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Air War D-Day: The Build Up (ePub)

Aviation > WWII WWII > Battles & Campaigns > D-Day & Normandy

By Martin W Bowman
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Series: Air War D-Day
File Size: 4.1 MB (.epub)
Pages: 186
ISBN: 9781783468850
Published: 23rd November 2012


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'For the Allies as well as Germany, it will be the longest day'. So said Field Marshall Erwin Rommel of the operations on D-Day; and he was correct. This is the first volume of a most impressive tribute and comprehensive five part work that includes a multitude of personal military and civilian accounts of the aerial operations which were carried out on D-Day. At fifteen minutes after midnight on 6 June 1944 Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Hitlers Festung Europe, became reality. The logistics of landing almost 250,000 men by amphibious craft seems almost unimaginable, yet a massive aerial umbrella of 3,000 RAF and USAAF fighters, fighter-bombers and heavy bombers, headed for France and more than 1,000 transport aircraft dropped more than 17.000 paratroopers to secure the flanks and beach exits of the assault area. Air superiority in the invasion areas was total. It was a day that changed the whole course of the war and resulted in the first steps to final victory in Europe.

Copious quotes from American and British and Dominion forces, fighting men, sailors, airmen from the occupied countries and their German opponents, tell of incredible, illuminating and often under-stated actions of extraordinary courage, companionship and a common fear of death or serious injury which offer a more personalized view of D-Day. This first volume sets an impressive precedent for the rest of the series.

This is a very good account of the preparations for the invasion of France in 1944, and of the very first encounters with the enemy on that historic day. It offers on the one hand autobiographical accounts by names participants, and on the other hand very well researched background facts separated from the general text for ease of reference. This approach works very convincingly, leaving the reader well informed to follow events as they unfold. There is also a useful glossary, a table of comparative ranks, a list of all the Allied Air Forces available for Operation Overlord and many other nuggets of valuable information. Recommended.

The Bulletin

Martin Bowman has written many, many Second World War books. Here he tackles the huge task of D-day, Operation Overlord. He has five volumes of this series to achieve the task.

The D-day invasion of German occupied Europe was an immense logistical task that may never be surpassed. So how do you produce a record of this mammouth task in a new, unseen fashion? Well Martin Bowman has done so with "Air War D-Day: The Build Up".

The book is an array of statements, letters and speeches by a vast amount of people involved with the D-day invasion. They range from the Commander in Chief, Dwight D. Eisenhower to Privates, Doctors, British, Americans, French, Germans, The King of England, in fact anyone that Mr Bowman thought shed a factual light on the subject.
The result is a fresh slant on a well told story.

As with nearly all World War 2 books there is a liberal amount of humour interspersed with the facts and figures of the operation as told by so many participants.

An excellent start to a WW2 series.

WW2 connection

“Air War D-Day” is the first in a series telling the story of the liberation of Europe. The format is the same as “Forgotten Voices”, using quotes and recollections from those who were present.

Bowman is an established author with an impressive track record. He has drawn on an extensive array of interviews, books and official reports from the time. British, American, German, civilians, soldiers, airmen and sailors are all represented. The American contribution is especially strong. Each tale provides a brief profile of the individual and unit, so the book is useful for the beginner.

Very helpfully, there is a seven page glossary of acronyms and equipment, especially useful for the different types of landing craft. There is also a table of comparative ranks, numerous maps and photographs. Fact panels are also dispersed throughout the book, detailing the numerical contribution of the various countries involved, Hobart’s “Funnies” and counter-espionage.

The series will be a valuable addition to anyone with an interest in the Normandy campaign.

Peter Weedon

About Martin W Bowman

With well over 100 published books, MARTIN W. BOWMAN is one of Britain’s best-known aviation historians and authors. Specialising in Second World War history and post-war aviation, Martin’s interest in these subjects was driven by the prolific number of RAF and USAAF air bases that were established in his native East Anglia. His previous books have included works such as Legend of the LancasterConfounding the ReichDuxford and the Big Wings, as well as numerous titles in the exhaustive Air War series, which, between them, provide extensive coverage of operations carried out on D-Day and during the Market Garden offensive at Arnhem.

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