Stratus Publications' Polish Wings #22: Bristol F.2B


Tomasz J. Kopanski






Scott Van Aken

Notes: 80 pages, softbound, A-4 format
ISBN: 978-83-65281-49-4

For those unfamiliar with this series, Polish Wings covers the various aircraft flown by the Polish Air Force since Poland regained its freedom from Imperial Russia in 1918. Actually it is a bit of a stretch to say that freedom was won in 1918 as Poland was involved in fighting off both the new Soviet Russia and Ukrainians for several years after. Indeed, Poland was considered by some to even be a near-dictatorial regime, and this often stood in the way of obtaining upgraded arms.

When the nation came back into being, the air services were forced to use whatever had been left behind by the Germans and others. This created a real headache when it came to maintenance and spares. In light of this, the Polish Air Force reached out to obtain more modern equipment. One nation that was willing to help in this area was great Britain.

Several aircraft types were sought, but it was the Bristol F.2B that was chosen. Unfortunately the British were unwilling to supply the Rolls Royce engines that normally came with the aircraft due to a need for these with the RAF so supplanted Hispano-Suiza engines instead. This changed the engine cowling and so the look of the Polish aircraft compared to the British version. The aircraft was quite well liked and performed well in service.

Other types either purchased in small numbers or donated were the Se.5a, Camel, Dolphin, and Buzzard. The Dolphin was particularly unliked due as much to the wing layout as anything else and often pilots refused to fly it. To say the least, this type saw minimal use.

As in the other volume, this one is particularly rife with photos and page length color profiles based on those photos. I think that this particular feature is one that makes Stratus books so popular with enthusiasts of all kinds. I particularly like seeing a clear, color image made from a photo, which can often have people or equipment standing in them. The artist will frequently base the profile on a compilation of images taken at about the same time so that details not seen in one photo will be visible in another and so help to complete the puzzle.

Each section has a short history that involves not only the operations of the aircraft, but how it came to be in service. I have grown to like this series a great deal. The folks at Stratus have honed each publication so that it provides the right balance of images and prose.

It all makes for another outstanding book that is well researched, jammed full of images and with interesting stories. Another winner from Stratus and a book that enthusiasts should really consider for their library.

September 2017

Review book courtesy of MMP Books, where you can order your copy of this and many other superb aviation and modeling books. Also available in the US from Casemate Publishing and in Australia from Platypus Publications. You can get yours direct from this link.

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