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Hell Hawks!: The Untold Story of the American Fliers Who Savaged Hitler's Wehrmacht [Kindle Edition]

Robert F. Dorr , Thomas D. Jones
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Hell Hawks sets a new standard for histories of the tactical anti-war in Europe. Veteran authors Bob Dorr and Tom Jones combine masterfully crafted veteran interviews with the broader picture of the air war fought by the Thunderbolt men. You gain a new appreciation of just how tough their deadly task was, and the courage needed to fly close air support against the Nazi fighters and flak. This outstanding book raises the bar on aviation history as it brings alive the true story of an aerial band of brothers." - Colonel Walter J. Boyne, National Aviation Hall of Famer, former director of the National Air & Space Museum, and best-selling author
Hell Hawks! is the story of the band of young American fighter pilots, and their gritty, close-quarters fight against Hitlers vaunted military. The "Hell Hawks" were the men and machines of the 365th Fighter Group.

Beginning just prior to D-Day, June 6, 1944, the groups young pilots (most were barely twenty years old and fresh from flight training in the United States) flew in close support of Eisenhowers ground forces as they advanced across France and into Germany. They flew the rugged, heavily armed P-47 Thunderbolt, aka the Jug. Living in tents amid the cold mud of their front-line airfields, the 365ths daily routine had much in common with that of the G.I.s they supported.

Their war only stopped with the Nazi surrender on May 8, 1945. During their year in combat, the Hell Hawks paid a heavy price to win the victory. Sixty-nine pilots and airmen died in the fight across the continent. The Groups 1,241 combat missions -- the daily confrontation of sudden, violent death -- forged bonds between these men that remain strong sixty years later. This book will tell their story, the story of the Hell Hawks.

Editorial Reviews


"The product of four years of research, [Hell Hawks!] doesn't merely entertain with 'I was there' tales of intrepid aviators, it takes the reader back to a time of our 'greatest generation,' and puts one alongside boys just out of their teens, uprooted from their peacetime lives and thrust, for example, into the cauldron of the Battle of the Bulge...gripping, accurate, and engaging."


""The product of four years of research, ["Hell Hawks!"] doesn't merely entertain with 'I was there' tales of intrepid aviators, it takes the reader back to a time of our 'greatest generation, ' and puts one alongside boys just out of their teens, uprooted from their peacetime lives and thrust, for example, into the cauldron of the Battle of the Bulge...gripping, accurate, and engaging."

Product Details

  • File Size: 3814 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Zenith Press; First edition (November 10, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GHOHP2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,383 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Hell Hawks! brings to life the air war in Europe, using daily missions of the 365th Fighter Group, 9th US Air Force. My dad flew a P-47 Thunderbolt with the 371st FG, and was lost on a mission over Cherbourg two weeks after the D-Day Normandy Landings. There are many books out that tell the story of our heroes on the beaches. We thirsted for one that describes the "band of brothers" who took part in the Liberation of Europe from the air. Now we have one! Anyone interested in a detailed history of one group that was so typical of all should have this tome!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dorr Scores Well, As Expected August 18, 2008
As the owner of many of Bob Dorr's books, I have come to expect that anything he produces will be well-researched, well-presented, and very well-written. "Hell Hawks!" is right up there not only with Dorr's other works but with the best in Be There combat writing. Here's an example: "The German pilot ran flat-out low...threading the needle between a church steeple and tall brick smokestack. Narrow streets raced under the wings of Kraman's P-47 as he engaged the throttle button triggering emergency water injection. His Pratt & Whitney surged as Kraman squeezed off short bursts at his quarry, the enemy banking abruptly left and right to throw off the American's aim. Across the Rhine, farther into Germany, the pair raced east..."

Dorr and co-author Thomas D. Jones (USAF Academy grad, ex-B-52 driver, veteran of four NASA space shuttle flights) also rightly recognize the guys who weren't strapping into the 365th Fighter Group's P-47s: "The men with stripes on their arms didn't pilot Jugs, but they made warfare in the Jug possible." We tend to forget that the aircraft of WW II, after all, were just 15 years removed from Lindbergh's Ryan NYP of 1927 but were very complex machines. The authors salute the men with the stripes well.

The results of close to 200 interviews of 365th FG veteans, other combat vets, family members, and more, plus four years of research, "Hell Hawks!" is loaded with the day-to-day details of fighting a tenaciously fierce enemy, demonstrating throughout the book that ground attack combat was a deadly way to earn your flight pay. The authors bring the personalities of the young pilots alive as well as provide a big picture of Allied strategy and the pace of war from D-Day to victory. This is an excellent book not only for military historians but for anyone who enjoys aviation writers at the top of their game. Splendid!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bullet Riddled, Oil Drenched, Loco-Busting Action January 25, 2009
The P-47 fighter-bomber story and all that surrounds it -- the plane and the men that it served -- are brought to life in Robert F. Dorr and Thomas D. Jones's new book, "Hell Hawks!" Mr. Jones, a veteran astronaut, B-52D pilot, on Kindle see his Marine Air: The History of the Flying Leathernecks in Words and Photos, and Mr. Dorr, a former senior diplomat, are veteran authors in the field of aviation history and space exploration. In this book, they give us drama and emotion, a powerful sense of history combined with illuminating action.

Dorr and Jones's well-told story belies the cliche about Flying Fortresses and Mustangs winning the war: Their narrative is absorbing and enjoyable to read.

Introducing the voices of numerous pilots, ground crewmen, and enemies, Dorr and Jones blend a trove of original interviews to create an air men's history of the 365th Fighter Group and the vast destruction it wrought.

Chronicling the Thunderbolt's interdiction war makes for an exciting narrative. It brings new light to the historical importance of ground attacks by fighter-bombers that wielded great devastation on German military forces.

The term for fighter-bombers -- or what authors Dorr and Jones, using the German's own coinage, have called "Jabos" -- are tactical ground attack aircraft such as the Soviet Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik, RAF Hawker Typhoon, and the USAAF Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.

But, for all its familiarity and indisputable greatness, the P-47 Thunderbolt's beginnings and the development of its mission are not generally understood in comparison to the glamous North American P-51 Mustang.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars War through the eyes a P-47 veteran November 27, 2008
Hell Hawks provides well documented, first hand accounts of P-47 crews on the front lines of World War II from D-Day to V-E Day. It is as much a collection of individual stories as it is a chronological account of their (and the Allied Army) march through Europe.

Mssrs. Dorr and Jones retell these stories eloquently, not holding back on the emotional state of pilots and the ugliness of war. We see the consequences of inexact targeting among civilian and military targets, the detachment pilots had to maintain in order to focus on their jobs, German citizens taking retribution out on downed pilots, distain for incompetence of ranking officers and the sheer heroism displayed by the pilots and ground crews as they trudged through the mud and inhospitable living/operating conditions to complete their missions.

This book provided me a much better understanding of a less recognized but critically important aspect of the war.

As a collection of stories, the book was at times disjointed. More detailed maps and a glossary of protagonists would have helped me to keep track of the story. All in all, this is a great book and an appropriate tribute to those men of the 365th FG.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Just in the first few chapters but very good detail and has kept my...
Just in the first few chapters but very good detail and has kept my interest throughout Be a great movie!
Published 11 days ago by PurchasednVA
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book,captivating read
My father worked for Republic Farmingdale from 1934 to 1964 building jigs for assuring that parts were absolutely interchangeable. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Frank Hubbard
5.0 out of 5 stars A good friend of mine flew with the Hell Hawks in ...
A good friend of mine flew with the Hell Hawks in the 387th squadron so this book has a more personal meaning for me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by richard wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
iys a good book
Published 4 months ago by Floyd W. Meentemeyer
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Hell Hawks' a solid read for the historian, modeler and layman
A good, readable account of an aspect of WW II aerial operations that gets little popular attention - the Ninth Air Force's interdiction and close air support campaign in Western... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mike Still
5.0 out of 5 stars P-47 Fans
Great read, especially for P-47 fans. I suspect that many P-47 fans believe that the P-51 gets most of the good press, similar to what the B-17 received, compared with the B-24. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Pop
5.0 out of 5 stars an interesting history.
This was a great look at heros whose story was waiting to be told. It was good to hear about the contribution made by P-47 pilots when so many historians have focused on the famous... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good History of P-47 Pilots
A very complete history of the P-47 pilots and the crews who supported them who were called the Hell Hawks. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Bill R
5.0 out of 5 stars Hell of a Good Book!
This is an amazing story of a group of fliers whose job was to destroy the enemy on the ground while their comrades, with task of shooting down enemy airplanes, were getting all... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Joseph J. Daileda Sr.
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of informaton but confusing
Perhaps in an attempt to be complete and make sure all fliers involved were mentioned a lot of information is repeated. Still worth reading.
Published 8 months ago by norton850
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