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Dam Busters: The True Story of the Inventors…

Dam Busters: The True Story of the Inventors and Airmen Who Led the…

by James Holland

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Thorough research and lucid writing make this an excellent read about one of the most devastating bombing raids of WW2. And, it was carried out by 19 RAF Lancasters. ( )
  jamespurcell | Oct 17, 2016 |
The first chapter chronicles a bombing raid on Augsburg in April, 1942 which was the first by the new Lancaster bomber on Germany. It was also a daytime raid because it was felt that the bombers flying together would have enough firepower to deter fighters. However, the diversionary raids by other bombers and fighter over France ended to soon and German fighters saw the bombers in the distance and chased them down. Only one made it home and thus it was thought that daylight raids were to expensive in men & machines. The raid had also been a low level flight and that had made it easy for the fighters to attack from above.

This leads us into the raid on the dams as it was to be a low level raid deep into Germany using the Lancaster carrying a new untried weapon. The first we are introduced to the many characters who will make this happen. They include Barnes Wallis, the inventor, Guy Gibson the raid leader, Bomber Harris, the bomber Commander leader, and the Air Chief Marshall Sir Charles Portal who put his neck out by backing the idea of the bouncing bomb and the raid. We meet many of the raiders through their letters or from the men who survived. Holland interviewed some of the survivors and their girl friends & wives.

The effect of destroying the dams on the Germany war effort has been played down by historians and left some of the surviving airmen questioning the cost of the raid. However, Holland points out that while the Germans rebuilt the dams in about 5 months, the cost in men and materials much of which came from the building of the Atlantic wall probably insured the coastal defenses were weaker then they would have been and made the D-Day landings more feasible. It also slowed production of aircraft, stopped coal production destroyed electrical power sources and much more.

Holland also interviewed German survivors of the flood that followed and painted a picture of what it was like to below the dams that night as the water thundered down on them. Thus we have a first hand view of the damaged wrought on the Ruhr Valley.

Of the nineteen raiders who set our, only 11 returned. ( )
  lamour | Mar 2, 2014 |
A brilliantly narrated & written book about Operation CHASTISE, which is both approachable & paced extremely well. It almost reads like a thriller, yet we know its a true story. Excellent & authoritative. Exhaustive research really shows, particularly from the human angle. The British come out well here, from Bomber Command & the senior officers to Gibson & his officers to the individual airmen, as well as Barnes Wallis himself. The issue of how effective the raids were in inhibiting & affecting the German war machine in a vital point in the war, is addressed & more comprehensively discussed than other historians. Wholeheartedly recommended. ( )
  aadyer | Sep 13, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0593066766, Hardcover)

Product Description The night of May 16th, 1943. Nineteen specially adapted Lancaster bombers take off from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, each with a huge 9,000lb cylindrical bomb strapped underneath it. Their mission: to destroy three dams deep within the German heartland, which provide the lifeblood to the industries supplying the Third Reich's war machine. From the outset it was an almost impossible task, a suicide mission: to fly low and at night in formationover many miles of enemy-occupied territory at the very limit of the Lancasters' capacity, and drop a new weapon that had never been tried operationally before from a precise height of just sixty feet from the water at some of the most heavily defended targets in Germany. More than that, the entire operation had to be put together in less than ten weeks. When visionary aviation engineer Barnes Wallis's concept of the bouncing bomb was green lighted, he hadn't even drawn up his plans for the weapon that was to smash the dams. What followed was an incredible race against time, which, despite numerous setbacks and against huge odds, became one of the most successful and game-changing bombing raids of all time. About the Author James Holland was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and studied history at Durham University. A member of the British Commission for Military History and the Guild of Battlefield Guides, he also regularly contributes reviews and articles in national newspapers and magazines and appears on national radio. His books include Fortress Malta, Italy's Sorrow, The Battle of Britain and his fictional WW2 series featuring Sergeant Jack Tanner. He has also made acclaimed television programmes on the Battle of Britain and the Dambusters raid for BBC. His many interviews with veterans of the Second World War are available at the Imperial War Museum and are also archived on www.secondworldwarforum.com.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:18 -0400)

An account of the daring May 1943 mission to destroy three heavily defended German dams documents the ten-week race to create the necessary weapons and orchestrate a bombing raid that nearly cost the lives of its pilots.

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