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Original 3-part novel. Fact & Fiction Afterward by Ennis. Highly Recommended. By Garth Ennis. Art by P. J. Holden. Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy began World War II with aircraft that could devastate enemy warships and merchantmen at will. But Britain’s Royal Navy had only the Fairey Swordfish, a biplane torpedo bomber in an age of monoplanes. It was underpowered and undergunned; a museum piece, an embarrassment. Its crews fully expected to be shot from the skies. Instead, they flew this novel plane legend — against the Italian Fleet at Taranto and integral in sinking the Bismarck, to the deadly challenge of the famous Channel Dash as German ships tried to slip through the English Channel. Dead Reckoning, 2020. Condition: Bumped corners.

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Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy began World War II with aircraft that could devastate enemy warships and merchantmen at will. But Britain’s Royal Navy had only the Fairey Swordfish, a biplane torpedo bomber in an age of monoplanes. It was underpowered and undergunned; a museum piece, an embarrassment. Its crews fully expected to be shot from the skies. Instead, they flew this novel plane legend — against the Italian Fleet at Taranto and integral in sinking the Bismarck, to the deadly challenge of the famous Channel Dash as German ships tried to slip through the English Channel.

Just because the plane was so slow, so unexpected, it fooled the enemy again and again. And the crews — Ennis has focused nearly on the actual events, and the men who flew these were braver than brave, flying directly into massive anti-aircraft fire, even ships’ cannons. This follows a crew of three men, fictionalized but based in parts on real fliers, whom we follow though these three major events of the war.

Through crashes, being shot down, hitting anti-plane blimp cables, lost in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, these three survive, get a new plane again and again, and keep attacking no matter the odds. It’s a riveting story and not only educational (I’d never heard all this) but emotionally involving as you root for our poor British lads, who never set out to be heroes, to make it through to fight another day.

Writer Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys, War Stories) and artist PJ Holden (Battlefields, World of Tanks: Citadel) present the story of the men who crewed the Swordfish. They lived as they flew, without a second to lose—and the greatest tributes to their courage would come from the enemy who strove to kill them.

Based on the true story of the Royal Navy’s Swordfish crews, The Stringbags is an epic tale of young men facing death in an aircraft almost out of time.

Author Garth Ennis himself offers us a six-page Afterword: “More than most of the war stories I’ve written The Stringbags makes direct use of historical events and personalities…”

Ennis concludes “Taranto, the Bismarck and the Channel Dash are the most famous moments so far in the Stringbag’s history, but considering its service throughout the war they are perhaps only the tip of the iceberg. [This] is offered in tribute to the men who flew the Fairey Swordfish into battle.”

Another excellent, fully original graphic novel from military publisher Dead Reckoning.

Condition: Bumped corners.

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