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The Peenemunde Raid: The Night of 17-18 August 1943 (Cassell Military Classics)

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On August 17, 1943, RAF Bomber Command set out to destroy the secret research establishment where Nazi scientists were developing state-of-the-art rockets. Although the bombing "crept back" from its target, and the cloudless sky made the British aircraft perfect targets, they succeeded in disrupting Hitler's weapons program. Containing the remembrances of over 400 people f On August 17, 1943, RAF Bomber Command set out to destroy the secret research establishment where Nazi scientists were developing state-of-the-art rockets. Although the bombing "crept back" from its target, and the cloudless sky made the British aircraft perfect targets, they succeeded in disrupting Hitler's weapons program. Containing the remembrances of over 400 people from both sides--flight crews, researchers at the site, and foreign laborers forced to work there--this classic history is thoroughly irresistible.


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On August 17, 1943, RAF Bomber Command set out to destroy the secret research establishment where Nazi scientists were developing state-of-the-art rockets. Although the bombing "crept back" from its target, and the cloudless sky made the British aircraft perfect targets, they succeeded in disrupting Hitler's weapons program. Containing the remembrances of over 400 people f On August 17, 1943, RAF Bomber Command set out to destroy the secret research establishment where Nazi scientists were developing state-of-the-art rockets. Although the bombing "crept back" from its target, and the cloudless sky made the British aircraft perfect targets, they succeeded in disrupting Hitler's weapons program. Containing the remembrances of over 400 people from both sides--flight crews, researchers at the site, and foreign laborers forced to work there--this classic history is thoroughly irresistible.

30 review for The Peenemunde Raid: The Night of 17-18 August 1943 (Cassell Military Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jonny

    On a late summer night in 1943, RAF Bomber Command launched an unprecedented attack on a small target on Germany's north eastern coast. The target was considered so important that, if the attack failed, repeat attacks would have to be made, regardless of casualties. The target was the Wehrmacht research station at Peenemunde, where Werner von Braun and his team were putting the V-2 missile into production. Mr Middlebrook has produced an account of the raid which encompasses a brief overview of th On a late summer night in 1943, RAF Bomber Command launched an unprecedented attack on a small target on Germany's north eastern coast. The target was considered so important that, if the attack failed, repeat attacks would have to be made, regardless of casualties. The target was the Wehrmacht research station at Peenemunde, where Werner von Braun and his team were putting the V-2 missile into production. Mr Middlebrook has produced an account of the raid which encompasses a brief overview of the Nazi rocket programme, the story of the detection of the facility and Britain's reaction to this (easily the most interesting part of the book), as well as an examination of the raid from the viewpoint of the raiders, the defenders and the people on the ground, under the bombs. Some interesting points arise from the account, such as a number of innovations trialled by Bomber Command, such as the use of a Master Bomber to control the raid, and an attempt by part of the force to bomb using timed releases from an offset navigational point (potentially useful as the target enjoyed smoke generators in their defence). Also of particular interest was the near failure of the Luftwaffe night fighter force, which responded to a diversionary attack on Berlin by a small force if Mosquitos and spent much of the night waiting for a Main Force raid on the capital which never arrived. That any fighters at all opposed the raid was the result of independent action on the part of individual crews. The effectiveness of the raid is also examined and, while attack is thought to have delayed the deployment of the V-2 by some eight weeks, this was a significant period of time in terms of events - V-2 strikes on forces assembling four the invasion of Europe could have had wide ranging effects. An interesting look at a unique raid and two opposing forces in the middle of the night air war. Recommended for anyone interested in World War Two aviation.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Scottnshana

    A good nuts-and-bolts examination of the raid that went after the Nazi V-weapons program in 1943, with first-hand accounts of flying the missions and surviving the bombardment. It juxtaposes well with Len Deighton's "Bomber" (a fiction account of the same-type narrative). The maps are good, the passages from interviews are well-chosen, and the research appears to be quite thorough. Recommend.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Dolan

    Excellent book about the only Bomber Command attack on the German Rocket development site at Peenemunde. The losses were severe, 215 RAF Aircrew were killed mostly by German Nightfighters while on the ground over 700 people were killed. Tragically the majority of the dead on the ground were forced Labourers, mainly Polish, who died when their camp was bombed by mistake. Of Irish interest Pilot Officer Alan Thompson, 44 Squadron, from Dublin and Sgt John Gilvary, 419 Squadron, from Bray were kille Excellent book about the only Bomber Command attack on the German Rocket development site at Peenemunde. The losses were severe, 215 RAF Aircrew were killed mostly by German Nightfighters while on the ground over 700 people were killed. Tragically the majority of the dead on the ground were forced Labourers, mainly Polish, who died when their camp was bombed by mistake. Of Irish interest Pilot Officer Alan Thompson, 44 Squadron, from Dublin and Sgt John Gilvary, 419 Squadron, from Bray were killed in the raid. Another Irishman, Sgt Peter Barry gave an account of his Lancaster being attacked by a fighter. Barry was trapped in the rear turret, seriously injured. With the fuselage ablaze some of the crew prepared to bale out but the pilot ordered them to put out the fire as the plane was still flying. They returned successfully to England and Barry made a full recovery. The mission itself was a mixed success. The development of the V2 Rocket was delayed by a few months but the plan to kill most of the scientists (and their families) in their homes failed. The Chief of Staff of the Luftwaffe, Hans Jeschonnek, killed himself rather than face the wrath of Hitler and Goering. The book touches briefly on other interesting subjects like German rocket research (that eventually put a man on the moon) and the forgotten war between the German night fighters and RAF Intruders sen to prevent their attacking the bombers.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Trawets

    Peenemunde on the German Baltic coast was German's rocket research establishment before and during WWII. Martin Middlebrook tells the story of the RAF's raid on Peenemunde in August 1943, a raid unusual for the precision nature of the bombing by so many bombers and the fact it was scheduled for the night of a full moon. The author draws on a wealth of personal memories from not only the RAF and Luftwaffe crews, but also the German and foreign workers on the ground. These memories along with Mart Peenemunde on the German Baltic coast was German's rocket research establishment before and during WWII. Martin Middlebrook tells the story of the RAF's raid on Peenemunde in August 1943, a raid unusual for the precision nature of the bombing by so many bombers and the fact it was scheduled for the night of a full moon. The author draws on a wealth of personal memories from not only the RAF and Luftwaffe crews, but also the German and foreign workers on the ground. These memories along with Martin Middlebrook's research makes this an exciting and informative read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    An excellent book that give you not only the RAF view but those under the bombs too.

  6. 4 out of 5

    David Hill

    Another masterwork by Middlebrook, my favorite poultry farmer and amateur historian. Thoroughly researched, well organized, and full of first hand accounts. Great stuff.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Matti Kupiainen

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stewart Strang

  10. 5 out of 5

    Robert Williams

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mateusz

  13. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Hall

  14. 4 out of 5

    Geevee

  15. 4 out of 5

    Norman

  16. 5 out of 5

    Duane Mcconnell

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  18. 4 out of 5

    Glynis Owen

  19. 4 out of 5

    Thomas J Porto

  20. 4 out of 5

    John Gordon

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stewart Ogilvie-Goddard

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rich

  23. 4 out of 5

    M.D. Eyre

  24. 4 out of 5

    Angus

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mr G.R. Buesnel

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dan Pass

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  28. 5 out of 5

    David

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tjn

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