...From the London Bomber to the Flying Wing Jet Fighter, from Fonthill Media
Title: Gotha Aircraft
Author: Andreas Metzmacher
Publisher: Fonthill Media
Sub-titled 'From the London Bomber to the Flying Wing Jet Fighter' this is the story of the German aircraft manufacturer, through both World Wars and beyond. A 157-page hardback, though also available in e-book format these days of course. So well known for their large WW1 bombers, a scourge of London during the 14-18 war, and in WW2 their own 242 glider is the one that always springs to my mind.
The book is arranged in essentially a chronological sequence, from the origins of the business in the 1800s, then they started aircraft production only in 1913, building licenced variants of other designs and gradually designing their own, which produced the multi-engined bombers that reached as far as London. At the end of the war they had their aircraft production scrapped, so many people out of work, but the company managed to keep going, building wagons still and licenced copies of the Austin 7. In 1933, encouraged/supported by the new National Socialist regime they got back into aircraft production. Much of their business was licence building other designs, especially the Me 110, their own Gotha 242 transport glider, and by the end of the war, they were involved with building the Horton 229 flying wing. The story continues after the end of WW2, when despite bombed factories and the Soviets taking designs and production tools away, the company managed to survive and eventually started build gliders once again. The chapters each include the company story, the individual aircraft types, the owners, designers and test pilots and even links to a British Royal Family connection.
Illustrated with an assortment of archive images throughout the book it makes for fascinating reading, and shows how a company managed to survive great changes in its' fortunes but managed to survive for many years, with a diverse product range, with good time and bad. So much more to it than just the WW1 bombers and the cargo gliders of WW2. Easy to recommend this one, very readable I thought.
Thanks to Fonthill Media for the review copy.