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Operation 'Overlord' - vol 1. RAF & Commonwealth air forces

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Volume 1 - RAF & Commonwealth Air Forces

Book by AIRfile


D-Day 6th June 1944, the start of the greatest amphibious operation in living memory to retake Europe from the Axis powers. When we think of D-Day our focus usually leans towards warships, armoured fighting vehicles and the soldiers and sailors, of Britain, the Commonwealth and the United States which took part in this massive undertaking; however, the air forces of these countries were also heavily involved and were just as much in the thick of it.

This time next year will be the 70th anniversary of this great event and there are bound to be various group builds; themes, and individual interests to build models of aircraft of that period. This volume, and a subsequent one covering the United States air forces, should be a very useful companion in the researching of markings and colours and the planning to build a model of an aircraft at D-Day or the weeks following.

The Book

This book is the first of a two volume set, covering the aircraft types and their markings which were used by the RAF and Commonwealth air forces of the period from June to September 1944. Volume 2 covers aircraft of the USAAF's 8th & 9th Air Forces. The book is of A4 format, softbound with 70 pages, and is profusely illustrated with colour images, in profile and plan, of the allied aircraft taking part. There are no less than 153 images, including 25 full four-view images of specific aircraft.

Many of the pages depict a series of up to four aircraft in side profile; with each image having a description detailing the aircraft, type, Squadron, base and date this colour scheme was used. Below each description is a précis of historical interest or information to identify certain differences from the standard marking scheme etc. One of the many interesting profiles to be found in the book (not illustrated here) is that of a Spitfire Mk.V which was allocated to the US Navy; based at Lee on Solent and attached to VCS-7 USN.


Some pages are dedicated to a single aircraft. These show a four-sided view of the aircraft, along with the description and historical notes. These layouts can be especially useful for the modeller as they depict an all round view of the colours and markings for that particular aircraft.


The book covers all aspects of the British and Commonwealth aircraft utilised, including fighters, recce, PR and bombers. In some cases, the nose art of a particular aircraft is included alongside the aircraft profile.

Aircraft in Commonwealth colours and markings are also depicted, including Canadian, Australian and New Zealand. Additional examples are of aircraft from squadrons made up of aircrew from the occupied territories such as Norway, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Free French.


The book is not only full of aircraft profiles though, it also has pages of reference data. An example is the list below of the RAF squadrons available on D-Day. The list depicts those squadrons by their TAF and Wing and includes which aircraft types the squadrons were operating at that time.


It is not just the combat aircraft which are illustrated in this fine book but reference is also made to the glider units; as well as some Fleet Air Arm units such as Swordfish and Sea Hurricanes.


A useful inclusion in this volume is a supplement, depicting Luftwaffe aircraft deployed in Europe during this period. Continuing in the same format as the allied forces layouts, these page show profiles of German aircraft, and are described with type, serial, Jager and, where known, the pilot.



AIRfile continue to produce informative and colourful publications for the modeller and this, their fifth production compiled by Neil Robinson, looks to be just as good as their previous editions. The full colour images have been produced with expertise from John Freeman. The illustrations should be of great help and importance for the modeller who may be looking to enhance their builds; plus the narrative which is supplied with each illustration helps to understand the historical reasoning behind the aircraft and its markings at that period of time.

This book is literally packed with illustrations of allied aircraft, in various colour schemes and markings and I am sure it will become an essential reference for aircraft modellers, of all scales, wishing to build a kit of an aircraft during the D-Day and following weeks period. Highly recommended.

Review sample courtesy of airfile-publications-logo.jpg

Buy it Now bin.jpg

Kindly mention Britmodeller.com to the supplier when making enquiries or orders

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Good review, Bootneck.

I have this and it's companion volume and I wasn't disappointed. I heartily endorse your recommendation.



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I think they might just be a bit compulsory :( There goes my budget again :)


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Thanks for the review. I've just ordered it (and the USAAF volume) from The Book Depository via Amazon for less than £24 delivered.

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I agree with the above review and comments, I got both volumes as soon as had a chance to look them over (at the Southwell show if i remember it right).

If you like these two D-Day books, you should have a look at :

Pearl Harbor to Coral Sea and Air War over the Falklands, from the same team.

these two books follow the same format as the D-Day books and offer us modellers lots of ideas for up coming builds.



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Thank you for the comments on the reviews of these D-Day books. I posted these reviews on 6th June, hoping to advise modellers of this source of information, for anyone considering building a commemorative model of that event 69 years ago. I also hope it might help generate some ideas for anyone thinking of what they might wish to obtain and build for next June's 70th anniversary. I'm sure there will be a 'theme build' or GB around that time next year and, as these books illustrate, there are plenty of variations of aircraft, colours and markings to consider for a forthcoming build.

With regard to other AIRfile books, for anyone looking for info on other themes to build, I posted reviews of these books earlier: Pear Harbor pearl_harbor_thumbnail.jpg and also Air War over the Falklands falklands_thumbnail.jpg .

Just like the D-Day books reviewed here, these also contain a mass of illustrations and useful information about those famous periods in military history



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