Win The RAF Pathfinders book
Win one of six copies of The RAF Pathfinders by Martyn Chorlton.
Twenty five minutes was what it took to run the gauntlet of the Berlin air defences from end to end at full stretch. The flak barrage put up from the ground was merciless and, if your plane was caught in the searchlights, you had little chance of survival. The Luftwaffe night fighters were waiting for you on the way home as well.
In a new history of the RAF Pathfinder squadrons, THE RAF PATHFINDERS: BOMBER COMMAND’S ELITE SQUADRONS (Countryside Books £14.95) aviation historian Martyn Chorlton outlines the increasingly successful role they played in bringing accuracy and effectiveness into the air war that Bomber Command waged against the Third Reich during 1942-1945.
The role of the Pathfinder force was to locate the target and lay down fire markers for the mass of bombers following behind them. It was a successful technique that had been used by the Germans in 1940 against Coventry and other cities.
Now the RAF needed its own force of elite bomber crews, hand-picked for their navigation ability, high morale, skills outside the normal range of flying tasks, and in particular for their cold determination when in action to, in RAF parlance, ‘Press on Regardless’.
They were the bravest of the brave. They had to be. To join a Pathfinder squadron was a rare privilege and all the crews were volunteers. But with it went a huge leap in the likelihood of being shot down as their planes led the way through the dark, smoke filled skies above occupied Europe.
The book describes all the major operations in which the Pathfinders were involved. These include the Battle of the Ruhr, the Berlin offensive of 1943/4, and the celebrated raid on the German V2 rocket works at Peenemunde.
It is a tribute to those who flew with a Pathfinder squadron. They flew some 50,000 individual sorties against enemy targets. The cost in human lives was very heavy; some 3,700 Pathfinder aircrew were killed in operations.
The book contains a moving Foreword by Michael Wadsworth, chaplain to the Pathfinders Association and himself the son of one of the men who lost their lives serving with 156 Squadron.
Martyn Chorlton began his career with the RAF in air reconnaissance, and is now an aviation author with some 22 published books to his name. These include several in the Airfields of the Second World War series issued by Countryside Books. He is also a regular contributor to flying magazines covering all genres of aviation.
For your chance to win a copy of this book, answer the following question:
Which day of the year does Remembrance Day fall on?
- Most comments
- Most viewed
- Latest stories
- Currently no latest stories in this section.