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Author, film researcher and member of the Swedish Military History Commission.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Finest Aviation Book I Have Seen


I have previously been impressed by Mikael Forslund´s work, but his latest book, about the American, British, German, Italian and SAAB bombers in the Swedish Air Force 1924-58, is so stunning it is doubtless the finest aviation book I have yet come across. But there is one annoying thing about it.

This superbly illustrated 296 page aircraft book in A4 format has a title that I find a bit misleading: Swedish Bomber Colours 1924-1958. Given the narrow focus of the title and the rather high price of the book I reckon more than a few aviation buffs will wonder if this book is really worth the money. Well, the camouflage and markings of the aircraft in question are certainly covered in the best possible way both by spectacular photographs, several in colour, and many exclusive colour profiles. But the thing is that this book provides so much background and detailed history about the aircraft types and their use that it is more of a bomber aircraft encyclopedia than just a book about paint and markings. In other words the book delivers more than the title promises. Of course, that is better than the other way around, but it may also make some people refrain from getting this book. Now, hopefully some of you who have doubts are reading these words.  

Here are the aircraft types featured in this book, first I list the Swedish Air Force designation and then the international name:

B 1 - FIAT BR
B 2 - FIAT BR 1
B 3 - Junkers Ju 86
B 4 - Hawker Hart
B 5 - Norhrop 8A-1
B 6 - Republic 2-PA Guardsman
B 7 - Fokker G.1 (not delivered but still featured on one page)
B 16A - Caproni Ca 313
B 17 - SAAB 17
B 18 - SAAB 18

Let me add that all variants are featured. Then there are the wonderful sections about Swedish bombers in foreign service, mainly Danish SAAB B 17 bombers in 1945 and the SAAB B 17s in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian photos and interview are incredible and I was very surprised to learn that two former Ethiopian B 17As in 2020 were being restored in Lithuania, of all places.

If you are into building scale models of Swedish bomber aircraft and want to find good photos and colour profiles this book will be like Eldorado for you. But again, this book is much more than a book for scale model enthusiasts, it will delight any Swedish Air Force buff and it also constitutes a great source for researchers and writers. Well done, Mr. Forslund, very well done!

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