MOSQUITO Menacing the Reich

Combat Action in the Twin-engine Wooden Wonder of World War II
Combat Action in the Twin-engine Wooden Wonder of World War II

An admission: After I read this book I started another which I had been so looking forward to. A Great War history with fantastic photos and, it seemed; so much to offer. But, eleven pages in, the style of the writing was so hectoring, like the author had sat me down on a classroom chair and was shouting facts at me in a staccato machine gun drumfire voice at high volume like a very angry posh school rap singer who’d lost a glove box full of bling when the council crushed his Corsa. There was no gentle intro. No build up. No warmth. It was war.

Why do I tell you this? Simple. Martin Bowman is of a different approach altogether.

He crams his book with facts, so much so they bulge out of the notes in teeny tiny writing. He is full of the stuff. He must live and breathe it. He wants to share it all with you. But, he wants you to want to buy in much more than just shelling out the cost of the book itself. Does this make sense? His books are not a lecture.

What do you get? This is a stunning account of the Mosquito in service as a bomber, as a photo recce ship, as a ship buster, attacking doodlebug ramps, dropping spooks, zapping Gestapo lairs – it is all here. The surprise chapter on American operations is a gem. The Amiens prison raid and attacks to aid the Dutch and Danish resistance movements are handled with aplomb. The author knows when to shut up and leave it to the people who were there. This happens a lot.

If you have even the slightest interest in air operations in the Second World War then this book will tick any box you can think of. I cannot see a point in saying much else. Other Bowman books I have read have all had the same blend of intense detail, great warmth and solid prose. What else could you want?  I can’t say fairer than that.

Mark Barnes.

Menacing the Reich
By Martin W Bowman
Published in softback by Pen & Sword Aviation £14.99.
ISBN: 978 1 84884 660 9


Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is a longstanding friend of WHO, providing features, photography and reviews. He has contributed to The Times of London and other publications. He is the author of The Liberation of Europe (pub 2016) and If War Should Come due later in 2020.