The Reich Intruders...
...RAF Light Bomber Raids in World War II, from Pen and Sword Books
Title: The Reich Intruders
Author: Martin W. Bowman
Publisher: Pen & Sword
First published back in 2005, this is a new 2019 paperback re-print thanks to Pen & Sword. Compared to all the books on the fighters and the heavy bombers of the RAF, I still think it is fair to say that the important contribution of the medium bombers is often overshadowed. This book addresses that gap and tells the wartime story of this interesting variety of aircraft.
The chapters follow the course of the war, from the very first attacks on Germany by RAF Blenheims and the changes in their aircraft and mission types as the war progressed through to the end. It explains the meaning of 'Circus' and 'Ramrod' missions along with the precision missions this aircraft type often had to make. The aircraft types used by the RAF squadrons include the Ventura, the Boston, the Mitchell and of course, the Mosquito. The accounts give excellent detail of so many different missions and they are illuminated by a host of individual accounts from the aircrew who took part. The accounts tell the story of their low level approaches to the continent, and the dangers associated with low level flying. They also don't shy away from talking about the casualties, either from combat or simply flying accidents.
Among the notable missions were Operation Oyster, the attack on the Phillips factory in Eindhoven, and for me, Operation Jericho, the attack on Amiens Prison. The reason this one stood out for me is that for several years I lived in Harlow, in Essex. While living there I learnt that the aircraft who undertook the mission took off from RAF Hunsdon, which is today farmland just to the north of the town, and not far from where I used to live. I wonder how many of the townspeople today realise how lose to them was a site that played such a vital part in this little piece of history. An excellent book, so if you missed it back in 2005, look out for this new reprint.
Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.