RAF BOMBER COM­MAND OP­ER­A­TIONS MAN­UAL

AN IN-DEPTH AND HIGHLY READ­ABLE AC­COUNT OF BOMBER COM­MAND

History of War - - REVIEWS -

Au­thor: Jonathan Fal­coner Pub­lisher: Haynes Price: £25.00

Jonathan Fal­coner es­tab­lished his rep­u­ta­tion as an ex­pert in mil­i­tary avi­a­tion with his books on the Dam­busters and a pre­vi­ous work on Bomber Com­mand. He has now pro­duced a more de­tailed and highly read­able ac­count of Bomber Com­mand, cov­er­ing ev­ery as­pect of the force that played such a de­ter­min­ing role in Ger­many’s de­feat in World War II.

“Strate­gic bomb­ing was the ma­jor in­no­va­tion of the Sec­ond World War,” the au­thor ex­plains, “wielded by the Al­lies to break the will of the Ger­man peo­ple and has­ten the col­lapse of their war econ­omy”. The book gives a de­tailed ac­count of how this task was achieved, from the con­cep­tion of Bomber Com­mand in 1936, tak­ing the reader step by step through the con­struc­tion of air­fields, the air­crew that flew the mis­sions, the fleet that de­vel­oped and pro­duced the iconic Lan­caster heavy bomber, the weaponry, the plan­ning and ex­e­cu­tion of raids, along with an as­sess­ment of the ef­fec­tive­ness of these costly op­er­a­tions. There is also an in-depth anal­y­sis of the Ger­man air de­fence net­work that the pi­lots of Bomber Com­mand needed to pen­e­trate to strike at the heart of the Re­ich.

By 1943, Bomber Com­mand could boast a heavy-duty force, flown by highly trained crews and us­ing the lat­est ad­vances in radar tech­nol­ogy that en­abled them to drop their bombs squarely on tar­get. The six-year bomber of­fen­sive cost the lives of 55,000 air­men and the de­struc­tion of more than 8,000 air­craft. As the au­thor con­cludes, “Whether it has­tened the end of the war in Europe re­mains a hotly-de­bated is­sue, but the brav­ery of the men who flew by day and night with Bomber Com­mand is an undis­puted fact.”

“STRATE­GIC BOMB­ING WAS THE MA­JOR IN­NO­VA­TION OF THE SEC­OND WORLD WAR”

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