Through Blue Skies to Hell: America's "Bloody 100th" in the Air War over Germany by Edward M. Sion
This book provides a comprehensive look at air war over Europe during the climactic year of World War II, combining firsthand experience with expert analysis. The centerpiece is a mission-by-mission diary of 1st Lieutenant Richard R. Ayesh, bombardier on a B-17 Flying Fortress, who flew with the 100th Bombardment Group, 13th Combat Wing of the 8th Air Forcethe legendary “Bloody 100th.” He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Croix de Guerre and the Air Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, amongst others.
This book follows Ayesh’s progress from his youth during the Great Depression in Wichita, Kansas, which was rapidly becoming the air capital of the nation, to his arrival in England as a Lieutenant in a bomber crew assigned to assault the Third Reich.
Once in Europe, the author provides a look at the principles of American daylight strategic bombing, while relaying the overall military situation on the ground and in the air just after D-Day. This work is uniquely self-contained and covers all aspects of Air War in a clear, concise, yet nontechnical manner. Topics include photo-reconnaissance, munitions and bomb types, aircraft characteristics, fighter and bomber tactics, bomber formations, strategic target selection, radars, countermeasures and counter-counter measures. The unaltered diary of Lt. Ayesh is presented mission-by-mission, punctuated by tragedy and heroism, with explanations and commentary of the significance of events and actions described en route. The result is one of the most frank and exciting works on the air war over Europe to date.
There is no varnishing of words in this book, instead, after Lt. Ayesh is followed on his perilous return home in U-boat infested waters, the book assesses the effectiveness of US strategy in ultimately paralyzing the Nazi war machine. Finally, the complex moral issues raised by area and city bombing are explored with 21st century implications.
EDWARD M. SION Ph.D. currently resides with his wife and two children in Radnor, PA
Edward Sion Ph.D., is currently Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Villanova University. He has held visiting positions at Arizona State, the University of Toulouse and the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute. He has authored 185 peer-reviewed publications, primarily on the end stages of stellar evolution. The father of two grown children, he currently resides with his wife in Radnor, PA.
Table of Contents
1. GROWING UP IN THE AIR CAPITAL 2. THE MAKING OF AN AIRMAN 3. THE BOMBARDIER’S ARSENAL 4. TOP SECRET BOMBSIGHT 5. BOMBER FORMATIONS & FIGHTER TACTICS 6. BLIND BOMBING, RADARS AND PFF 7. HEADING TO COMBAT 8. WELCOME TO THORPE ABBOTTS 9. LEGEND OF THE BLOODY HUNDREDTH 10. SITUATION GROUND WAR, POST D-DAY 11. SITUATION AIR WAR, FALL 1944 12. THE NERVE CENTER AT HIGH WYCOMBE 13. THE AIR WAR ON SYNTHETIC OIL 14. GERMAN DEFENSES AGAINST BOMBERS 15. EVE OF COMBAT 16. MISSION BY MISSION (I) 17. LONDON ENCOUNTERS 18. MISSION BY MISSION (II) 19. THE LUCKY BASTARDS HEADING HOME 20. THE IMPACT OF STRATEGIC BOMBING ON FINAL VICTORY 21. 20TH CENTURY MORAL ISSUES AND 21ST CENTURY IMPLICATIONS