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Fighting Hitler's Jets: The Extraordinary Story of the American Airmen Who Beat the Luftwaffe and Defeated Nazi Germany [Hardcover]

Robert F. Dorr

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Book Description

15 Nov 2013

Fighting Hitler's Jets brings together in a single, character-driven narrative two groups of men at war: on one side, American fighter pilots and others who battled the secret “wonder weapons” with which Adolf Hitler hoped to turn the tide; on the other, the German scientists, engineers, and pilots who created and used these machines of war on the cutting edge of technology. Written by Robert F. Dorr, renowned author of Zenith Press titles Hell Hawks!, Mission to Berlin, and Mission to Tokyo, the story begins with a display of high-tech secret weapons arranged for Hitler at a time when Germany still had prospects of winning the war. It concludes with Berlin in rubble and the Allies seeking German technology in order to jumpstart their own jet-powered aviation programs. Along the way, Dorr expertly describes the battles in the sky over the Third Reich that made it possible for the Allies to mount the D-Day invasion and advance toward Berlin. Finally, the book addresses both facts and speculation about German weaponry and leaders, including conspiracy theorists’ view that Hitler escaped in a secret aircraft at the war’s end. Where history and controversy collide with riveting narrative, Fighting Hitler’s Jets furthers a repertoire that comprises some of the United States’ most exceptional military writing.

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About the Author

ROBERT F. DORR is an author (1955–), U.S. Air Force veteran (Korea, 1957–1960), and retired senior American diplomat (1964–1989). He is the author of the weekly “Back Talk” column in Air Force Times newspaper, the monthly “Washington Watch” feature in Aerospace America magazine (journal of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics), and numerous articles in major aviation and history magazines. He is both an analyst of present-day military events and a historian of past wars. He has published about seventy-five books and ten thousand articles. Dorr speaks to groups about aviation and military history and is often interviewed on history programs. He lives in Oakton, Virginia, with his family, which includes his Labrador retriever.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Development - and Defeat - of Germany's Jets! 20 Dec 2013
By Michael OConnor - Published on
Of all the combatants in World War II, Germany was the only nation to field large numbers of jet- and rocket-powerEd aircraft. And it led the field in terms of development of such advanced aircraft. Fortunately, for humanity's sake, all that effort came to naught. Robert Dorr traces the rise and fall of Germany's jet aircraft in FIGHTING HITLER'S JETS. A 2013 Zenith Press release, Dorr's book uses a variety of viewpoints to present THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF THE AMERICAN AIRMEN WHO BEAT THE LUFTWAFFE AND DEFEATED NAZI GERMANY.

As is widely known, German aviation manufacturers such as Ernst Heinkel were amongst the leaders in advanced aircraft development in the 1930s. Heinkel was especially productive with his He176 rocket-powered design and He 178, the world's first practical turbojet aircraft. The He 280 was the world's first ever turbojet fighter. Heinkel's arch-rival, Willy Messerschmitt, was a comparative late-comer in the field, his Me 262 dating from 1939. Yet politics and personalities conspired to undercut all of Heinkel's efforts and it is Messerschmitt's Me 163 and 262 that came to be the Allies' main foes. As the war turned against Germany and the 262, 163 and Arado 234 designs entered service, other even more advanced designs were worked on but a variety of problems worked against the deployment of an effective jet force. The Allies took the measure of the jets through a combination of strikes against the jet manufacturing plants, fuel production facilities and airfields on which jets were deployed and through the efforts of Allied fighter pilots that tangled with and defeated the German jets.

Dorr interweaves these related stories in an engaging, wide-ranging narrative that traces the developments in pre-war and wartime Germany and the Allied air campaign against the jets in 1944 and 1945. Viewed from both German and Allied perspectives, FIGHTING HITLER'S JETS is a complex yet fascinating 'what-if' story peopled with innovative aircraft designers, muddle-headed Luftwaffe and political leaders who failed to realize the jets' early potential, 8th AF commanders tasked with neutralizing the jets' effect on their air campaign against Germany, US fighter jocks wanting to go 'one-on-one' with the ballyhooed Me 262, etc.

Though much of the German jet story has been related in previous books, FIGHTING HITLER'S JETS brings it all together and presents an all-encompassing account of the aeronautical wonders spawned by German designers and the Allies' efforts to defeat that menace. Recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Max's Smatterings of Nay-Bobs 9 Mar 2014
By Nate Wilburn - Published on
After authoring a library-full of books concerning aircraft of various makes and models, including the Saab Draken and Viggen, F-4 Phantom, F-86 Sabre, Bell UH-1 Huey, and Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, Bob Dorr is back at his game tackling the subject of the Luftwaffe's World War II turbojet projects. "Fighting Hitler's Jets" encompasses not only the aircraft (Heinkel's He 178, He 280 and He 162, Arado's Ar 234, Messerschmidt's Me 262 and Me 163, and Bachem's Ba 349 Natter to name a few), but it also discusses the stories of the scientists who developed the technology, the designers and engineers who created the industry (Ernst Heinkel, Willy Messerschmidt, Hans von Ohain, Frank Whittle, Kurt Tank, and Alexander Lippisch) and the politicians who boosted or hindered the progress. The reader will encounter the Allied aircraft which countered the German wonder weapons: the North American P-51 Mustang, the Republic P-47 "Jug", and even the Martin B-26 Marauder, and the brave men who piloted them. Dorr gives an intimate understanding of the men and machines, using terminology easily comprehensible to the layman, and has included a section of photographs to give the readers visual references of what they are reading about. As one involved in aviation maintenance for 30 years, and an avid aerophile, I would recommend "Fighting Hitler's Jets" to both the seasoned aircraft expert and to the mildly "flight curious" alike. FHJ would make a fantastic gift for the aviation book worm on your shopping list, regardless of the naysayers who require their reading presented in comic book format.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dorr's one of THE best aviation authors around! 14 Jan 2014
By Flyboy1944 - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
You can be absolutely sure that anything Dorr writes about has been thoroughly researched. Added to that is his "knowledgeable style" of writing, in that Dorr is a US Air Force veteran, having served from 1957 to 1960. Check him out on Google! You'll see just how extensive his resume is! I can't tell you how many times I've fallen asleep trying to stay awake reading anything written by Bob Dorr. His books, as well as his aviation magazine articles (which Dorr has written since 1955), are just too difficult to put down. If your reading preference is the air war during WW2 (especially the ETO), do yourself a favor & don't pass this one up! Simply put, this book belongs on the shelf of every WW2 aviation enthusiast's library!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and informative 14 Jan 2014
By Dwight J. Zimmerman, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author - Published on
I've written extensively about World War II and I am very grateful for Robert Dorr's FIGHTING HITLER'S JETS. His book is both an invaluable reference and a great story! This book is the best one I've found regarding all of Nazi Germany's jet aircraft. I learned a lot, not just of the Me-262, the most famous of the Luftwaffe's jets, but also of the wide array of other jet aircraft, both operational and otherwise. His narrative kept me riveted and I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in WWII aviation and the early years of jet aircraft.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterfully-written and researched book by Robert F. Dorr, about a fascinating part of history I was unware of... 9 Mar 2014
By SubtropicBob - Published on
FIGHTING HITLER'S JETS is the fourth entry in a recent series of World War II history books written by Robert F. Dorr. I've enjoyed and learned a lot from them all. But I think I learned more pieces of history that I was totally unaware of from this one than those preceding it. For some reason, I didn't know there was a race to develop effective jet fighters during WWII, much like there was a "space race" when I was a kid in the 1950s. Dorr makes that part of the war's history fascinating right from the start, by opening with Hitler's tour of a military air show in 1943. It featured the latest jets designed by top German scientists and engineers, creations that seemed like science fiction at the time. From there, Dorr follows the testing, manufacturing and deployment of the various German jets and the steps taken by the Americans to learn about them and eventually deal with them in air battles during the final phase of the war in Europe. He also explains why these new "wonder weapons" failed to prevent Germany's ultimate defeat by Allied forces, despite the potential that "Hitler's jets" might have had to change the course of the war.

As always, Dorr helps readers better understand both history and technology. He provides interesting facts, statistics and insights that shed light on the significance of various events. For aviation buffs, he provides in-depth information about the designs, strengths and weaknesses of different types of aircraft. At the same time, he humanizes history, by tracing the personal stories and fates of individual American and German pilots. It's a masterful mix that is Dorr's trademark.

If you're interested in history or planes, you can read and enjoy this book on its own. But Dorr's amazing achievement in telling the aviation history of World War II will become even clearer if you also read the earlier volumes: HELL HAWKS!, MISSION TO BERLIN and MISSION TO TOKYO.
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