Clean Sweep: VIII Fighter Command Against the Luftwaffe, 1942–45

Osprey. May 2023. 464p. ISBN 9781472855480. $32. MILITARY HISTORY
During the latter part of World War II, the U.S. Eighth Air Force Fighter Command had huge tasks to accomplish over Europe. The pilots and aircraft needed to protect their bombers from aerial attacks and to destroy the Luftwaffe forces in the region. Allied air superiority was essential for precision bombing of military targets and invasion of the continent. U.S. Navy Vietnam War veteran Cleaver (Going Downtown) relates the evolution of American fighter aircraft and strategies that eventually succeeded against a formidable foe. He also outlines Luftwaffe gambits against U.S. aerial armadas, with recollections from participants on both sides. Eighth fighter pilots arriving in the UK were thoroughly trained but lacked combat experience. Their Thunderbolts, Lightnings, and Mustangs needed modifications to carry out high-altitude operations ranging across occupied Europe. The Eighth had to overcome those initial disadvantages and eliminate German aircraft whenever possible. Cleaver, a prolific author and screenwriter, doesn’t skimp on details, even describing internal politics and tensions with other Allied forces. Illustrated with black-and-white photos.
VERDICT A well-focused history of the costly U.S. Air Force campaign over Europe that fatally degraded the Nazi war machine.
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