Night after night for six years of war, RAF Bomber Command's squadrons pounded away at the cities of Nazi Germany in a determined effort to bring the Third Reich to its knees. Pitted against Bomber Harris's aircrews and aircraft were some of the most effective and deadly defenses the world had seen up until then. For Bomber Command to launch a 'maximum effort' raid on the Ruhr by night, or a low-level strike on a target in enemy occupied Europe by day, it involved a huge amount of planning. Who decided what to bomb? Why, when and where were bomber airfields built? How was the overall command structure organized, from the Air Council down to individual squadron level? Who were the commanders and who were the men that made up the rank and file of the Command? How did the RAF train its bomber crews? What aircraft did they fly and what weapons did they use? How was a raid planned and once it was launched what happened? How was the effectiveness of a raid and bomber tactics analyzed afterwards? How did the RAF go about tracing the 'missing' (47,000 men 'failed to return' from operations)? How were damaged bombers repaired and made good again for operations? Useful appendices include a Bomber Command War Diary listing key events 1939-1945, squadrons and their commanders, an a-to-z of bomber airfields, and sample orders of battle from 1939, 1943 and 1945. Fully illustrated with some 300 photographs, the Bomber Command Operations Manual gives a compelling insight into the workings of one of the most powerful instruments of 20th century warfare.
Much has been written about the Royal Air Force during the Second World Warmemoirs, biographies, histories of Fighter and Bomber commands, technical studies of the aircraft, accounts of individual operations and exploits but few books have attempted to take the reader on a journey through basic training and active service as air or ground crew and eventual demobilization at the end of the war. That is the aim of James Goultys Eyewitness RAF. Using a vivid selection of testimony from men and women, he offers a direct insight into every aspect of wartime life in the service. Throughout the book the emphasis is on the individuals experience of the RAF the preparations for flying, flying itself, the daily routines of an air base, time on leave, and the issues of discipline, morale and motivation. A particularly graphic section describes, in the words of the men themselves, what it felt like to go on operations and the impact of casualties airmen who were killed, injured or taken prisoner. A fascinating varied inside view of the RAF emerges which is perhaps less heroic and glamorous than the image created by some postwar accounts, but it gives readers today a much more realistic appreciation of the whole gamut of life in the RAF seventy years ago.
'The epic story of an iconic aircraft and the breathtaking courage of those who flew her' Andy McNab, bestselling author of Bravo Two Zero 'Compelling, thrilling and rooted in quite extraordinary human drama' James Holland, author of Normandy 44 From John Nichol, the Sunday Times bestselling author of Spitfire, comes a passionate and profoundly moving tribute to the Lancaster bomber, its heroic crews and the men and women who kept her airborne during the country's greatest hour of need. 'The Avro Lancaster is an aviation icon; revered, romanticised, loved. Without her, and the bravery of those who flew her, the freedom we enjoy today would not exist.' Sir Arthur Harris, the controversial chief of Royal Air Force Bomber Command, described the Lancaster as his 'shining sword' and the 'greatest single factor in winning the war'. RAF bomber squadrons carried out offensive operations from the first day of the Second World War until the very last, more than five and a half years later. They flew nearly 300,000 sorties and dropped around a million tons of explosives, as well as life-saving supplies. Over 10,000 of their aircraft never returned. Of the 7,377 Lancasters built during the conflict, more than half were lost to enemy action or training accidents. The human cost was staggering. Of the 125,000 men who served in Bomber Command, over 55,000 were killed and another 8,400 were wounded. Some 10,000 survived being shot down, only to become prisoners of war. In simple, brutal terms, Harris's aircrew had only a 40 per cent chance of surviving the war unscathed. Former RAF Tornado Navigator, Gulf War veteran and bestselling author John Nichol now tells the inspiring and moving story of this legendary aircraft that took the fight deep into the heart of Nazi Germany.
The 1944 Allied invasion of France was a combined effort, with land- and sea-based forces supported by a huge aerial task force, which included legendary aircraft such as the Spitfire, Mosquito, Dakota and Mustang. The force comprised the RAF, its commonwealth allies and the USAAF, which resulted in an eclectic mix of gliders, heavy bombers, fighters, ground-attack aircraft and transport aeroplanes. Illustrated with over 170 color images of modern-day surviving and restored aircraft, this book features many of the aircraft types that were involved in the operations surrounding the Normandy invasion, including the aircraft the flew on D-Day itself.
The Halifax became the second of the new generation of four-engine heavy bombers to enter service with RAF Bomber Command in the Second World War. It flew its first offensive operation in March 1941 and by 1944 it had become the exclusive equipment for Bomber Command's 4 Group and 6 (Canadian) Group, as well as being used in smaller numbers by 100 (Bomber Support) Group. The Halifax flew on virtually all the main raids of the night offensive between 1942 and 1945 and the last occasion when Bomber Command Halifaxes operated in strength against the enemy was on 25 April 1945.
The RCAF, with a total strength of 4061 officers and men on 1 September 1939, grew by the end of the war to a strength of more than 263,000 men and women. This important and well-illustrated new history shows how they contributed to the resolution of the most significant conflict of our time.
Between June 1940 and August 1943, RAF Bomber Command undertook a little-known strategic bombing campaign in Europe. The target was Mussolini's Italy. This air campaign was a key part of the strategic policy of Britain from 1940 to 1943, which aimed at securing Italy's early surrender. However, it posed unique challenges, not least of which was Italy's natural defences of distance and the Alps. The bombing campaign against Italy can be divided into a number of phases, with each one having its own specific goals such as affecting Italian war production or hindering the Italian Navy's war in the Mediterranean. However, each also furthered the ultimate aim of forcing Italy's final capitulation, demonstrating that the tactic of area-bombing was not just about the destruction of an enemy's cities, as it could also fulfil wider strategic and political objectives. Indeed, the intensity and frequency of attack was greatly controlled, and the heavy bombing of Italy was only ever sanctioned by Britain's civilian war leaders to achieve both military and political goals. The issue of target-selection was also subject to a similar political restriction; cities and ports like Milan, Turin, Genoa and La Spezia were sanctioned under an official Directive, but other places, such as Verona, Venice, Florence and, above all, Rome, remained off-limits. This fascinating title from British strategic and military history expert Dr Richard Worrall explores the political, motivational and strategic challenges of the campaign in full. His thorough analysis and meticulous research is supported by specially commissioned artwork, maps, and contemporary photographs.
Bomber Command's campaign started on the very first day of the Second World War and ended within a few hours of the final victory in Europe five and a half years later. It was an attempt to win the war in Europe by strategic bombing on such an enormous scale that historians have only recently begun to piece together the finer details of the individual raids.There have been many books about Bomber Command, but Martin Middlebrook, the aviation historian, and his research colleague, Chris Everitt, were the first to compile a complete review of all the raids and the background stories to this fascinating campaign. They undertook the gargantuan task not only of documenting every Bomber Command operation but also of obtaining information from local archives in Germany, Italy and the occupied countries, on the effects of the raids. Little of this material had been published previously, and never before had the two sides of Bomber Command's war been brought together in this way.The Bomber Command War Diaries has become the standard basic work of reference on this extraordinary campaign. This edition includes retrospective observations and a new appendix.
“The internal RAF analysis of the different phases of the air war and what lessons could be learnt from those campaigns.” —Royal Aeronautical Society website When the RAF’s Bomber Command analyzed the results of their precision bombing efforts during the early years of World War II, a growing body of evidence indicated that the great “knockout” blow expected to be delivered from the air was a fantasy. It would only be through a prolonged campaign of attrition that the enemy could be worn down to such a degree that morale, the means of production and the infrastructure of the enemy would be degraded to the point where its fighting ability was crippled. The result of this assessment was a change of policy from precision bombing of carefully identified key installations, to area bombing with the declared intent of striking at the homes of the German workers, the factories where they worked regardless of the nature of such establishments or of the civilian casualties that would be the inevitable consequence. In compiling this official analysis of the effectiveness of the RAF’s strategic bombing campaign, the author was granted unrestricted access to Air Ministry, Cabinet and other relevant departmental documents that were maintained for internal government use, enabling him to gain a complete and unbiased assessment of the contribution made by Bomber Command to the defeat of Germany. The conclusion he draws fully justifies the decisions taken, by both Britain and the USA, to bomb the German people into surrender.
The Battle of Britain has held an enchanted place in British popular history and memory throughout the modern era. Its transition from history to heritage since 1965 confirms that the 1940 narrative shaped by the State has been sustained by historians, the media, popular culture, and through non-governmental heritage sites, often with financing from the National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund. Garry Campion evaluates the Battle’s revered place in British society and its influence on national identity, considering its historiography and revisionism; the postwar lives of the Few, their leaders and memorialization; its depictions on screen and in commercial products; the RAF Museum’s Battle of Britain Hall; third-sector heritage attractions; and finally, fighter airfields, including RAF Hawkinge as a case study. A follow-up to Campion’s The Battle of Britain, 1945–1965 (Palgrave, 2015), this book offers an engaging, accessible study of the Battle’s afterlives in scholarship, memorialization, and popular culture.