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The Berlin Raids: R.A.F. Bomber Command Winter 1943/44 Paperback – October 2, 1990
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From Publishers Weekly
No other bombing campaign in World War II against a single target was pressed so relentlessly for so long, and at such a cost, as British Bomber Command's seven-month campaign to break the German will by destroying Berlin. More than 10,000 sorties were launched, more than 30,000 tons of bombs dropped. Six hundred and seven British aircraft were lost. Balancing the cost of the campaign against advantages gained, the official Royal Air Force historian concluded early on that the Battle of Berlin "was more than a failure. It was a defeat." Middlebrook ( The First Day on the Somme ) isn't so condemning, although he judges that Luftwaffe night-fighters in combination with ground anti-aircraft defenses hurt Bomber Command more than Bomber Command harmed Berlin. His straightforward narrative covers the 19 major raids, with a detailed description of three in particular, and includes recollections by British and German airmen as well as German civilians who weathered the storm that lasted throughout the winter of 1943-44. Photos.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Middlebrook sets the stage thusly:
' The battles of Bomber Command were not fought out between two sets of formed adversaries as in conventional combat. It is true that the Luftwaffe tried to engage the bombers and wear down their strength, but more than nine out of every ten bombers usually reached the target area unscathed, and it was here that the true battle was fought, between the tonnage of bombs dropped and the target city itself. The true German 'side' in the Battle of Berlin were the city's air-raid organization and civil administration, the resilience of its public services and of its industrial and commercial firms, and, above all, the spirit and will-power of the civilian population. ' (p. 21) This almost duplicates the 'London Blitz' three years earlier.
With first-person accounts, Middlebrook tells both the RAF and Luftwaffe experiences, numbers involved, and casualties. He compares the differences between one raid of the series and the next, for conditions often favored the defenders. There were also diversionary raids and nearby communities hit. I am impressed with pictures of the massive buildings supporting large caliber flak guns built on the zoo grounds.
By 1945, the Russian army churned the rubble with artillery, creating more roadblocked streets and reducing what little housing available. And the people did not revolt. The most to be said is that the sacrifices by RAF crews mocked Goering, tied down Flak battalions and interfered with train transport.