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The Rocket Racket (1944) | RAF rocket manual

The Rocket Racket | Air Ministry Manual (1944)

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A. P. 2802C

AIR MINISTRY, London, September 1944

‘As an aircraft weapon the rocket has important advantages over both a bomb and a shell. Because it is self-propelled, its velocity on impact is greater than that of a bomb. Also, because a rocket causes no recoil on the aircraft when it is fired, it can be very much heavier than the largest shell it is possible to fire from a gun mounted on an aircraft'.

A rare original WW2 Air Ministry manual, published in September 1944. This is a guide to aircraft rocket weapons for RAF and Allied air forces fighter pilots. With instructions, advice, and numerous illustrations on how to aim and fire rockets against ground targets. There are many excellent diagrams showing angles of attack, trajectory, effects of 'G', points of aim, points of release, allowance for speed and wind, airspeed, dive angle, etc. There is also a general introduction to the main advantages of rockets over conventional shells.

The book originally belonged to F/Sgt K. E. Appleford, a WW2 Raf pilot who trained in the USA and served with 209 Squadron. During a long career in the RAF he flew a wide variety of aircraft, including the Sunderland Flying Boat, Lincoln bomber, Shackleton and Nimrod.

No. 209 Squadron was a flying boat squadron that flew maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine patrols from British bases from 1939 until 1942, and then operated over the Indian Ocean for most of the rest of the war, before taking part in the final stages of the offensive in Burma in 1945.

At the start of WW2 209 squadron moved to Invergorden and flew patrols between Scotland and Norway. In October it moved again, to Oban, and began to fly patrols over the Atlantic. In December 1939 the squadron converted to the disastrously poor Saro Lerwick. Six of these aircraft were lost in various incidents over the next year, and they were finally replaced with the Catalina in April 1941. These aircraft were used for anti-submarine patrols from Loch Erne until August 1941. In May 1941 the squadron played a major part in the hunt for the Bismarck, helping to relocate the German battleship on 26 May, after she had slipped away from the British fleet. The squadron sank one U-boat during the war, U-452 which was sunk to the south of Iceland on 25 August 1941. On 27 August 1941 the squadron played a part in one of the most remarkable incidents of the struggle against the U-boats, the surrender of U-570. The U-boat was forced to surrender by Hudsons from No. 269 squadron, aided by a Catalina of No. 209. At the end of August the squadron moved to Iceland for two months, before returning to Britain.

In March 1942 the squadron moved to East Africa, from where it flew patrols over the Indian Ocean, using bases in South Africa, Oman and on Madagascar and the Seychelles to extend its range. Towards the end of 1943 the squadron moved north, to protect the Gulf of Oman against an expected increase in U-boat activity after the Mediterranean had been secured by the Allies. In July 1945 the squadron changed aircraft and role. The Catalinas were replaced by Sunderlands, and the squadron moved to Ceylon, while a detachment moved to Rangoon, from where it attacked the remaining Japanese shipping on the coasts of Burma and Malaya. In September 1945 a detachment from the squadron moved to Hong Kong, and was followed by the rest of the squadron in October. No.209 Squadron remained in the Far East until it was merged with No. 205 squadron in 1955.



In good condition. The card cover is in good condition, with general signs of use, some wear around the edges, and some marks. The stapled binding is secure, although the staples are rusty. The text and illustrations are in good condition with a few marks. With '209 Sqdn' and 'Flt Cdr' written faintly on the front cover.

Published: 1944
Illustrated card cover
Illustrated with line drawings and diagrams
Dimensions: 155mm x 200mm
Pages: 28