Air Operations over East Africa – Christopher Shores

SHORES Christopher. Dust Clouds in the Middle East : The Air War for East Africa, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Madagascar (1940 – 19422). London : Grub Street, 1996, 320 pp.

This book is fairly quick to present since it is, for me, the bible on air operations during the campaign of East Africa. It is Christopher Shores, therefore has a presentation day by day, very advanced in terms of research in the archives, with a willingness to present all the belligerents, and very rigorous. It should be noted, however, that although the part relating to ICB operations was drafted in collaboration with General Corrado Ricci (former Squadriglia 410a squadron commander), it is essentially a presentation of the action British and South African, with regular references to the Regia Aeronautica. Unfortunately, there is still the (unsolvable) problem of the destruction of the Italian archives … In any case, this is an excellent and thorough study on the subject, and the absolute reference for all research, despite the few criticisms to be made of the ” work. First, it is relatively old (1996), which deprives it of recent access to certain South African archives, as well as the new information published in recent books. It contains relatively little information on ground operations and the strategy of the different belligerents, in order to put aerial facts into perspective, although it nevertheless provides an honest synthesis. Finally, there are some errors in the consultation of the archives available at the time, especially problems of dates. But on this point, we remain on minor problems, as already mentioned several times in the chronicle of the air operations on this site. The essential defect is more the age of the work (twenty years), which today requires new information to supplement or correct events. Moreover, and as always with Shores an excellent index gathering the names of aviators and units engaged.

Finally, the East African Campaign is only one chapter (about half) of the book, as it also deals with other, relatively forgotten events in the Second World War such as operations in Syria (conflict zone Sadly topical) between the British and the French air force of the Vichy regime or the Inronclad operation against Madagascar. As a result, very good moments of reading.

For information, the book is available on Amazon by clicking on this link (France Shop) or this other link (English Shop).

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