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on 19 October 2009
An excellent book showing the Highball story from 618 squadron's persepctive, with the added bonus of what they did when their original mission was called off.

To get the most from this book I would recommend reading "A hell of a bomb" on the bomb developments of Barnes Wallis which looks at the Highball bomb development in more detail (although lacks insight into some of the technical difficulties Highball encountered which are recounted here) and Guy Gibson's "Enemy Coast Ahead" which not only contrasts 617 squadrons successful technical, planning and execution of their mission with the anti-climaxes 618 encountered, but also highlights what 618 were lined up for when Gibson says that his reaction to finding that their targets were dams was "thank God it's not the Tirpitz" (which 617 squadron later went on to "sink").
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on 24 August 2011
Bought this for my father who was a member of 618 squadron from it's inception. I read it first to see what he did. My father says it's accurate as far has he remembers and tells the story of the squadron accurately and interestingly.
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on 1 December 2011
This is an amazing story in which the author sets out the story of 618 Squadron RAF from its formation to the end of the war in Europe including a short but fruitless spell in the far east and Australia.

Originally formed to carry a previously untried 'bomb' at the same time as its more well known sister Squadron, 617 Squadron RAF of Dam Buster fame.

The idea was to drop or rather skim, a bouncing bomb over the torpedo net defences of the Tirpitz, a pocket battle ship of the Kriegsmarine hidden away in northern Norway where it was employed harassing the artic convoys.

The story is told extremely well by one of the founder members of the squadron. There are many anecdotes of the life of the crews who were kept somewhat in the dark as to their probable fate by the planners of the original mission coupled with the fact that could not share any misgivings with anyone outside the small 'need to know' circle. After much training and waiting for the right time the planned attack was abandoned since there was no viable escape for the crews once the mission had been completed available.

After the return from the Far East, a special detachment from the squadron was formed as part of Coastal Command and given the job of patrolling the Bay of Biscay in order to deny the Atlantic ports to the U-Boat flotillas of the Kriegsmarine. Fitted with a single 57mm cannon and going under the name 'Tsetse' these aircraft succesfully made life extremely difficult for the U-Boats returning from their Atlantic patrols

The book ends on a happier note for all concerned. It is well written informative and easy to follow with sufficient detail to keep even the most 'nit picky' historian happy added to which U-976, which lies in 50m of water of the coast of Noirmoutier.
The book includes many photographs of the crews, the aircraft and the targets.
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on 7 May 2013
We all know the story of 617 Squadron "The Dambusters". This is the story of 618 squadron set up alongside, set up at the same time to attack the Tirpitz with Highball, a smaller version of the bomb used by the Dambusters.

For various reasons that attack was never made, and the squadron then practiced operating Mosquitos of aircraft carriers with a view to attacking Japanese warships. It was then sent to Australia, where the squadron was disbanded.

Because this was a top secret squadron it also brought the 6pdr armed Mosquitos into service.

The story of this squadron is a classic example of a weapon system which it is decided is to top secret to use. A classic study in bungling officials.
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on 26 December 2009
You can't do much better than first-hand information, and that's what you get here. Individual aircraft serial numbers are frequently quoted, so you know which aircraft are involved in many of the incidents described. A first-rate publication that should serve as a model for others
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on 20 September 2013
A grea tread. Very well written with facts that kept me interested all the way through. A must for Mosquito lovers.
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on 27 January 2014
As a military advisor to my local heritage centre, and being an ex-RAF Serviceman who served in its Marine Branch for a number of years, this book helps me fill in what was a gap that I'd heard about, but could find little real information about.
It is nice to find out about the work carried out by those who placed their lives on the line during WWII, and as to the weapons that were devised for them to use in the attempt to stop the Germans from their despotic acts of invading and controlling the majority of Europe and elsewhere in the quest to rule the world.
Some of the weapons were far ahead of their time, with the bouncing bombs used against the German Dams being reduced in size to use against naval targets instead of the slower torpedo, it makes one wonder as to why these smaller bombs were not used in action, as they seemed to work quite well, and the Germans must have thought the idea of a bouncing bomb a good idea as they also carried out trials on them, using a rocket to propel the small bomb to produce the required speed.
A good book and well written.
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on 16 July 2014
I had heard of the highball weapon before reading this book but the book gives a fascinating incite into the weapon and the aircrew selected to train to deploy it. Enjoyed reading about what happened later in the war to the squadron once it had been delivered the Tsetse Mosquito with the 57mm Canon. Overall a good read.
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on 4 April 2013
I knew a lot about 617 Sq. but not very much about 618, other than they were to use the "Hiball" bouncing bomb.
It made for very interesting reading, would reccomend this book to anyone interested in mossies and their use in WWll.
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on 27 April 2011
Well, in terms of writing and reference value (given details like serials and/or codes appearing so often) I would have given this a 4* rating, but, and it's a big but, there are some glaring research and relevance errors.

For instance, it manages to say that geodesic airframes were first developed for the Vickers Wellesley (ok, that was their first use in a heavier than air machine) rather than for the R100 airship. Neither of these points seem relevant to any of the squadron, the Highball mine, the Mosquito airframe (basically a wooden monocoque) or the XVIII "Tse-Tse" 6lb gun.

Similarly, the author manages to describe Skye as "WNW of the airfield (in Caithness)", and the book includes a map showing clearly that Skye is more or less SW from Caithness!

This sort of glaring research error is a pet peave, but to end on a positive, the book is well written.
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