Another book from one of Britain’s best-known aviation historians, impeccably researched, well-written and well-illustrated. The story of RAF light bomber raids is not well known because news at the time, and historians since, have concentrated on the heavy bomber raids. – Highly Recommended
NAME: The Reich Intruders, RAF Light Bomber Raids in World War II FILE: R2854 AUTHOR: Martin W Bowman PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: soft back PAGES: 256 PRICE: £14.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: World War 2, World War II, WWII, Second World War, RAF, Royal Air Force, light bomber, European Theatre, Blenheim, Boston, Mitchell, Mosquito, No.2 Group
IMAGE: B2854.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/yxeu5xae LINKS: DESCRIPTION: Another book from one of Britain's best-known aviation historians, impeccably researched, well-written and well-illustrated. The story of RAF light bomber raids is not well known because news at the time, and historians since, have concentrated on the heavy bomber raids. – Highly Recommended The RAF started World War Two with a mainly light bomber fleet. The Whitley and Wellington bombers had good range but were twin engine medium bombers, useful against targets in Germany rather than the basis of a real strategic bombing force. Once the new heavy bombers entered squadron service, the medium bombers made up the numbers to achieve the first 1,000 bomber raids. News and historic focus has been largely on these massive strategic bombing raids, leaving the light bombers a much under-told story. In 1939 the RAF had Fairy Battle squadrons that were sent to France and mauled badly by the Luftwaffe, being single engine bombers with no effective defensive armament and obsolescent at best. The twin engine Hampdens and Blenheims were little better. The result was relatively heavy losses in exchange for little result in spite of the courage of their crews. The Blenheims served on past their prime operational life but they did set the standard for precision low level attacks on high value targets. As American aircraft started to join RAF squadrons the Bostons increased numbers but made little technical improvement in light bomber capability. The Mitchells did provide much improved capability and were important additions to RAF strength. However, the outstanding light bomber was to be the Mosquito that was very fast, very manoeuvrable, and able to lift a maximum bomb load close to that of US heavy bombers. The Mosquito fighter-bombers proved particularly useful with four machine guns and four 20mm cannon in addition to a bomb load that included 4,000 lb bombs. The Blenheims and Bostons were pressed into service against vitally important targets and Blenheims undertook the first offensive raids on German targets. They established the practice of very low level attacks where precision was demanded and the German defences were very strong. The Mitchells and Mosquitoes then followed on with greater capability in terms of speed, endurance and bomb load. Perhaps the classic light bomber raids were the pinpoint attacks by Mosquitoes on German interrogation centres holding resistance fighters and British agents. In one raid a Mosquito tossed a 1,000 lb bomb through the front door of an SS SD barracks. The bomb then skidded along the hall floor, down a flight steps and exploded in the crowded air raid shelter. This reviewer spoke with a French lady some years ago who, as a young woman, saw another Mosquito raid pass her apartment. Her apartment was on the second floor with a small balcony overlooking the main road. There had been no air raid alarm but she heard the loud noise of close aircraft engines and the windows vibrated. She looked out onto the street as the next group of aircraft roared up the street as she looked down onto them. She said that she waved and one of the crews looked up and waved back. The author has provided a moving and exciting account of the light bomber raids by No. 2 Group light bombers. It is a remarkable story of great skill and bravery by a branch of the RAF has been largely neglected.