on 28 February 2002
Martin Middlebrook is undoubtedly the most accessible military historian writing about the strategically significant and subsequently highly controversial Allied strategic bombing campaign over Nazi Germany. In this volume he deploys his customary mix of detailed archival research, interviews with participants, and critical analysis to examine with his usual fluent style, the American daylight bombing raids over the vital German ball bearing and aero works in Schweinfurt and Regensburg. This was a crucial test of the USAAF doctrine that unescorted bomber groups could operate at long range and effectively precision bomb high-value strategic targets. Middlebrook not only provides a detailed and gripping blow by blow account of the raids themselves but also sets them in the context of the wider strategic and tactical debates about the use of airpower as the principal war winning weapon. Erudite, exciting and insightful, this is military history of the highest order appealing to both serious student and general reader alike. Once you've read this one, you'll probably want to go on and buy the set.
on 7 November 2013
This book is excellent. It's probably one of the best books I've read about an 8th air force raid / operation / and accounts from the people who lived through it. There are several reasons why I love this book, the first being the amazing accounts from pilots, gunners, bombardiers and navigators aboard the B17s that undertook the missions. The book describes in excellent details the progress of the battle, with precise information about how, when , at what point each fortress was lost or damaged, what happened to its crew (to the extent that can be told) etc... But not only that, you get the view point of the enemy, which German squadrons attacked and when, and who was likely responsible for what casualty. You get the same kind of details about Flak damage and the point of view of the Germans manning the guns. You get great accounts from fighter escort pilots as well. There is at the beginning of the book a great deal explaining how the missions were put together at the higher level and then at the operational level - something that I never really got to read much about (for example we never think about the vast amount of operations officers working all night to put together the lists of aircraft/ places in formation etc... all the tactical info that would then be relayed to the crews...).
In addition to that, you get a good account of the diversionary raids that were undertaken by the RAF and USAAF in Northern France or Southern France for example to help divert German forces from the main B17 attacks. So good descriptions of Spitfire action and B26s action as well.
It's a great book in that you also get a whole chapter dedicated to describing the accounts of survivors of the raid in the actual targets - both Germans as well as forced labourers from occupied country.
Overall this is an amazing account of one of the greatest air battles ever. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this era and arial warfare.
on 25 November 2015
An excellent book ,well written and easy to read. I have read others on this particular mission and this book is up there with the best. There are points brought out concerning certain decisions made by the Command that I had not seen so clearly detailled in other books. The personal aicrew experiences are well crafted, describing the terror, skill and gallantry of a prolonged air battle, the likes of such will never be seen again.
on 30 January 2009
As ever Martin Middlebrook provides an engaging, fantastically detailed and novel insight into this important event. Debunking some of the oft-repeated myths that have grown up around this mission he tells the story logically and with great sympathy and compassion.
A worthwhile adjunct to his excellent work on RAF Bomber Command's war.
on 3 March 2016
The 8th Air Force double mission to Schweinfurt and Regensburg was one of the wars biggest disasters and this book gives comprehensive coverage to the planning, execution and aftermath of said mission. The book was written at a time when there was a good amount of veterans to tell their tales and benefits greatly from it. It is well written, and a real page turner. The losses were great but the heroism displayed even greater.