Decisive military missions are sometimes the brainchilds of scientists and engineers instead of generals. The destruction of Germany’s hydroelectric dams by the Royal Air Force in 1943 was one such decisive mission. Veteran military historian Holland (The Battle of Britain) has composed an impeccably researched work in the style of a fast-paced techno-thriller. Part one centers on the campaign of British aircraft designer Barnes Wallis to bring to the attention of military planners his ideas regarding bombing of German dams, despite the furious opposition of Air Marshal Arthur Harris, leader of Britain’s Bomber Command. When the plan was finally approved, the various players had only eight weeks to produce the necessary new equipment, train, and execute the mission. This process is the subject of part two of Holland’s book. The third part follows the 19 RAF bombers on their dangerous low-altitude night mission against the dams—a mission many didn’t not survive. Holland offers an authoritative account of a brilliant military operation conceived by a creative civilian; an excellent read for those with an interest in military and aviation history. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/26/2013 Release date: 11/01/2013 Genre: Nonfiction
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