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263 Squadron

Gladiators Over the Fjords

Others • 2015
AuthorsAlex Crawford
IllustratorKarolina Hołda
ISBN978-8363678821
Release date2015-11-08
SeriesOthers
Cat. No.Other 10
CategoryAvailable CategoryDostępne
FormatA4, 120 pages (8 in colour)
Price89.00 PLN Price19.00 GBP

This work tells the story of 263 Squadron, who took its Gladiators to Norway, not once but twice. In order to provide the ground troops with air cover the Squadron was sent to operate from a frozen lake in the south of Norway. Ill-equipped and hastily put together the Squadron suffered right from the start with a lack of equipment and the severe winter weather. After two days of heavy fighting the Gladiators had been destroyed and the Squadron was evacuated back to the UK.

Re-equipped with more Gladiators the Squadron returned to Norway, this time operating from an airfield further north. Here with better organisation the Squadron performed better. After almost three weeks of fighting the Squadron was once again evacuated from Norway. The remaining ten Gladiators were flown on board HMS Glorious, which set sail for the UK on 7th June. The next day the carrier was intercepted by German naval units and sank with a heavy loss of life, including all the 263 Squadron pilots.

Using official documents and first-hand accounts the story of 263 Squadron’s adventure in Norway can now be told in full detail. During their time in Norway the Squadron claimed at least 32 enemy aircraft shot down with many others damaged, although the cost was high. Along with the 10 pilots who lost their lives on HMS Glorious, two more were lost in action and another pilot was lost in an accident, while several more were wounded.

 

 

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    263 Squadron: Gladiators Over the Fjords

    Published: December 29th, 2015      
    Product Image
    Author: Alex Crawford , Illustrated by Karolina Hołda
    Reviewed by: 
    Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035
    Company: Mushroom Model Publications
    ISBN #: 978-83-63678-82-1
    E-Book ISBN #: 8363678821
    Other Publication Information: Softbound, A4 [8.27” x 11.69:], 120 pages
    Price: $35.00

     

    Scotland native Alex Crawford is back for his sixth book with Mushroom Model Publications and his third on the Gloster Gladiator. This book is an operational review of the squadron’s two disastrous visits to Norway. The first trip ended with the destruction of all of 263 Squadron’s Gladiators after two days of heavy fighting. The squadron was evacuated and re-equipped with more Gladiators and made a return trip to Norway. Improved organization allowed 263 Squadron to perform better for three weeks of fighting before they were once again evacuated. The remaining ten Gladiators were flown on board HMS Glorious for the return to the UK. Disaster struck the next day when during HMS Glorious was attacked and sunk by the German battle crusiers, Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, with the loss of all of 263 Squadrons’ pilots.

    I counted 122 black and white photos. Karolina Holda contributes 6 color side views as well as 2 color three views (over four pages) depicting the two standard RAF schemes applicable to the Gladiators in Norway. Two nice color scrap drawings are included of a newly discovered flying dog head mascot that was painted just below the rear canopy. A video trailer of the book can be seen on YouTube at http://www.mmpbooks.biz/ksiazki/283

    Contents:

    • Acknowledgement
    • Forward by Tim Kershaw
    • 263 Squadron Forward by Richard Haldane
    • Introduction
    • The Early Months
      • October 1939
      • November
      • December
      • January 1940
      • February
      • March
      • April
    • A Norwegian Adventure
      • Norway Invaded
      • 24th April, Wednesday
      • 25th April, Thursday
      • 26th April, Friday
    • A Return to Norway
      • May
      • 21st May, Tuesday
      • 22nd May, Wednesday
      • 23rd May, Thursday
      • 24th May, Friday
      • 25th May, Saturday
      • 26th May, Sunday
      • 27th May, Monday
      • 28th May, Tuesday
      • 29th May Wednesday
      • 30th May, Thursday – 1st June, Saturday
      • 2nd June, Sunday
      • 3rd June, Monday
      • 4th June, Tuesday
      • 5th June, Wednesday
      • 6th June, Thursday
      • 7th June, Friday
    • The Loss of HMS Glorious
      • 8th June, Saturday
    • The Aftermath
    • The Pilots
    • The Aircraft
    • Camouflage and Markings
    • 263 Squadron Claims
    • The Recoveries
    • Restorations
    • 263 Squadron Roll of Honour
    • Bibliography
    • Colour Profiles by Karolina Hołda

    Alex Crawford provides nice biographies of each of the 263 Squadron pilots, 34 in all, involved in the two Norwegian assignments. The chapter on “The Aircraft” provides tables of all the Gloster Gladiators associated with 263 Squadron, their serial numbers, and any additional information (i.e., source, code, pilot, disposition, etc.). ‘263 Squadron Claims’ provides a similar table based on date, referencing the pilot, serial number, and any comments. ‘Restorations’ provides the current status of the six Gloster Gladiators that are being restored. Part of the reason this book came to be created was in Alex Crawford’s involvement in the Jet Age Museum’s Gloster Gladiator Mk II, N5914.

    I was impressed with the depth that Alex Crawford provided in this book, using first-hand accounts and other official documentation. My thanks to Mushroom Model Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

    Highly recommended!

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