Steady, Boys, Steady written by James Mitchell (no image of book cover found) is an outrageously funny book written of war time exploits and escapades of an unit under Royal Navy Commando, called as “Suicide Unit”. Geordie Willis has come from a family of war men, his father and grandfather were both in the navy. He wanted to get into the air force, but one blunder pushed him into the Navy unit where fortunately he had some daring young friends with immense skill of getting into and escaping from hell. Written in a first person account this is a delightfully different book about the war, an irreverent look at the comedy of war itself. The narrative is brilliant in a typical Brit fashion. Young Geordie and his unit travel to North Africa, Sicily, Dieppe and Reggio, and escape each time due to their chutzpah.
James Mitchell (1926-2002) was a prolific writer having written many books and TV series as well, including the famous “When the Boat Comes in” (BBC) and “Callan” (Thames Television). He has also written under the pseudonym “James Munro” and “Patrick O’MacGuire”.
Strike from the Sky by Alexander McKee – one of the best books on the Battle of Britain fought in 1940 over Great Britain. Had it not been for the British air force fighters and their stubbornness, Germany would have won this battle of Britain between July to September 1940 since Germany had better air superiority than Britain at that time but it was British refusal to give up that resulted in defeat for Germany. Battle of Britain probably turned the tide against Germany because previously France and other European nations had meekly caved in.
Adolf Galland, a German commander of that time quotes in the book “Indisputably, Germany had air superiority at this time, but the decimated English fighter units flew with stubborn courage. The battle put up by the British fighter pilots deserves the highest admiration. In numbers, often inferior, untiring, fighting bravely, it was they who, in this most critical part of the war, undoubtedly became the saviors of their country”
at page 254, “Under the often casual and superficially modest air which the British wear in public, they are an extremely proud and arrogant nation. They believed they were unbeatable, in any circumstances, by any force on earth. They had been seriously annoyed by suggestions that they were decadent, but were not prepared to resort to argument. They had been incensed by the assumption, amongst both friend and foe after the fall of France, that their end was near; they were not prepared to argue that either. And fortunately – gloriously- even enjoyably – there was no need to do so. The situation provided them with the opportunity of proving everyone else resoundingly wrong by direct action. It was with almost savage pride that they set out to resist what seemed an overwhelmingly powerful and triumphant enemy. It was this feeling which gave that summer its epic quality, and it was this feeling which won the battle.”
German air attack against Britain was a precursor to their sea attack and land invasion against Britain, to batter down their defences to make it easy to invade that country. Refusal of British air force fighters to give up resulted in Germany looking eastwards to Russia which was to prove their nemesis in World War II.