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on 27 July 2014
A fascinating read that added to my knowledge of the types early years in the RAF. It's just a pity that the author didn't have room to cover it's use as an ECM training type with 360 Squadron. That's another fascinating tale, waiting to be told.
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on 20 July 2015
Pretty decent overview of the mother of all jet bombers, the English Electric Canberra, limited to its use in RAF service. Developed in the 1940s, the Canberra was an impressive plane by contemporary standards: as maneuverable as a fighter, able to fly some 800 km/h and reach altitudes of almost 15 km. With its limited range and payload, its main role would have been tactical, attacking the Soviet army if it would invade Europe. Canberras also participated in the British nuclear tests as observers and 'sniffers' (flying through these mushroom clouds to take samples). When nuclear bombs became available, some of the Canberra force was trained to drop 'buckets of sunshine' on both mobile and fixed Russian targets.

The most interesting part of this book is on the use of Canberras during the Suez Crisis. This mission was announced to the RAF by a Chief Air Marshall saying 'the PM has gone mad, he is going to invade Egypt'. The Canberras' job was to perform night attacks to eliminate the Egyptian Air Force on their own airfields. Egypt being way out of range of the network of radar beacons (which covered only Western Europe), the Canberras had to employ WW2 vintage tactics: 'marker' planes lit up the nightly airfields with flares, then threw markers hopefully on the right spot, followed by visual bombing of these markers by the 'main force' from fairly high altitudes. Not entirely surprisingly given WW2 experience (which had already shown that these kind of tactics were only good enough to hit a target the size of a city, not the size of planes parked on an airfield), the damage to the Egyptian air force resulting from this night bombing was disappointing.

I would have liked to learn more about the Canberra's role in the India-Pakistan wars. Each side used Canberra's (in both wars) to bomb enemy airfields at night. But as the title says, this book is only about the RAF Canberra's.

Due to the advent of Surface-to-Air missiles the high altitude bombing tactics originally envisaged, had to be changed to low altitude strike tactics in the late 1950s/early 1960s. The highlight of this period for the Canberras was their use in fighting Malay rebels. Less than a decade later, the Canberra was phased out from its original strike role, being replaced by the Buccaneer. In its photo-reconnaissance role the Canberra flew on until very recent years, its latest 'combat' missions being in Afghanistan - not bad for a plane designed in the 1940s!

As with so many of these books, a large part of the text consists of squadron numbers and designations that are not wildly interesting to the lay reader. Still, one gets a good overview of the service history of this fascinating plane, and the photos and colour plates are fine.
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on 10 October 2014
All of the Canberra forces are covered but I felt that the units of RAF Germany should have been given more space as they were the very front line of the Canberra units in the cold war
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on 29 October 2014
This is a well written record of the Canberra in service covering both the Bomber and Photo Recce marks. Having had 3 tours on them it brought back many memories, I noticed few omissions and only one error - the 12 ship formation, page 16 . was a 12(B)Sqn RAF Binbrook formation for a Royal Visit to Grimsby, not 35Sqn. The authors obviously went by the airframe numbers but were not to know that 12Sqn could not make up 12 aircraft due to retailing work and 6 were borrowed on the day from 35Sqn at RAF Upwood, they were still joining the formation when the photo was taken.
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on 18 September 2014
A very good record of the service history of this wonderful RAF jack of all trades
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on 2 March 2015
I bought this for my father who had been with one of the RAF Canberra Units. He absolutely loved the book and I think anyone with memories of the RAF Canberra Units will find this fascinating. Delighted. Arrived in top condition and in good time, well packaged too.
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on 18 September 2015
Very informative and a wealth of good photographs. I would have liked a bit more about PR in RAF Germany, particularly 17 Squadron, the winner of a number of prestigious trophies.
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on 8 September 2014
A great book for reference.
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on 25 December 2014
Some great stories of the crews and aircraft , well worth a read. Well researched book highly recommend it for any Cold War enthusiasts'
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on 6 August 2015
If you into Canberra's this is a very good book. Could do with some more coloured illustrations but other than that, a good little book.
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