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Forgotten Fifteenth: The Daring Airmen Who Crippled Hitler's Oil Supply [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Barrett Tillman , Robertson Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

2 Jun 2014
November 1943--May 1945--The U.S. Army Air Forces waged an unprecedentedly dogged and violent campaign against Hitler's vital oil production and industrial plants on the Third Reich's southern flank. Flying from southern Italy, far from the limelight enjoyed by the Eighth Air Force in England, the Fifteenth Air Force engaged in high-risk missions spanning most of the European continent. The story of the Fifteenth Air Force deserves a prideful place in the annals of American gallantry. In his new book, Forgotten Fifteenth: The Daring Airmen Who Crippled Hitler's War Machine, Tillman brings into focus a seldom-seen multinational cast of characters, including pilots from Axis nations Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria and many more remarkable individuals. They were the first generation of fliers--few of them professionals--to conduct a strategic bombing campaign against a major industrial nation. They suffered steady attrition and occasionally spectacular losses. In so doing, they contributed to the end of the most destructive war in history. Forgotten Fifteenth is the first-ever detailed account of the Fifteenth Air Force in World War II and the brave men that the history books have abandoned until now. Tillman proves this book is a must-read for military history enthusiasts, veterans, and current servicemen.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (2 Jun 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1482989077
  • ISBN-13: 978-1482989076
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 13.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Product Description

About the Author

Barrett Tillman is the author of Whirlwind in addition to more than 40 books and 550 articles. He is a familiar television commentator with over a dozen credits on The History Channel and National Geographic Channel. The Wall Street Journal hailed him as "a master story teller," and Pulitzer Prize--winner Stephen Hunter called Whirlwind "a miracle of military history." Tillman's work has been cited in dozens of history books and has been used as course work by the Air Force, the Navy, and Marine Corps. Barrett Tillman lives in Arizona with his wife Sally. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb and timely book. 23 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A superb book, long overdue. Barrett Tillman relates the history of the US Army Air Force units based in Italy who prosecuted the war against Nazi Germany and their allies. The missions, targets and losses are detailed along with personal stories of the men who flew the missions on both sides. It is not just the fighters and bombers who are covered but the special mission units who aided resistance fighters behind the lines are also covered. On the subject of fighter units he covers all the groups involved and unlike some authors does not get carried away on the "Tuskegee Airmen" of the 332nd FG, indeed a section of the book dispels some of the myths that have grown around this unit's valued contribution to the air war.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fifteenth Remembered 4 Jun 2014
By Jack D. Woodul - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I approached Barrett Tillman’s FORGOTTEN FIFTEENTH with several levels of anticipation and nostalgia. My Father and his brother were both combat infantrymen who were wounded in Italy. An Uncle was an Eighth Air Force B-17 gunner, KIA during The Big Week in February 1944. As a US Navy attack pilot, in another war some twenty years after the events chronicled in this book, I felt a strong kinship with both those formations of B-17’s and Liberators enroute to well defended targets, and with the tactical fighters attacking low level. But what I knew about combat operations out of Italy came largely from Yossarian’s adventures in CATCH 22, Bill Mauldin’s Willy and Joe cartoons, and Ernie Pyle. Certainly, after the Liberation of Rome on 5 June 1945, D-Day the next day put the Italian campaign on the back pages.

The Fifteenth is Forgotten no longer. Barrett Tillman continues his string of meticulous historical research, humanized by the inclusion of personal details and stories from participants. Tillman covers every level of Fifteenth Air Force operation, including high praise for the standard of maintenance through the awful weather of supposedly Sunny Italy. Since the Allied strategic bombing campaign against the Reich Oil and Synthetic fuel industry proved to be the most damaging to the German war effort, this book rightly corrects the misconception that this campaign was the exclusive province of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in England. I had absolutely no appreciation of the major level of activity of the Fifteenth Air Force against this ultimately jugular.

The ultimate appreciation comes from the grim statistic that, from beginning of operations to the end, the Fifteenth Air Force aircrew casualties totaled nearly 30 per cent. To this veteran of a later war, these kinds of losses are unimaginable.

Mr. Tillman has remarked that “No war is truly over as long as people live who remember it.” FORGOTTEN FIFTEENTH certainly goes a long way in ensuring that people will remember its long overlooked contribution to winning World War Two.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Fifteenth Remembered 25 Jun 2014
By Ed Morgan - Published on
A number of books have been written describing the experiences of the "Mighty 8th" Air Force during World War II, but the "Forgotten 15th" has been in danger of being just that - forgotten. Here, well-known aviation historian Barrett Tillman aims to mention every flying group in the 15th in an effort to tell a complete story of their contributions to the war. Aside from reading about them in Flying Fortress, they are lesser known than other groups.

Thank goodness Tillman thought to collect interviews from these men while they were still alive because aviation and war buffs will really enjoy his re-telling of this dramatic period. The extremely courageous men in "The Forgotten Fifteenth" took on an enormous task that involved crippling Germany's oil production. They may have suffered great losses in their various missions, but they were pivotal in bring World War II closer to its end.

It's easy to think of wars and military operations as being carried out by machines rather than men, but men give their lives and often go unrecognized for their sacrifices. Tillman's book ensures that the 15th will have their place in military history.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Air War in the Soft Underbelly 3 Jun 2014
By Marc L. Tavasci - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It seems as if the efforts of the 15th Air Force in World War II have mostly been viewed as a sideshow to the main attraction which was the 8th Air Force. But that was just not true and Barrett Tillman has come through once again with a great book on a seemingly unknown subject (like he did with the Battle of the Philippine Sea).

The role of the 15th was to cripple Germany's oil production in the Balkans, along with hitting vital targets in Europe which the 8th couldn't hit. While they didn't have the same numbers as their 8th AF counterparts, the pilots and crewmen of the 15th played a critical part in the Allies' successful bombing campaign. They severely damaged the flow of oil, aviation gas and synthetic fuels to Hitler's war machine, they tied up Luftwaffe units which could have been used elsewhere, and they made a mess of German freight trains all over Southern Europe. While the first raid on Ploesti is well-known, there were many other raids on the oil production facilities there over the next year and Tillman has done a great job of recounting that critical bombing campaign.

Since the 15th wasn't just made of bombers, there is plenty of fighter action as well. Opposed by planes from five different nations (Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary) as well as by an ever-changing weather pattern, the fighter groups of the 15th didn't put up the same victory totals as their comrades in the 8th and 9th AFs but they still exhibited the same skill and courage in getting the job done. The famed Tuskegee Airmen were part of the 15th and are discussed in part, but with a more balanced and critical view than previously given. Tillman knows aircraft and pilots and he gives some attention to those who never really get much: the photo reconnaissance and weather squadrons. You can't have a bombing campaign without photos of the target and knowing what the weather is going to be like on the way to the target, so shining a light on these critical elements was a nice part of the book and makes it a better chronicle.

Filled with personal recollections from reports and interviews, this book fills a void which was long overdue. Tillman's aviation expertise shines through page after page and you will finish this book knowing that the role the 15th AF played in the air war over Europe was a critical one and should not be looked upon as less than any other.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War in the Shadows. 2 Jun 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The MTO theater was fast becoming a backwater area, when the Fifteenth Air Force come into being. But regardless of the theaters importance, this air force performed its mission, and made a large contribution to victory in the ETO. Gen. Doolittle did a fine job bringing this new group up to combat readiness, only to be called to England for another task. The Luftwaffe sent the best they possessed against the fifteenth, but they could not break them. Their losses were high, but going against industrial targets, thats not an unusual result. These men never received the recognition that covered the exploits of the Eighth Air Force. But they could hold their heads high, they were given a difficult task, and they accomplished the task. JRV
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Been There, Done That 31 July 2014
By Onan A. Hill - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I just finished reading "Forgotten Fifteenth" with mixed emotions. It is a much needed and important book. It is exhaustively researched. It is competently written, but Tillman's exhaustive presentation of mission after mission was often just a bit tiring Yet, I found the book compelling--because I was there. I was a Mickey Operator (Radar-Navigator} in the 353rd Bomb Squadron, 301st Bomb Group, of the 5th Wing,of the Fifteenth Air Force. Tillman even explains what a Mickey Operator does. I am sure that less than 1 percent of the population has ever heard of a Mickey Operator. ,

I flew a tour of duty from August 10th to December 26 and then worked in Bari, Italy, 15 AF Hq, until about a week after VE day, when I navigated a B-24 back to the States.

I also have written a book about my experiences in WW II from 1942-1946. It is entitled "Dear Wanda, A Memoir of WWII" This book is impressionistic. No research, just memory. This book is utterly different and was written for my wife and children some 25 years ago, but was not published until 2013. It is not to be compared in importance with Tillman's book, but it did influence my attitude toward Tillman's book.

I went to Blechhammer 9 times, and survived. Onan Hill
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