While there are many books about the raids that made the newspaper headlines during World War II, there is little written about the low-level, surprise attacks that were carried out by twin-engined medium bombers. This book charts the little known branch of the RAF - 2 group, their missions in Nazi-occupied Europe and Germany, flying Blenheim, Boston, Mitchell and Mosquito aircraft.
Authored by aviation historian Martin Bowman (Legend of the Lancaster), and published by Pen and Sword, this soft backed book comprises of 256 pages on good quality paper with black and white photographs scattered throughout. This book was first published in a different format in 2005. There are 10 chapters:
The night was Evil
Ramrods and Circuses
Victors and the Vanquished
Rangers on the Rampage
Swan song of the Panzers
Much of the content of these chapters are the words of those who flew these missions.
There were 10 squadrons in 2 (Bomber) Group, which were formed on 20th March 1936. Three years later in August 1939 with war Germany was looming, little did the men of 2 Group know that they would be at the forefront of the conflict before a large part of Britain’s armed forces. Blenheim aircraft cost the ministry £20,000 each but were shown to be expensive as they gave little offensive reward for the amount of lives spent.
2 Group were at the forefront of the RAF offensive, from the day that War was declared to beyond D-Day. Many of its sorties encountering anti-aircraft fire .Their targets were usually hard to locate and heavily defended, because they were of great value to the enemy. Train-busting at night was a seat of your pants operation, sometimes it was only a plume of steam or a faint glow of the fire box that gave you an area to aim for. This book is a mixture of firsthand accounts and historical information, a well written and informative book.
I particularly like the explanations for each of the photographs contained in the text, and each chapter has a quotation or verse at the beginning. If you are interested in British aviation history, then this book would make a good addition to any collection. Also this just tells a remarkable story of the skill and bravery of those brave men who served in this little know branch of the RAF.
Highs: For me I enjoyed reading the words of the men that actually took part on these raids.Lows: I cannot really say there was anything that I felt was a minus in this title.Verdict: I have to again go back to the words of the men who were there as it provided me with the insight into the situations they faced.
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