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Submarine Hunter

Fairey Gannet ASW.1 in service with the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm

White • 2008
AuthorsZbigniew Ben Patynowski
IllustratorArtur Juszczak
ISBN978-83-89450-57-9
Release date2008-07-01
SeriesWhite
Cat. No.9103
CategorySold Out CategoryWyprzedana
FormatA4, 248 pages (248 in colour)
Price99.00 PLN Price25.00 GBP

The ungainly-looking and unconventional Fairey Gannet served with several naval air arms in the 1950s and '60s, as a very effective carrier-borne submarine hunter. In this book the operation of the Gannet by the Royal Australian Navy's Fleet Air Arm is described, from the decision to adopt the Gannet, through initial training in the UK and onto operations from RAN carriers. The author has tracked down many pilots, aircrew, mechanics and deck crew, and they tell the story of the Gannet in their own words. The successes, failures, high points and tragedies are all described, with typical Aussie honesty and humour. Fully illustrated, with many previously-unpublished photos, maps, cartoons and colour profiles.

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  • Model Aircraft Monthly, January 2009 • 2009-06-16
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  • IPMSUSA.org • 2009-06-16
    Reviewed By Paul Bradley, IPMS# 35554

    The second book up for review from MMP is Submarine Hunter; as the unwieldy sub-title suggests, this book is about the use of the ungainly Fairey Gannet anti-submarine aircraft in Royal Australian Navy service, and is mainly made up of reminiscences from ground crew and aircrew. Now normally, I welcome the addition of this type of material; it adds immensely to the human element that can all too often be missing from our hobby. However, this book relies very heavily on this source, to the point where it seems that everyone who had any contact with Australian Gannets has his story told, and this has a tendency to become very repetitive and, frankly, dull as we hear the same story from the fourth or fifth viewpoint. Additionally, some of these reminiscences appear to have been transcribed directly from taped interviews, with no editing or proofing done on them at all, and containing a lot of inside references, which makes for rather heavy weather at times. I'm afraid I really struggled through this book.

    Some of the stories are fascinating, and the photos and color profiles that accompany the text are nice for the modeller.

    This book was obviously a labor of love for the author, and I don't wish to be seen to be knocking the contributors, who I am sure the author felt obliged to include; however, this is more like a class reunion souvenir than a rounded history or a modelling book. For it to work for me, it would have needed (and could have stood) heavy editing to bring it to about half its current length. It may be that I have been spoiled by the "From the Cockpit" series from Ad Hoc Publications; indeed, by coincidence I received their new Gannet book at the same time as this book. It is a much tighter, more polished book that I enjoyed immensely. Applying the same principals to this material would have produced a much better book.

    So very much a mixed bag from Mushroom. I really enjoyed "Shipbuster", but had a hard time with the Gannet book. While I can thoroughly recommend the Mosquito book, in the end, whether you buy "Submarine Hunter" is down to whether you have an interest in the subject.
  • SAMI • 2009-06-16
    by Paul E. Eden

    Regular readers will know that I¹m a big fan of Mushroom Model Publications, but I must admit to having been a bit sceptical when this title arrived on my desk. I thought that perhaps a book of this size it has the same proportions as this magazine and 248 pages on the Gannet was pushing the subject a little. Then I realised that the book was on just one mark of Gannet. Only in Australian service. Written by a Pole. Don¹t get me wrong, I find the Gannet an interesting enough subject and there are some tremendous Polish authors writing on aviation subjects, but I¹d have expected the RAN Gannet really to appeal to a British or Australian writer, especially since Poland was rather isolated from Western influence during the Gannet era.

    So what drew Patynowski to the Gannet and its Australian service? He¹s an aviation enthusiast and modeller and wanted to build a 1:48 scale Gannet in RAN markings. Like most of us he began his research through available sources but, unlike most of us, when he found what was published lacking, he went about doing the primary research himself. What Patynowski has done is present probably the definitive work on the Australian Gannet, almost entirely in the words of those who flew and fixed it. The result is a unique insight. The reader comes away with a huge appreciation of the type and its service, but with the deeper understanding that can only come from people who have lived with and relied on the machine.

    Illustration is by colour and black and white photographs, with various items of squadron memorabilia. There is also colour artwork, as more than 20 beautiful profiles and two plan views. I was wrong to ever doubt this book. It is a wonderful record of the type and a tribute to those associated with it. It deserves to find favour with modellers, enthusiasts and students of air warfare alike.

    It can be purchased for £25.99 from your favourite specialist retailer, or for £28.00, including postage and packing in the UK and Europe, direct from the publisher at 36 Ver Road, Redbourn, Hertfordshire, AL3 7PE, UK
  • Hyperscale.com • 2009-06-16
    Reviewed by Glen Porter

    F i r s t R e a d
    With the release of both 1/48th and 1/72nd scale Fairey Gannets over the last twelve months, it's not surprising that publishers are starting to show some interest.

    This book, from Mushroom Model Publishing, is not a detailed description of the aircraft and its development but rather first hand experiences from those who flew and maintained it in the Royal Australian Navy. From the beginning with both air and ground crews being sent to the United Kingdom to train on and pick up the aircraft plus Australia's second Aircraft Carrier, HMAS Melbourne, (HMAS Vengance was only on loan to the RAN from the Royal Navy), through various South East Asian cruises, the Melboune/Voyager disaster, to the final flights by the then aging Gannets.

    Air Crew thought, on seeing their first Gannet, that this big ugly aircraft could not possibly fly after the fighterish and handsome Fairy Firefly but did a complete turnaround once in the air. Ground staff who had never seen snow before let alone have to work in it and sailors who liked their beer chilled but having to contend with the warm stuff that flowed from the taps in England. And the girls, pretty, but didn't really want to know the boys from the land down under.

    Maintenance and deck handling staff, relating their experiences with the Gannet, some bad, some good, some funny and some sad but all with the greatest respect for the aircraft and its capabilities; like the anonymous deck crew member who casually walked out on to the flight deck of the Melbourne and leant against a blade of the front prop of a Gannet while the second was spinning and the whole flight deck held its breath for fear that he would move the wrong way into the rotating prop. He then turned and walked away none the wiser. Those that know who it was are'nt talking.

    While I was doing my time as a Naval Airman Photographer (NA Phot) in the RAN, I was told by another Naval Airman that if a Gannet had to do a wheels-up landing, the pilot would lower the bomb-bay doors and use them as skids to save major damage to the aircraft let alone the aircrew. I've never known if this was true or not (anything from another silly sailor is highly suspect) but it is confirmed by this book, both in the text and with several photos to back it up.

    Downsides? Sure, this book has faults, but only minor and they don't detract from the book's interest and usefulness. There's an almost full page on a WWII bomber crew being shot down over Holland from a speech by one of the crew to a Neighbourhood Watch group in Canberra. Interesting? You bet, but what's it doing in this book?

    There is at least one photo with the wrong caption. It's under the heading of “Interservice Cooperation” and has eleven Air Force types and three Navy in a group photo. Problem is, the caption only mentions three and one of those are Army.

    Most of the text is either written by the ex-RAN members or related by them to the author. In many cases, they use Australian Naval terms like “Scran” (a meal) or “Goffer” (a soft drink) but these are not explained which will be very confusing to most readers.

    There are 23 full colour side profiles of RAN operated Fairey Gannets and they are gorgeous. Some show both sides of the one aircraft while others just show one. Yet others cover the same aircraft with different code numbers or two different aircraft with the same number. The colours look very realistic and there is heaps of detail. Some may say “Ah, but there is no weathering”, but remember, Fleet Air Arm aircraft, in peace-time, were rarely seen with any wear and tear showing. Even in time of war, the environment they operated in kept them reasonably clean.

    Conclusion:
    As I said above, my criticisms are very minor. The text is very readable, interesting and entertaining and, I believe, worth the expense alone. The numerous B&W and colour photos not to mention the artwork are an added bonus making this one of the best from Mushroom Model
  • CyberModeler.com • 2009-06-16
    By Ray Mehlberger

    Mushroom Model Publications is a book company based in Redbourn, Herts, UK. They have published many books about individual aircraft and a few on armor. Their books are mostly printed in Poland in association with, and by Stratus. These are in the English language.

    This latest book is probably one with the most pages I have seen in an aircraft book by Mushroom Model Publications (MMP). It has 248 pages and is in a large page format of 8 ¼” x 11 ½”. Most of their other books I have in my possession are smaller size. The book is soft cover.

    The book describes the operational career of the Gannet ASW.1 in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The author has tracked down a wide cross-section of pilots, aircrew and ground crew, who provided first-hand reminiscences of their experiences with the Gannet, from initial training in the UK, through to operations on the RAN’s carrier from 1956 to 1967.

    The book is laced with some typical Australian humor, their stories cover all aspects of Gannet operations, from learning to fly the “Beast” (as it was sometimes called) and operating it from carriers. Also, the sometimes complex and arduous job of maintaining and servicing the aircraft – especially at sea. The aircraft’s problems are recounted, but overall the affection for the ungainly Gannet, and appreciation of it’s qualities shines through.

    The ungainly-looking and unconventional Fairey Gannet served with several naval air arms in the 1950’s and 60’s. It was a very effective carrier-borne submarine hunter. Successes, failures, high-points and tragedies are all described by the men that worked with and flew the aircraft.

    The book is profusely illustrated with photos (many previously unpublished). There are 57 photos of Gannets in color (counting the one on the cover), 36 color photos of individuals and crews, 84 black and white photos of the aircraft, 9 color illustrations of Gannet Squadron badges, 77 black and white photos of pilots and crews, 15 cartoons referring to the Gannet, 20 color side profile paintings of Gannets (4 are 2-views and one is a 2-view of the top of the aircraft), there is an illustration of how the wings were removed from Gannets, obviously out of the tech manual for the aircraft, 4 charts of information, a copy of a ship’s log and 3 map illustrations.

    The ONLY thing I found missing in this book, that appears in most of the other MMP books I have, is walk-around shots of the Gannet. There are 4 surviving aircraft in various museums that could have been photographed for some walk-around shots.
    Gannet T2 XA508, Midland Air Museum, Coventry, England - On loan from the Fleet Air Arm Museum.
    Gannet T5 XG883, Museum of Berkshire Aviation, Woodly, Berkshire, England.
    Gannet AEW3 XL472, Gatwick Aviation Museum, Surrey, England
    Gannet XL450, at the Flugausstellung Hermeskeil in Germany.

    The back cover of the book announces 2 forthcoming aviation books for 2008:

    “Wings of Windermere” The history of the Lake District’s forgotten flying boats factory.
    “Mosquito TSE TSE”

    The book will be an invaluable reference source for aircraft historians, aviation enthusiasts and scale modelers about the Gannet.

    By Ray Mehlberger

  • Reviews.firetrench.com • 2009-06-16
    DESCRIPTION:
    This book takes the refreshing approach to history of telling the story in the voices of those who lived through the period. The Fairey aircraft company had a long association with British naval aviation and the naval services of Commonwealth countries. The corpulent Gannet was ungainly on the ground, it double wing fold making it look like a fat biplane with very short span wings. It was a first generation military turbo prop aircraft and it was designed to fill a role that was to be taken over by the helicopter. It was natural that the RAN should decide to purchase 37 of these innovative warplanes for operation from the carrier Melbourne to provide anti-submarine cover to Australian warships and convoys. What looked like a single engine aircraft was really a twinengine machine with its double turbine engine driving contra-rotating propellers.

    The ability to cruise with one engine shut down was to give it excellent endurance. In the air it was as graceful and controllable as it was ungainly on the ground. It allowed the smaller British-built carriers to operate an aircraft that was at least equal to the much larger conventional twin Tracker flown by the US Navy. In RAN service, the Gannet was to serve from 1955 to 1967. In Royal Navy service, it was replaced earlier in its antisubmarine role before being adapted to provide early warning radar coverage ahead of the Fleet, serving until the decommissioning of the last true fixed wing RN carrier, HMS Ark Royal (IV). The author has concentrated on telling the story of the Australian Gannets and has made a very good job of interweaving his words with the direct accounts of those who supported and flew the Gannet. It is an involving story that paints a vivid picture of a period of naval aviation history for Australia and tells the story of an effective anti-submarine platform that provided aerial coverage until the helicopter could develop to the point where it was able to reliably fill the role. Mushroom Model Publications are a special interest publisher who have established a reputation for high quality titles aimed primarily at the modeller and the aviation enthusiast. They have been extending their market by developing into a worthy aviation history publisher. This book follows their format of lavish illustration with high quality reproduction of photographs and artwork. This format has been employed very successfully here and married to well-written text. The book will appeal to modellers, but it will also appeal to a much wider readership, covering an important aircraft that has been previously neglected. The illustration is first class and includes many rare full colour photographs from a period when most military aircraft were still photographed with b&w film. This book is good value for money and is highly recommended.
  • InternetModeler.com • 2009-06-16
    By Chris Banyai-Riepl

    The Fairey Gannet, with its oddly bent wings and portly fuselage, was never a beauty queen, but it performed its ASW mission well and as a result ended up in the service of several nations. Australia was one of those countries, and this latest title from Mushroom Model Publications takes what is easily the most detailed look at the Gannet in RAN service.
    To provide this history, the author has gone to painstaking lengths to interview former members of the squadrons that flew the Gannet. By combining those personal recollections with other histories, the story of the Australian Gannet presented here is very thorough. The book takes a chronological approach, beginning with orientation and training in the UK at Culdrose in 1955-1956. This is followed by chapters on the trip home aboard HMAS Melbourne in 1956 and on the two RAN Gannet Squadrons, 724 and 725 Squadrons. Following these, the remainder of the book is divided up according to year, from 1956 to 1967.

    With the story told by the men who flew and maintained the aircraft, this book is a rich history made richer through the copious use of photos and illustrations. While only thirty-seven Gannets were purchased for use in the Royal Australian Navy, they were well photographed in both color and black & white. The written stories are interspersed with many of these photos, with a handful of excellent color profile illustrations aiding in identifying colors and markings. The Gannet was very consistent when it came to color schemes, so the differences are in the details, and these illustrations do an excellent job of highlighting those.

    This is a book that requires a good weekend read, as the anecdotes are fascinating and the story as a whole worthwhile of telling. The author does the Gannet justice, and those who served with the type should be proud of the history presented here.
  • ModelingMadness.com • 2009-06-16
    Scott Van Aken

    Once again, Mushroom Models Publications has produced a book that is the finest on the subject yet produced. This is the story of the Fairey Gannet in service with the Royal Australian Navy during its brief operational period from 1956 when the first planes were delivered for training in Northern Ireland, to their last operational sortie in 1967, after which they were relegated, for the most part, to fire fighter training.

    The author has chosen to tell this story from the perspective of those who flew and maintained the aircraft, a rather unique way of giving an aircraft's operational history. A method that to me, makes this book all the more enjoyable a read, for nothing can provide better information than first-hand accounts.

    No part of the service life of the Australian Gannet goes untouched. There is the initial training in the chilly climes of winter in the British Isles, operational readiness aboard RN carriers, the long and pleasant trip to Australia aboard the HMAS Melbourne, and finally to a decade of dedicated service and many interesting cruises.

    The third book in the white series is by no means a short read with 248 pages just jammed with information, humor, and some excitement as well. All of this is superbly illustrated with period photographs, the majority of which have never seen print. There are also excellent large size profiles of most of the aircraft at some time in their service. It is a superlative book on the subject and one that once you start reading, you'll have great difficulty putting down. I know I read late into the night on several occasions! Highly recommended.

    July 2008
  • The Catalina News January 2009 • 2009-06-16
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  • MiniReplika • 2009-03-26
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