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Allied Bombers 1939-45

Allied Bombers 1939-45 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2008 Title Allied Bombers 1939-45
Author Chris Chant Publisher Zenith Press
Published 2008 ISBN 978-0-7603-3450-8
Format 192 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $19.95


Here is an interesting new title from Zenith books covering Allied Bombers between 1939-1945 (World War II). This is part of a new series entitles "The Essential Aircraft Identification Guide", but it isn't about individual aircraft types like other titles have covered. The author takes a look at the bigger picture here.

Take a look at the table of contents:

  • Introduction
  • France and the Low Countries
  • United Kingdom and Commonwealth
  • United States
  • Soviet Union

The author looks at each of the allied airpowers from the standpoint of organization and mission (order of battle). France and the Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands start the study with their composition of light bomber forces and their brief struggle against the Luftwaffe before the Blitz drove into their lands and occupied their airfields. This discussion continues briefly with a look at those forces that operated alongside the allies after their home countries were overrun by German forces.

Next up in the discussion is the RAF with its integral squadrons from the Commonwealth. The bulk of the discussion covers Bomber Command with its structure and representative events/operations in its operations against Germany. A brief discussion of light bomber operations in the Mediterranean birdges the coverage of Bomber Command and an equally good look at Coastal Command. UK coverage wraps up with a brief look at the aircraft and operations of the Fleet Air Arm.

The examination of the US bomber operations of course starts with the Eighth Air Force and a walk through its operational history. Coverage continues with the Ninth Air Force in Southern Europe as well as operations in North Africa covered by the Ninth, Twelfth, and Fifteenth Air Forces. This section wraps up with a look at anti-shipping, anti-submarine, and carrier operations in the Atlantic.

This title has a good discussion of the Soviet Air Force's bomber force structure from Long Range Aviation through the Tactical Air Forces looking at the organization and operations of this much-overlooked part of World War Two Soviet aviation. Coverage of Soviet Naval Aviation (which today still operates a strong bomber force) wraps up this section.

The title is well-illustrated with color profiles of representative aircraft in the colors and markings of the units under discussion. Period photos also help to put the history into visible context. It will provide the reader with a cross-section of the allied bomber forces during World War II to set the stage for more detailed looks into more specific unit or aircraft histories.

My sincere thanks to Motorbooks International for this review sample!