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The Battle of Hamburg: The Firestorm Raid (Cassell Military Paperbacks) Paperback – 6 Jul 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (6 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0304353450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0304353453
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.9 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 470,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

Bestselling Martin Middlebrook¿s classic account of the battle for Hamburg: a description of a text book campaign, where the British Bomber Command got everything right.

About the Author

Following his first book, The First Day on the Somme, Martin Middlebrook has published a series of books on major turning points in the two World Wars ¿ all classics of military history.


Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
There is a strange paradox about the bombing war. Aviators fly thousands of feet up in the sky dropping bombs on what are seen merely as targets. At the same time, those on the ground can look up at their enemies, but have no idea what is going through the heads of their attackers. Martin Middlebrook changes that by presenting the bombing raids on Hamburg from both perspectives. He spoke to the airman who flew such vulnerable heavy bombers about their emotions and experiences, then looked at the same raids from those who suffered on the ground. This dual perspective on a series of horrific raids provides no real surprises, but is none the less fascinating for that. Years after the war, when the interviews were carried out, it's amazing how much small detail both sides can recall. It presents a brilliant picture of the futility of war in a very measured, balanced way. The author certainly doesn't take sides on whether the firestorm raids were justifed or not. But he provides a hugely readable account of a desperate battle and leaves the reader to make up his or her own mind. It's a thought-provoking yet strangely compulsive read, and in no way a poor relation to newer war books like Beevor's Stalingrad. The pictures are sparse and poor, but the real pictures are in the words.
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Format: Paperback
In this book, Middlebrook brings his customary ability to blend eyewitness accounts into a compelling narrative describing, perhaps Dresden apart, the most terrifying firestorm created by Bomber Command in the war. By 1943, the air war over Germany was reaching unanticipated heights of electronic sophistication. While RAF bombers were using both active and passive radar to find their targets, they were tracked by a complex system of defensive radar. It was at this point that Bomber Command decided to "open the window", and deploy bundles of thousands of foil strips dropped from the bomber stream. This "domesday" weapon produced huge numbers of false radar echoes and led to the overwhelming of the defences. Like all of Middlebrook's works, testimony of survivors from both sides brings home just how terrifying a conventional area bombing attack can be, something we have perhaps forgotten in the nuclear age. I first read this book shortly after it was published in paperback. Apart from his more recent work on the British operations at Arnhem, this, in my opinion, is his finest book on World War 2.
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Format: Paperback
Martin Middlebrook pieces together in his inimitable style a running chronology of the event surrounding the bombing of Hamburg in the summer of 1943. Put together in meticulous detail, for which the author is renowned, the reader feels he is almost part of the aircrew, witnessing events from twenty thousand feet. This is contrasted by the eyewitness accounts on the receiving end of high explosive and incendaries. The reader is left in no doubt of the appauling results of area bombing, whilst still respecting the young men forced into the night sky to face death by an often unseen enemy. A must read for any WW2 aviation enthusiast.
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Format: Paperback
Middlebrook writes in a style which makes his subject come to life. His affinity for Hamburg and his rich sources of information makes this book compelling reading.
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Format: Paperback
Martin Middlebrook's series of books is a must for anyone interested in the strategic bombing campaign over Germany in World War II. Although most of his books cover raids that did not go well for the Allies (Nuremberg, Schweinfurt-Regensburg, and the Battle of Berlin), this book covers one of RAF Bomber Commands biggest successes (the US Eigth Air Force also carried out daylight raids as part of the Battle of Hamburg but they were not so successful). Middlebrook explains how "everything came together" for the RAF, most especially the introduction of "Window" which rendered the German defenders' radar useless; and the weather which made the incendiary bombs particularly effective in starting massive fires which lead to the horrific firestorm that caused so many fatalities. Middlebrook not only describes the attacking force, but also the defensive measures taken on the ground by the Germans and the experiences of the civilian population caught up in this nightmarish experience.
The author points out that regarding the bomb-load mix in this raid, the ratio of incendiaries to high-explosive bombs was no different than usual and it was the combination of circumstances that lead to the massive destruction (incidentally-he also points out that the Germans used incendiaries in their bombing raids on London and Coventry in 1940 and 1941 so the RAF can not be blamed for starting this type of warfare)
This book, like his others, is highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because my uncle was an air gunner in the RAF. He was shot down over Hamburg so I was interested into finding out why Hamburg was picked to be bombed. The book was very informative in giving accounts from the crew and people of Hamburg.
I would recommend this book
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Format: Paperback
Martin Middlesbrook, an historian of renown, has written a billiant book on the destruction of Hamburg during the summer months of 1943. The controversies on the mass bombing by the RAF during World War 2 is still felt today. Whether it was right or not is still a matter of debate amongst various historians. Martin Middlesbrook tells the story mainly from the viewpoint of the air crews who took part in the raids. Survivors of the Hamburg firestorms tell their version of events with great courage, bearing in mind the terrible experiences they endured. Not a pretty read, but an absorbing one. You, the reader, will have to make up your own mind whether the mass bombing policy instigated by Bomber Harris was right or not.
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