Burns, Michael G.


1st ed., 1990. 322 pp., photo & other plates + maps & plans. D.j., 24 x 16cm. FINE. This book presents the famous aviation hero, Douglas Bader, in an entirely new light. First the author concentrates on Bader as a leader and professional fighting man. He tells how Bader’s leadership forged the battle-weary Hurricane squadron into an elite that became the focus of one of the most controversial episodes in military history – ‘The Big Wing’. As the Battle of Britain gained momentum Bader fearlessly criticised the RAF’s tactics and Burns shows how Bader made use of the tactical insights that leading ‘Big Wing’ gave him. When he became Tangmere Wing Leader in 1941 Bader’s unit dominated RAF fighter tactics for the rest of the war. The author draws extensively on primary sources to illuminate Bader’s vitally important part in the development of fighter and tactical warfare in the Second World War. The second part of this book concentrates on the careers of the men from the ‘Bader School’ from their period with Bader, then in various theatres. It shows how they benefited from Bader’s teaching and developed as leaders and tacticians in combat environments. The text is well supported by operational maps and line drawings, which graphically explain the tactics, formations and problems of air fighting.

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