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  #31  
Old 26th March 2005, 21:50
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Favorite Aircraft History Books?

Well, I have to agree with Juha and respectfully dissagree with his opponents. Indeed it is a fact most of aviation authors lack any technical knowledge. Of course it is not that much necessary in unit or general histories, nonetheless even in those fields ignorance leads to terrifying results. See a myth of superior diving speed (due to weight) of Thunderbolt for example - it is bouncing back all the time, although it is a pure nonsense. In the other words I cannot imagine a good monography of an aircraft being not written by or consulted with an engineer. Claim that it is not interesting is childish, it is very interesting but not for you. That is all.
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  #32  
Old 27th March 2005, 00:21
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Re: Favorite Aircraft History Books?

Jukka,


You seem to have latched onto the fact that I mentioned pilots being mainly concerned with their aircraft working well and getting them down in one piece. You did not make any reply or comment about: You should also realise that aviation publishers do not subscribe to the fact that every book has to be a technical monolith. Aviation books are targeted at different audiences. These different audiences seek different levels of content. Therefore, some books are high on technical content. Others, such as unit histories, thrust more towards missions and personalities. Others again focus more on camouflage and markings and aircraft types. HMS Dreadnought is HMS Dreadnought, period. The Bf 109, or Bf 110, or Me 262 are (without wishing to be hit for stating the obvious) different animals altogether, with all of their various sub-variants, and the differing approaches as to how they are presented in print.
I'm happy to continue to debate this issue with you, but you have to respond to the points I make. I was not selective with yours. The fact is, what I have stated is a simple truth. If you cannot see that, or accept that, then there is no point in continuing this discussion. You can stick to your great naval authors; I'll continue to enjoy the works of Stephen Bungay, Chris Goss, Peter Cornwell, Christer Bergstrom, Jochen Prien, and others who advanced our knowledge of WW2 aviation matters considerably.
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  #33  
Old 27th March 2005, 04:23
Jukka Juutinen Jukka Juutinen is offline
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Re: Favorite Aircraft History Books?

I have never claimed that every aircraft book should be technical book. However, when we have aircraft monographs hundreds of pages in length, books titled like "The Hawker Hurricane", surely one can expect a thorough technical examination to be included. A good example of utter failure is Martin Pegg´s Hs 129 book. No performance curves, no official handling reports (to allow reader to decide whether or not it had good handling), no data on armor steel composition, tempering, hardness, strength.

Some authors excel in listing the numerous mods on an aircraft, but utterly fail to analyze why the modification was incorporated. Many authors mention the oil pressure problems on the 109G, yet they fail to analyze why the problem occurred. All this most probably due to complete inability to understand the subject he is writing about.

I might indeed stick to great naval authors like Mike Whitley, John Roberts, Eric Lacroix, D.K. Brown, William Garzke. Or superior tank authors like Walter Spielberger or R.P. Hunnicutt. Or the best aircraft authors like David Birch, Dan Whitney, Francis Dean, Birch Matthews, Rüdiger Kosin and leave the hacks alone.
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  #34  
Old 27th March 2005, 12:38
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Re: Favorite Aircraft History Books?

Aren't we confusing personal taste with absolutes like "utter failures".

Yes graphs are nice, I've been lucky to get my share, but you don't need them for a good book. At one time I criticized Genda's Blade, by Henry Sakaida & Koji Tataki, for its lack of technical study, allthough that book is actually a unit history.

It is clear that some aircraft enthusiasts get their kicks from graphs and figures, because they can use those in their arguments (mainly why their plane of choice is better etc), but it more often than not blinds them from the operational aspect.

A technical background, need not dig deep to give you a better understanding of a weapon and its operational use. Yes, a speed and climb curve can replace a thousand words, but to call authors hacks because they have chosen not to include them is not right.

IMHO some authors actually seem to force themselves to include technical data while it doesn't really contribute much (or worse), like your Bergerud, but that doesn't negate the bulk of their work.

There are always people who know better, or so it seems, but the books available do reflect the market, that is a simple fact. Camouflage and markings seem to be popular, so are operational histories and pilot biographies, however since really technical aircraft books (dealing with WW2) are few it must reflect their market.

OTOH, there are books like The Spitfire History, or Classic's Me 262 series which must come near to your wishes, or indeed Le Bloch MB 152 by Avions-Jets and Le Dewoitine D.520, by Docavia or the numerous work by Dietmar Hermann. I would include Rodeike, but I know you would disagree, since his work fails to bring curves. A lot of curves can be found in America's Onehundred Thousand, but its focus is on performance, not a complete technical background.

However the operational side is still an important part in most of these works.

Now I will start assuming here, but perhaps this is in part due to the fact that most ships could not fill many pages with their operational background, barring a number of historically important vessels. Of course you could do so if you really wanted to, but it would not really deliver an interesting book, hence one can (or perhaps must) fill pages with technical detail, to fill it up.

Now what would bring the Bismarck closer to reality, a book on its technical aspects, or a book about its operations with a concise technical introduction?

OTOH, I have yet to find a performance curve for a WW2 ship

Personally I agree with John Vasco, if you speak in general terms the whole idea that aviation writers can learn a lot from their nautical collegues is based on your personal taste, not absolute fact. Especially if you consider the fact that you are comparing a couple of Nautical works and expanding their quality across the whole genre. You could easily reverse that if you choose to do so.

The irony is that I personally like the odd curve, but in my humble opinion it is not the essential part of a good technical background or a good Aircraft History Book.

Just my 2c.
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  #35  
Old 27th March 2005, 18:44
Jukka Juutinen Jukka Juutinen is offline
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Re: Favorite Aircraft History Books?

Ruy, I do have a performance curve for a ship! It is a speed vs. range curve for Essex-class carriers.

And Ruy, please try to have look at the Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War. It proves me right.

What is also interesting that aircraft books on WW One aircraft tend to have much deeper technical coverage. Do compare e.g. two Classic books, Ludwig´s Mustang book and Paul Leaman´s Fokker Dr.1 book. The latter does have extensive camo and markings info, but also a very thorough technical analysis.
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  #36  
Old 27th March 2005, 22:05
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Re: Favorite Aircraft History Books?

My contribution to this thread has come to a full . No point in continuing, really...
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  #37  
Old 28th March 2005, 00:44
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Re: Favorite Aircraft History Books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jukka Juutinen
The latter does have extensive camo and markings info, but also a very thorough technical analysis.
Personally I'm not so impressed by the Leaman book, which I happen to own, the Japanese Cruiser book is indeed on my wish list (but not a high priority) and I was kidding on the ship curves

Actually I'm lagging on my ship reading, but the next naval topic I will read is "The Rules of the Game", by Andrew Gordon. I have a weak spot for The Battle of Jutland. Next Naval title will either be Kaigun or The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign (although the latter isn't strictly a naval title). Or I might choose to start with a three volume collection on the Dutch Navy in WW2. I have too much choice really, but don't let my woman catch on to that little fact.

BTW, please realize that I am posting as a fellow member here, not as moderator, I can understand that my posts can be confusing...
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  #38  
Old 28th March 2005, 02:28
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Re: Favorite Aircraft History Books?

In the end, an author is compiling a book which he intends to sell. Therefore they must review their market and provide what the buyers want.

If that means a Naval author has to fill out his book with mechanical details he must do so, If an Aviation author has to minmize the technical and provides more on the operational/personal side, so be it.

Having a broad Military/Historical interest, the technical is of little interest to me, unless it can clearly show how it gave an advatage to one or the other. Of course, all of the technical advatages of the Bismark fail to explain its "disablement" by a single aircraft torpedo.

However, an article which shows the use of technology to turn the P51A into the P51D or Manchester into Lancaster, is of great interest, as well as the use of operational records to show the major changes in performance of these aircraft.

In the end, to each his own.

PS. A ship measured its life in years, if not decades. Most WW2 aircraft last a matter of weeks or months in combat, therefore the continual need for upgrades in a ship deserve time a space in any coverage of their life.
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  #39  
Old 28th March 2005, 03:19
Jukka Juutinen Jukka Juutinen is offline
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Re: Favorite Aircraft History Books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruy Horta
Personally I'm not so impressed by the Leaman book, which I happen to own, the Japanese Cruiser book is indeed on my wish list (but not a high priority) and I was kidding on the ship curves

BTW, please realize that I am posting as a fellow member here, not as moderator, I can understand that my posts can be confusing...
Could you enlighten me on what is wrong with Leaman´s book?

And I did realize that your posts were written as an enthusiast, not as a moderator
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  #40  
Old 28th March 2005, 03:24
Jukka Juutinen Jukka Juutinen is offline
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Re: Favorite Aircraft History Books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffK
Of course, all of the technical advatages of the Bismark fail to explain its "disablement" by a single aircraft torpedo.
Then you have been reading the wrong books. The numerous design faults of the Bismarck are discussed in detail in "Axis and Neutral Battleships of World War Two" by naval architects William Garzke&Robert Dulin.
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