Kylie Newton reviews Osprey Publishings paperback edition of 'Spitfire Photo-Recce Units of World War 2' written by Andrew Fletcher.

From the publisher: During World War 2, photographic reconnaissance in the RAF started gathering intelligence on the enemy using cameras installed in PR Spitfires. The aircraft that proved this concept was the Supermarine Spitfire, which, stripped of all excess weight, and carrying cameras and additional fuel, penetrated deep into enemy territory to bring back photographs that specialist interpreters could scrutinise to determine the enemy's activities. 


1. Origins (1939 to November 1940)

2. Re-organisation (November 1940 to November 1941)

3. Overseas operations (1942–43)

4. USAAF operations (1943–45)

5. Global operations (1944–45)


- Listing of operational units equipped with PR Spitfires (variants and locations)

- Colour plates commentaries


Review, firstly I do not profess to be any sort of expert on the Spitfire, just an ardent admirer of the aircraft, and this book only adds to that admiration.

The contents of this book detail the development, and deployment, of photo-recce Spitfire units during WWII. I was impressed with the detail that is not too academic or eye watering numbing, but explains the various changes the aircraft went through, the development of camera technology, and the stresses of the pilots. For example, as the range of the Spitfire increased, the pilot would be in the air, alone, for several hours, racing across Europe at height altitudes, to avoid detection and evading enemy fighters, all the while trying to photograph a harbor, training, enemy formation. It is a thrilling read. 

The book is supported by some amazing color profiles of the Spitfire, and is truly inspirational stuff for modelers like myself. There are some photographs included, not many as it is not a photo essay, the color plates really carry this book.  At 96 pages, it is an afternoon or weekend read at best, but well worth it. 

Spitfire Photo-Recce Units of World War II

  • Author:  Andrew Fletcher.
  • Illustrators: Jim Laurier, Gareth Hector
  • ISBN 9781472854612
  • Imprint: Osprey Publishing
  • Illustrations: Colour artwork plates and maps; black & white and colour photographs and illustrations.
  • Dimensions: 248 x 184 mm
  • Series: Combat Aircraft
  • No.: 150
  • Available as a paperback, Ebook [PDF] and Ebook [Epub & Mobi]


A great read of an incredible aircraft and pilots, well supported with outstanding color profiles, from Andrew Fletcher (Author), Jim Laurier (Illustrator), Gareth Hector (Illustrator). Definitely recommended.  

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Words with a photograph.

Words with a photograph.

A sample of the outstanding color plates.

A sample of the outstanding color plates.



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