& Bullets

Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.


With reviews of books that cover these topics


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Brize 2010 Reds 3

By psmiddy, Aug 8 2018 10:39AM

is a recently (privately) published large format softback written by Paul Heasman, with a degree of passion. It is designed to tell the young people about the structure of the RAF, and what sort of roles are available within the service. It is copiously illustrated with high quality pictures, most of which come from MoD sources.

I roadtested the book on my grandchildren, and sadly they were too young to take much of an interest. But my guess is that the book’s sweet spot will be 10-13 year olds, and I imagine it will do a very good job at inspiring them to think about a career in our Air Force.

Now we just need to sort out pilot training and retention!

By psmiddy, Jul 30 2018 06:10PM

because the book was first published in 2001, and I picked up a paperback in our village book exchange. I noted the author and could not resist. I recently finished A Foreign Field by Ben Macintyre. A thoroughly well-researched story about a group of British soldiers on the run behind the German lines in WW1. The narrative blossoms into a romance, and then abject tragedy. Some superb investigation, and painstaking interviews must have taken place over many months.

Apart from anything else, it must rank as one of the most graphic portrayals of the depredations endured by French civilians at the hands of German soldiers in WW1. Which perhaps explains why so many French citizens were keen to flee the German invaders only 24 years later.

By psmiddy, Jul 12 2018 07:43AM

Much enjoyed being on the Mall to witness the RAF celebrate its centenary. Whilst it is understandable that the elements that were arriving at different airspeeds had a good degree of seperation, I thought the separation of the sub-elements could have been a lot tighter. The Hawk T1s and T2s could have been put together, for example. I am guessing that what happened reflects a high degree of risk aversion.

It was a very good effort by the service's engineers, particularly in getting 3 F35s into the air of the 4 so far delivered to the UK. They do not at present have a good serviceability record. But the highlight for me was the 22 Typhoons from RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth forming a "100" formation. This was a record number of Typhoons in one formation, and I am not sure the general public realised quite how difficult that particular formation is. They sustained it from meet-up over Suffolk to their subsequent tour of the Home Counties.

The mood was buoyant on the Mall. Whilst there were obviously many tourists in the crowd, who just saw it as simply a grand spectacle, there were thousands of Brits - as Johnny Mercer MP said afterwards - "let no-one say there are no votes in Defence"!