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Bloody April...Black September Hardcover – April, 1995

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Grub Street; First Edition edition (April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1898697086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1898697084
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 7.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,834,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By J. Weller on January 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book is in two parts, one covering Bloody April, by Franks, and one covering Black September, by Guest. Each part starts with a brief description of the orders of battle and the main objectives, then goes into a daily narrative of all the combats: planes, pilots, squadrons, times, and places of all fights, along with the claims and losses for each side. Each day ends with a grim list of Allied casualties and a comparison of the total claims of both sides to the actual losses for which records exist. Interspersed in the catalog of each day's events are snippets from personal accounts and interesting historical comments.
As a statistical handbook, the book is invaluable. However, the authors make little attempt to analyze the fighting in the depth that their obviously vast collection of data would allow. The book is essentially a narrative of the dry facts of the encounters. Who ordered all these missions and why? Who planned them? How, in detail, did the squadrons carry out their various task? What did the average pilot in 57 Squadron think about going out again the day after a massacre at the hands of the Jastas? And most importantly, who won? One reads of the battles fought and their outcomes, but what about the planes that saw no enemies? What percentage of the RFC's missions were successful even in the slaughter of Bloody April? Such information would have been of great assistance to the reader and made the book a more complete reference work.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steven D. Page on December 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Norman Franks, Russell Guest and Frank Bailey are the League of WW1 Aviation Historians answer to "Mythbusters". They have gone to astounding measures to research every day's reports of the two most costly months of air combat in WW1, and their finding are impressive. During the great offensives of April 1917 and September 1918, the allies put enough men and planes in the air to achieve air superiority, and made impressive claims for German aircraft shot down.The Germans, while fighting mostly over their own lines, defensively, also had huge "kill numbers". By cross referencing the after action reports, especially both sides' loss reports, it is obvious that both sides overstated there aerial successes; the German by about ten percent, the British claiming about nine planes "destroyed" or "forced down out of control" for every German plane actually written off.

The authors conclusions are logical. This was a time before gun cameras. Observers on two-seater planes often had only seconds to get off a shot. If a formation of eight bombers all fired at one German plane, and seconds later one of their own planes went down in flames, it very well might be reported as seven Enemy Aircraft falling in flames. The pilots and observer/gunners had more important work than watching hit planes fall. Allied fighters faced similar problems. Although he Allies had overall numbers on the Germans, often the Germans would move units to achieve local air superiority. Other factors cited include tactical doctrine, huge influxes of newly trained fliers, and the impact of a new "super machine" such as the BMW engined Fokker dVII.
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