Polish Wings 13 - Spitfire Mk IX 1942-1943 (Part 1)
Stratus Publishing continues its line of “Polish Wings”, this time with a book devoted to the Spitfire Mk IX and its pilots during the period 1942-1943.
Among the first polish pilots to fly the Spitfire Mk IX were members of the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) which will deliver airplanes from the assembly line to operational squadrons. Among them were at least two female polish pilots, which got to fly the Spitfire Mk IX before the operational polish pilots in the RAF. Apparently that didn’t go over well at the time, but I’m glad that the record is kept straight and recognition is given to whom it deserved (in this case, two female pilots).
The book is structured following the squadron and HQ flights of the 1stPolish Wing at Northolt, including 306 Sqn, 315 Sqn, 316 Sqn, 303 Sqn, 302 Sqn and 317 Sqn. Each flight has a short introduction including when they got their Spitfires, but most of the information is provided in the form of descriptive captions to large sized photographs.
Most of the book is dedicated to those squadrons, but the last 10 pages are devoted to the “Polish Fighting Team” (or “Skalski Circus”) in North Africa. This flight was the first full flight to operate the newest Spitfire at the time (there were other units that got a few Mk IXs, but not enough for the full unit). There is an interesting study regarding the camouflage colors of North African Spitfires, as one of them was known as ‘bluebird’ and ferried from Malta, where several spitfires were painted on a blue-ish tones and others retained the green/grays from the Day Fighter Scheme.
In total this book has over 170 B&W pictures and over 30 color profiles (some of them are 4-view). Many of the pictures show the pilots on front of their airplanes. As such the airplane is not completely shown, but those pictures are very good reference for airplane details such a landing gears, air scoops and similar details.
I recommend this book to any Spitfire Mk IX aficionado.
I would like to thank IPMS/USA and Mushroom Model Publication for the review sample.