The Blackburn Skua was the first monoplane to be designed and built for the Royal Navy in the 1930s. As a result of continued debate, it became a compromise between the Navy's desire for a carrier-based dive-bomber and RAF's preference for a fighter. Despite being the first to shoot down a Luftwaffe aircraft in World War II, early operations in Norway found the type woefully inadequate as a fighter. As a dive-bomber, the Royal Navy put the design to good use from the outset of WWII. It was involved with the hunt for the Graf Spee, sunk the major warship Konigsberg, suffered with great loss in an attack on the Scharnhorst, helped to keep the German advance at bay during the Dunkirk evacuation and attacked the French rogue battleship Richelieu in the Mediterranean. This book relates how the final design was created, how the dive-bombing technique was developed and perfected by naval pilots and traces the wartime operational career of the type with many first-hand accounts.
Peter C. Smith is an internationally renowned author on the history of the dive-bomber, especially with regard to the feared and reviled Junkers Ju 87. His first book, Stuka at War, appeared in 1971 and contained a foreword by Hans-Ulrich Rudel, sole holder of the Golden Oak Leaves with Swords and Diamonds to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. He is also author of Junkers Ju 87 Stuka (1998), Stuka Squadron (1990), Stuka Spearhead (1998), Stukas over the Mediterranean (1999), and Stukas over the Steppe (1999). His wider interest in the dive-bomber has led to books on the Vultee Vengeance, Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, North American A-36 Apache, Petlyakov Pe-2 Peshka, Blackburn Skua. Douglas SBD Dauntless, Douglas AD Skyraider, and the Aichi D3A1/2 as well as many articles for several leading military and aviation magazines.