However simple you intend to make a set of wargames rules it still requires extensive research. It also takes considerable effort to discard the majority of information gleaned during this research, after all, what we're after is a war game. Playability is paramount; what is most important is the overall feel of the thing, not dozens of subtle nuances that may or may not have much bearing on any particular game. Even Hollywood should not be discounted as a source, after all some of our most vicarious experiences of warfare are gleaned from watching, and enjoying, war movies. Whether or not we should be revisiting what is the worst thing Man has inflicted on this World is another question.

Wings at War  is meant to present players with decisions that are both tactical (pilot level) and operational (force commander level) as well as providing a satisfying dose of the frustrations inherent in what is, though increasingly less so, a pretty random form of war. 


Rather than flood this section with a myriad of sources, each subject has one or two recommendations:



Air Power. Stephen Budiansky

A scholarly treatise on the subject, concentrating on the strategic.


Boyd - The Fighter Pilot Who Changed The Art Of War. Robert Coram

Biography of the most original air warfare theorist since World War Two. Especially relevant is Boyd's Energy-Maneuverability theory.


Technical; jets

Fighter Combat - Tactics And Maneuvering. Robert L. Shaw

The complete guide to becoming a jet fighter pilot, though not the easiest of reads.


Jet Fighter Performance. Mike Spick

How a jet actually flies and fights, including comparisons between different types. See also Designed For The Kill by the same author.


Technical; others

Fighter Aircraft. Alfred Price

Similar to the above but covering piston-engine fighters.


Iron Hand. A. M. Thornborough & F. B. Mormillo

The history and technology of the fight against surface-to-air missiles.


General; with nice pictures

The Aerospace Encyclopedia Of Air Warfare - vols. One & Two. Various Authors


Aircraft Versus Aircraft. Norman Franks

Less specific than the above but more stuff on tactics.


Aircraft of World War I. Herris & Pearson

Narrative history with good side views of all major aircraft types.


Splash One. Ivan Rendall

Not the history of the successful fight against constipation but "... The Story Of Jet Combat"


WW1; autobiography

Sagittarius Rising. Cecil Lewis

Classic memoir or the First World War as seen from an SE.5a.


WW2; autobiography

First Light. Geoffrey Wellum.

It took nearly 60 years before Wellum's unpublished memoir finally saw print and it became an instant classic. Wellum describes in very personal terms the fear and excitement of fighting in the Battle of Britain and beyond.


Combat Crew. John Comer

Based on Comer's journal during twenty-five 8th Airforce combat missions in a B-17.


Luftwaffe Fighter Ace. Norbert Hanning

The view from the other side; from the Eastern Front to the Defence of the Reich (including flying an Me 262 jet).


Korea; literary

Gods Of Tin. James Salter

A mixture of fiction and non-fiction based on the authors experience of flying during the Korean War. See also his novel The Hunters. Salter is one of the most lyrical writers on flying.


The Bridges at Toko-Ri. James Michener

Another James writing about the Korean War in the air.



Wings Over Suez. Brian Cull, David Nicholle & Shlomo Aloni.

Discovered after the rules were named (but I do own up to pinching Thud Ridge as a title).


Vietnam; autobiography

Thud Ridge (and the follow on Going Downtown). Col. Jack Broughton

Classic story of the Vietnam War as seen from a Thunderchief.


Once A Fighter Pilot. Jerry W. Cook

More Vietnam daring do.


Vietnam; history

One Day In A Long War. Jeffrey Ethel & Alfred Price

Dissection of the most intense day of fighting during the Vietnam War.


Clashes. Michel L. Marshall

Careful and considered history of the conflict over North Vietnam.



Sea Harrier Over The Falklands. 'Sharkey' Ward

Opinionated and no-nonsense.


Falklands Air War. Chris Hobson & Andrew Noble

In-depth coverage.


Most of the following were adapted from novels (note that the majority are set in the two World Wars):

First World War

Wings (1927; and I think the only one on this list to win a best picture Oscar)

Hell's Angels (1930) [see also Scorsese's The Aviator]

The Dawn Patrol (versions in both 1930 & 1938)

The Eagle And The Hawk (1933)

Ace Of Aces (1933)

Hell in The Heavens (1934)

Lafayette Escadrille (1958)

The Blue Max (1966)

Zeppelin (1971)

The Red Baron (1971)

Aces High (1976)

Wings (TV series 1976)

Flyboys (2006)


Second World War

The Lion Has Wings (1939)

A Yank In The RAF (1941)

Target For Tonight (1941) and the similar Target For Today

Flying Tigers (1942)

Flying Fortress (1942)

Air Force (1943)

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)

The Way To The Stars (1945)

Command Decision (1948)

Twelve O'Clock High (1949 & a TV series from 1964)

Flying Leathernecks (1951)

Angels One Five (1952)

The Malta Story (1953)

The Dam Busters (1954)

Reach For The Sky (1956)

633 Squadron (1964)

Battle Of Britain (1969)

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970! 1970! 1970!)

Midway (1976)

Baa Baa Black Sheep (1976)

The final Countdown (1980) [the USS Nimitz goes back to December 6th 1941!]

Piece Of Cake (1988 TV series based on a novel)

Memphis Belle (1990)

Tuskegee Airmen (1995)

Tmavomodry svet (2001) [Czech film known as Dark Blue World in English]

Pearl Harbor (2001)

Red Tails (2012)

The Eternal Zero (2013)


Korean War

The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1955)

The Hunters (1958)


Cold War

Strategic Air Command (1955)

Jet Pilot (1957)

A Gathering Of Eagles (1963)

Dr Strangelove, (1964)

Top Gun (1986)


Vietnam War

Flight Of The Intruder (1991)