44 Days: 75 Squadron and the Fight for Australia by Michael Veitch

44 Days: 75 Squadron and the Fight for Australia

byMichael Veitch

Kobo ebook | July 26, 2016

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The epic World War II story of Australia's 75 Squadron - and the 44 days when these brave and barely trained pilots fought alone against the Japanese.

In March and April 1942, RAAF 75 Squadron bravely defended Port Moresby for 44 days when Australia truly stood alone against the Japanese. This group of raw young recruits scrambled ceaselessly in their Kittyhawk fighters to an extraordinary and heroic battle, the story of which has been left largely untold.

The recruits had almost nothing going for them against the Japanese war machine, except for one extraordinary leader named John Jackson, a balding, tubby Queenslander - at 35 possibly the oldest fighter pilot in the world - who said little, led from the front, and who had absolutely no sense of physical fear.

Time and time again this brave group were hurled into battle, against all odds and logic, and succeeded in mauling a far superior enemy - whilst also fighting against the air force hierarchy. After relentless attack, the squadron was almost wiped out by the time relief came, having succeeded in their mission - but also paying a terrible price.

Michael Veitch, actor, presenter and critically acclaimed author, brings to life the incredible exploits and tragic sacrifices of this courageous squadron of Australian heroes.
Title:44 Days: 75 Squadron and the Fight for AustraliaFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:July 26, 2016Publisher:Hachette AustraliaLanguage:English

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from An incredible, never widely known, true story! The author gives us a gripping account of an amazing but little known air battle fought immediately to Australia's north which lasted only 44 days and which was fought by a relatively small number of pilots (those of 75 Squadron RAAF) who had been given little more than perfunctory training and then sent straight up to Port Moresby to undertake a seemingly hopeless attempt to fend off the Japanese military juggernaut which had swept so suddenly and quickly down through South East Asia. The content of this book ranges from a very full discussion of the various complex aeronautical and tactical considerations right through to some of the morale and medical issues which afflicted them, further to which is about: the jungle thick, mountainous terrain confronting these inexperienced pilots - hazardous conditions in which to fly (especially without radar) but also near-impenetrable if they ever found themselves stranded after being shot down. This group of mostly 'rookie' pilots were, in effect, basically just 'thrown into the breech' at a time when Japan was set to at least isolate (if not actually invade) Australia, at the beginning of 1942. Veitch has certainly written a very well researched and comprehensive account of the incredible exploits of this group of brave young men in their flying machines, and includes descriptions of some equally hair-raising experiences of their ground crew. They were led by the somewhat unlikely, but fearless leader, John Jackson. Though Jackson is described as something of a laconic figure, he was held in great esteem by his whole squadron of men without exception. It's just such a compelling tale, putting us right there at the scene of this unbelievably precarious moment in Australia's military history.
Date published: 2016-09-09