Author(s): Brian Cull
The Bristol Blenheim entered Bomber Command service in 1937 and became one of the Command's most important aircraft. On its inception, the Blenheim was fast and sleek, and at the outbreak of war, achieved a number of early firsts. It was the first British aircraft to enter German airspace and attacked warships near Wilhelmshaven. The war, however, showed the Blenheim was outdated and extremely vulnerable to flak and fast Luftwaffe fighters such as the Bf 109 and Bf 110. It suffered horrific losses during the Battle of France: 144 Squadron lost almost its entire bombers in one mission. The fighting in France revealed the Blenheim Mk IV to be under armored, under armed and slow. Before being replaced by the Wooden Wonder, the mighty Mosquito, the Blenheim soldiered on with almost suicidal consequences for its crews. Blenheims Over Greece and Crete: RAF and Greek Blenheims in Action 1940-1941 covers the operations, often tragic, of the Blenheims during the fighting over Greece and Albania. By the end of the fighting and withdrawal to Crete, all three squadrons had effectively been wiped out, with great sacrifice by the crews involved. One of the airmen involved was No. 30 Squadron's Sgt Lofty Lord whose grandson Simon has amassed much information and photographs, many previously unpublished, from survivors and/or their families. The same three squadrons, with many new crews to replace those lost in Greece, later fought together in Sumatra and Java (the Dutch East Indies) in an endeavor to repel the Japanese invasion.
Written by one of the world's leading authorities on Second World War military aviation, this is a gripping account of the heroics of the small band of British and Greek airmen who flew the Blenheims against ever-increasing odds, particularly once the Luftwaffe were determined to decimate them.