
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive Account 21 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book provides an inside track on a subject for which it was stated t be difficult to have publisher support. The Norway attack accounts are of particular interest to me, and the technical matters are thoroughly explained. Well worth having the second read on a larger format as the photographs and tables are there in a very generous proportion.
The internal politics of the aircraft's adoption, while unsurprising, are a pointer to the fact that dysfunctional systems that can be very dangerous to the end user. Devices were Selected, Recorded, Examined, Developed and Installed. In many cases they were NOT maintained.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsung hero 8 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Highly informative story of little known dive bomber. The book covers the Skua's development and operational history in some detail and is only let down on occasion by stupid typographical errors that should have been sorted out with proper proof-reading. With most of these it's fairly obvious what was really meant so doesn't cause much of a problem. Highly recommended for the military aviation enthusiast!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just About All You Need To Know! 8 Jun. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This classic account from Peter Smith is a comprehensive documentation of an aircraft that has near enough passed into the obscurity of history, The Blackburn Skua.

The book gives a full history in the most wonderful detail of the conditions that gave rise for the need for this aircraft, it's conception and design that includes an excellent part by part breakdown of the constructional elements of the Skua. The book then goes on to give what will continue to be the most complete biography of the Skua's operational life.

From operations over Norway, Dunkirk, The Mediterranean and fleet fighter patrols, the level of research Smith has gone into is exceptional, right down to the pilots names, serial and squadron numbers of aircraft involved. We get eye witness and first hand accounts from the pilots themselves, the ground crew and carrier deck crew. Their stories are funny, entertaining, interesting and sadly, as in war, they are tragic.

After the story of the Skua's short operational life, there are some following additional stories that centre on events surrounding the aircraft such as pilot errors, accidents, faults and fault diagnosis and a short look at the careers of the Skua's that were retired from active service and put to other training and target towing duties.

There are plenty of pictures included of the Skua and handy cross sectional diagrams of the fuselage, wings, tail plane and engine. There are also plenty of figures that include information on pilots and aircraft.

I have the kindle version not the paper copy, with a paper copy I have the habit of flipping through to look for diagrams before reading the book so as to forewarn myself that there are visual aids to the text, I find this tactic a little difficult with the kindle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Would you believe it...? 14 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fascinating read full of amazing facts about this almost forgotten aircraft. As a pilot and enthusiast, i knew little of the Skua, apart from its near obsolescence even before war began. The blood boils when we discover yet another example of the British government once again dragging their feet and ignoring the need for a dedicated dive-bomber. The Skua was compromised from the start but, surprisingly, achieved more than I realised.
I really enjoyed this book and thoroughly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthy Study of Little Known Aircraft 5 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not sure the formatting for Kindle works too well as much of the technical information (and there is plenty of it) becomes confusing to study.
Told with admirable restraint and in a matter of fact way and tries to shed light on the heroics of a bunch of highly skilled and motivated airmen flying outclassed machines (similar to Fairey Battle in that respect).
To my personal tastes I found the style a little un-engaging and lacking in excitement.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and informative 20 Sept. 2013
By Ava Hay
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was a complete surprise. Both informative and enjoyable to read, this is a treatise about a plane that has never made the hall of fame and never will.

The book is startling in its clarity that the Skua was way ahead of its time when first developed and had it been allowed a more powerful engine and faster development, it may well have proved more decisive than it turned out to be. It is also a sad fact that most of its life was spent as a ground base aircraft rather than a carrier based one. It's use in the Norway campaign and the successful attack on the German cruiser based there was a complete surprise to me. If ever there was a British Stuka, then the Blackburn Skua, flown by properly trained pilots and sent on properly planned dive bombing missions was truly the plane to wear that description.

Let us hope that this book gets read by as many peopel as possible so that the Skua remains in the memory of every reader as a tribute to a plane hampered by bureaucracy and muddled thinking
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
was a difficult read a lot of facts which slowed up the story
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by ken grout
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very good read, Technical too on the Skua.
Published 2 months ago by bydand
5.0 out of 5 stars How did we win the war?
Very informative book on this fairly unkown aircraft. It highlights the stupidity of prewar politicians and Admirals who would not accept the need for good quality carrier borne... Read more
Published 5 months ago by M. J. Young
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Quite a good read, there were some amazing facts that I'd never heard about before!
Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer Stuart Waters
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant book on a forgotten plane.
It's good to read about these pilots who flew this plane against often superior opposition in a plane that as a fighter was to say the least mediocre.
Published 6 months ago by HUXLEY
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book. Well worth the few pence.
Published 10 months ago by richbriggs28
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful in keeping the memory of theSkua alive
A book about a little known British aircraft that played a small but significant part in World War Two. Read more
Published 10 months ago by shugster
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
enjoyable book about a forgotten RN dive-bomber.
Published 11 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars MY FARTHER WORKED AT BLACKBURN'S FROM ABOUT 1930 TO 1974 ...
Published 11 months ago by EARDLEY 1848
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