Academic journal article Military Review

Sarajevo: A War Journal

Academic journal article Military Review

Sarajevo: A War Journal

Article excerpt

COURAGE AND AIR WARFARE: The Allied Aircrew Experience in the Second World War by Mark K. Wells. 240 pages. Frank Cass Publishers, London. 1995. $40.00 hardcover. $22.00 paperback.

In his new work Courage and Air Warfare, Mark K. Wells provides refreshing insight into the day-to-day experiences of individual bomber and fighter aircrews in the Combined Bomber Offensive. Throughout the study, he interweaves two useful and interesting comparisons. First, he exposes both the differences and similarities between the US and British experiences during the "most sustained and intensive air battle ever fought." Second, since strategic air forces contained fighter aircraft in their inventories, he covers the differences between air warfare in a high-performance, single-seat fighter and the lumbering, crew-served bomber.

Wells begins his study with a detailed section on aircrew selection, followed by a chapter on air combat's danger and violence. The long missions at high altitude and severe temperatures added to the stresses of fending off German fighters and dodging heavy flak. The fear of sudden death in a campaign that cost the Allies 81,000 aircrew dead and more than 18,000 aircraft-played no small role in the combat effectiveness of the Allied bomber and fighter units. Later chapters examine combat stress and treatment, morale, leadership and the emotive subject of "lack of moral fiber."

Wells addresses topics such as why the aircrews enlisted in their respective air forces, what they went through, how they responded to stress and anxiety and how they were medically treated. …

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