Bomber Command’s War Against Germany written by Noble Frankland published by Pen & Sword Books – £25.00 – Hardback – Pages 328

The often-cited mantra that ‘the bomber will always get through’ had dominated Britain’s strategic air policy in the decades preceding the Second World War. However, the experiences of the Battle of Britain and the Blitz indicated that aerial bombardments were not as effective at disabling a country’s ability to fight as had been believed. This assessment was reinforced when the RAF’s Bomber Command analyzed the results of their precision bombing efforts during the early years of the war. A growing body of evidence indicated that the great ‘knock-out’ blow expected to be delivered from the air was a fantasy and that it would only be through a prolonged campaign of attrition that the enemy could be worn down to such a degree that morale, the means of production and the infrastructure of the enemy would be degraded to the point where its fighting ability was crippled. The result of this assessment was a change of policy from the precision bombing of carefully identified key installations, to area bombing with the declared intent of striking at the homes of the German workers, the factories where they worked regardless of the nature of such establishments or of the civilian casualties that would be the inevitable consequence. In compiling this official analysis of the effectiveness of the RAF’s strategic bombing campaign, the author was granted unrestricted access to Air Ministry, Cabinet and other relevant departmental documents that were maintained for internal government use, enabling him to gain a complete and unbiased assessment of the contribution made by Bomber Command to the defeat of Germany. 

The Bomber Command and the decisions it had to make were really big and numerous, in effect what they decided could change the outcome of the war. As you have what type of aircraft to use, the variety of the ways to use them and the amount of use you had to use them. It really is a huge subject, something that seemed to come up a lot at university, or certainly when I attended. It’s nice to see this in ‘everyday’ books for the public rather than just being concentrated in university books. The subject is fascinating and I’ve enjoyed reading some great books from Pen and Sword including this one. What makes this book stand out is that it’s an official history so the author has obviously been given access to a number of resources and evidence.

This book in particular looks at the style of bombing and its effects, because it shows you the work and analysis that went on in the background by the actual men and crews putting the work in. Now while you might not agree with some of the decisions or the ways things were done, it is fascinating to see how they came to conclusions and how they got to them. I really enjoyed this book and I happily recommend people go out and get a copy of this book.