Most helpful positive review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great story, well told - Tim Bouquet does it again!
on 18 February 2013
Seventy years ago this May, Squadron Leader Guy Gibson led 617 Squadron RAF on what became known as the Dambusters raid and entered British history as indelibly as 1066 and the Battle of Waterloo.
Others will no doubt address the details of the Squadron's journey from Lancasters, via Vulcan Bombers to today's Tornados. With 617 - Going to War with Today's Dambusters - Tim Bouquet has brought to life a day in the office for the Squadron's men and women today - or to be precise, a three month tour in Afghanistan in 2011.
From preparation in Lossiemouth to deployment in Kandahar Airfield, the author lets the ground crew, engineers, pilots and navigators tell the story of a modern fighting force. Before leaving Scotland, there is the required viewing of Band of Brothers, the simulated rocket attacks leading to loss of limbs - supported by amputee actors - and the edginess because 70% of the squadron had never deployed operationally anywhere, let alone in Afghanistan.
Having arrived in theatre, the picture emerges of a force coming swiftly to grips with the real thing - a diet of support for and liaison with ground forces more than massive deployment of munitions. It captures the realities of living in the Kandahar Airfield bubble, of flying and refueling in crowded Afghan airspace, of titanic and constant engineering effort to keep the Tornados flying in hostile dusty conditions and of a "war of waiting as much as waging".
Against a backdrop of possible MOD cuts, which could have threatened the Squadron's existence, Tim Bouquet summons from the squadron's personnel a picture of professionalism beyond all measure. He also succeeds in showing how an iconic British squadron has moved with the times to become as relevant today as when Gibson bombed Germany's hydroelectric plants in the Ruhr 70 years ago.