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Bloody April: Slaughter in the Skies over Arras, 1917 (Cassell)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2008
I can not recommend this book more highly.

The author explains the battle of Arras from all perspectives. The text uses the words and experiences of those who were present and this brings the book to life. The detail those accounts give is wonderful and you can soon be transported in time.

A truly worthy account of the sacrifices made by the brave men of the RFC.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2010
This book is a fitting tribute to the airmen of the Royal Flying Corps during the struggle for air supremacy in Spring 1917.
Based on letters and personal accounts, it leads the reader through this period, when control of the air over the trenches was so vital to the army. Many moving accounts bear testimony to the price paid by the crews in obsolete machines, who remained determined to support their comrades in the mud below, in spite of sometimes appalling weather and the increasing depredations of the enemy's newer and more powerful machines. It also highlights the crucial part played by the crews of the artillery spotting and reconnaissance aircraft during this struggle, when so many were lost. The part played by the more famous 'aces' on both sides, is also vividly described. An excellent read and one that I will enjoy reading again in the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2013
I bought this book after reading others including Somme Success. In Somme Success the work of the RFC in clearing the skies of German aircraft is related along with the swing of air superiority in favour of the allies with the introduction of pusher type aircraft. Bloody April deals with the Battle of Arras in Spring 1917 where the aerial superiority had swung back in favour of the Germans with the introduction of the Albatross series of fighters.
Once again a mix of data and personal experiences that makes me wonder at the bravery and stoicism of the RFC aircrew. Another well research book by excellent Peter Hart, well worth the price
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 April 2014
This book brings to life the Royal Flying Corps fight in the sky above the trenches and German front line and the skill needed to return with reconnaissance intact.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 August 2010
Peter Hart has used all his sources to describe, in amazing detail, the experience of RFC and RNAS Squadrons. His style of using contemporary and later oral testimony is revealing. The existing understanding of hopeless sacrifice, is confounded and the true heroism of the RFC crews, flying outdated machines in a vital mission to protect the infantry expounded. A revealing explanation and essential reading to any historian.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2011
I am afraid I did not find this book as satifying as a number of other reviewers. This book and Peter Hart's very similar "Falling Aces" are basically a series of letters and contemporary correpondence strung togther with an overview of the war over Arras in 1917.

There is little underling analysis and the book concentrates on the stories and comments of the ordinarly aircrew, presumably as these are available through Peter's work at the Imperial War Museum.

These tend to have a certain repetitivenes "Huns diving out the sun, windscreens shattered by bullets etc" and after the first few, dont give a huge amount of insight. This is not however to diminish the undoublted bravery and sacrifice of the airmen.

One very large gap in this book is any background information or statistics. Lots of different types of aircraft are mentioned but there is no technical glossary and even what they looked like is often not clear as only a handful are illustrated in the photos. An Appendix listing and illustrating aircraft types and their capabilities would have been very useful and added to the book significantly.

There was also none of the background information which make Martin Middlebrook's books so compelling, eg squadron loss and kill rates, even a table of the highest scoring aces would have been of interest.

Overall just about worth it but not up to the standard of his Somme book which is excellent.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2013
A great book written in continuity with the events it portrays.Doesn't get boring and says it pretty much as it was.
For anyone with half a brain on the knowledge of what went on in this great conflict a must read.
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