Bomber Command, Operation Hurricane, The story of those who flew, fought and failed to return on 14 and 15 October 1944

B1855

The crews of Bomber Command were deliberately snubbed by politicians after 1945 although their courage and endurance in the face of horrific casualty levels and their achievements in aerial bombardment deserved the highest praise. Where the Battle of Britain was responsible for stopping the retreat and giving the Germans a bloody nose, the bombing campaign in Europe certainly shortened the war by years, may have enabled victory and certainly avoided a defeat that might have been achieved by the Germans through their rocket program, had Bomber Command seriously disrupted rocket development and driven the Nazis underground in the Hartz Mountains where their development and production of advanced weapons was seriously slowed down.

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NAME: Bomber Command, Operation Hurricane, The story of those who flew, fought and failed to return on 14 and 15 October 1944.
CLASSIFICATION: Book Reviews
FILE: R1855
DATE: 300713
AUTHOR: Marc Hall
PUBLISHER: Fighting High, Orca
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 230
PRICE: £19.95
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT:
ISBN: 978-0-95711-633-7
IMAGE: B1855.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ozwez8m
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The crews of Bomber Command were deliberately snubbed by politicians after 1945 although their courage and endurance in the face of horrific casualty levels and their achievements in aerial bombardment deserved the highest praise. Where the Battle of Britain was responsible for stopping the retreat and giving the Germans a bloody nose, the bombing campaign in Europe certainly shortened the war by years, may have enabled victory and certainly avoided a defeat that might have been achieved by the Germans through their rocket program, had Bomber Command not seriously disrupted rocket development and driven the Nazis underground in the Hartz Mountains where their development and production of advanced weapons was seriously slowed down.

Every mission was filled with danger and vital to the Allied war effort. Selecting just one mission is almost unfair, but the author has a personal connection to Operation Hurricane. During this thousand bomber raid, one of the author’s relatives was lost, prompting him to piece together a comprehensive account of this historic attack.

By October 1944, the war had firmly turned in favour of the Allies, but victory was by no means assured. German forces continued to put up a spirited and effective resistance as the Allied armies approached German soil. Development of advanced weapons by the Germans was continuing and new U-Boat designs promised to reverse the Allied victory in the Battle of the Atlantic. It was against this background that Bomber Command decided to launch a thousand Lancaster bombers against the German town of Duisburg in the most devastating raid of the war. Given that the Lancaster was capable of carrying ten tons of bombs, from a single 10 ton earthquake bomb, through 5 ton and 4,000 pounders, smaller HE bombs, to clusters of incendiaries, providing the ability to drop a mix of weapons to set buildings afire and then fan the flames into a hurricane of fire through the blast of explosive bombs and the inrush of air as the temperature rapidly rose, the Duisburg attack represented a potential drop of 10,000 tons off bombs. The destruction was truly unprecedented.

The destruction of Duisburg may have been awesome, but many crews failed to return. Those who parachuted into Germany from damaged aircraft faced a hostile reception and could not count on the protection of the rules of the Geneva Convention. The author has detailed the brutal murder of one airman and the actions to track down the perpetrators and bring them to justice. The author has investigated in depth the stories of lost aircraft and their crews to provide a comprehensive account of one major action in a long campaign.

This is one of those books that is inspiring, sad, tragic, moving, involving, gripping, all together. It is a fitting tribute to Bomber Command, its crews, and to the author’s relative. It comes at a time when a decoration has finally been produced for Bomber Command crews and a fitting memorial has been erected before the final survivors pass into history. It has not been an imperfect process and the criteria for approving awards has been sadly flawed. Ken Wallis, most famous for his work on autogiros and autogiro world records, has finally received his award as he approaches his Centenary, celebrating by taking one of his autogiros up. Others have still missed out. The bravery set out by the author in this fine account of one outstanding raid shows just how important it is to recognize the courage and efforts of even those who flew a single mission, or a tour, or several tours. To do less, as British politicians and bureaucrats have, is parsimonious in the extreme.

Illustration is confined to b&w images, mainly of crew members who took part in the raid. This is a book that must be read. The story it tells is in parts inspiring, humbling, tragic. It is one of those books that deserves to be widely read by aviation enthusiasts and by a much wider audience. It tells a powerful story of the greatest air war that has taken place.

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