The Normandy Air War 1944...
...from Pen & Sword
Title: The Normandy Air War 1944
Author: Anthony Tucker-Jones
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Another new Images of War title from author Anthony Tucker-Jones with Pen & Sword Books. The book provides a good introduction to the whole story of how the Allied air forces supported the D-Day invasion of NW Europe in June 1944. The story starts before the invasion itself, as there were a variety of missions that made up the whole picture.
There were Strategic Forces, essentially the heavy bomber fleets which were bombing important targets in Germany itself, and beyond, along with their fighter escorts. Fighters also got involved as part of the Tactical air forces, using Medium bombers and specialist ground-attack aircraft. They attacked targets such as the V-Weapon sites, the railway network and the ground attack of both armour and softskin transport. This all sound great, but as along with the well known rivalry between the ground commanders, the same was true of the air force commanders, who each had different ideas on how best to win the war with air power.
The first chapter takes the topic of 'Getting the Barons in Line'. Both British and American heavy bomber forces, the main aircraft they operated and their respective senior commanders. That is followed by '2nd Tactical', the smaller tactical aircraft and transports they used, along with their senior commanders as well. Chapter 3 moves on to the 'American Bomber Boys', the various aircraft they used and supported with photos of both heavy and medium bombers. Their attacks on the German oil production and aircraft industry targets drew Luftwaffe pilots back to Germany, leaving France relatively unprotected against massive allied air superiority. That leads us neatly into chapter 4, 'Where's the Luftwaffe'. Again, this details the senior commanders and the varied aircraft types operated by the Luftwaffe in the later stages of the war. For chapter 5, the story moves on to 'Bridges Down and Radars Blinded'.
Here the story gets to chapter 6, 'D-Day Deluge', followed by 'Bombing Caen & Rouen', 'Achtung 'Jabos'!' before rounding things off with 'Death at Falaise', where the likes of the RAF Typhoon had a devastating effect on German armoured columns. Each chapter has some detailed text to start them off, and complete with a series of archive photos to illustrate each one, and these have more detail in their captioning. Some of the photos are quite well known though many others were new to me. Many of them will also give plenty of ideas for military modellers as well as aircraft modellers. One that caught my eye in particular is a Horsa glider in US markings, sitting tail heavy in a field, and with cows calmly grazing around the abandoned airframe. This could make an eye-catching diorama. Another good title in the series from Anthony.
Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.