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RAF at the Crossroads: The Second Front and Strategic Bombing Debate, 1942–1943 by [Greg Baughen]

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RAF at the Crossroads: The Second Front and Strategic Bombing Debate, 1942–1943 Kindle Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


[An] excellently researched and written volume. Baughen covers in great detail the political, industrial and technological aspects of the bomber campaign and its impact in terms of resources and outcomes for land operations, the Atlantic Battle and Coastal Command operations and the Air Defence of Great Britain. There are insights into the minds of key players including Portal, Tedder, Harris, Douglas, Conningham, Leigh-Mallory, Brooke, Eisenhower and Churchill to name just a few. The book stimulates thought on questions such as "When does doctrine become dogma?" I thoroughly recommend this book to those with an interest not only in the Bomber Offensive but also in the more diverse aspects of war strategy and its conduct.  - Martin Willoughby, The Wessex Branch of the Western Front Association

This is an excellent little book... [It] is going to appeal to all but especially those interested in aviation and the RAF... Certainly a good book for students that want to look at other ways the war could have been won... This was a really good read, and I really enjoyed the debate and discussion. (The History Fella April 2022)

This new study (2021) provides a fresh perspective on how a series of crucial decisions were made in the middle of the war. A deeply researched and highly readable study RAF at the Crossroads is a must read for anyone interested in this central plank of British - and later American - strategy for the war in Europe. Books like this should not be taken in any way as diminishing the bravery of bomber air crew - all too many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice. Nevertheless it is right to ask sceptical questions and consider the many factors in play when these decisions were made.  ( WW2Today, April 2022)

."......a highly readable analysis of not only what was happening, but also why the various parties took the positions they did... Over the years I have read a great deal about Bomber Command and the RAF. I can honestly say that this book was a real eye-opener for me." (Air Power History, Spring 2022)
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

From the Author

My books are often labelled as "revisionist" but they are really only a response to the revisionism that took place in the fifties and sixties. In the euphoria of victory  there was a natural tendency in post-war Britain to see victory as a result of good old fashioned, sound British thinking. And why not? It had been an extraordinarily tough time for the nation. There was a point where we were fighting alone and were the only country that stood between Hitler and total domination of Europe. The nation had earned the right for a little artistic licence in the way the story was told.
This retelling involved airbrushing inconvenient facts out of the story. Britain had built her inter-war defence policy around the certainty that wars would be decided by the much feared "knock-out blow", aerial assaults that would bomb any country into the Stone Age. The threat, however, proved entirely imaginary. No country was capable of delivering such a blow, and, even worse, Britain's closest enemy, Germany, had no plans to win wars like this. Germany was conquering her neighbours with mechanised armies and air forces working as one.
The country had to believe that all the heavy bombers being built were still necessary. Britain was going to win the war by bombing, come what may. Ultimate victory seemed to justify the strategy. The Germans, with their combined arms approach, had, after all, lost. If Germany had built a fleet of long-range bombers instead of panzer divisions, Hitler would have won the war.
This version of events soon became set in stone. As peacetime values replaced the wartime mindset, a justification had to be found for the enormous casualties routinely inflicted on civilian populations by the bombing. The country had to believe  bombing was the only option. The possibility that it wasn't was just too awful to contemplate. It would mean hundreds of thousands had died for no reason. It was far easier to go on believing the post-war version of events than admit the country had got it wrong.
What were the arguments at the time? German, Soviet and indeed Commonwealth mechanised armies with air support were all demonstrating there was an alternative way of winning wars. Was it time for Britian to rethink its strategy? Should opening a second front in France or the bomber offensive have priority?
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09GPZZKQ1
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Air World (May 26, 2021)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ May 26, 2021
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 37004 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 526 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.9 out of 5 stars 9 ratings

About the author

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Greg Baughen ( has been researching the history of British and French air forces for over fifty years. The project has involved delving through countless official files in London and Paris. His initial aim was to reassess the strengths and weaknesses of both air forces in the battles of 1940. This inevitably led to looking at how air power evolved in both countries. More recent research has taken his study of British air power into the thermonuclear age. Retirement has finally provided the time to turn this research into a series of books

The first five installments in the history of British air power ("Blueprint for Victory", "The Rise of the Bomber", "The RAF in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain", "RAF on the Offensive" and "RAF at the Crossroads") have been published. The next installment, "The RAF's Road to D-Day - The Struggle to Exploit Air Superiority 1943-1944", is in preparation. Subsequent books in the series will look at how the RAF dealt with the challenges of the thermonuclear age.

Baughen has also published a history of the French Air Force up to 1940 ("The Rise and Fall of the French Air Force") and a reappraisal of the operational career of the Fairey Battle.

Baughen has published articles in The Aviation Historian, Aeroplane, RAF Air Power Review and Air Britain's Aeromilitaria,!.

Customer reviews

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