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.
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.