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Sharks of the Air

Willy Messerschmitt and the Development of History's First Operational Jet Fighter

James Neal Harvey

$49.99

Paperback

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Casemate
01 November 2020
This book tells the story of Willy Messerschmitt's life, and shows how this aeronautical genius built many revolutionary airplanes - not excluding the Luftwaffe's mainstay, the Me-109 - and culminating in the Me-262. In July 1944 the Allies were stunned by the appearance of the Messerschmitt Me-262, the world's first operational jet warplane. This new German fighter was more than 100mph faster than any other aircraft in the skies. Although always greatly outnumbered, the Me-262 gained scores of victories over Allied fighters and bombers, and by the end of the war, many of the Luftwaffe's greatest aces had clamoured to be in their cockpits. No wonder military leaders believed that if it had been introduced earlier, this jet could have changed the outcome of the war. Sharks of the Air tells the story of Willy Messerschmitt's life, and shows how this aeronautical genius built many revolutionary airplanes - not excluding the Luftwaffe's mainstay, the Me-109 - and culminating in the Me-262. It describes how his various warplanes fought in Spain, Poland, France, Britain, the U.S.S.R., and over Germany, and it provides thrilling accounts of air battles drawn from combat reports and interviews with veterans. This book also shows how Messerschmitt - like other geniuses such as Porsche, vonBraun, and Speer - was affected by cutthroat Nazi politics, and describes his intense rivalries with other aircraft designers. It reveals aspects of his life never before made public, including his love affair with the beautiful Baroness Lilly Michel-Rolino, a rich aristocrat who left her husband to live with Willy. And finally it shows how in World War II Messerschmitt believed he was loyally supporting the Fatherland, until he realised too late that Hitler was a madman. Like many of the technical innovations of Nazi Germany in the war, production arrived too late in order to change the final outcome. If Messerschmitt had been given free rein from the start, however, Allied air superiority might never have occurred. AUTHOR: Author James Neal Harvey has been a pilot for more than 40 years and has owned a dozen aircraft (including a De Havilland Tiger Moth built for the RAF, a Stinson V-77 that flew in the Royal Navy, and a Messerschmitt Bf-108 that served in the Luftwaffe). Author of six previous books, his grasp of aero-dynamics informs the narrative, as he examines how Messerschmitt might well have changed the course of the Second World War.
By:   James Neal Harvey
Imprint:   Casemate
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 228mm,  Width: 152mm, 
ISBN:   9781612008929
ISBN 10:   1612008925
Pages:   408
Publication Date:   01 November 2020
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Prologue Part I: Taking Flight Part II: Birth Of The Jet Age Part III: A Crucial Mistake Part IV: Reaping The Whirlwind Part V: The Stormbird Goes To War Part VI: Armageddon Epilogue Acknowledgements Source Notes Bibliography Index

Author James Neal Harvey has been a pilot for more than 40 years and has owned a dozen aircraft (including a De Havilland Tiger Moth built for the RAF, a Stinson V-77 that flew in the Royal Navy, and a Messerschmitt Bf-108 that served in the Luftwaffe). Author of six previous books, his grasp of aero-dynamics informs the narrative, as he examines how Messerschmitt might well have changed the course of the Second World War.

Reviews for Sharks of the Air: Willy Messerschmitt and the Development of History's First Operational Jet Fighter

...a fascinating book, an insight into the life of a man who played a role in the Nazi war machine, but is not defined by it. -- Scale Aviation Modeller International ...interesting in its coverage of the famous designer and his problems with the authorities....Written in an open style...easy to read... -- Aeroplane Magazine ...perfect blend of sympathetic career biography and gripping military history...Only an author with 40 years' flying experience and a connoisseur's appreciation of World War II vintage aircraft could have written such a fine book, solidly researched from family interviews, pilot reports, and appropriate secondary sources. Additionally, the dramatic writing style makes Harvey's effort a definite winner for all World War II military history buffs. -- Library Journal ...uses his 40 years of flying experience and experience of aviation to tell the fascinating story of Messerschmitt and how, given the right conditions, Messerschmitt and other German aircraft designers could have changed the course of WWII. -- Military Scale Gear head's history at heart, spiced with bracing air battle accounts of Willy's planes in action and an adulterous affair with a baroness. -- World War II Well researched and written with verve. -- Publisher's Weekly


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