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Hurricane Ace, J. Frantisek

The True Story

Blue • 2010
AuthorsJiri Railich
IllustratorArtur Juszczak
ISBN 978-83-89450-71-5
Release date2010-05-19
SeriesBlue
Cat. No.7109
CategoryAvailable CategoryDostępne
FormatB5, 144 pages (7 in colour)
Price46.00 PLN Price13.99 GBP

Jeden z czołowych asów Bitwy o Wielką Brytanię, Jozef Frantisek był wyjątkowym pilotem myśliwskim. Książka opisuje jego życie i przedwczesną śmierć, wyjasniając dlaczego czeski pilot służył w polskich jednostkach, przedstawia także jego wczesne etapy kariery wojskowej w Czechach, Polsce i Francji.

Wstęp Christopher Shores

"Polecam tą książkę bez zastrzeżeń wszystkim zainteresowanym lotnictwem myśliwskim w BoB oraz lotnictwem drugiej wojny światowej."

Książka po angielsku.

One of the top scoring pilots of their Battle of Britain, Josef Frantisek was an outstanding fighter pilot. This book describes his life and premature death, explaining why a Czech pilot served with a Polish unit in Britain, clears up the mystery of his early life and explains the truth about his time in France. Seventy years on from the Battle of Britain, here is the true story of one of its heroes.

Foreword by Christopher Shores

I recommend this well-reasoned and beautifully produced book without reservation to all readers with an interest in fighter aviation, in the Battle of Britain, and in World War II generally.

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  • Aeroplane Monthly Magazine 08-2010 • 2013-09-05
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  • Ipmsusa.org • 2013-09-05

    Reviewed by: Hub Plott #31328

    This is another fine book in the MMP Blue series. It covers the life of Battle of Britain ace Josef Frantisek from his birth in Czechoslovakia and his time in the Czech Air Force through his service in a Polish Squadron in the RAF up till his untimely death on a routine mission.

    The book begins with what little is known of Frantisek’s early life and his induction into the Czech Air Force. This section also contains a number of good photographs of the various aircraft used by the Czech Air Force during his service until the surrender to German forces in March of 1939.

    The next chapters covers his escape to Poland and eventual travel to France with other Czech and Polish pilots where he planned to continue the fight against the Nazis. He remained in the Polish Air Force which fought alongside the Armee d’e l’Air Four day after the French surrender, Frantisek and other Polish pilots had completed their escape to Britain.

    The next sixty-two pages cover his distinguished service in the RAF, both the good and the bad. An entire chapter is devoted to his sometimes troubled relationship with his commanders. Frantisek had a tendency to fight independently, which garnered him the title “Lone Wolf” with the RAF. Still, he was an excellent pilot, and flew many missions during the Battle of Britain.

    The book concludes with the story (or more accurately the mystery) of Frantisek’s death. On a routine patrol in which no enemy aircraft were encountered and were returning to base, suddenly his Hurricane broke away from formation and disappeared from sight. Later that day a crashed Hurricane with Frantisek’s body in it was found in southern London. The reasons for this crash were never determined. Frantisek ended his career with 17 confirmed kills, and 1 probable.

    This book will be of interest to the modeler, aviation enthusiast/historian alike. I can recommend it to all who like the subject or have an interest in pilot biographies. It is a very interesting read! The book is available now through either Mushroom Model Publications themselves or their North American distributor, Casemate. Our thanks to them both for this review copy!

  • www.aerostories.org • 2013-09-05

    To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Mushroom is publishing a biography on Josef Frantisek who was one of the top scorer of the Battle of Britain. He also became a symbol in showing to the Free World that the British Empire was not alone in fighting the Third Reich in this hot summer of 1940, with thousands of men coming from the occupied Europe reaching the United Kingdom to continue the struggle alongside the British.

    This book of 144 pages and B4 format describes Frantisek’s life from his birth to his death which came too early. It explains why this Czech decided not to join the Czech fighter unit (No.310 Sqn) in formation and stayed instead with the Poles.

    This is profusely illustrated with photos and documents of all kind, as well many first-hand accounts and official reports, giving an excellent book to read to anyone interested in fighter pilots and the Battle of Britain.

    Phil Listemann

  • Hyperscale.com • 2013-09-05

    Reviewed by Mick Evans

    F i r s t R e a d

    This new publication from Mushroom Models Publications is in the B4 size format and contains 144 pages packed with detail.

    The quality of paper, photographs and printing is excellent.

    The book the latest volume in the MMP Blue series is a Biography of Josef Frantisek who was one of the top scoring pilots of the Battle of Britain. He was an outstanding pilot who made excellent use of the Hurricane’s handling qualities and strengths.

    This book covers the life and premature death, explaining why a Czech pilot served with a Polish unit in Britain and clears up the mystery of his early years and also explains the truth about his time in France. The story starts with his basic flying training in the Czech Air Force in 1934 and his continual service before fleeing to Poland ahead of the German Invasion. He then fled to France finally ending up in England fighting in the RAF during the Battle of Britain.

    In addition to many contemporary photographs the book contains colour profiles of aircraft flown by Frantisek.

    The text contains many first hand accounts and official reports highlighting Frantisek’s somewhat mixed disciplinary record.

    Highly Recommended.

  • IPMS UK Mag. 5/2010 • 2013-09-05
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  • amazon.com customer review • 2013-09-05

    Average Customer Review

    5.0 out of 5 stars (1 customer review)

    5.0 out of 5 stars The tale of a warrior, February 15, 2011

    By John Matlock "Gunny" (Winnemucca, NV)

    Frantisek was a fighter pilot. First an outstanding pilot, but also with the warrior instinct. As such, he, like many others was't the best soldier. His personnel records show eleven punishments in the twenty one months from November 1936 to August 1938: among others these included: late return from leave, disobeying a guard, escape from the barrack sick bay, and a recurring problem with debts. In the air, and in combat it was a different story.

    It is said that in air combat thee are two types of pilots, aces and targets. During the Battle of Britain he had seventeen kills but the discipline problem never went away. Being a top scoring ace meant that he was not going to be removed from flight status. The solution was eventually found by the squadron commander. He was moved from being a member of the squadron and given the title "Guest of the Squadron." That way he was removed military discipline problems.

    Frantisek flew Hurricanes. As such this book gives support for the common wisdom that it is the pilot more than the plane that makes the difference. While the Spitfire is often thought of as the plane that won the Battle of Britain, there were a lot more Hurricanes than Spits in the battle. In the hands of someone like Frantisek you wouldn't want to go up against him.

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  • cybermodeler.com • 2013-09-05

    by Ray Mehlberger

    Date of Review June 2010

    Mushroom Model Publications (MMP) is a publisher based in the UK. Their books are printed in Poland by Stratus in Sandomierz in the English language.

    This latest volume in the MMP Blue series is a biography of Josef Frantisek. One of the top scoring pilots of the Battle of Britain. František was an outstanding fighter pilot who made excellent use of the Hurricane’s qualities and strengths. The book describes his life and premature death, explaining why a Czech pilot served with a Polish unit in Britain. It clears up the mystery of his early years and explains the truth about his time in France. Seventy years on from the Battle of Britain, here is the true story of one of its heroes, credited with 17 confirmed victories with the Polish 303 Sqn.

    The book is 144 pages in length in MMP’s usual 6 ½” x 9” page format and soft cover that they do their books in.

    The book contains 127 black and white wartime photos. About half of these are photos of individuals that František interacted with, including ones of himself. There are many documents pertaining to him, 8 data charts, a photo of the metal Czech Pilot’s wings, graduation pictures of the 1936 VLU Flying School at Prostejov (that he graduated with), his identify card, his flight log book, a photo of the RAF cloth badge and the Polish Sdn. one, a color photo of the Czech War Cross metal and 2 color shots of a restored…and flying…Hurricane with František’s markings on it (RF roundel U). There is a color shot of him on the cover.

    In the back of the book are 5 color profiles of different Hurricanes that he flew. The text includes many first-hand accounts and official reports, highlighting Fratišek’s somewhat disciplinary record.

    This book will prove to be an invaluable reference source for aircraft historians, enthusiasts and modelers.

  • ModelingMadness.com • 2013-09-05

    Reviewer: Scott Van Aken

    World War II created a prodigious number of aces both in the air and on the ground. We will never see another time like it. Among the many, many men who were successful in aerial combat, some were lucky and survived the war. Others were very successful in a very short time and then were gone.

    Such is the case of Josef František, a pilot in the pre-war Czech air force who had fate intervene and he spent the rest of his too-short flying career with the men of the Polish Air Force. During the Battle of Britain, Josef František, became one of the highest scoring Czech pilots with a score of 17 victories in less than 30 days before he died under rather mysterious circumstances.

    Over the years, there have been many stories and suppositions about František. As often happens, the stories, if told often enough, are eventually taken as fact. In this book, the author has decided to track down the trail of clues and information to provide the real story of this famous pilot. This starts with his youth and desire to fly. It takes us into his service with the Czech air force, eventually flying Avia B.534s before the country is overrun by Germany and he flees to Poland. There he joins their air force and participates in the German invasion of 1939. The then stays with the PAF and goes to France along with hundreds of other Polish pilots and crew.

    There was much mystery about his time in France as that is not well documented, however, the author is able to piece together what probably occurred and it is not as many had thought. Then there is his time with 303 Squadron RAF. This is well documented as each of his combats and victims are very well researched.

    Included in the book are listings of all his victories as well as all his combat missions. Superbly illustrated with period photos from a variety of sources as well as some color profiles of the planes he flew, it is a fascinating look at this 'shooting star' and a book that I found quite engrossing. It is one I know you will like and can be highly recommended to you.

  • www.scalemodellingnow.com • 2013-09-05

    This is exactly the kind of title I love – a hugely informative account about a top Ace that flew in the Battle of Britain and in a digestible form that you can come back to time and again. And… it provides great inspiration to go and find a Hawker Hurricane kit and get building – superb!

    This latest volume in the MMP Blue series is a biography of Josef Frantisek. One of the top-scoring pilots of the Battle of Britain, Frantisek was an outstanding fighter pilot who made excellent use of the Hurricane’s qualities and strengths. The book describes his life and premature death, explaining why a Czech pilot served with a Polish unit in Britain, clears up the mystery of his early years and explains the truth about his time in France. Seventy years on from the battle of Britain, here is the true story of one of its heroes.

    Frantisek was a member of the Polish 303 Sqn, the top scoring Fighter Command unit of the Battle of Britain according to official RAF records, and with 17 confirmed victories he was the top scorer of the unit.

    Here’s an extract from the Foreword by Christopher Shores:

    “I recommend this well-reasoned and beautifully produced book without reservation to all readers with an interest in fighter aviation, in the Battle of Britain, and in World War II generally.”

    In addition to many contemporary photos, there are colour profiles of aircraft flown by Frantisek. The text includes many first-hand accounts and official reports, highlighting Frantisek’s somewhat mixed disciplinary record!

    Great for scale modellers…

    I think that this will offer all scale modellers inspiration and motivation to get into a Hurricane kit or their next Hurricane kit. Some of the images offer truly excellent reference in terms of weathering that affected operational aircraft. Just check out the weathering on the fuselage and upper wings of this Hurri…

    The colour profiles cover not only Hawker Hurricanes but also Avia B.534 aircraft and that introduces all sorts of possibilities for themes and a series of scale models representing the types flown by this remarkable Battle of Britain Ace.

    Highly recommended

    Geoff C.

  • scaleplasticandrail.com • 2013-09-05

    Battle of Britain pilots during the summer of 1940. It is hard to imagine the utter confusion of air battles over the South of England, with wave after wave of Luftwaffe fighters and bombers attacking this green and pleasant land with squadrons of Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes continually being despatched to counteract each attack. From this confusion and the general haze of battle, the name of Josef Frantisek began to emerge and come to the attention of his senior officers and those in High Command for his bravery, superb airmanship and his killing instinct.

    There have been many books written about the exploits of the 'Aces' of the RAF and the Luftwaffe, and some authors have fallen into the trap of accepting so called 'facts' without going to the sharper end of research and endeavouring to find out the hard truth from documentation and cross referencing. Having published a book on genealogy affecting my family, I know too well how easy that is! Fortunately, these days, it is becoming easier to conduct much of that reasearch on the internet with more and more documentation becoming available via the good offices of The National Archives and other sources.

    I was impressed with the author, Jiri Rajlich, who went back to basics and started at the very beginning, the correct birth date of Josef Frantisek! In fact he put a shot across the bows of renowned historian, Christopher Shore (who had been invited to write the 'Foreward' to this book), by proving that Shore was wrong on this fact! Good on yer Jiri! This alone gave me the utmost confidence in the remainder of the facts (and there are many) that Jiri Rajlich puts before us. Here was an author determined to get to the truth.

    I won't take away the enjoyment of this book by giving away all the background information, but the fact that a lone Czech was flying with Poles who were fighting for us Brits in 303 Squadron out of Northolt, is a fascinating story. Jiri Rajlich takes us through the reasoning for this with facts, figures, documentation and photographs, but what does come across loud and clear is that Josef Frantisek was, from a very early age, a loner with discipline problems. Could I have more like him on my side please Sir?

    The author has researched the sorties with thoroughness and suffice to say, that from the time Frantisek commenced operational flying in Hurricanes with 303 Squadron on 31.8.1940, until his death on 8.10.1940, he downed 17 confirmed enemy aircraft and one probable. A period of just 39 days - an incredible record. The circumstances surrounding his death have also been thoroughly researched and have put to bed much myth and legend that has been written before, by producing the facts.

    This book is in paperback and has 144 internal glossy pages. There are numerous black and white photographs plus some superb coloured photographs. There are also two coloured side views of the Avia B534 he flew in his early days and three coloured side views of Hurricane Mk 1's, RF-U, RF-R and RF-O - all flown by Frantisek.

    The highest accolade, and one of the greatest posthumous honours occurred when an airworthy Hurricane (MkIIPZ865) was painted in Frantisek's colours and sporting the registration RF-U. This aircraft was operated by The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. What more can one say? This book is a fascinating read and a Master Class in how research should be conducted. Congratulations to the author.

    So what do we think?

    Excellent, and a 'must have' for anyone interested in The Battle of Britain and/or Hurricanes in particular. The RRP is £13.99.

    Overall: 10/10

  • MiniReplika Nr 66 • 2010-06-11
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