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Air Gunnery and Air Fighting (1943) | Wing-Cdr. E. M. Donaldson

Air Gunnery and Air Fighting (1943)

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Wing Commander E. M. Donaldson, D.S.O.

USAAF Southeast Air Corps Training Centre, 1943

‘Don't look now! But I think you're being followed. How many times have we been asked the same question - "Please Sir, what do I do to get a 109 off my tail?" As if we knew. The answer really is: 'Why did you let it get there anyway?"'

A very rare original WW2 Air Gunnery manual, published in 1943. Written by RAF Wing Commander E. M. Donaldson, a battle of Britain fighter ace, this is a detailed, practical guide to aerial gunnery and air combat for RAF and Allied air forces fighter pilots. It was produced while Donaldson was working with the USAAF as a senior instructor in air combat flying. The book includes instructions on fighter squadron deployment, escort of bombers, ground strafing, night operations, firepower, anti-aircraft fire, sighting, estimating range, angles of attack, and deflection shooting. The book also includes 'Sailor' Malan's famous 'Golden Rules' on air fighting, and much other very useful advice on all aspects of aerial combat.

Wing Commander Edward Mortlock Donaldson (1912-1992): was a WW2 RAF fighter Ace and former holder of the World Airspeed Record. He joined the RAF in 1931 and was posted to No.3 Squadron. In 1933 he won the RAF's Gunnery Trophy, known as the Brooke-Popham Air Firing Trophy, winning it again in 1934. In 1935 he became a member of the No. 3 Squadron aerobatic team of five Bulldogs, which he led in 1937 and 1938 at the International Zurich Rally. When the Second World War broke out Squadron Leader Donaldson was commanding No. 151 Squadron, flying the Hawker Hurricane. In their first engagement over France on 17th May 1940, 151 destroyed six enemy aircraft, Donaldson himself shooting down two enemy aircraft and damaging a third. The squadron shot down many more in the following months, including at the Battle of Dunkirk. On June 27th Donaldson was shot down by a Me 109. The combat lasted 15 minutes, with both aircraft twisting and turning to gain a firing position. During a head-on attack, Donaldson's Hurricane was hit and set alight when the petrol tank blew up. However, he managed to escape, taking to his parachute from round 800 feet. He was shot down again on July 12th by return fire from a Dornier 17. Two days later he shot down a Me 109, his last combat victory. For his leadership of the squadron and his personal tally of eleven kills, plus ten probable destructions, Donaldson was awarded the DSO.

Donaldson was then transferred to the gunnery instructor school. Posted to Canada, Donaldson wrote the RAF training manual Notes on Air Gunnery and Air Fighting, which after the United States entered the war, provided the basis for his instructional work in the USA with the USAAF. His book was an invaluable aid in the training of USAAF gunnery instructors. On his return to England in 1944, Donaldson converted to jet aircraft and commanded the first operational Glostor Meteor squadron, at RAF Colerne. In 1946 he broke the official world airspeed record in a Meteor, achieving a speed of 615.78mph.


In good condition. The card cover is in fair to good condition, with general signs of wear and use, some creases, and some marks. There are a couple of large marks to the rear cover. The stapled binding is good and secure. The text is in very good condition with a few marks. Signed on the front cover by 'Willis R. Johnson, 1st Lt.'

Published: 1943
Khaki card cover
Illustrated with diagrams
Dimensions: 135mm x 210mm
Pages: 131