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Book Review
The Pointblank Directive
The Pointblank Directive - Three Generals And The Untold Story Of The Daring Plan That Saved D-Day
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]

On the morning of August 17, 1943, 376 bombers in the U.S. Army’s Eight Air Force took off from airfields in England. Their mission was to strike the Messerschmitt aircraft factories in Schweinfurt and Regensburg, Germany. It was the eighty-fourth mission of The Pointblank Directives, which begun exactly one year earlier. By the end of the raid, 40 percent of the Allied B-17s and B-24s had been shot down or badly damaged in what remains the worst single day in United States Air Force history. Despite the losses, American military planners continued to require their bomber groups to use the outmoded defensive tactics that had led to the catastrophe.*
* Quoted from the book’s dust jacket

On December 6, 1943, President Roosevelt appointed Dwight Eisenhower as the Supreme Allied Commander over D-Day. Two days later, Eisenhower reshuffled the air command for Europe, moving out General Ira Eaker, who had overseen Schweinfurt-Regensburg, and bringing in Carl Andrew “Tooey” Spaatz, who was fresh from airwar victories in North Africa. Spaatz quickly changed tactics, giving the fighter escorts greater leeway to aggressively engage with the enemy. As Keeney shows in this fresh analysis of The Pointblank Directive, the changes proved crucial to the air superiority the Allies achieved on June 6, 1944-D-Day.*
* Quoted from the book’s dust jacket.

The thundering ships took off one behind the other. At 5, 000 feet they made their formation. The men sat quietly at their stations, their eyes fixed. And the deep growl of the engines shook the air, shook the world and shook the future. John Steinbeck, 1942.*
* Quoted from the foreword which was written by Stephen Frater. www.stephenfrater.com
Osprey Publications Ltd has released The Pointblank Directive - Three Generals And The Untold Story Of The Daring Plan That Saved D-Day by author L. Douglas Kenney as a hardback book with 272 pages and a paper dust jacket. Included with the text are black and white and color photographs and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-933-3. As the title states, the book examines and discusses the Pointblank Directive during World War II.
  • Foreward by Stephen Frater
  • Introduction
  • Preface: 1943
  • Chapter 1 - Airmen
  • Chapter 2 – Autumn 1943
  • Chapter 3 – Pointblank
  • Chapter 4 – Weather
  • Chapter 5 – Spaatz
  • Chapter 6 – Anywhere
  • Chapter 7 – The Clock Ticks
  • Chapter 8 – Formation
  • Chapter 9 – Exhaustion
  • Chapter 10 – Locusts
  • Chapter 11 – Flak Boys
  • Chapter 12 – Berlin
  • Chapter 13 – April
  • Chapter 14 – Invasion
  • Chapter 15 – Secret Weapons
  • Chapter 16 – War Planes
  • Chapter 17 – Combat
  • Chapter 18 – Dicing with the Devil
  • Chapter 19 – May 1944
  • Chapter 20 – Deception
  • Chapter 21 – June 1944
  • Chapter 22 – D-Day
  • Chapter 23 – D 1
  • Bibliography
  • Notes
  • Index

L. Douglas Kenney covers the use of the Pointblank Directive and its implementation and the outcome of it during World War II very well and goes into great detail about the events and the actions taken during the time frame of the requirements to follow the Pointblank Directive. It is very obvious that L. Douglas Kenney has taken the task of researching and detailing the use of the Pointblank Directive very seriously. Writing from information meticulously gathered from records and personal accounts and also including personal quotes from individuals that took part in the missions which followed the Pointblank Directive. Included in the text are personal accounts from both allied and axis airmen and pilots, German anti-aircraft gunners and US paratroops. Also so included are quotes from such famous individuals as US Pilot General James Harold “Jimmy” Doolittle and German pilot Adolf Galland. To me the quotes and personal accounts from various individuals on both the allied and axis sides adds a personal touch and various views into the events. L. Douglas Kenney has prepared a well written history that will be of great use and interest to the military historian and enthusiast or the individual that is new to the study and details of D-Day and the aerial war of World War II and the use of the Pointblank Directive and wants to learn about them will appreciate this well written history. L. Douglas Kenney points out in his introduction that he made some choices in his writing such as calling the German Bf-109 the Me-109 and not differentiating between a Me-410 and the German He-111 but refers to them as a “twin-engine fighter” as well as not specifying whether a B-17 is a B-17E or a B-17F. Kenney states that he chose to do that as that is what he wished to do and that he also did not want to bog down the reader with too much nomenclature. The text is well written and extremely detailed and I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors as I read through the book. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book to their military library will be pleased with this volume.
There are a total of 61 black and white photographs and 5 color photographs featured in this volume. Several of the pictures are of aircraft, men, locations and other such subjects that are specific to the Pointblank Directive of World War II. The photographs are what I refer to as event specific. I like that as opposed to random photographs from World War II that may or may not have been taken during the time frame or event discussed. As with most photographs from the World War II time frame the majority of them are nice clear, centered and focused images, however, as I usually point out in other reviews, there are a few that appear to be too dark. Most of the featured photographs are the lesser known from them event and not the same overused and well known photographs that tend to be the basic staple for some volumes on the subject. I definitely consider that a bonus as it is nice to have a reference book that contains several lesser known photographs. The photographs range from posed scenes to action scenes. As with many photographs, they tell the untold story that each individual can see for themselves upon viewing them. The photographs contained in this book will prove to be a valuable asset to the military, aviation and aircraft historian and enthusiast as well as the aircraft and figure modeler. Several of the photographs may also be used as the basis for various scale modeling projects from the small vignette to the larger diorama.

Some of the included photographs are of:
  • US General Carl A “Tooey” Spaatz
  • US B-17 bomber
  • US B-24 bomber
  • English airfields
  • US bomber crew uniforms
  • US P-47 Thunderbolt
  • US P-38 Lightning
  • US P-51 Mustang
  • US bombers flying in formation
  • German FW-190
  • German Messerschmitt Me-410
  • Aircraft casualties taking place in the air
  • Damage to a US B-17 bomber
  • Nose camera images from US strafing missions
  • Normandy invasion beaches
  • D-Day mission orders

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself
The captions are well written and explain the accompanying photographs well. They go into detail discussing things such as individuals, specific locations, German and allied aircraft, uniforms, crew members positions in bombers, aircraft markings and damage and other such pertinent information. As I read through the captions I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors. As I mentioned in regards to the text, grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. The captions can be brief in some instances but still provide information as to what is shown in the photograph.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.
There are no maps provided in this volume. Personally I would have liked to have seen some included to help detail what is being discussed in the text and in the photographs and captions.
All in all I am very impressed with the book. This is a very nice reference book that contains nice relevant photographs and well detailed captions. It details the events surrounding D-Day and the Pointblank Directive during World War II very well. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Well written text and captions. Nice event specific photographs.
Lows: No maps showing key areas.
Verdict: This is a well written history/reference book that is well researched and written and examines the Pointblank Directive during World War II very well.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-84908-933-3
  Suggested Retail: US $27.95 / UK £20.00
  PUBLISHED: Mar 11, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United States

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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