Aviation Elite 33: No 56 Sqn RAF/RFC. Paperback

  • No 56 Sqn RAF/RFC. Paperback; Aviation Elite 33
  • Author: Alex Revell. Illustrator: Harry Dempsey
  • September 2009; 128 pages
By the autumn of 1916, with the formation of the new Jagdstaffeln, the pendulum of aerial supremacy had once again swung in favour of the German Air Force. The battle of the Somme in 1916 saw the RFC suffer losses of nearly 400 aircrew between September and November, and British casualties were to reach a zenith in the ‘Bloody April’ of 1917 when 319 aircrew were lost, killed or taken prisoner of war. This was the situation when No 56 Squadron arrived in France at the end of April 1917. Equipped with the superb new SE 5, it was the first fighter squadron of the RFC to be able to meet the Albatros and Halberstadt fighters of the Jagdstaffeln on equal terms. The squadron’s pilots won an incredible tally of decorations, and by the end of the hostilities many famous fighter pilots had passed through its ranks - Albert Ball VC, Canadian Hank Burden and American Robert Caldwell to name but a few. In this study, Alex Revell uncovers the early days and development of No 56 Squadron, its victories and losses, and the birth of a proud tradition.
  • Prologue
  • September 1917
  • 1 - Early days
  • 2 - In France
  • 3 - First successes and casualties
  • 4 - Summer and Autumn of 1917 - the golden age of air fighting
  • 5 - The battles of Cambrai and Kaiserschlacht
  • 6 - New Blood - the summer and autumn of 1918
  • 7 - The end of the long struggle
  • Appendices