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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Dimmed by time
on 27 March 2011
Like many other reviewers I loved this as a child. Charleys war was naturally my favorite, being the best war story ever told in any format.(once you skip past Pat Mill's pathetic socialist gibbering).
Johnny Red was so great in those days. As a 10 year old kid I was flying with him in that old Hurricane. Evry time a Falcon was shot down, it felt as if this story really showed the brutality of war.
Real life battles were portrayed. Stalingrad, Kursk, Seelow Heights.Jo's artwork of course was fantastic and as tracer rounds blasted through chest cavities, the bounderies of censure were challenged.
My Battles were stored away in the attic, and then i reread the whole series last year from the excellent Kommanders site.
It was like veiwing the hot girl at collage with hindsight. Suddenly all the flaws appear. Redburn's lantern jaw seems phoney. He shoots down about 5 Germans each mission. He kills 2 or 3 of his own commanders for cowardice. ME109's fall like rain before the Falcons guns. A capured Redburn leaps onto a PO2's wing as it flys past a parade in which he is to be executed,(seriously).
There are some fine characters. Yakob, Ratov,Grigor & the Gang of 7, all fleshed out individuals. Theres some brilliant machinery. The Red Death Mosquito with its nose full of fifties, and the B25 Mitchell retrofitted with about 30 fiftycalibers in the nose. But that same mitchell outturns ME109's, The Germans run about pretty much chanting "Achtung! Himmell! Nein..The Hurricane! IYYEEEE". They are goons and criminals the lot of 'em. It leaves you wondering how these feckless incompetants managed to take over all Europe and European Russia.
As a product for Kids and of its time, the plot isnt THAT much better than Rat Pack or Lord Peter Flints ridiculous forays behind the lines in Warlord. Who can forget him being sent to assassinate Hitler,Killing his way through a whole German division, then failing to shoot Hitler in the back because it was Unsporting!
Charleys war remains King, and i'm sorry I read Johnny Red again, rather I kept those fond hazy memories of snarling Merlins and Chattering Polikarpovs.