Mission to Berlin: The American Airmen Who Struck the Heart of Hitler's Reich

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9780760345931: Mission to Berlin: The American Airmen Who Struck the Heart of Hitler's Reich
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Robert F Dorr s critically acclaimed World War II bombing narrative now available in paperback format The western Allies flew 314 bombing missions to Berlin between 1940 and 1945 Germany s capital was its largest city the richest metropolitan center on the European continent the sixth largest city in the world and it had been declared a legitimate military target In Mission to Berlin Robert F Dorr author of Hell Hawks and Mission to Tokyo and one of today s most prolific military historians takes the reader on a World War II bombing mission from the airfields of England to Berlin and back Told largely in the veterans own words Mission to Berlin offers the firsthand accounts of the pilots and those of the other aircrew ground crew and escort fighters who accompanied the bombers on their perilous missions Long stretches of quiet flight high above the fields of Europe were punctuated by moments of intense danger and adrenaline as German fighters pounced on the Allied aircraft flak slicing through hull and crew alike Bomber crews also faced high altitude cold lack of oxygen fires and explosions of their own ordnance as well as crash landings or bailouts that could kill them or turn them into prisoners of war As they fought their way across Europe hoping to beat the odds and survive the maximum thirty five combat missions they often thought I hope we get Hitler today

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The western Allies flew 314 bombing missions to Berlin between 1940 and 1945. Germany’s capital was its largest city, the richest metropolitan center on the European continent, the sixth-largest city in the world—and a legitimate military target. It housed the headquarters of the Third Reich and the German armed forces. It had a dozen aircraft assembly plants and a similar number of factories for military vehicles. It was a vital rail and transportation hub. By any measurement, Berlin was the heart of the Reich, and it was protected to a degree befitting that status.
Berlin’s antiaircraft defenses stretched across more than forty miles of searchlights, flak batteries, and airfields brimming with German air force fighters—up to 1,600 combat-capable warplanes. Royal Air Force Lancaster crews ran this gauntlet under cover of darkness, carrying out the most sustained effort against a German city during the war. While the Britons went after cities at night, the Americans went after installations by day. Outgoing and returning bombers would sometimes pass each other in the early morning as the sun rose on the Reich.
The U.S. Eighth Air Force began its war on Berlin on March 4, 1944, followed by an all-out assault two days later, and, after a hiatus, continued from late 1944 until war’s end. The February 3, 1945, mission was the next-to-last major Eighth Air Force effort against Berlin and the largest bombing mission undertaken against a single target. Robert F. Dorr brings this mission to life through the words of official reports, airmen’s diaries, and his personal interviews of hundreds of veterans. From wake-up call until surviving bombers land back in England up to twelve hours later, the reader is along for the ride on a harrowing mission over enemy territory, enduring high-altitude cold, flak, and enemy fighters while trying to bring an end to Hitler’s Reich.

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From Hell Hawks! author Robert F. Dorr, Mission to Berlin takes the reader on a World War II strategic bombing mission from the airfields of England to Berlin and back. Told largely in the veterans’ own words, Mission to Berlin covers all the players in a long-range bombing run, including pilots and other aircrew, ground crew, and escort fighters that accompanied the heavy bombers on their perilous missions. Long stretches of quiet flight high above the fields of Europe were punctuated by moments of intense danger and adrenalin as flak sliced through the hull and crew alike and German fighters pounced on the Allied aircraft. Bomber crews also faced high-altitude cold, lack of oxygen, fires, and explosions of their own ordnance, as well as crash landings or bailouts that could kill them or turn them into prisoners of war. As they fought their way across Europe, hoping to beat the odds and survive the maximum thirty-five combat missions, they often thought, “I hope we get Hitler today.”

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