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The Mighty Eighth at War: USAAF 8th Air Force Bombers Versus the Luftwaffe 1943-1945 Kindle Edition
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At the outset, the Eighth was a relatively small unit, only able to put up a handful of bombers at a time. But, as time progressed and American manufacturing began to kick in, the Eighth began to grow. Soon, hundreds (and later, thousands) of B-17s and B-24s were participating in raids against many different types of German targets. Schweinfurt, Dresden, Hamburg, Mannheim, Brunswick, Berlin, and Bremen began to feel the wrath of the Mighty Eighth. In addition, new long-range fighters such as the P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt had been developed. These fighters could escort the bombers deep into Germany and back again. With the advent of these aircraft, the bomber losses began to get smaller. There was still the ever-present danger from flak, but the German fighters suffered more losses at the hands of the American fighters.
This book describes some of the missions flown against German targets and the author relies heavily on first-person experiences from bomber crew members to tell the story. Schweinfurt, with its all-important ball bearing facilities, was heavily targeted, and the Eighth lost large numbers of planes in raids against it. Berlin, with its heavy concentration of flak batteries, was always a pilot's nightmare. Other cities throughout Germany posed their own sets of challenges, but the Eighth, more often than not, managed to "deliver the goods" against the Germans.
I've read several books about the air war over Germany, and I enjoyed this one. Author Martin Bowman makes good use of first-person accounts of battle, and these stories give the reader a true perspective of what these air battles were actually like. This book doesn't go into as much detail as others I've read ( namely, Gerald Astor's fine "The Mighty Eighth"), but the reader does get a good generalization of what bomber missions entailed. A good read.