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by Dan Hagedorn
Turner Publishing 1997
Cover Price: $29.95
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|Alae Supra Canalem
Wings Over The Canal
The Six Air Force and the Antilles Air Command
This book details the US Army Air Corps units of the 6th Air Force that protected the Panama Canal, Canal Zone "C.Z." and were based in Panama and Central America. The book covers the earliest days of aviation and the 6th Air Force tasked with defending the Panama Canal, development of airfields and early operations in the prewar period.
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, it was believed the enemy would attack the Panama Canal and round the clock patrols were made over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Many 6th Air Force aircraft also patrolled the Caribbean for U-Boat. Other interesting history documented includes impounded Italian and German aircraft used in South American airlines, including several Ju-52 trimotors, one even pressed into service with the USAAF designated as C-79! Also, at least one mission included transporting foreign nationals from German, Italian and Japan rounded up in South America.
The remainder of the book details the specific wings, groups, squadrons and units of the 6th Air Force, plus profiles on the various aircraft types including fighters, bombers, transports and recon aircraft. Many interesting and unique types served in Central America, including the sole Boeing XB-15 "Grandpappy" 35-277 and General Brett's personal transport aircraft, B-17D "The Swoose" 40-3097 a combat veteran from the Philippines and Java.
The book ends with extensive appendixes including the Six Air Force order of battle on June 16, 1943, distribution of forces on December 11, 1942, units assigned as of June 16, 1943, APO airfields and code names, known aircraft casualties and finally a photo album with quarter and half page photographs of 6th Air Force aircraft and aircrews from the prewar and wartime period.
Review by Justin Taylan
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