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Bomber Command (Anglais) Broché – 12 novembre 1999

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Bomber Command’s air offensive against the cities of Nazi Germany was one of the most epic campaigns of World War II. More than 56,000 British and Commonwealth aircrew and 600,000 Germans died in the course of the RAF’s attempt to win the war by bombing. The struggle in the air began meekly in 1939 with only a few Whitleys, Hampdens, and Wellingtons flying blindly through the night on their ill-conceived bombing runs. It ended six years later with 1,600 Lancasters, Halifaxes, and Mosquitoes, equipped with the best of British wartime technology, razing whole German cities in a single night. Bomber Command, through fits and starts, grew into an effective fighting force.
In Bomber Command, originally published to critical acclaim in the U.K., famed British military historian Sir Max Hastings offers a captivating analysis of the strategy and decision-making behind one of World War II’s most violent episodes. With firsthand descriptions of the experiences of aircrew from 1939 to 1945—based on one hundred interviews with veterans—and a harrowing narrative of the experiences of Germans on the ground during the September 1944 bombing of Darmstadt, Bomber Command is widely recognized as a classic account of one of the bloodiest campaigns in World War II history. Now back in print in the U.S., this book is an essential addition to any history reader’s bookshelf.
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Biographie de l'auteur

Sir Max Hastings is a famed British journalist and military historian who has served as a foreign correspondent for the Evening Standard and as editor-in-chief of the Daily Telegraph. Currently, he writes columns for the New York Review of Books, the Daily Mail, the Guardian, and the Sunday Times and is also the bestselling author of numerous history books on World War II, the Korean War, and the Falkland Islands.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 400 pages
  • Editeur : Pan Books; Édition : New edition (12 novembre 1999)
  • Collection : Pan Grand Strategy Series
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0330392042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330392044
  • Dimensions du produit: 13 x 19,6 x 2,6 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 623.683 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Louis de Paris le 11 avril 2014
Format: Broché
Publié initialement à la fin des années 70 à une période où il était encore possible de trouver et d'interviewer de nombreux survivants du Bomber Command de la RAF, ce livre est une contribution capitale à la compréhension de la campagne de bombardement britannique sur l'Europe (essentiellement l'Allemagne). Le cas de "Bomber" (ou "Butcher") Harris est étudié en détail ainsi que son caractère buté, son incapacité à entendre ses subordonnés et son aveuglement quant aux résultats réels des bombardements britanniques. La compétition avec l'USAAF est bien décrite, cette dernière ayant compris qu'il était plus efficace de détruire les sources en carburant synthétique plutôt que d'incinérer des centaines de milliers de civils allemands....
Un livre très chaudement recommandé et qui ne constitue pas un hymne au Bomber Command même s'il rend un hommage appuyé au courage des équipages dont le taux de survie était particulièrement faible.
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Having just read "Armageddon" by the same author and which I thoroughly enjoyed, I thought the history of Bomber Command would make good reading & I found it compulsive and extremely informative, particularity the background to the decisions taken and the politics. Also the conclusion s drawings it`s effectiveness were illuminating. But,please,Amazon, if we are to read books on our Kindles, make the maps readable! The inability to decipher maps & diagrams spoilt my enjoyment of this & Armageddon.
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57 internautes sur 59 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great re-evaluation of a major campaign 10 janvier 2001
Par Tom Munro - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This book is a history of the British Bomber Command. The horror of world war one led the British to build a strategic air force as a means of avoiding the sorts of casualties faced in that war. It was hoped that by using air craft Germany could be made to surrender.
This book is an examination of the failure of that strategic concept. In the first days of the war the British tried a daylight raid on Bremen naval yards. It was generally thought that bombers could get through in daylight due to their speed and defensive armament. This turned out to be a false assumption and a large number of the British Bombers were shot down. Further raids confirmed the vulnerability of unescorted bombers and from that time on it was decided that British Bombers would fly only at night.
For some months bombers flew out at night and tried to bomb various military and industrial targets. The bombing was so inaccurate generally hitting farmland and forests that the Germans were not able to even work out what the intended targets were. The British carried out evaluations and found that only a small percentage of bombs were falling within miles of the targets.
As a result a change in strategy was adopted and that was to bomb the German civilian population. The reason for that was that cities by comparison were easy to find and the use of incendiaries could lead to destructive fires which could destroy housing stock.
The only problem with the strategy was that it resulted in the deaths mainly of the elderly women and children. The structure of German cities was such that the burning and bombing of cities only had a marginal effect on industrial production. (The situation was different in Japan where industry was dotted throughout cities and the fire bombing led to the collapse of industrial production in that country)
The German night fighter effort was reasonably successful against the British Bombers so that the casualty rates of British air crews was very high. The book argues that in general terms the campaign was a poor use of resources and had limited effects until near the end of the war. By late 1944 the German air force was practically destroyed and allied bombers by that time had such a preponderance that they were able to destroy the transport network and to destroy production.
The book is well written easy to read and a fascinating look at a topic that has been dominated by myth makers not truth seekers.
23 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Excellent,factual & detailed narrative of RAF bombing 28 janvier 1998
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I read this on the advice of a friend after a tour of northern Germany during which I wondered why so many of the beautiful churches had been levelled in WWII. This book gives a detailed narrative of the strategy and tactics, as well as the horror on the ground and in the air of this controversial air campaign. Interesting and thought-provoking to read. Written by an Englishman.
28 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Par RAY SMITH - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This is an excellent book that objectively traces the history and rationale for the area Bombing campaign against Germany that would lead to the deaths of 52000 aircrew and more than half a million civilians.
The book also relates the revulsion and guilt felt by many aircrew when confronted, after the war, with the results of their bombing missions.
Ironically these same aircrew still idolise their Operational commander - Bomber Harris, who never set foot on an operational squadron during the War.
Arguments are also related about the disagreements that Bomber Harris had with his American colleagues who wanted the Area Bombing campaign transferred to destroying synthetic oil plants and ball bearing factories. Harris wanted to continue bombing cities even when there was not much left to bomb.
When first published this book was severely criticised in England, for daring to suggest that the effort put into Area Bombing could have been better spent elswhere.
This is a thoroughly readable and thought provoking book.
68 internautes sur 84 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Bombing for bombing's sake? 19 décembre 2001
Par Leon G. Galanos Jr. - Publié sur
Format: Broché
First of all, it is easy to see how this work won the 1980 Somerset Maugham Award for Non-Fiction. I was totally riveted throughout. After reading the book in nearly one sitting, I felt exhausted and numb. The book is an indictment against the entire theory of strategic bombing in WWII and the wholesale slaughter of civilians specifically. While Max Hastings devotes much time to "Bomber" Harris who conducted the night-air campaign without reflection or apologies, his sharpest barbs are for those politicians (Churchill included) and senior military planners that made policy. These hid behind an unspoken but widely understood policy that wide-area terror bombing was the only avenue available to Bomber Command for most of the war but refused to discuss the subject honestly in the public arena in the hopes that they could maintain some sense of moral superiority over their enemy. Hastings also correlates Bomber Command's policy and operations with that of the USAAF, who he writes also hid behind a pretense that collateral casualties were a regrettable but unavoidable tragedy of war. Of course the hypocrisy of this position was laid bare following the continued slaughter of unprotected German cities in 1945 long after everyone knew that the bombing would make no difference to the outcome or even pace of the war, it became bombing just for bombing's sake, or in the case of Dresden, showing the Soviets what Anglo-American air power could do; slaughtering refugees fleeing from the advancing Soviet horde. In fact, the Associated Press reported in February 1945 that the Allied Air Chiefs had embarked on a terror campaign against the German civilian population, but Hastings points out that this news scoop was 3 years late (it had of course been policy soon after the British realized they could not hit specific targets at night). The most mind numbing account is late in the book in which Hastings describes in detail the bombing of Darmstadt. The Allied armies were within 100 miles of Darmstadt and the civilians were under the mistaken impression that they would be spared. In September 1944 Bomber Command made Darmstadt its next target for destruction. As Hastings makes the point, the horror is not that the attack was particularly special or difficult, it was the routine of it all that made it so terrible. The entire process reminds me of the banal evil more often associated with the murder of the Jews; being led into the concentration camps were "the system" would process and prepare them for organized and efficient death. Such was the case of German cities by late 1944. The Luftwaffe had nearly run out of aviation fuel and could only put up a meaningful defense on occasion. The Anglo-American armies had overrun the Luftwaffe's radar belts, so even when fuel was available, the Luftwaffe night-fighters could receive no warnings or directions. The "system" identified a German city for destruction, the bombers went up, everyone did their job and went home. Numbers were difficult to come by, but perhaps 10,000 died in that raid. 1 out of every 5 was a child under 16. 1.81 women for every man (at this stage of the war most men away from the war fronts were elderly). The casualties inflicted upon the citizens of Darmstadt were less than that of many larger German cities, but demonstrates that no German city regardless of size or importance was immune to terror bombing. In fact, Hastings describes how several German cities were identified for destruction not because they contributed to the German war effort, but because they could be easily destroyed, as in the case of medieval cities with a preponderance of wooden housing. Hastings describes the eventual unspoken shame that the wholesale slaughter of the German civilian population left in the minds of the British royalty and government. After the war, Churchill tried his best to distance himself from it and declined to secure a peerage for "Bomber" Harris (a reward given to many with lesser responsibilities). The Bomber Command aircrew were not awarded a Campaign Medal, though the Luftwaffe night-fighters and flak crews inflicted between 72,000-73,000 casualties on British Bomber Command alone. "Bomber" Harris himself emigrated with his family to South Africa soon after the war, shunned by those that used him to conduct their own policies. Hastings makes clear that nobody wanted to take credit for the terror bombing policies of Bomber Command after the smoke of WWII cleared. Hastings does not fault the young aircrew themselves and has nothing but admiration for them. Even so, during his research for the book, he interviews a surviving pilot who became a teacher after the war. The former Bomber Command pilot asks Hastings if others he interviewed complained of nightmares. Perhaps something for the young to think about the next time their government orders then to bomb civilians. Does a state of war really justify the killing of defenseless civilians? Does it really matter that the other side did it first (though in fact many give credit to Churchill for having a German city bombed first in the hopes of redirecting Luftwaffe focus from the RAF airfields to British cities, giving the RAF a new lease on life at the height of the Battle of Britain. This strategy proved successful). Regardless who bombed who first, can killing nearly a million German (and thousands of French) civilians be morally justified? There seems no doubt that the western Allies gave up much of the moral superiority they seem so fond of taking for granted. The biggest irony of all is a point Hastings makes again and again, would not the war have been conducted more efficiently had the resources lavishly spent on Bomber Command been used to assist the British armies and Royal Navy instead? The morale of the German civilian population and their industrial production levels never faltered throughout the day (USAAF) and night (Bomber Command) bombings, only when the German war machine ran out of manpower and fuel did Hitler's armies finally fall back and eventually become overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers. It seems quite probable that the horrors unleashed on the civilian populations did little to actually win the war.
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
One of Hastings' Best Books 30 avril 2012
Par R. A Forczyk - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Max Hastings' Bomber Command, written in 1979, is one of the best books available on the RAF strategic bombing campaign in the Second World War. Hastings is easily one of the best British military historians alive because unlike others, he does not shrink from controversy, insightful judgments or hard numbers. Much of this story revolves around the decisions of Bomber Command's commander in 1942-45, Air Marshall Arthur Harris, who has been a lightning rod for controversy. The author avoids some of the earlier hagiography about Harris and paints him in a convincing and human light, although this interpretation was deemed harsh by many RAF veterans when this book appeared. Like most of Hastings' books, Bomber Command is not a blow-by-blow chronological narrative of every action conducted by its protagonist, but rather, an effort to get to the crux about what Bomber Command did or did not accomplish. The author focuses on five RAF squadrons (No. 82, 10, 50, 76, 97) in particular phases of the air war and uses them to depict changes in tactics as well as variances in style at lower echelon levels. Taken together, Hastings depicts both a top-down methodology (Harris and his staff, plus Churchill's strategic directives) and a tactical perspective on how these policies were implemented at the squadron level. There are some topics that are slighted here and it would be difficult to provide a comprehensive survey in just 526 pages, but Bomber Command packs a great deal of facts and analysis into the available space. Overall, this book is one of Max Hastings' best.

The author begins by outlining developments within the RAF during the Interwar period and the influence of its first commander, Hugh Trenchard, in building up a faith in bombers and night operations. British politicians also bought into the idea that bombers could be a cheap and useful deterrent. However, the author notes that the RAF failed to develop night navigation aids and spent one-fifth of its budget on buildings. RAF leaders made dangerous assumptions that fighters could not stop bombers and that their navigators could easily find targets at night. When war came, these assumptions quickly proved false. The early chapters cover the feeble bombing efforts of 1939-41, which usually failed to find their targets. The author depicts senior RAF leaders as relatively unconcerned with losses or improving the tactics or equipment employed, which somehow seems to blend with senior British leader military thinking at the onset of trench warfare in 1914-15. British aircrew on the early missions are depicted as the standard public school types, with a `this is damn good fun' attitude, until they start dying rapidly and are replaced with a more stoic and fatalistic bunch in 1942-44. As the author notes, Bomber Command suffered casualties akin to Germany's U-Boat crews and the chances of survival until mid-1944 were poor.

The author discusses why Churchill backed the strategic bomber offensive at some length, but he regards the most important reason as his desire to be viewed by the Russians as contributing to the defeat of Germany. Privately, Churchill doubted that Bomber Command could defeat Germany single-handedly as the airmen claimed, but he gave them their head. Yet by late 1941, Churchill and the RAF were finally waking up to how poorly the bomber offensive was going and opted for area bombing as the only feasible alternative. The great technical developments of 1942-44 that gradually improved British bomber accuracy are discussed, although not in great detail. The author also provides a chapter on the German side of the campaign, discussing the increasing lethality of their defenses and ability to respond to bombed cities. It is interesting to read how some British squadrons tried to introduce novel tactics such as low-level flying and defensive maneuvers which succeeded in reducing casualties, but were then ordered to stop this by obnoxious `brass hats.'

The final chapters discuss the last year of the war, with Bomber Command finally possessing the numbers and the equipment to operate effectively at night. However, the author notes that the main successes of Allied airpower - a rare admission by a British historian - were due to the American introduction of the P-51 Mustang fighter which shot the Luftwaffe out of the sky and American raids which crippled the German synthetic oil industry. The Allied liberation of France also greatly simplified Bomber Command operations in the last year. On the grand questions about the cost and contributions of British strategic bombing, the author notes that Britain devoted up to one-third of its industrial resources toward creating a strategic bomber force, which failed to deliver a knock-out blow. Yet the diversion of so much effort toward Bomber Command starved other British commands of resources (e.g. Mideast and Far East) and made Britain dependent upon the USA for key weapons such as tanks and landing craft. The author also notes that Bomber Command suffered horrendous losses, on the order of 70,000 dead, without breaking either German morale or industrial output. This book is a tough one for British audiences to swallow because it essentially suggests that much of the British war effort was wasted on a futile effort and hence, many of the losses were in vain. The author ultimately traces the fault to pig-headed airmen such as Harris, who wanted to prove the efficacy of an independent air force and refused to admit any error or miscalculation. Bomber Command has important lessons about how service politics can influence strategic decisions and how individual military leaders can warp national objectives for their own ends. The book concludes with a number of very useful appendices.
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