Typhoon Wings of 2nd Tactical Air Force 1943–45
Osprey Combat Aircraft Series 86
By Chris Thomas
Softcover, 96 pages, 40 color profiles
Published by Osprey Publishing, September 2010
Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.3 x 9.9 inches
The Typhoon was designed as a fighter but was mainly used as a ground attack aircraft. It enjoyed great success in that role, the Royal Air Force fielding twenty wings of the type at the time of the Normandy invasion. The type had a troubled development history which only got sorted out with great difficulty, and even then with some compromise.
The first chapter deals with the technical and production issues which plagued the introduction of the Typhoon into service. There were substantial issues with the type’s Napier engine from both the reliability and availability perspectives, the issue got so bad at one point that there were several hundred Typhoon fuselages in depots without engines, as these had been cannibalized to keep the operational squadrons going. Another more famous issue was a series of structural failures which resulted in Typhoons disintegrating in flight. The fault was eventually traced to elevator flutter which caused the tail assembly to fail.
The remaining chapters describe the exploits of the men and units which flew the Typhoon in combat. This is standard fare for the Osprey aviation books but the anecdotes are impressive nonetheless. There is also the expected color profile section which is a highlight of the series, in this volume there are a total of forty profiles, all in the Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey scheme.
Author Chris Thomas mentions three bits of information which I found particularly interesting from a modeling perspective. First, Typhoon units carried underwing markings in 1943 which were similar to the Normandy “invasion stripes”. Second, Typhoons were configured with either bombs or Rocket Projectiles, and these versions were usually concentrated together in squadrons of the same type. And third, a note at the beginning of the Colour Plates description section designates the tailplane and propeller configurations by serial number.
This is a typical Osprey Combat Aircraft series volume and delivers all the goodies readers have come to expect. I found the chapter on the design and production problems and their solutions particularly interesting. Overall a nice package and a welcome addition to the series.