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Pathfinders (Paperback)

The Definitive Story

Aviation > WWII > Bomber Command Military WWII

By Sean Feast
Imprint: Key Publishing
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781802826005
Published: 30th December 2023

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Pathfinders is a new history of Bomber Command’s corps d’elite and the men who led the greatest striking force ever known. The story explores the genesis of Pathfinder Force (PFF), from its initial inception and less-than-spectacular start to its development as a precision instrument that gave the razor edge to the RAF bomber offensive. It looks at its difficult birth – Sir Arthur Harris was vehemently opposed to its creation – and the key personalities and squabbles, in particular the increasingly bitter rivalry between the mercurial PFF commander, Australian Donald Bennett, and his rival in 5 Group, Sir Ralph Cochrane, and what Bennett saw as Harris’ ultimate betrayal.

The book explores how crews became Pathfinders, some with bounding enthusiasm, others more reluctantly or by chance, and how the quality and availability of crews varied throughout the war. Drawing on more than 20 years of research and interviews with the heroes of PFF, it considers their training and the methods and techniques deployed on operations including the Master Bomber system, and it examines their successes and failures, the tragedies and triumphs, and Pathfinder Force’s vital contribution to victory in Europe.

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