Air War Varsity (Hardback)
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Here, Martin Bowman brings us the first book on Operation Varsity to include both British and US air and ground operations, as well as the US, British and Canadian paratroop and resupply missions, all presented together in one ambitious volume.
Operation ‘Varsity-Plunder’, the last large-scale Allied airborne operation of World War II, was certainly no walk-over. ‘Varsity’ was the airborne part, whilst ‘Plunder’ represented the British amphibious operations by the British Second Army.
The airlift consisted of 541 transport aircraft containing airborne troops and a further 1,050 troop-carriers towing 1,350 gliders. The American 17th Airborne Division’s C-46 Commando transports and Waco gliders joined the British 6th Airborne Division C-54s, C-47 transport aircrafts, Horsas and Hamilcar gliders to form an immense armada that stretched for more than 200 miles across the sky. The successful air attack involved more than 10,000 Allied aircraft and was concentrated primarily on Luftwaffe airfields and the German transportation system.
The combination of the two divisions in one lift made this the largest single day airborne drop in history. In this impressive account, Martin Bowman weaves first-hand testimony and a compelling historical narrative together with a variety of photographic illustrations, many of which have never been published before, in order to create a complete and fascinating record of events as they played out in March 1945.
Operation Varsity in March 1945 saw the landing of the 6th British and 17th US Airborne Divisions as part of the Rhine Crossing, and it remains the largest single airlift in the history of the Airborne Forces. As an aviation specialist, Martin Bowman focuses almost entirely on the flight to the drop zones and the immediate aftermath of the landings. This was certainly the critical phase in this successful but very costly operation as the areas they captured were by and large relatively peaceful within a few hours, after an exceptionally violent and confusing beginning as the troops, landing almost directly on top of heavily defended objectives which were overlooked by a considerable number of anti-aircraft weapons, struggled to form up under very heavy fire. Drawing on a broad range of sources and personal accounts, this book is an extremely detailed analysis of the landing, and superbly captures the confusion if not utter chaos of those first hours.Pegasus Archive, Mark Hickman
To sum up, enjoyable reading and I would say essential reading for airborne gamers. Lots of detail and information in one place, and the tie ins with the amphibious part of the operation are also explained and examined in detail.Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy, April/May 2018 - reviewed by Ian Beal
In this account, Martin Bowman weaves first-hand testimony and a compelling historical narrative together with a variety of photographic illustrations, many of which have never been published before, in order to create a complete record of events as they played out in March 1945.Recollections of WWII, Matthew Smaldon
Read the complete review here.
The author has established an impressive portfolio of aviation histories and established a loyal following of readers. This new book is a worthy addition to the portfolio and covers the story of the use of airborne troops in very large numbers during the closing stages of war in Europe – most highly recommended.Firetrench
Read the complete review here.