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Hitler’s top-secret Directive No. 16 set a precondition for a landing operation: ‘The English air force must have been beaten down to such an extent … that it can no longer muster any power of attack worth mentioning against the German crossing.’ Reissued by William Collins, ‘Fighter’ is Len Deighton’s thrilling telling of the ensuing Battle of Britain – the aerial combat between the RAF and the Luftwaffe that was fought between July and October 1940.
Deighton has written a compelling account of this all-important action: a balanced study of strategies and tactics that also expertly recounts the development of the aeroplanes that fought each other in the skies – the Spitfires and Messerschmitts – and of radar. And behind the strategies and tactics, and in the cockpits of the aeroplanes, are the men brought vividly to life by Deighton’s skill as a novelist.