Air Warfare on the Web, in Books and on the Screen
However simple you intend to make a set of wargames rules it still requires extensive research. It also takes considerable effort to discard the majority of information gleaned during this research, after all, what we're after is a war game. Playability is paramount; what is most important is the overall feel of the thing, not dozens of subtle nuances that may or may not have much bearing on any particular game. Even Hollywood should not be discounted as a source, after all some of our most vicarious experiences of warfare are gleaned from watching, and enjoying, war movies. Whether or not we should be revisiting what is the worst thing Man has inflicted on this World is another question.
Wings at War is meant to present players with decisions that are both tactical (pilot level) and operational (force commander level) as well as providing a satisfying dose of the frustrations inherent in what is, though increasingly less so, a pretty random form of war.
When it comes to the web, caveat emptor (or is it cave canem?) is the watchword. The following are some of the better examples in each of a range of particular subjects:
1/600th Scale Air Wargames Society on Yahoo!
Air Wargames Society on Yahoo!
The Aerodrome; the best site for World War 1.
Top guide to camouflage colours (though not easy to navigate).
The history of flight is a series of smart looking pages.
plus, there are plenty of academic papers such as
Rather than flood this section with a myriad of sources, each subject has one or two recommendations:
Air Power. Stephen Budiansky
A scholarly treatise on the subject, concentrating on the strategic.
Boyd - The Fighter Pilot Who Changed The Art Of War. Robert Coram
Biography of the most original air warfare theorist since World War Two. Especially relevant is Boyd's Energy-Maneuverability theory.
Fighter Combat - Tactics And Maneuvering. Robert L. Shaw
The complete guide to becoming a jet fighter pilot, though not the easiest of reads.
Jet Fighter Performance. Mike Spick
How a jet actually flies and fights, including comparisons between different types. See also Designed For The Kill by the same author.
Fighter Aircraft. Alfred Price
Similar to the above but covering piston-engine fighters.
Iron Hand. A. M. Thornborough & F. B. Mormillo
The history and technology of the fight against surface-to-air missiles.
General; with nice pictures
The Aerospace Encyclopedia Of Air Warfare - vols. One & Two. Various Authors
Aircraft Versus Aircraft. Norman Franks
Less specific than the above but more stuff on tactics.
Aircraft of World War I. Herris & Pearson
Narrative history with good side views of all major aircraft types.
Splash One. Ivan Rendall
Not the history of the successful fight against constipation but "... The Story Of Jet Combat"
Sagittarius Rising. Cecil Lewis
Classic memoir or the First World War as seen from an SE.5a.
First Light. Geoffrey Wellum.
It took nearly 60 years before Wellum's unpublished memoir finally saw print and it became an instant classic. Wellum describes in very personal terms the fear and excitement of fighting in the Battle of Britain and beyond.
Combat Crew. John Comer
Based on Comer's journal during twenty-five 8th Airforce combat missions in a B-17.
Luftwaffe Fighter Ace. Norbert Hanning
The view from the other side; from the Eastern Front to the Defence of the Reich (including flying an Me 262 jet).
Gods Of Tin. James Salter
A mixture of fiction and non-fiction based on the authors experience of flying during the Korean War. See also his novel The Hunters. Salter is one of the most lyrical writers on flying.
The Bridges at Toko-Ri. James Michener
Another James writing about the Korean War in the air.
Wings Over Suez. Brian Cull, David Nicholle & Shlomo Aloni.
Discovered after the rules were named (but I do own up to pinching Thud Ridge as a title).
Thud Ridge (and the follow on Going Downtown). Col. Jack Broughton
Classic story of the Vietnam War as seen from a Thunderchief.
Once A Fighter Pilot. Jerry W. Cook
More Vietnam daring do.
One Day In A Long War. Jeffrey Ethel & Alfred Price
Dissection of the most intense day of fighting during the Vietnam War.
Clashes. Michel L. Marshall
Careful and considered history of the conflict over North Vietnam.
Sea Harrier Over The Falklands. 'Sharkey' Ward
Opinionated and no-nonsense.
Falklands Air War. Chris Hobson & Andrew Noble
Most of the following were adapted from novels (note that the majority are set in the two World Wars):
First World War
Wings (1927; and I think the only one on this list to win a best picture Oscar)
Hell's Angels (1930) [see also Scorsese's The Aviator]
The Dawn Patrol (versions in both 1930 & 1938)
The Eagle And The Hawk (1933)
Ace Of Aces (1933)
Hell in The Heavens (1934)
Lafayette Escadrille (1958)
The Blue Max (1966)
The Red Baron (1971)
Aces High (1976)
Wings (TV series 1976)
Second World War
The Lion Has Wings (1939)
A Yank In The RAF (1941)
Target For Tonight (1941) and the similar Target For Today
Flying Tigers (1942)
Flying Fortress (1942)
Air Force (1943)
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)
The Way To The Stars (1945)
Command Decision (1948)
Twelve O'Clock High (1949 & a TV series from 1964)
Flying Leathernecks (1951)
Angels One Five (1952)
The Malta Story (1953)
The Dam Busters (1954)
Reach For The Sky (1956)
633 Squadron (1964)
Battle Of Britain (1969)
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970! 1970! 1970!)
Baa Baa Black Sheep (1976)
The final Countdown (1980) [the USS Nimitz goes back to December 6th 1941!]
Piece Of Cake (1988 TV series based on a novel)
Memphis Belle (1990)
Tuskegee Airmen (1995)
Tmavomodry svet (2001) [Czech film known as Dark Blue World in English]
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Red Tails (2012)
The Eternal Zero (2013)
The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1955)
The Hunters (1958)
Strategic Air Command (1955)
Jet Pilot (1957)
A Gathering Of Eagles (1963)
Dr Strangelove, (1964)
Top Gun (1986)
Flight Of The Intruder (1991)
Oh, why does there always
have to be a love interest?