617: Going to War with Today's Dambusters Hardcover – 27 Dec 2012
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A gripping and revealing account of how the modern generation of Dambusters uphold the traditions of courage and sacrifice of their World War II brethren. One cannot fail to be impressed by the bravery, dedication and professionalism displayed by this new breed of aviator. (John Nichol)
The legendary Dambuster squadron is still in safe hands. 617 offers a rare and privileged insight into the modern RAF. (Rowland White, bestselling author of VULCAN 607)
The 617 Squadron of 2011 might not have bombed targets on a daily basis, nor found itself under constant enemy attack, but this book is no less fascinating for that. As a detailed picture of how a modern fast-leg squadron operates and functions, it is utterly compelling. (MAIL ON SUNDAY)
Bouquet's clear, informative writing places us alongside these brave professionals and will open up reader's eyes to life in the theatre of war. (LINCOLNSHIRE LIFE)
The inside story of today's Dambusters at war in Afghanistan.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Unfortunately, the most exciting thing about this book is the picture on the cover... The trouble is that it slowly becomes apparent that 617 Squadron saw very little actual combat while in-country - they dropped no bombs, fired no guns - occasionally they used a £150,000 missile to kill a single enemy soldier (which seems, to say the least, somewhat wasteful) and every now and then they had to fly low over a village to scare the natives. But that's it - fundamentally, this is a book in which nothing really happens. Even the most exciting bits of flying in it are described in less detail (and are shorter) than the bits describing the squadron engineers going to breakfast. As Peters and Nichol demonstrated in "Team Tornado", descriptions of day-to-day life on a Tornado squadron, even in peace-time, can be thoroughly involving - so there's no excuse for a book like this which seems to spend most of its time discussing people having meetings.
This is not to denigrate the men and women of 617 squadron, who were clearly doing a demanding job under difficult and dangerous conditions - but this description of it does them no justice at all, I fear.Read more ›
Enjoyed it greatly. Dont buy this book if you are expecting mighty tales of daring do, there arn't many.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not hugely exciting. I thought the RAF did more than spot small groups of people who mostly were just going about their business.Published 2 months ago by S. C. Osborne
One of the most nauseatingly fawning books I've ever read. The first sixty or so pages appear to have been written by an excitable teenager in a "maximum use of trite... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Mike Lacey
617 contains a thoroughly gripping insight into the modern day, professional service, of the Royal Air Force. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Stuart Dustan
Unfortunately this book reads like a technical report - it gives all the facts but does not tell the story. It details all that happened in a very dry and in many ways unreadable! Read morePublished 20 months ago by MattL
After reading a number of books recently about Bomber Command during World War 2 thought I would try a more recent record of one of the squadrons exploits. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Richard
The service was excellent and the book has been read and already recommended and passed on to friends. Thank you.Published 23 months ago by Barbry
Sorry Tim, you have missed the plot - net result, atedious rambling spanning 338 pages. No disrespect to past or present service personnel of 617 Squadron or the amazing history... Read morePublished on 29 Aug. 2014 by Ken Metcalf
An excellent account of a RAF squadron building up to,deploying then returning from Afghanistan.
Well worth a read.Highly recommended for all
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