SUMMARY á Bomber Command


Bomber CommandBomber Command’s air offensive against the cities of Nazi Germany was one of the most epic campaigns of World War II More than British and Commonwealth aircrew and Germans died in the course of the RAF’s attempt to win the war by bombing The struggle in the air began meekly in with only a few Whitleys Hampdens and Wellingtons flying blindly through the night on their ill conceived bombing runs It ended six years later with Lancast. Max Hastings is arguably the top British war historian working today He has also contributed mightily to work on the histories of the 20th century’s great wars in a variety of media for example at the Imperial War Museum in London Bomber Command was one of his first books I read it in preparation for an upcoming trip to Lincolnshire where there is a museum on Bomber CommandHastings has a particular skill at weaving together the different aspects of a war such that one can see both the broad strategic dimensions of the conflict as well as the particular and gritty reality for those fighting on the ground This is a real gift that will become important as time passes and the people with direct experience of WW2 grow old and leave the scene as with WW1With the bombing campaigns of WW2 there is much to cover and conflicts around strategies and results that continue today for example in continuing debates about the role of American air power during the Vietnam War While Slaughterhouse Five was first published in 1969 it is still widely read today Jorg Friedrich’s Der Brand The Fire presents a view of strategic bombing from the ground up and was important in Germany before it was translated Those who paid attention in the recent Gulf Wars will surely remember accounts of “smart bombs” and how they have improved warfare I suspect the debates will not be resolved anytime soonHastings builds the story of Bomber Command and its leader “Bomber” Harris with these issues suarely in mind He is exceptional at weaving in the strategic versus tactical issues of bombing with differences between British and American approaches the evolution of technological capabilities during the war the role of the Germans in responding to bomber operations and the role of the bombing campaigns in the overall course of the war in Europe Hastings adds to his account the role of organization and personalities in the evolution of the bomber war especially the problem of getting strong leadership within the context of a complex war effort that reuired a team perspectiveHastings has strong and often critical perspectives on the bomber war but he is careful to balance it with a nuanced account of the value of the bombers to the British and overall allied war effort This struck me as an honest effort to tally up the costs and benefits of the war although it may frustrate some readers Hastings’ account is superb in highlighting the difficulties in figuring out just what to do with a branch of the services and what the overall objectives are upon which so many lives and resources depend Strategy is not just lip service but is hard to conceive of and harder still to implement consistently and effectively If anything he could have spent time discussing such issues of management and direction along with the issues of area versus pinpoint bombing The latter issues are not going away anytime soon The murkier issues of management and direction also remain with us and are likely to get important as the stakes get higherThis is a fine book and well worth the time

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SUMMARY á Bomber Command Ç [BOOKS] ✰ Bomber Command ✺ Max Hastings – Bomber Command’s air offensive against the cities of Nazi Germany was one of the most epic campaigns of World War II More than 56000 British and Commonwealth aircrew and 600000 Germans died in the c Bomber Command’s air offensive against the cities With firsthand descriptions of the experiences of aircrew from to based on one hundred interviews with veterans and a harrowing narrative of the experiences of Germans on the ground during the September bombing of Darmstadt Bomber Command is widely recognized as a classic account of one of the bloodiest campaigns in World War II history Now back in print in the US this book is an essential addition to any history reader’s bookshel. Complete and sometimes gripping but this account suffers by comparison to Bungay's on the fighter suadrons by being desultory within and by chapter Still the conclusion is clear and cogent Bomber Command did go too far Irrespective of whether or not you consider the Germans deserved it continued indiscriminate area bombing of German cities did not contribute much to winning or hastening the end of the War

Max Hastings á 1 SUMMARY

Ers Halifaxes and Mosuitoes euipped with the best of British wartime technology razing whole German cities in a single night Bomber Command through fits and starts grew into an effective fighting forceIn Bomber Command originally published to critical acclaim in the UK famed British military historian Sir Max Hastings offers a captivating analysis of the strategy and decision making behind one of World War II’s most violent episodes. One of the best books yet written about Bomber Command Hastings clearly and critically differentiates between the political manouvrings and ambitions of the upper levels of the command structure and the experiences of the men who flew over occupied Europe every night to fulfill the orders of men who had only ever flown a desk Hastings is clearly sympathetic to the ordinary airmen expressing his disgust that there has never been a Bomber Command campaign medal so richly deserved by these brave young men and the chapters covering the operational experiences of the various suadrons and groups are the best written and most interesting in the book as is the vivid chapter retelling the Allied bombing of the German city of Darmstadt from the perspective of the German civilians on the recieving end of this raid This is a good introduction to the story of the bomber war its arguable effectiveness and the political ethical and military wrangling surrounding it that probably cost the lives of many RAF aircrews