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Book Review: Bluenoser Tales-352nd Fighter Group War Stories

By Floyd S. Werner Jr.

Title: Bluenoser Tales-352nd Fighter Group War Stories
Author: Robert Powell, Marc Hamel, and Samuel Sox
Cost: $54.95

One of the finest and most decorated squadrons in World War II, the 352nd Fighter Group, with their blue nosed Mustangs blazed a way across Europe. Until now we are familiar with pilots like Major Preddy, Meyer and Turner, but this book talks about them and many of the other pilots and their exploits.

This is my kind of book. It is like listening to the veterans talk "shop". The only thing missing are the hands and the smell of cordite in the air. You are treated to each pilot telling his "there I was" story. These stories are fascinating and exciting in 32 "chapters". There is a color section featuring the pilots circa 1943-44. You see the P-47s, P-51s and other aircraft in well exposed black and white and color photos. Many of the 400 photos are previously unpublished. Also included are many first rate paintings of the aircraft by noted aviation artists. An interesting tidbit that you don't see very often is the inclusion of typical wartime publicity cartoons covering certain pilots and their stories.

There is the story of the "correct" Blue used on the nose of the P-51s. It appears that the color is British Deep Sea Blue with no matching FS number.

If you like personal stories about air combat this is your book. The book follows the exploits of the founding members of the squadron from the first air battle after Pearl Harbor to flying the P-80 at the end of the war. The first CO, Jack Donalson, talks about his first victory on the day after Pearl Harbor in the Philippines. All the chapters address a certain period in the group's history, including the death of George Preddy. Particularly interesting is the group's story of New Years Day and Operation Bodenplatte. Also the shuttle mission to Russia in Operation Frantic is covered. There are some pretty humorous stories that haven't been told before as most accounts are from the 4th FG point of view. The chapter also highlights the differences with the Russians that would eventually make up the Cold War.

If you are looking for modeling inspiration look no further than this book. If the stories aren't enough to motivate you then the photos will be. There are photos of the fighters but also of the support equipment such as the staff cars and trucks. All of Preddy's machines are seen in photos from the P-40 to his last P-51D.

There is nothing about this book not to like. It is well written, interesting reading, personable, at times funny and others tragic, but it is very informative. This is the type of book you can read and reread. If you like there I was stories then you couldn't ask for a better book.

Highly recommended.

Thanks to Aeroplane Books for the review copy. You can obtain your copy by ordering from them directly at www.aeroplanebooks.com. The direct link to the book is https://www.aeroplanebooks.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=&idproduct=48890 Let them know you heard about it here.

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