This book examines the last generation of high-performance British propellor-driven fighters, types such as the Firecrest, late mark Spitfires and Seafires, Spiteful and Seafang, Sea Fury, late mark Tempests, Hornet and Sea Hornet, M.B.5 and Wyvern. From about 1942 onwards these extraordinary and very complex aeroplanes brought British piston fighter development to its zenith, but then in a very short space of time the new jet engine wiped this generation away. Perhaps it would not have been possible to take piston power and further anyway but the turboprop might have been a longer-term alternative, though in the end the only British type with this form of powerplant would be the Westland Wyvern naval strike fighter.
Chapters look at the engines involved including the Rolls-Royce Merlin 130 series, Griffon and Eagle, Napier Sabre and Bristol Centaurus, propellor developments (contra-rotating) and then take each fighter type in turn. The coverage described their development and testing and includes quotes and passes from flight test reports.
Additional appendices look at some British one-off designs and testbed programmes, then the only fighter types flown abroad powered by these engine types (the Australian CA-15 and Argentine IAe 30) and finally two similiar unbuilt projects proposed by Sweden (the J 27 Mustang lookalike) and Switzerland (the N-6). Illustrated with over 300 photos, many previously unpublished, this is a must for enthusiasts of World War II aviation and the history of the British fighter.