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Bomber Offensive, by Sir Arthur Harris, GCB, OBE, AFC

Discussion in 'Book Reviews' started by ColHessler, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    Length, 288 pages, including index

    Sir Arthur Harris gives us in his own words the struggle of RAF Bomber Command when he lead it, from 1942, to 1945.
    He pulls no punches, and it starts from the first page. He and his family were coming home to England from his assignment as AOC Palestine in 1939. His wife saw that there were circles drawn on deck, and Harris said is was for placement of gun mounts, and that their liner would become an armed merchantman. She was the Rawalpindi, who would be lost at the hands of the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Harris called that an unpardonable sacrifice to the parsimony of governments.

    He tells us of his early life, and going to Rhodesia, where he joined up in 1914 and served as a bugler in German South West Africa. he went on to the Royal Flying Corps, and "drifted" into the RAF after the peace was declared.

    He was Deputy Chief of Air Staff in 1940 when London was being blitzed, and he could see the fires from the roof of the Air Ministry. He takes pains to remind us that he inherited the "area bombing" strategy, which his critics seem to think he came up with, when he took over Bomber Command in 1942.

    Harris goes over the bombing offensive, starting with the first Thousand Bomber Raid on Cologne. He tells us of the navigational aids, like Gee, Oboe, and H2S, to get the results needed, and how he fought to keep his bombers from being diverted to "panacea" targets, like synthetic oil plants.

    If he fails in anything, it is not having some pictures to go with his commentary, like shots of the Lancasters of the Dambuster Raid, or the leaders he talks about.

    Overall, this is a great view from the top of a great air force in war, and what he has to deal with. Give it a try.
     
    lwd likes this.

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