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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.


About Martin Middlebrook

Martin Middlebrook needs no introduction. Author of 16 books, including The First Day on the Somme, he is well known for his detailed research and clarity of style. His books include The Peenemunde Raid; Your Country Needs You, (both Pen and Sword Books), Task Force: The Falklands War and The Fight for the Malvinas.

Martin's late wife Mary Middlebrook played an active part cooperating with her husband’s literary activities, particularly with photography and artwork.

Perfect Partner

The Berlin Raids The Bomber Battle, Winter 1943-1944 (Hardback)

The Battle of Berlin was the longest and most sustained bombing offensive against one target in the Second World War. Bomber Command’s Commander-in-Chief, Sir Arthur Harris, hoped to ‘wreak Berlin from end to end’ and ‘produce a state of devastation in which German surrender is inevitable’. He dispatched nineteen major raids between August 1943 and March 1944 – more than 10,000 aircraft sorties dropped over 30,000 tons of bombs on Berlin. It was the RAF’s supreme effort to end the war by aerial bombing. But Berlin was not destroyed and the RAF lost more than 600 aircraft and their…

By Martin Middlebrook

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