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Former Tornado Navigator John Nichol tells the incredible story of the RAF Tornado force during the First Gulf War in 1991; the excitement and the danger, the fear and the losses. It is an extraordinary account of courage and fortitude. 'We were doing about 620 miles-per-hour, 200 feet above the desert, in total darkness. Everything was running on rails as we approached the target. Then all hell broke loose. I remember the missile being fired at us; I broke left and shouted, "Chaff!" 'All I could see was a flame, like a very large firework, coming towards me. Then there was a huge white flash. I remember an enormous wind and then I was knocked unconscious. My last thoughts were that I was going to die.' In 1990, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion and occupation of neighbouring Kuwait, setting in motion a chain of events that had unimaginable political, military and personal repercussions, which still reverberate around the globe today. This is the story of the aircrew at the heart of Operation Desert Storm, almost none of whom had any prior experience of armed combat. It is the story of the Tornado's missions, of those who did not return - and of the families who watched and waited as one of the most complex conflicts in recent history unfolded live on television. It is a story of untold fear and suffering, and astounding courage in the face of hitherto unimaginable adversity.Show more
'The epic story of an iconic aircraft and the breathtaking courage of those who flew her' Andy McNab, bestselling author of Bravo Two Zero 'Compelling, thrilling and rooted in quite extraordinary human drama' James Holland, author of Normandy 44 From John Nichol, the Sunday Times bestselling author of Spitfire, comes a passionate and profoundly moving tribute to the Lancaster bomber, its heroic crews and the men and women who kept her airborne during the country's greatest hour of need. 'The Avro Lancaster is an aviation icon; revered, romanticised, loved. Without her, and the bravery of those who flew her, the freedom we enjoy today would not exist.' Sir Arthur Harris, the controversial chief of Royal Air Force Bomber Command, described the Lancaster as his 'shining sword' and the 'greatest single factor in winning the war'. RAF bomber squadrons carried out offensive operations from the first day of the Second World War until the very last, more than five and a half years later. They flew nearly 300,000 sorties and dropped around a million tons of explosives, as well as life-saving supplies. Over 10,000 of their aircraft never returned. Of the 7,377 Lancasters built during the conflict, more than half were lost to enemy action or training accidents. The human cost was staggering. Of the 125,000 men who served in Bomber Command, over 55,000 were killed and another 8,400 were wounded. Some 10,000 survived being shot down, only to become prisoners of war. In simple, brutal terms, Harris's aircrew had only a 40 per cent chance of surviving the war unscathed. Former RAF Tornado Navigator, Gulf War veteran and bestselling author John Nichol now tells the inspiring and moving story of this legendary aircraft that took the fight deep into the heart of Nazi Germany.Show more
THE SUNDAY TIMES NON FICTION BESTSELLER 'The best book you will ever read about Britain's greatest warplane.' Patrick Bishop, bestselling author of Fighter Boys. 'A rich and heartfelt tribute to this most iconic British machine. By focussing on the men (and women) who flew the Spitfire, John Nichol has brought a fresh and powerful perspective to the story. And by recording their bravery, humility, camaraderie, tragedy and sheer joy in flying their beloved Spits he has done them - and us - a valuable service' Rowland White, bestselling author of Vulcan 607 'As the RAF marks its centenary, Nichol has created a thrilling and often moving tribute to some of its greatest heroes.' Jon Dennis, Mail on Sunday magazine. 'A stirring portrait of a piece of aviation art in motion flown by the bravest of the brave. Nichol's Spitfire is still a sky-borne prima ballerina that kicks like Bruce Lee.' RAF News 'A superb and compelling book. Brilliantly written with some incredible and astonishing stories; it is gripping, moving, emotional and sometimes humorous - just perfect' Squadron Leader (Ret) Clive Rowley, former Officer Commanding RAF Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight 'A superb journey through the remarkable tale of that British icon, the Spitfire. Brilliantly and engagingly written, this is the most readable story of the aircraft and her pilots that I have ever had the pleasure to read in a period spanning some forty-odd years of personal study and research. Truly stunning.' Andy Saunders, Editor, Britain at War Magazine. The perfect complementary narrative to the bestselling memoir by Geoffrey Wellum - First Light. Achtung, Spitfire! The iconic Spitfire found fame during the darkest early days of World War II. But what happened to the redoubtable fighter and its crews beyond the Battle of Britain, and why is it still so loved today? In late spring 1940, Nazi Germany's domination of Europe had looked unstoppable. With the British Isles in easy reach since the fall of France, Adolf Hitler was convinced that Great Britain would be defeated in the skies over her southern coast, confident his Messerschmitts and Heinkels would outclass anything the Royal Air Force threw at them. What Hitler hadn't planned for was the agility and resilience of a marvel of British engineering that would quickly pass into legend - the Spitfire. Bestselling author John Nichol's passionate portrait of this magnificent fighter aircraft, its many innovations and updates, and the people who flew and loved them, carries the reader beyond the dogfights over Kent and Sussex. Spanning the full global reach of the Spitfire's deployment during WWII, from Malta to North Africa and the Far East, then over the D-Day beaches, it is always accessible, effortlessly entertaining and full of extraordinary spirit. Here are edge-of-the-seat stories and heart-stopping first-hand accounts of battling pilots forced to bail out over occupied territory; of sacrifice and wartime love; of aristocratic female flyers, and of the mechanics who braved the Nazi onslaught to keep the aircraft in battle-ready condition. Nichol takes the reader on a hair-raising, nail-biting and moving wartime history of the iconic Spitfire populated by a cast of redoubtable, heroic characters that make you want to stand up and cheer.Show more
The Dambusters were the go-to forces for dangerous precision attacks: They bombed Hitler's prize battleship, Tirpitz, as well as rocket sites, weapon strongholds, and the dams at the heart of the industrial Ruhr; they targeted enemy leaders including Hitler and Mussolini; and they created a false fleet on D-Day, which fooled the Germans. But they also suffered brutal losses, with 75 percent of 617 Squadron killed in action by the end of the war. In this awe-inspiring book, John Nichol, himself a former RAF flight lieutenant, retraces the path of 617 Squadron's most dangerous sorties, the ones largely lost to history. Including personal stories of the surviving Dambusters, Return of the Dambusters is a tense, poignant story of courage by men who braved death in the name of freedom.Show more
After the famous dams raid, thousands of equally daring missions were flown in WWII by 617 Squadron. Find out about them here, from former RAF Tornado Navigator and Gulf War veteran John Nichol. The role RAF 617 Squadron in the destruction of the dams at the heart of the industrial Ruhr has been celebrated in book, magazine and film for more than seventy years. On the 17th May 1943, 133 airmen set out in 19 Lancasters to destroy the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe dams. 56 of them did not return. Despite these catastrophic losses, the raid became an enormous propaganda triumph. The survivors were feted as heroes and became celebrities of their time. They had been brought together for one specific task - so what happened next? Of the 77 men who made it home from that raid, 32 would lose their lives later in the war and only 45 survived to see the victory for which they fought. Few are aware of the extent of the Dambuster squadron's operations after the Dams Raid. They became the 'go to' squadron for specialist precision attacks, dropping the largest bombs ever built on battleships, railway bridges, secret weapon establishments, rockets sites and U-boat construction pens. They were involved in attempts on the lives of enemy leaders, both Hitler and Mussolini, created a 'false fleet' on D-day which fooled the Germans, and knocked out a German super gun which would have rained 600 shells an hour on London. In 'After The Flood', John Nichol retraces the path of 617 Squadron's most dangerous sorties as their reputation called them into action again and again.Show more
From best-selling author of Tail-End Charlie and Tornado Down comes this powerful and deeply moving account of Bomber Command's 1944 Nuremberg Raid - the RAF's bloodiest night of the Second World WarMore men from Royal Air Force Bomber Command died on one single night of the Second World War than the total RAF aircrew losses during the whole of the four-month-long Battle of Britain.This is the story of the air raid intended to be the climax of Sir Arthur 'Bomber' Harris's relentless campaign to defeat Nazi Germany. The target was Nuremberg: 795 aircraft set out, nearly 700 men did not return. In 'The Red Line', we meet the young aircrew who flew on the night of 30 March 1944. John Nichol has interviewed the few surviving veterans, British and German, in the air and on the ground, to record the voices of a diminishing generation.While the airmen of Bomber Command were among the greatest heroes of the conflict, their contribution and sacrifice has, until recently, been sidelined in the face of post-war criticism of Bomber Command's tactics. Yet they were among the best of their generation. John Nichol's dramatic tribute to the men who flew on the RAF's bloodiest raid has provided the surviving veterans with the chance to tell the story of that terrible night - the night they flew to Nuremberg.Show more
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