Britain at War - February 2017

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Operation Leg
In our cover story, our Editor looks at the intricacies involved in delivering a spare prosthetic limb to Battle of Britain hero Douglas Bader, then a POW, and how the RAF tried to take the opportunity to deliver bombs as well as the leg!

‘Great Escape’ Spitfire
Chris Goss brings to Britain at War the unusual and tragic tale of a Norwegian Spitfire pilot linked to the Great Escape revealed via his chance discovery of a photograph of a crashed Spitfire.

Tanks by Train
Britain at War regular Rob Langham returns with a study of the difficulties involved in transporting Britain’s terrifying new and secret weapon from the factory and into battle.

Merlins, Tea and Bacon!
The story of a country cottage used by RAF and American fighter pilots is recounted by Mark Hiller as he reveals through images and words the tale of those who lived there during the Second World War.

A Victory of Sorts
Peter Hart details the first large-scale naval action between the mighty fleets of Britain and Germany and argues that the victory could and should have been greater than had actually been achieved.

Maintaining Tradition
Professor of Naval History, Eric Grove, tells of the desperate situation faced by the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet, sustaining near-critical losses as it was tasked with a mercy mission to rescue the gallant defenders of Crete.

Road to Disaster
In our Editor’s Choice this month, Steve Snelling details arguably the darkest point of Britain’s war, the crushing loss of Singapore, from the perspective of one British unit desperately trying to defy the odds. What followed was the largest surrender of British troops in history and death knell of an Empire.

Reputations: Richard O’Connor
In the first part of a two-part special John Ash assesses the brilliant early career of General Richard O’Connor, a soldier who was possibly the most often to have been Mentioned in Despatches.

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First World War Diary
Our monthly look at key events of the Great War reaches February 1917. The Ottomans are handed a defeat and America’s involvement in the war seems ever more certain. Meanwhile, the seeds of revolution begin to grow in Russia.

Great War Gallantry
Our continuing look at some of the awards posted in the London Gazette arrives at February 1917 and Lord Ashcroft presents his ‘Hero of the Month’.

Recon Report
We continue to look at new titles and products, including a new book showcasing the surviving elements of Hitler’s monolithic white elephant –The Atlantic Wall.

War Artists
Following on from our news feature, Britain at War regular Phil Jarman details the career and style of Paul Nash and his distinctive and legendary war work.

Image of War
A striking shot of a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt of ‘Zemke’s Wolfpack’ is the subject of this original colour photograph marking the start of the 75th anniversary year of the arrival of the USAAF in Britain.

First World War Object
In one of our more ‘unusual’ objects from the First World War we look at the menu from a celebratory meal hosted at the height of rationing and the U-Boat menace.

‘Making a New World’
Sarah Warren MacMillan reports on a major new exhibition of the stunning art and war paintings of Paul Nash, currently showing at Tate Britain.