Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

Bombing the European Axis Powers: A Historical Digest of the Combined Bomber Offensive, 1939-1945

Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

Bombing the European Axis Powers: A Historical Digest of the Combined Bomber Offensive, 1939-1945

Article excerpt

Bombing the European Axis Powers: A Historical Digest of the Combined Bomber Offensive, 1939-1945 by Richard G. Davis. Air University Press (http://www.maxwell.af.mil/au/aul/aupress), 131 West Shumacher Avenue, Maxwell AFB, Alabama 36112-5962, 2006, 648 pages, $55.00 (softcover). Free download available from http:// www.au.af.mil/au/aul/aupress/Books/Davis _B99/Davis_B99.pdf.

In Bombing the European Axis Powers: A Historical Digest of the Combined Bomber Offensive, 1939-1945, Dr. Richard Davis demonstrates his talent for extensive research and analysis, guiding the reader through virtually every conceivable facet of planning and execution faced by Anglo-American forces in World War II. His detailed descriptions of missions performed by the Allied command reflect his extensive use of sources, including original government documents for verifying all of the bombing statistics. The book includes a CD-ROM containing a listing of numerous spreadsheets, charts, aircraft diagrams, maps, and historic photos, the latter two useful in helping the reader visualize the bombing campaign. The spreadsheets' and charts' organization of the information makes analysis of the bombing operations as simple as comparing numbers on a screen.

The book begins with a comprehensive overview of the difficulties that attended the organization of Allied forces; it then proceeds with a monthly chronology of the war. Through subsequent chapters, Davis reveals many important points that greatly affected the war effort:

* Reluctance of Allies to admit to city bombing until the end of the war despite dedicating numerous sorties for this purpose.

* Arguments between advocates of the Royal Air Force's (RAF) night bombing and those who championed the Army Air Forces (AAF) daylight bombing, leading to creation of the Combined Bomber Offensive.

* Gen Carl Spaatz's and other commanders' combat-tour policies and their effect on morale and survival of aircrews.

* Radar development and testing on aircraft by the RAF and modifications by the AAF.

* Mine-laying operations and their value. …

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