War casts its grim shadow across Europe.
Great Britain has just officially declared war against Nazi Germany. For the pilots and crew of Bomber Command, this means their time to strike against the Jerries has finally come.
But the days of sophisticated radio and radar aids have not yet come to pass. Aerial navigation is still crude, requiring constant minute calculations to stay on course - errors of fifty miles are common when seeking a target.
And when missions are carried out in conditions of urgency and adverse weather, navigational accuracy is vitally important.
For flying is a dangerous occupation, especially in the operations carried out in the infancy of the war. Of all the branches of the military, taking to the skies creates potentially deadly consequences too numerous to count - and that is before the aeroplanes, and their crews, ever leave British soil.
Once they wing their way towards Nazi Germany, the casualties only mount.
The first raid sees the loss of two Wellingtons, out of fourteen. Of the fifteen Blenheims sent out on the second mission, five fail to find their target and another five are shot down.
Cloud down to 100 feet over the target thwarts the objective of twelve Hampdens that set off on that same day.
Itching to see action, the men of the Whitley squadrons at R.A.F. Rambridge long to be in the air.
Yet in these early days, none of them have yet realised the brutal nature of war...
Richard Townshend Bickers volunteered for the R.A.F. at the outbreak of World War II and served, with a Permanent Commission, for eighteen. His experience has greatly shaped his writing career, during the course of which he has written more books about the R.A.F. and its predecessor, the R.F.C., than any other author, living or dead. Born in India and educated in England, he has travelled the world and lived in many different countries. He speaks and writes nine European and four oriental languages, and does his own research by interview and correspondence and in foreign archives. In addition to his novels, he has also written articles, short stories, and radio plays.
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Used availability for Richard Townshend Bickers's Target Ahead
October 1982 : UK Hardback
April 2016 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition