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High Noon over Haseluenne: The 100th Bombardment Group over Berlin, March 6,1944 Hardcover – April 28, 2009
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From the Back Cover
"Lets go Lieutenant; your crew is scheduled to fly." That is how pilot Robert Shoens was awaken on a cold March morning in 1944. Little did he know that by the days end, many of the bunks in his hut would be empty and this mission would forever be synonymous with his Crew. The date was March 6, 1944, and the Eighth Air Force would launch a full scale assault on the German capital of Berlin. "High Noon over Haseluenne" is a microcosm look at one bomb group that flew the mission and the catastrophic results that ensued. The book deals with the 100th Bomb Group, "The Bloody Hundredth" and the mission that solidified that moniker. The concentrated attacks by the Luftwaffe would destroy 69 American Bombers that day, the single highest loss for any mission by the 8th Air Force and 15 of those losses would come from the 100th Bomb Group. Lt Robert Shoens is our guide. His story, and that of many other 100th BG crewmen, puts you in the melee that followed the head-on attacks by over 100 German Me109s & FW190s. We take you inside the men and machines that had to brave one of the deadliest air battles of World War II and let them tell the story. "High Noon over Haseluenne" is filled with firsthand accounts, personal diaries, letters home, news clippings and illustrated with over 200 photos. This is real history "as it happened" on the March 3-8, 1944 missions to Berlin by the 100th Bomb Group. The book is capped off by a one hundred page historical appendices compiled by noted 8th AF researcher Paul M. Andrews ("Project Bits and Pieces").
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For those doing research on a family member, this book, for me, led to me making contact with a veteran who bailed out of a plane shot down at the same time at my father's, and he gave me details on the momentous event. I'm talking about the daylight raid on Berlin of March 6, 1944.
But the stories and other information, as I said, would be interesting to anyone who wants to read about this subject. Everything about the book -- paper quality, the reproduction, even the size -- is top notch.
I'd call it must reading (and I've read a lot on this topic) for those who want to know what it was like for these brave men of several countries who confronted one another in the air war over the European continent.
Someone called Red and asked if he would sign 100 books to be sold and he agreed. He did not know that the book would be about him! Almost the whole book is, well, 20 stories because my son counted. That thrilled all of my family, because we love him so much. My son has known him for years and cannot get enough of his stories about serving in the 100 BG in England.
I asked my son if he enjoyed the book and he said, "YES!!" But before that every story he read about Red he picked up the phone to call me. Some he knew and some not, but he thoroughly enjoyed the book. I plan to purchase another copy for my brother.
BTW, if you want to know more about Red, he has a website and his whole book, "Buffalo Gal" is on his website, which is of the same name. Just google it and you'll find it. But you can buy it cheap because he said when he wrote it that he did not plan to make one dime off of it because he didn't need the money, and he hasn't. You can purchase the book from him for what it cost him to print it and mail it. That's it. I promise you. I have read that one and I enjoyed it!
At approximately noon on 6 March, the 100th BG, with no escorts nearby, was hit by 100+ FW 190s and Bf 109s from various Luftwaffe fighter wings. The German fighter pilots swept in from twelve o'clock high and, in short order, chopped down Fortress after Fortress. The sky over Haseluenne was filled with streams of tracer rounds, explosions, burning aircraft and parachuting airmen, American and German alike.
Dewez and Faley do an excellent job of documenting the course of the mission and the fate of each particpating 100th BG aircraft/aircrew. Using a variety of material - official documents, personal reminiscences, diary entries, letters, etc. - they put the reader in the cockpit as 100th crews struggle to survive against the heavily-armed and armored FW 190s and Bf 109s. Their narrative is as gripping as it is detailed; it's a masterful job of documentation. And the book is illustrated with hundreds of b&w photographs, maps, diagrams and air combat scenes.
While the book tops off at 214 pages, 90 pages of that total is given over to appendices that provide very detailed breakdowns of participating aircrew and aircraft, Luftwaffe claims and 8th AF losses, etc. The amount and depth of information Dewez and Faley present is truly awesome.
Having said all that, I had to give HIGH NOON OVER HASELUENNE a four-star rating. (Actually that should be 4 1/2 stars). Reason: no index!
In any case, any one interested in WWII air combat, especially involving the 8th Air Force, will want to check out this magnificent effort. Dewez and Faley's in-depth look at the misfortunes of one 8th AF BG at war is military aviation history at its best. Highly recommended.