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The Armed Rovers: Beauforts and Beaufighters Over the Mediterranean (Airlife's Classics) Paperback – 28 Aug 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The Crowood Press Ltd (28 Aug. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840373695
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840373691
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 15.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,464,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 29 May 2006
Format: Paperback
For most of WW2 Axis forces occupied the northern Mediterranean coastline. This is why convoys to Alexandria in Egypt in support of the British 8th Army were routed via South Africa and the Red Sea. It is also why beleaguered Malta became so desperate for food and supplies that, at one point, she was within days of surrender. Not all those problems, however, were one-sided. Rommel had to be supplied in north Africa and elsewhere other German troops needed support for their campaigns in Greece and elsewhere.

The only thing stopping these supplies from reaching their various destinations were a small band of pilots flying Beauforts and Beaufighters – although the good old Blenheim does get the occasional mention.

Roy Nesbit joined the RAFVR (the “VR” stands for Volunteer Reserve and is the equivalent of the British Army’s Territorials) in 1939 and, as an Air Navigator, completed 49 operational sorties in Bristol Beauforts during which he was Mentioned in Despatches. He is, therefore, well qualified to write about the work of this type of aircraft during WW2.

“The Armed Rovers” is a hard-back book measuring 240 mm x 160 mm and containing 240 pages of well written and well researched material. There is also a selection of 36 black and white photographs placed together after page 96.

The book is designed and written in such a way that we come to understand almost every single element of the squadrons and their makeup before getting down to specifics. It is full of official accounts and personal stories of what happened during this attack and that, to which are added all the equally personal anecdotes of those who took part. In short, this book could convert anyone into having a passion for the subject.
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Format: Paperback
This is the perfect book to get an overview of anti-shipping operations in the Mediterranean by the RAF particularly if, like me, you're planning to do a lot more reading on the subject. This book really sets the scene. A fair bit of it reads like "The next day four Beaufighters of 272 Sqn in the anti flak role accompanied eight Beauforts of 39 Sqn..." and then details of any successes or losses. This might not be your cup of tea but it does strike home how frenetic these ops were as the pace is relentless and before you know it, you've read a chapter!

As much as possible, Nesbit includes details of particular crews on each trip and there are some fascinating anecdotes regarding particular attacks, evasions etc. This is all put in context by the author describing what was going on in the theatre and war at that time. The flying is described matter of factly but I had to keep reminding myself that these guys rarely flew very high so any error of judgement often meant ploughing into the sea. Brave men indeed and you'll find yourself becoming attached to some of the recurring "characters"!

I thoroughly recommend The Armed Rovers to anyone looking for an overview of this aspect of the Mediterranean Theatre.
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