Aircraft Down!: Evading Capture In Wwii Europe (potomac Books' History Of War Series)

  • Manufacturer: Potomac Books Inc.
Aircraft Down! recounts the thrilling stories of six extraordinary adventures that took place in Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Albania, and Greece during World War II. Based on interviews with the airmen and the Europeans who helped them at the risk of their own lives.

Customer Reviews

Detailed & Entertaining, October 31, 2001
By B. Barrett

I found this book gives a lot of insight to evaders and some of the less well known facts of the war. The book has a fairly fast pace but also has a lot of detail. The first three stories deal with downed flyers in France and Belgium who eventually made it to Spain and then British held Gibraltar. Spain was sympathetic to Germany, and treated evaders harshly until 1943 when it became politically necessary for them to develop a better relationship with the Allies. The fourth story is of a later evader in Belgium who was able to meet the oncoming Allies in 1944 instead of going to Spain. The fifth story details the evasion of an entire bomber crew from the island of Corfu over to Albania. They stayed at a guerilla camp in the mountains and eventually escaped by ship to Italy after much hardship. The final story is of of a flyer who evaded through Italy. Originally captured by the Germans upon landing, he was released from jail with many others when Italy signed an armistice with the allies. He spent the rest of his time evading the Germans and travelling around Italy (with much help from Italian partisans) and finally escaping to the Allied lines after many setbacks. One of the central themes of the book is the sacrifice made by the occupied population to feed and help the Allied fliers escape. Every story has a follow-up at the end about the later life of the evader and what happened to the people that helped them evade (if known).

Personal Memoirs., May 25, 2004
By John P. Rooney "John"

"Aircraft down" by Philip D. Caine, sub-titled: "Evading Capture In WWII Europe". Brassey's, Dulles, Virginia, 1997 The author is a retired Brigadier General, United States Air Force, where he was once responsible for training at the Air Force Academy for "SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, escape). This gave him a professional interest in the history of evaders in Nazi occupied Europe. Philip D. Caine has also written books on Americans serving in in the Royal Air Force, (e.g. in the "Eagle Squadron") including "American Pilots In The RAF". In this book, "Aircraft Down", he has drawn on his training and experience to write six separate stories, of individuals and crews, shot down behind the lines in enemy held Europe. The first three stories deal with Americans who were flying in the RAF. These three were fighter pilots, who came down alone. They were not alone on the ground, however, as they all needed the help of the local populace to escape Nazi searchers. The fifth story is different: the entire crew of a B-17 Flying Fortress comes down on the island of Corfu, off the coast of Albania/Greece. Here, again, the common thread is that he local populace has to work together to first provide refuge for the evaders and then to provide a means of escape. In all of the stories in this book, the author has worked to put a human face on the evaders. His research has been sufficient to give a personal memoir flavor to each story, and his follow-up on post war meetings, provides a sense of closure to the story. He relates the excitement when an evader meets the same woman working in the same field as on the day he was shot down, some 40+ years ago. The book is concluded with a very short chapter entitled, "The Art Of Evasion And Survival", which points up that the personal resourcefulness of the downed pilot is often the key to a successful escape. General Caine has avoided the usual impersonal book, often written by General Officers, dealing with statistics numbers and unit identification, all at the "higher" strategic level. Instead, happily, he has used personal interviews and much research to provide a fine book telling the stories almost as if they were all personal memoirs.

Great stuff!, February 19, 2007
By Eugene W. Harmes III "World War II History Buff"

Fast paced and very hard to put down, this book really gets you into the WWII evasion experience. The sense of urgency and suspense really comes heart was racing as I read about downed airmen stealing clothes to blend in with the locals and racing away from the scene of the crash, sometimes right through German troops. This book really highlights the efforts and risk of the collaborators, and just how dedicated they were to doing their part in the war effort. A very highly recommended read!

Gripping, August 4, 2000
By timothy c dooley

Do not start reding this book if you have important things to do because you will not be able to put it down. The book chronicles the evasion of several downed airmen in WWII Europe, how they evaded, the people that helped them and the trials and risks they endured. It is well written and informative and will make you glad that you never had to fly in combat, bail out of a plane or crash land and find yourself in a lonely and hostile land.

True stories make the best stories, April 7, 2008
By Pat M

A very good read. And what makes it fascinating is the fact that they are all actual events. It vividly illustrates what lengths the locals went to to help these airmen. Literally putting their lives at stake to help strangers for a common cause.

Great look back at an interesting part of the war, April 9, 2010
By Donald L. Taylor "Donald T"

I enjoyed this book.
Interesting part of WWII history. It shows great courage of both the pilots and Europian families willing to risk their lives to help.

I respect all involved.

Highly Entertaining, October 9, 2009
By Jerry B. Wilt "JBW857"

This book is a highly readable tome of the experiences of downed bomber crews and fighter pilots. The willingness of the underground and the general population of the occupied countries to help these evaders at the risk of their own lives in highly inspiring. Mr. Caine describes the terrifying experiences of the evaders - their fight against hunger and the cold, their courage, the loneliness. This book make for exceptional reading and is worth a space in your library.

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