Clash of Eagles, USAAF 8th Air Force Bombers Versus The Luftwaffe in World War II

The author is a leading aviation historian covering the air war of WWII. This is a softback edition of a book first published in hardback in 2006. It is one of the best accounts of its subject – Very Highly Recommended.


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NAME: Clash of Eagles, USAAF 8th Air Force Bombers Versus The 
Luftwaffe in World War II
FILE: R2584
AUTHOR: Martin W Bowman
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back
PAGES:  254
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War Two, World War 2, Second World War, 
European Air War, USAAF, Luftwaffe, bombers, raids, defence, 
tactics, people, aircraft

ISBN: 1-52671-146-X

IMAGE: B2584.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y7sj2rsx
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: The author is a leading aviation historian covering 
the air war of WWII.  This is a softback edition of a book first 
published in hardback in 2006. It is one of the best accounts of 
its subject – Very Highly Recommended.

WWII saw the greatest air war ever undertaken. Around the world 
aviators were in combat but never in the concentrations seen over 
Europe. For Britain, the evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940 meant that 
a direct conflict of large land forces was not possible until the 
Allies were ready to make landings on the beaches of Occupied Europe. 
Commando raiding began shortly after Dunkirk in ever larger and more 
original attacks, aimed at maintaining British morale and preparing 
for the day when large scale landings could be made. However, these 
were pin pricks in relative terms. The air war therefore became the 
real second front, reducing the German ability to wage war and taking 
some pressure off the Soviet forces as they tried to move from retreat 
to counter-attack. There may never be full agreement on the part 
bombing played in the defeat of Germany but no one can deny the impact 
of bombing on the German civilian population, the German war industry 
and the way that it sucked vital materials away from the Eastern Front. 
By mid 1944, the bombing had weakened the German ability to resist and 
allowed the Allies to establish air superiority over Normandy and much 
of Occupied Europe. Without that superiority, the Normandy Landings 
might not have been attempted, but had they still gone ahead the 
outcome would have been far from assured.

The entry into WWII by the US had many important benefits for Britain 
but none so important as the arrival of the USAAF 8th Air Force in 
Britain. The extra bombers and fighters were an immediate advantage 
but the real benefit was much greater than just numbers, and also a 
happy accident. The RAF lacked long range fighter escorts and although 
Bomber Command had equipped most of its bombers with three power 
turrets for defensive guns, they were still limited to rifle calibre 
machine guns. That meant that they were at a serious disadvantage 
against modern fighter aircraft flown with skill and determination, 
exactly the opposition the Luftwaffe could mount. As a result, the 
RAF bombers were used mainly for night raids where the darkness 
reduced the enemy advantage somewhat. The cost of that was in 
bombing accuracy which was addressed by radio navigation aids, 
pathfinder aircraft marking targets and eventually radar aiming.

To counter the RAF raids, the Germans were forced to build an 
advanced command and control system with radar and a grid that 
contained night fighters in each square. To that had to be added 
light and heavy anti-aircraft guns and search light batteries. The 
cost in time, money and scarce resources was enormous. Soldiers that 
were needed on the East Front and eventually in Normandy were taken 
back to the German homeland to man the air defences. The heavy AAA 
guns in particular were of the types desperately needed to arm heavy 
tanks and as anti-tank artillery. That situation was bad enough for the 
Germans, but the USAAF bombers presented a different set of threats 
that further critically stretched the German defences. As long range 
fighter escorts became available to follow the bombers all the way to 
and from the targets, the defending fighters were placed at disadvantage 
and their losses soon mounted. The USAAF bombers were also able to bomb 
with greater accuracy and cause maximum industrial damage.

When targets were bombed around the clock, the night bombers were greatly 
assisted by the fires caused by USAAF accurate daylight bombing. 

The author has very ably set out the situation and the struggle for aerial 
supremacy. The text is supported by a very good photo plate section. Not 
a book to be missed.