AIRfile’s Operation Overlord provides a detailed description of the “Distinctive Markings” carried by Allied aircraft in Northwestern Europe. Volume One is dedicated to RAF and Commonwealth aircraft, with USAAF machines to be covered in a later volume.
The production and research quality of this book is first-rate. Stiff card covers enclose over 70 glossy pages printed on thick stock. Full-color profiles are present on almost every page.
The first section of this book covers those “Distinctive Markings” carried by RAF aircraft during the portion of the War prior to the invasion of Europe. The specific markings carried by British aircraft are described and illustrated. General RAF markings practice (such as the ½-black undersides used for recognition from the ground) is covered. Also, of particular interest, markings relating to specific aircraft such as the Typhoon and Mustang are shown.
The real meat of the book covers, as the title suggests, the markings associated with Operation Overlord. The author provides a logical transition in discussing how the earlier markings evolved into the familiar stripes we associate with “D-Day” aircraft. Most of the story is told through very nicely-done color profiles and their accompanying text.
The bulk of the Overlord section covers RAF fighters, but several pages are each dedicated to medium bombers, Mosquitos, Costal Command, gliders and glider tugs, photo-recon, and Bomber Command. Again, these are covered primarily through color profiles and descriptive text.
Finally, there is a small section covering the color schemes and markings of Luftflotte 3, the main Luftwaffe force facing the Overlord assault.
While this last section was as nicely done as the rest of the book, and a neat little bonus, I would have been happier to see the space used with more title-subject material. What is there is impressive work, but I looked to this book as an RAF guide, not a Luftwaffe one. This just seemed a little superfluous.
This book is a great resource and produced to a high standard. It is definitely worth having in your library if this is your area of interest, or even if you have enough of a passing interest to want your model to have proper Overlord markings. One word of caution – there are pages and pages of beautiful color profiles, but absolutely no photos are contained in this book. This works for some, and is an issue for others. I don’t mind it, and thoroughly enjoyed the clear art of the profiles.
Thanks to AIRfile Publications for the review copy, and to IPMS for allowing me to review it.