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Hell Hawks!: The Untold Story of the American Fliers Who Savaged Hitler's Wehrmacht Hardcover – June 15, 2008
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"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."
From the Inside Flap
Hell Hawks! is the story of a band of young American pilots and their gritty, close-quarters fight against Hitler’s vaunted military. The Hell Hawks were the 365th Fighter Group, three squadrons of fighter-bomber pilots. Beginning just prior to D-Day, June 6, 1944, these pilots fresh from flight training in the United States (most were barely twenty years old), flew in close support of Eisenhower’s ground forces as they advanced across France and into Germany.
They flew the rugged, heavily armed P-47 Thunderbolt—affectionately known as “the Jug”—a big tub of a plane that could absorb a pounding from the enemy and still fly back home. Living in tents amid the cold mud of their front-line airfields, the 365th’s daily routine had much in common with the GIs they supported. During their year in combat, the Hell Hawks paid a heavy price for the Nazi surrender on May 8, 1945. Sixty-nine pilots and airmen died in the fight across the continent. The Group’s 1,241 combat missions forged bonds between these men that remain strong sixty years later. Many of them were interviewed for this book, bringing the Hell Hawks’ fight against the Reich to life in their own words.
Robert F. Dorr is an Air Force veteran (Korea, 1957–1960), a retired senior American diplomat (1964–1989), and the author of sixty books and thousands of magazine articles and newspaper columns about the Air Force and air warfare. In the past year, Bob has written for Air and Space Smithsonian, Flight Journal, Air Forces Monthly, Air Power History, and many other publications. He is a columnist for Air Force Times newspaper and writes the Washington Watch feature for Aerospace America magazine. His recent book, Air Force One, a history of presidential aircraft and air travel, has been praised by critics. Bob lives in Oakton, Virginia, with his family and their Labrador retriever.
Thomas D. Jones, PhD, is a veteran NASA astronaut, scientist, speaker, author, and consultant. He holds a doctorate in planetary sciences, and during eleven years with NASA flew on four space shuttle missions, totaling fifty-three days in space. Tom is a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and piloted B-52D strategic bombers prior to joining NASA’s astronaut corps. He has written about space exploration and aviation history in Air and Space Smithsonian, Aerospace America, and Popular Mechanics. He is the co-author of two young adult books, Mission: Earth and The Scholastic Encyclopedia of the United States at War, as well as The Complete Idiot’s Guide to NASA. His autobiography is Sky Walking: An Astronaut’s Memoir. Tom is a regular on-air contributor for Fox News Channel’s spaceflight coverage and lives in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.Read more ›
HELL HAWKS is certainly well-written and does a good job of relating the combat activities of the 365th. According to the book, over 80 Hell Hawks personnel or family members were interviewed for the book and it shows in the vivid descriptions of air combat found in the book.
To be honest, I would have given HELL HAWKS 4 1/2 stars if that was possible. It did a marvelous job of relating the Group's combat achievements but didn't have as much information on behind-the-scenes/life-in-the-squadron matters, etc. which I personally enjoy reading about.
The book has an 8-page photo insert and, as others have mentioned, a cover photograph showing an 8th AF 78th FG ace!
HELL HAWKS will do just fine for air combat enthusiasts. It's a well-written, fast-paced account of air combat and equally thrilling ground attack missions 9th AF-style. Recommended.
Damn, Am I sorry I sold my copy of Johnson's book years ago...$350.00!?!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Puts you in the cockpit with a human feel for what the pilots are going through
I have several of Bob's books. All very well written.
A good read for the WWII buff, particularly if you're into paper drop-tanks.Published 3 months ago by W. P. Howell
Good history of the P-47 Thunderbolt both as a fighter and great ground support. Also tells the story of the young men who flew them.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
An excellent review of the air support provided to the ground forces by the P-47.Published 4 months ago by DEW
This book makes you realize what teamwork and complete effort it takes to win a war. The "Band of Brothers" probably couldn't have done squat without air support. Read morePublished 6 months ago by G. Swanson
The history of any military unit is difficult to write without being tedious. This effort does better than most, but there are just too many principals to keep track of. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Clarence E.
Robert Dorr has taken the history of one particular fighter group and and the plane they flew and shows what sacrifice they made in fighting during WWII. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Brian Campbell
Before posting a review, I have to admit to having known Tom Jones since his first day reporting for duty at Johnson Space Center... Read morePublished 12 months ago by RealVermonter