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D-Day to Berlin

by Malcolm Laird

Ventura Publishing / MMP Books


S u m m a r y :

Catalogue Number, Description and ISBN:

Ventura Publications
Classic Warbirds No. 13:
D-Day to Berlin

ISBN: 978-0-9864653-1-4

Contents & Media:

Softcover, 72 pages, A4 format; B5 format; English text; black-and-white photographs; colour illustrations


£9.99 plus shipping available online from www.mmpbooks.biz, or from specialist book and hobby shops

Review Type:

First Look


Interesting first-hand accounts of Allied fighter operations over Europe in the last months of World War 2; excellent photographs and illustrations.




This book is perfect for modellers who like a bit of history behind their projects – highly recommended

Reviewed by Brad Fallen

HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com



New Zealander Malcolm Laird has been producing decals, books and limited run kits under the Ventura Publications label for over thirty years.  Malcolm’s interest in World War 2 New Zealand and Australian aviation subjects is reflected in many of his Ventura releases, which address this sometimes overlooked niche in the market. 

Malcolm’s latest book, ‘Classic Warbirds No.13:  D-Day to Berlin’ (a revised and expanded edition of an earlier Classic Warbirds publication), focuses on the experiences of Kiwi and Australian pilots during the last months of the war in Europe. The book is perfect for modelers who like a bit of history behind their projects, combining first person narratives from the airmen involved with excellent photographs and illustrations of the aircraft they flew.  Its chapters are as follows:

  • D-Day Gun Spotters – Royal NZ Naval Volunteer Reserve pilot Lieutenant Hugh Lang recounts his experiences gun-spotting for warships in Seafire L.IIIs, which include being shot down by an Fw 190 on 9 June 1944.
  • Mobile Spitfire Squadron – Flight Lieutenant Maurice Mayston of No.485 (NZ) Squadron describes flying Spitfire Mk.IXs against a variety of targets, including V1 sites, and a dramatic emergency landing during which Mayston inadvertently played ‘chicken’ with a P-47 Thunderbolt.
  • Flying for Two Air Forces – after completing several combat tours in RAF Spitfires, Flight Lieutenant Jack Cleland was seconded to the 357th Fighter Group in July 1944, becoming the only New Zealand Fighter Pilot to fly with the Eighth Air Force.
  • Fighters at Night – Flying Officer Allot Gabites describes flying Mosquito NF 30s with No.488 (NZ) Squadron over Europe in the last months of the war.
  • Tempest Squadron – Flying Officer Ray Danzey, 486 (NZ) Squadron, talks about engaging V1s, Fw 190 Ds and trains in his Tempest Mk V in 1944-45, as well as the psychological effects of flying in combat.
  • Combating the V2 – No.451 (RAAF) Squadron members Warren Thomas and Lindsay Richards describe the Spitfire-equipped squadron’s operations against V2 sites in Holland, encounters with Me 262s, and occupation duties in Germany.
  • From Tempest to Meteor – Warren Schrader talks about his experiences flying Tempests with 486 (NZ) Squadron in March-April 1945, and then Meteor Mk IIIs with 616 Squadron in May 1945; a highlight is his description of flying a surrendered Me 262 from Fassberg to Lubeck on 29 May 1945.
  • Reconnaissance Fighters – an outline of Spitfire and P-51 photographic reconnaissance operations in the final months of the war.
  • Anti-Shipping Beaufighters – Squadron Leader Bill Mullen recounts 455 (RAAF) and 489 (NZ) Squadron operations against German targets in Norway in 1944-45.

These first-hand accounts provide great insight into the challenges faced by Allied airmen at this late stage of the war, including unexpectedly stout Luftwaffe opposition, deadly anti-aircraft fire and the effect of combat operations on individuals.


  • D-Day to Berlin Book Review by Brad Fallen: Image
  • D-Day to Berlin Book Review by Brad Fallen: Image
  • D-Day to Berlin Book Review by Brad Fallen: Image
  • D-Day to Berlin Book Review by Brad Fallen: Image
  • D-Day to Berlin Book Review by Brad Fallen: Image
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As I mentioned above, the text is well supported by photographs.  These are frequently of specific aircraft flown by the narrators, or of similar machines operated by their units.  There are also images of derelict German aircraft, photographed where they were abandoned at the end of the war; some of these were taken by narrators or others from their squadrons.  The photos are black and white but of excellent quality, and will be of great assistance to modelers.

So will the 38 colour illustrations, which feature aircraft mentioned in the text and shown in the photographs.  Most are port profiles, but several aircraft receive more extensive treatment, including Jack Cleland’s Spitfire Mk VII, MD106/‘Isabel II’, and the P-51D ‘Isabel III’/413573 that Cleland flew during his time with the USAAF.





‘D-Day to Berlin’ is only 72 pages long, but it’s a great little book of modeling inspiration that will appeal to anyone who is interested in the New Zealand and Australian contribution to RAF fighter operations in Europe during World War 2.  It is also a useful photographic reference for late war RAF fighters – Tempests, Meteors, Mosquitos and various Spitfires – and some of their German opponents.

Highly recommended.

Thanks to MMP for the review sample.

Thanks to MMP Books for the sample.

Review Copyright 2013 by Brad Fallen
This Page Created on 20 May, 2013
Last updated 20 May, 2013

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