- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation; 1st Edition edition (16 April 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1848840020
- ISBN-13: 978-1848840027
- Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 3.2 x 23.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 974,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Dambusters: The Forging of a Legend: 617 Squadron in World War II Hardcover – 16 Apr 2009
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About the Author
Chris Ward has been writing about RAF Bomber Command in WW11 since the mid nineties. He began with his highly successful Bomber Command Squadron Profile series of spiral-bound publications. It was during this period that Andreas Wachtel contacted Chris for information for a book he was writing, and the two became the closest of friends, to the extent that they regard each other as family. When Chris began working on his first major work, Dambusters, The Definitive History, which was published by Red Kite in 2003, Andreas took on the initial research in Germany and Holland. In this way Chris and Andreas made available to others the Dams raid crash sites of Maudslay and Barlow, which had never previously been identified, and they also publicised the scene of Astell's crash, which is maintained by a local historian. Through this research Chris was able to correct long-held misconceptions about the circumstances of the crashes. Chris was the first to research in depth the events of the Dortmund-Ems Canal disaster, which took place four months after the dams. He and Andreas discovered the crash sites of Holden, Allsebrook, Wilson and Divall, which had never previously been identified, let alone documented and surveyed. In 2013 a number of historians in the German town of Nordhorn released a book about the air war as experienced by the local community of Bentheim on Germany's border with Holland. The inspiration for this book, which is a massive tome involving hundreds of hours of work, was Chris's account of Holden's crash on the farm of the Hood family, which resulted not only in the deaths of the eight-man Lancaster crew, including four members of Guy Gibson's Dams crew, but also Frau Hood. 70 years to the day after this tragedy, on Sunday 15th September 2013, Chris and Andreas were guests of honour at a civic reception in Nordhorn to release the book. There was also a ceremony at the crash site beside the Hood farmyard, attended by the whole local Hood family, local dignitaries, the authors of the book and many interested spectators. Another Chris Ward first was his enquiry into the events on the German side during the final attack by 617 and 9 Squadrons on the Tirpitz in a Norwegian fjord in November 1944. Kurt Schulze, who was a pilot on the nearby fighter airfield at Bardufoss at the time, sent Chris a copy of the transcripts of the German Courts Martial, which took place six weeks after the loss of Tirpitz to apportion blame. Chris translated them, and devoted an entire chapter in his original book and the P&S update to the reasons behind the German failure to intercept the approaching Lancaster force. Chris has since worked on a series of books for P&S detailing the histories of the bomber groups. Those on 3, 4, 5 and 6 Groups have just been joined by his latest, 1 Group. He is currently working on an updated series of Bomber Command Squadron Profiles, which P&S have undertaken to publish in hardback.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is by a country mile the best book on the squadron I have yet to read, the depth of detail on the squadron and the raids is a testament to Chris Wards knowledge and expertise on the squadron. Mr Ward's book gives a nuts and bolts look at the squadrons exploits, too many books on the squadron read more like a boys-own yarn or Mills & Boon than a serious warts and all history, this book takes the research to a new exciting level and is for me worth every penny.
The photographs many of which are new to me and from private collections are an added and most welcome bonus, (I get rather annoyed at the same old photographs being used in every book on the subject).
To sum up, if you want a detailed and accurate account of the exploits of the squadron this is an absolute MUST.
The authors' knowledge of Bomber Command is second to none.
Chris Ward is a very underrated author of many books and squadron profiles, on Bomber Command.
Andreas Wachtel brings much information from the German perspective.
I have met both men and found them to be very friendly and happy to answer any questions that you may have. The information given to me was in much more detail than anything normally found in books on the subject.
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