The author has been building a solid and well-researched portfolio of WWII aviation histories and has followed his earlier European theatre histories with a history of bombing operations in the Middle and Far East. – Easy to read text is ably supported by two very interesting photo-plate sections and a map – Highly Recommended.
NAME: Bombers Fly East, WWII RAF Operations in the Middle & Far East FILE: R2553 AUTHOR: Martin W Bowman PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PAGES: 240 PRICE: £19.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War 2, World War II, Second World War., RAF, bombers, Middle East, Far East, Chinese Civil War, Yangtze Incident, HMS Amethyst, Sunderland, B-29, B-25, Blenheim, Gladiator, Maryland, Wellington
IMAGE: B2553.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y8dzcvdw LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The author has been building a solid and well-researched portfolio of WWII aviation histories and has followed his earlier European theatre histories with a history of bombing operations in the Middle and Far East. - Easy to read text is ably supported by two very interesting photo-plate sections and a map – Highly Recommended. World War Two began with the RAF and FAA struggling to make up for the politicians' gross neglect of military capability between the wars. 1918 had seen the politicians wresting aviation from the Army and the Royal Navy to create a new service, the RAF. It was not a happy situation and was based on a theory that aviation could win future wars by strategic bombing. Strategic bombing had been pioneered by the RNAS and so the newly formed RAF inherited large long range aircraft produced to RNAS requirements. It created a number of anomalies. The RAF was not interested in operating RNAS airships or RN aircraft carriers but did want political control of aviation. The RN was allowed to continue operating airships for a brief period and was completely free to continue operating its existing carriers and developing its carrier capability. RN officers were also to be trained as pilots and observers as part of the RAF provision of military aviation. The RN then waged a continuing political war, first by funding shipboard aviation and then by insisting on increasing numbers of RN officers being trained as pilots and observer/navigators. Then, in 1938, the RN once more regained control of shipboard naval aviation and land-based support aircraft, although the RAF doggedly retained control of Coastal Command to provide maritime patrol and attack capabilities with flying boats and land-based aircraft. The RAF continued to maintain that it could provide air cover for all RN vessels, a claim still advanced to this day There were serious consequences of this botched restructuring of British military aviation. It meant that insufficient thought and planning went into developing aircraft to deploy to RN ships. It meant that the Royal Navy received far too little access to aviation for exercises, leading to a general under-appreciation of the threat that modern aircraft posed to ships and also to a failure by the RAF to develop tactics for maritime patrol and attack. This was to cost many lives in the battle against German maritime aircraft and submarines as the RAF and RN slowly developed their relationship in wartime. It cost the RN many ships, particularly in the Middle and Far East where aviation assets were a lower priority than for Europe. The serious deficiencies were not simply a matter of inter-Service rivalries. The RAF also failed to equip itself adequately for either its primary task of strategic bombing, or its ability to provide home defence. As for its provision of support for the Army in the field, it was almost completely unprepared, leading to a situation similar to the RAF/RN working relationship, where inadequate aviation provision in exercises meant that the Army failed to equip and train for lightning war where armour, mechanized infantry and ground attack aircraft worked closely together to provide a comprehensive all-arms capability. This initially gave the Germans a significant land forces advantage, as was demonstrated by the ease of their conquest of Poland and then in the Low Countries and France. It was against this background that war in the Middle and Far East was guaranteed totally inadequate resources. Churchill had very few options open to him. In 1940, he could only put every available asset into preventing an invasion of the British Isles and a German victory in Europe. Britain and the Commonwealth stood virtually alone, aided only by those remnants of the conquered nations that had managed to escape to Britain, or to the British forces in the Middle East. Even in home defence there were so many deficiencies that had to be addressed by mobilizing the entire adult population and undertaking a massive production effort to turn out aircraft to equip home squadrons, and then replace losses in the Battle of Britain. It was a truly magnificent effort by the whole country and the Commonwealth but it was still a high mountain to climb. That the British were able to send anything to the Mediterranean and the Middle East was amazing. That narrow resource was further stretched as Churchill was forced politically to send troops and aircraft into Greece and Crete, and then to hazard scarce naval resources trying to evacuate those assets. Inevitably it resulted in British Forces being forced back toward Cairo with a very real prospect that not only would British resistance be crushed, but that Japan and Germany could join up directly. German expansion was finally halted at Stalingrad and El Alamein. From there, the Allies could begin to roll back the Germans and the Japanese, but the war was not to end until May 1945 in Europe and then in the Far East with the nuclear attacks on Japan. China had been under partial Japanese occupation and armed attack since before the start of WWII. Resistance was provided both by the Chinese forces, and a growing Communist army. As the US had failed to understand the potential threat the Soviet Union and Communism would present after 1945, the world really moved from Hot War to Cold War. The author has captured this process as it related to the Middle and Far East from turning of the tide against the Axis through to the daring escape of HMS Amethyst from the Chinese Communists in 1949. With the bombing campaign in Europe, and the preparations being made for the invasion of Italy and France, the Allies were beginning to enjoy a sufficiency of military resources and even some surpluses. The RAF was receiving large numbers of Lancaster and Halifax bombers to operate in consort with the growing force of USAAF bombers. Fighter numbers were continuing to increase and newer Spitfire models and new types were entering service. That would permit the movement of older aircraft types to the Middle East and then to the Far East. The Hurricane was becoming obsolescent in the European theatre but was still a very capable aircraft and displaying a capability to provide ground attack effectively. Armed with large canon it was a credible tank killer and with bombs it would fill a niche in the bombing capabilities. Blenheim and Wellington bombers were becoming surplus to European requirements but were still capable machines that could be spared for the Middle and Far East. In addition, the RAF and Commonwealth air forces were receiving bombers and fighters from the US, with the B-24 Liberator proving a valuable aircraft in the Middle and Far East. The author has lifted the lid on what was in many respects a forgotten war that never received the attention it deserved. He has also covered the courageous attempts the RAF, SAAF, and RAAF crews who tried to provide supplies and support to the Polish patriots during the Warsaw Uprising. The attempts were to prove futile but the long haul from the Mediterranean airfields, using Liberator crews, were the best chance available, much like bombing raids on Romanian oil fields that were beyond the reach of bombers flying out of Britain.