In Big Week, acclaimed World War II historian James Holland chronicles the massive air battle through the experiences of those who lived and died during it. Prior to Big Week, the air forces on both sides were in crisis. Allied raids into Germany were being decimated, but German resourcesfuel and pilotswere strained to the breaking point. Ultimately new Allied aircraftespecially the American long-range P-51 Mustangand superior tactics won out during Big Week. Through interviews, oral histories, diaries, and official records, Holland follows the fortunes of pilots, crew, and civilians on both sides, taking readers from command headquarters to fighter cockpits to anti-aircraft positions and civilian chaos on the ground, vividly recreating the campaign as it was conceived and unfolded. In the end, the six days of intense air battles largely cleared the skies of enemy aircraft when the invasion took place on June 6, 1944D-Day.
Big Week is both an original contribution to WWII literature and a brilliant piece of narrative history, recapturing a largely forgotten campaign that was one of the most critically important periods of the entire war.
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)|
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February 19, 1944
Some 170 miles away to the south at US Strategic Air Force Headquarters at Bushey Park, General Toohey Spaatz was taking direct control of Operation ARGUMENT. While he still believed air power alone could bring about the defeat of Germany, he had accepted that OVERLORD was going to happen and that from April, his strategic air forcesand those of the RAFwould come under the direct authority of Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander.
Yet for OVERLORD to be successful, that all-important criteriaair superiority over much of France and northern Europeremained. Since the start of the year, Eighth Air Force had been chipping away at the Luftwaffe. Doolittle’s and Kepner’s new fighter tactics were bearing fruit and with more long-range Mustangs on their way, the time was right for a much more concentrated and sustained assault on the Luftwaffe. No longer was it a matter of bombers heading to a target, dropping bombs and heading back. It was also now a matter of using the bomber formations as bait to entice the German fighters into combat with their own increasingly large fighter force. Strategic air power had always been about bombers. Now, six months after the first deep-penetration bombing raids, that belief had been cast aside, because perhaps even more important than the bombers were the fighters. Fighters piloted by men of superior skill and training. Fighter aircraft that had greater speed and agility than those of the enemy and in greater numbers. Fighters that had greater endurance too, that could maraud deep into Germany, hammering the beleaguered enemy in the air and on the ground.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Well written book about a vital, but under appreciated, segment of WW II. It gives the big picture as well as personal stories. Excellent pictures, diagrams, charts and portraits I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about the air strategy, tactics and operations in WW II.