Air-to-Air
by Chris Rudge
When the New Zealand government decided to scrap its air combat force in 2001, it appeared that many people had forgotten the contribution made by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) during WWII.  During the period from 15 January 1942 to 13 February 1944, aircrew of RNZAF squadrons claimed to have shot down 106 aircraft in Malaya and the Pacific.  Although these combats were carried out at a distance, they were essentially in the defence of New Zealand.  Air-to-Air explains why.

Written to compliment the official histories of New Zealand in WWII, this book documents all air-to-air combat claims made by aircrew flying for RNZAF squadrons.  It also provides comprehensive details of each campaign so that the contribution made by the RNZAF, Royal New Zealand Navy and the New Zealand Army in the Pacific and South-East Asia can be put into perspective.  Air-to-Air has been thoroughly researched using original documents and is lavishly illustrated with over 230 photographs and seven maps.  Biographical information on all RNZAF aircrew who made claims is provided and the work has been enriched by the recollections of a number of surviving New Zealand fighter pilots.

Air-to-Air is undoubtedly one of the most important works ever published on the RNZAF and is essential reading for those interested in New Zealand’s air combat history and the country’s defence.

Reviews

"In 2001, New Zealand took the decision to disband the air combat element of the RNZAF, leaving the P-3 Orions as the force's most offensive aircraft. The pros and cons of this move will rumble on for evermore but what it will never do is erode the incredibly valiant war fought by the RNZAF in World War Two.  This lavish work documents the exploits of those who made air-to-air 'kills' in the Pacific and South-East Asia.  The detail within is incredible, the narrative absorbing, the photos abundant." Flypast magazine

"Given that Air-to-Air covers combats that were essentially carried out in the defence of New Zealand, this book makes compelling reading given that New Zealand scrapped it’s air combat force in 2001.  Air-to-Air is undoubtedly one of the most important works ever published on the RNZAF and is essential reading for those interested in New Zealand’s air combat history and the country’s defence.  Lavishly illustrated and supported with detailed maps, it is a highly recommended book that will be a valuable addition to any aviation library." Pacific Wings Magazine

"The writer of the highly regarded 'Missing', a book which explored all cases of aircraft missing in New Zealand since 1928, Chris Rudge has followed with a quite remarkable piece of work.  Chris has set out to achieve the most complete and accurate record ever attempted of RNZAF combat flying in the Pacific Theatre.  Providing background to the conflict from Pearl Harbor through to Malaya and Singapore where Kiwi pilots first saw action against the Japanese (with 488 Sqn) Rudge goes on to outline all of the subsequent Pacific Theatre campaigns in which RNZAF combat aircraft took part.  The combat reports from each successful engagement in the words of the pilots involved, provide an excellent record of all the battles and make fascinating reading.  Rudge goes on to provide biographies of all the pilots involved in the actions described in the book and numerous appendices furnish valuable data in support of the body of text.  Highly recommended." Classic Wing Magazine

"Air-to-Air is one of the most important works ever published on the RNZAF and is essential reading for those interested in New Zealand’s air combat history.  Lavishly illustrated and supported with detailed maps, it is a highly recommended book that will be a valuable addition to any aviation library." Royal New Zealand Air Force News.

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