Richard Marks is the author of this Osprey offering he has many years studying and specializing in all aspects of aircraft, organization and equipment of the Royal Air Force and Royal Flying Corps.
Adam Tooby is the Illustrator.
This book seems to me to provide a basic overall view in the sections “Technical Specifications” and “Operational History”. With the “Design and Development” and “Mark by Mark” section containing more details and how to identify each version of the AC.
The Book includes 4 main sections some containing multiple subsections:
Section 1 “Design and Development”
• The Manchester
• From humble beginnings
• A curate’s egg
• Four engines
• The making of a legend
• A new bomber for the RAF
Section 2 “Technical Specifications”
Section 3 “The Lancaster Mark by Mark”
• Lancaster B Mark I
• Lancaster B Mark II
• Lancaster B Mark III
• Type 464 ‘Provisioning Lancaster’
• Lancaster B Mark X
• Lancaster B Mark I Special
• Lancaster B Mark VI
• Lancaster B Mark I (FE)
• Lancaster B Mark VII (FE)
• Lancaster B A.S.R./G.R/MR.3
• Lancaster Mark I (modified)
• Lancaster B Mark IV and B Mark V
• Special equipment
Section 4 “Operational History”
• The Lancaster goes to war
• Augsburg, 17 April 1942
• The ‘Thousand Bomber’ Raids May and June 1942
• The Pathfinders
• Operation Chastise, 16 May 1943
• Operation Gomorrah, July to August 1943
• A precision bomber
Section 5 “Conclusion”
There are 34 Black and White and 4 Color photos along with 3 Plates that have 9 AC, 3 very nice artworks and a back cover fold out cut away view.
The design and development section actually starts with the Avro Manchester and covers it very well and then moves on to the Lancaster for only a few pages which was derived from the Manchester. For the most part this section really focuses on the Manchester with the whys, what and how answered. It also gives a good accounting of its short comings and how they impacted the newer Lancaster. Where the book may be the most help for the modeler is in the Mark by Mark section. This section provides all the Marks and their modifications and special provisioning. There are nice tables showing engine, armament, performance and other aspects of each Mark. It also provides the range of serial numbers assigned to each Mark, which may be a real help to modelers. Since most Lancaster’s look very much alike, the author goes into how to help identify the Marks and the serial numbers sometimes is the only way. There is a section on Specialist equipment such as Gee, Oboe, H2S, G-H and loran. I do wish this section provided a better image of arrangement and antenna arrays for each of these since I did not find the BW silhouette useful.
The Operational History section provides a small chronological order of some of the deployment and combat action of the Lancaster and the author points out that there are many more detailed accounts and writings on each with some provided at the end of the book. I did find this section a little disappointing because it is delivered in a very dry, straight account style (This is just a personal preference thing).
ConclusionAlthough some of the pictures are rather small the author does try to provide a good selection of various Marks and different AC. The Color plates are very nice and useful for the modeler. I think the 2 Artwork in action pictures are outstanding and a very nice addition. The rear fold out cut away view and an in book armament view are also very nice and useful for the modeler. Although if you are a type of modeler like I am and look for tons of good detailed images and various color schemes other than standard RAF WWII camouflage and some other basic schemes, you may be disappointed.