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Dambusters: The Forging of a Legend: 617 Squadron in World War II [Hardcover]

Chris Ward , Andy Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 April 2009
617 Squadron of 5 Group RAF Bomber Command was without doubt the most famous RAF Squadron in World War II. It was formed to carry out the precision low-level attack on the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe Dams, using Barnes Wallace s newly developed rotating mine, now commonly referred to as The Bouncing Bomb . The raid was a tremendous success, although at great cost to the squadron, and proved to be a great moral booster for the war-weary British public. Guy Gibson VC was tasked with organising the formation and training of the new squadron and the Dambusters have been national heroes ever since. Although several books have previously been written on this epic adventure, this is a new look at their first raid and then the long and envious history of 617 until the end of the war. This new version of the Dams raid within the book, pays particular attention to timings, as it is easy to overlook the fact, that this was a complex three-phase operation, spanning 8 hours and 47 minutes, with action occurring simultaneously at widely dispersed locations. It also attempts to settle finally the circumstances of the losses, by examining the testimony of eyewitnesses on both sides, and presenting arguments to help readers decide for themselves what actually happened where previous accounts are contradictory or at variance. In the later war years 617 suffered greatly during an attack on the Dortmund-Ems Canal but recovered and their list of priority special targets then included the German missile research plant at Peenemunde, Hamburg, the U boat pens at La Pallice and the sinking of the battleship Tirpitz. The legendary Leonard Cheshire VC led the Squadron for much of that period. This newly researched account of 617 s wartime record contains many first-hand accounts from squadron members and also German and Dutch witnesses who were present at some of the most spectacular raids and have explained many of the mysterious losses of the Squadron s aircraft. Lengthy appendices contain a Roll of Honour, Commanders, Airfields and aircraft, Operational statistics and Aircraft Histories.

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Dambusters: The Forging of a Legend: 617 Squadron in World War II + Dambuster Crash Sites: 617 Squadron in Holland and Germany (Aviation Heritage Trail)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation (16 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848840020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848840027
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 16.7 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 625,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am Chris Ward, one of two authors featured on Amazon to share that regal name. I am 65, (with the body of a 30 year old which I steadfastly refuse to give back),and I am not to be confused with the more youthful and handsome sharer of my name, who, I understand lives in Cornwall and is a short story writer. I work for Penguin Books, which has now joined forces with Random House as part of the Bertelmanns Group, and I'm based at its UK distribution centre near Rugby, where I spend my time manhandling cases of books and processing them. When not sweating for my salary I instruct my colleagues on the operation of all of the powered manual handling equipment essential to the processes of storage and distribution, fork lift trucks, cranes etc. At home I play and teach guitar, write books, suffer as a lifelong Aston Villa fan (57 years so far)and generally chill out.

Those of you who know my work will be enthusiasts of RAF Bomber Command in WWII, particularly the Dambusters. However, I have just published my first novel, entitled Time Link, which is available via Amazon Kindle, and also touches in part upon Bomber Command and 617 Squadron. My book on 1 Group is due for publication by Pen & Sword in 2014. Also due for a relaunch through Pen & Sword is my RAF Bomber Command Squadron Profile series, which will be published in hard back in updated form. I will also be making a DVD on the Dortmund-Ems Canal operation by 617 Squadron in September 1943. (For those who have seen the Dambusters DVD bearing my name put out by Pen & Sword in 2013, I assure you I had nothing to do with its production, and apologise for the appalling narration which mispronounced every German word.)

Thanks for taking the trouble to read this, and, more importantly, for buying my books.

Bye for now,

Chris Ward. (The older and less handsome one).

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
By far the best account of the exploits of 617 Squadron of The Royal Air Force in World War Two that I have read.
The authors' knowledge of Bomber Command is second to none.
Chris Ward is a very underrated author of many books and squadron profiles, on Bomber Command.
Andreas Wachtel brings much information from the German perspective.
I have met both men and found them to be very friendly and happy to answer any questions that you may have. The information given to me was in much more detail than anything normally found in books on the subject.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dambusters : The Forging of a Legend 8 July 2011
By Smudger
I have just completed Chris Wards "Dambusters, The Forging of a Legend" the latest edition to my collection of books on this squadron.

This is by a country mile the best book on the squadron I have yet to read, the depth of detail on the squadron and the raids is a testament to Chris Wards knowledge and expertise on the squadron. Mr Ward's book gives a nuts and bolts look at the squadrons exploits, too many books on the squadron read more like a boys-own yarn or Mills & Boon than a serious warts and all history, this book takes the research to a new exciting level and is for me worth every penny.

The photographs many of which are new to me and from private collections are an added and most welcome bonus, (I get rather annoyed at the same old photographs being used in every book on the subject).

To sum up, if you want a detailed and accurate account of the exploits of the squadron this is an absolute MUST.

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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected 29 Aug 2013
By Val Fulton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I purchased this book with an interest in people orientated history and while there is some (not a great deal), it is more of a detailed unit history. I liked the insights into Guy Gibson the person and the background stories of various crew dogs. I liked that it even did one on a fitter. I feel that it went into too much detail on a/c tail numbers and mission details and analysis. This is a good read for the student but not so much for the casual reader. Without the people who live there, 617 is just a number......each of them has a story. As a former "ramp rat", I'd like, for once, to see a story that includes the denizens who cook the meals, push the papers, those who load the bombs and work the tower....the ones who never get a medal or a second thought. It's Ok, just not what I expected.
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