Airborne in 1943: The Daring Allied Air Campaign over the North Sea

Pegasus. Dec. 2018. 480p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781681778808. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781681779461. HIST
OrangeReviewStarWilson's (Blood and Fears) authoritative and fascinating book documents RAF Bomber Command's achievements in 1943 against German positions, recollected by former airmen. The author details the formation of the aircraft unit No. 617 Squadron, known as the Dambusters, their role in this theater, along with their complex training methods, as they attacked multiple dams, resulting in catastrophic flooding in Germany. Wilson accurately describes the devastation of the city of Hamburg and the incremental destruction of Berlin as well as details of raids over Kassel, Mannheim, and Hanover. Within a year, the cities in Adolf Hitler's industrial power base in Ruhr were decimated. Revelations of interest include insight into German civilian life under bombardment, aerial battle tactics used by the command, and a heartfelt description of one crew's final minutes aboard a bomber. The author dismisses the early belief that Germany's defeat was won mainly through aerial bombing but posits that the command's dedication and sacrifices were significant factors in the war's outcome.
VERDICT A fitting historical tribute to the soldiers whose invaluable memories inspired this remarkable account. Highly recommended for U.S., European, military, and aviation historians, as well as general readers.—John Carver Edwards, formerly with Univ. of Georgia Libs.
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