Firestorm Hamburg (Hardback)

The Facts Surrounding The Destruction of a German City 1943


By Martin Middlebrook
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 432
ISBN: 9781781590355
Published: 30th November 2012


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In July 1943 a series of heavy bombing raids virtually destroyed the port city of Hamburg, home of the main German U-boat shipbuilding yards. In one night alone an unprecedented 40,000 people perished largely as a result of the terrible ‘firestorms’ phenomenon. To this day controversy rages as to the morality of these attacks and their consequences.

With trademark thoroughness and objectivity, Martin Middlebrook has delved deep into the archives to uncover the facts. As ever, he draws on copious eyewitnesses and participants – a total of 547 British, American and German. The harrowing testimonies of the Hamburg survivors reveal what it was like to be subjected to prolonged and intense air attack. The author does not shirk the moral dilemma.

Paradoxically, while Hamburg was arguably Bomber Command’s greatest achievement, it remains its – and Air Marshal Harris’ – most criticised. Often overlooked was the USAAF’s role and this together with the reaction of the Luftwaffe night-fighter force to Bomber Command’s new Window device are fully covered.

Firestorm Hamburg is a masterly account of the most controversial Allied bombing offensive of the Second World War that can
only result in a better understanding of the background, the conduct of the operation and its outcome.

In July 1943 Bomber Command and the USAAF launched a series of heavy bombing raids on the port city of hamburg. This is without doubt one of the best accounts of what happened.

Britain at War

A thorough account of the heavy bombing raids that virtually destroyed the city of Hamburg. It draws on copious eyewitness and participant accounts, along with the testimonies of survivors.


This is a very detailed account in 424 pages from a wide variety of witnesses from both sides. The first use of Window threw the German air defences into confusion while Oboe and H2S concentrated the bomber streams losses dropped considerably. The author points out in the introduction that he is an Englishman but tries to be impartial. He acknowledges the part that Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders played in Bomber Command.

Perfect Partner

The Nuremberg Raid 30-31 March 1944 (Hardback)

This book describes one twenty-four-hour period in the Allied Strategic Bomber Offensive in the greatest possible detail. The author sets the scene by outlining the course of the bombing war from 1939 to the night of the Nuremberg raid, the characters and aims of the British bombing leaders and the composition of the opposing Bomber Command and German night fighter forces. The aim of the Nuremberg raid was not unlike many hundreds of other RAF missions but, due to the difficulties and dangers of the enemy defences and weather plus bad luck, it went horribly wrong. The result was so notorious that…

By Martin Middlebrook

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