The Hardest Victory: RAF Bomber Command in the Second World Warr

Denis Richards, Author W. W. Norton & Company $29.95 (393p) ISBN 978-0-393-03763-0
Richards (coauthor of The Battle of Britain) here writes of how British Bomber Command developed a force of immense power and effectiveness during WWII. Adhering to a general policy of night bombing, Royal Air Force bombers had little success in hitting precise targets such as individual factories. But from mid-1941 on, as Richards shows, they concentrated on industrial areas, which in effect meant major towns, resulting in heavy civilian casualties. He describes how Bomber Command made its first serious impact on the German homeland with the raid on Lubeck (March 28-29, 1942), followed by the awesome thousand-bomber raids and the systematic devastation of Berlin. In 1943, the U.S. Air Force joined the air assault on Germany, providing long-range fighter escorts that enabled British bombers to operate over Germany by day. Richards challenges those who believe the American tactic of precise bombing as opposed to area bombing was morally superior by documenting that the results were similar. Further, he clears up a long-standing misconception about Bomber Command's chief, Air Marshall Arthur Harris, proving that Harris neither initiated nor was responsible for maintaining the area bombing policy. Photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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