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on 1 September 2013
Please don't get me wrong - I genuinely like this book and would recommend it without hesitation.
I just can't help feeling there's something (I'm not even sure what) missing..

The first few chapters document the whys' and wherefores of the specification which led to the Whirlwind and gives an insight into the mindset of the RAFs' leadership, pre-war. It also gives some insight into the, seemingly, almost chaotic state of the aviation industry in the UK in the late thirty's with companies vying for orders they could not possibly fulfill.

One can only marvel at some of the design decisions alluded to in the aircrafts development and I would have liked a more in-depth and wider-reaching review of this aspect of the subject (perhaps this is what I'm referring to above?).

The majority of the book is an immensely detailed research of the service history of the type for which the author is to be congratulated. However, the book really needs the addition of some maps to show both the operational areas of the squadrons equipped with the Whirlwind and the bases from which they flew.

While 1000 were originally ordered, the final delivery of only just over a hundred always meant the Whirlwind would only ever be a footnote in history.Enigmatic, certainly. Interesting, definitely.

I've always had a particular interest in the Whirlwind and have to confess I think my biggest 'grouse' with the book was that I didn't feel that I 'knew' the aeroplane any better after reading it.

However, I DID have a much better appreciation of the aircrew who flew it, often in extremely difficult weather conditions.

To sum up - worth buying for the operational history alone, but a wider and deeper technical review of the aircraft itself would have guaranteed that fifth star.
23 people found this helpful
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on 19 January 2016
You do need to be an aircraft geek to even bother to open this book, but if you have got that far it's a good read. It was interesting to find out how few Whirlwinds were built and to understand why such a promising bit of kit was soon ecliped. But for me it the main impact of the book was to learn of the astonishing perseverance of people during the war. The first half of the story is so full of failures, problems and fatal accidents that it really puts modern day life into perspective. It is a shame that we haven't got one of these beautiful and interesting aircraft still flying. But it's a far greater loss that so few people understand what the aircrews went through to deliver us from fascism.
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on 14 December 2014
There is worthwhile early history about the inception and development of the Whirlwind, and general background of Fighter Command's philosophy as it changed between the two wars. There is also detail that I hardly expected - who'd have thought that the cockpit cover would blow off! But I won't spoil it for you. The war service of the Whirlwind is covered extensively, though it doesn't appear to have been a very marked success, which may be why there hasn't been much written about it before that I know of. Good book, worth reading, but I found it something of a hassle on my Kindle. Probably best to get the paperback.
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on 25 November 2013
A thorough history of the origins of the aircraft, and of how it was used, together with histories of the individual aircraft. An enjoyable read.
Criticism - No discussion of what might have happened if the design had been actively progressed since inception, and how / if it's presence, and it's cannons, might have affected the 'Battle of Britain'
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on 10 September 2014
A book to take you from conception, development to use in service. A lesser known aircraft of WWll, this book covers just about all the aircraft built (and lost). With so few to actually get built and enter service it is easy for many to overlook an aircraft that provided some excellent service for it's day.
3 people found this helpful
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on 25 August 2015
Interesting subject for me, learning a lot and glad I bought it.
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on 5 March 2015
Interesting read
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on 14 March 2015
Excellent reading
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on 27 August 2013
At the time people though designing a monoplane with four machine guns was daring, to design one with four cannon was just fantastic.
The fact the four machine gun planes became the eight machine gunned Spitfire and Hurricane, both of which went on to carry four cannon shows how correct the idea was. However as is the burden of most future designs this one ran into unseen problems and it being the early years of the war when fighters were required yesterday there was never enough time to wok the design problems out.
When it finally seen limited service initially the RAF had no idea what to do with it and while its performance was ok for 1939, it was struggling by1942.
The book covers the struggle to get the design excepted and into production then the planes war record, with the two squadrons, is accounted for.
The book is a good read and a worthy account of what might have been
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on 26 June 2014
Very helpful piece of research from which I learnt a lot. The Whirlwind concept dated from a period when the Air Ministry were starting to have doubts about 8 machine guns bringing down bombers, so they invited designs for some 4 cannon fighters. The Westland offer won the competition but soon after the Ministry wanted Westland to concentrate on Lysanders and Rolls Royce on Merlins not Peregrines. But when the decision to cancel came there were already enough Peregrines to make 100+ Whirlwinds and so they made their small contribution to history. Sadly too late for BoB but making a contribution to the new offensive.
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