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The Battle of Hamburg-Allied Bomber forces against a German City in 1943

By: Martin Middlebrook (950/35878)
Publisher: Allen Lane ISBN: 0713910747

In July 1943, the city of Hamburg was virtually destroyed by a series of heavy bombing raids. In one night alone, 40,000 people were killed in the terrible ‘firestorm’ raid. This series of raids became known at the Battle of Hamburg and was a climax in the strategic bombing war, particularly in the Area Bombing offensive of R.A.F. Bomber Command.

Martin Middlebrook’s book is a sequel to his earlier book. The Nuremberg Raid, which described the greatest defeat of the war for R.A.F. Bomber Command. This new book now describes Bomber Command’s greatest success. It is a compelling and sobering contrast. The book traces the origins of strategic bombing nearly thirty ears earlier and charts the progress of a form of warfare which resulted in this massive destruction and death toll in a major city. Not only are the R.A.F. raids described in great detail but there are extensive descriptions of the part played by American bombers in the ‘battle’ and of the introduction by the R.A.F. of a new device, Window, which caused a major failure of the German defences.

All this has been written after Martin Middlebrook’s normal meticulous research. Every available original document relevant to the subject has been studied and a total of 547 British, American and German participants in the battle were contacted. The accounts provided by Hamburg survivors provide a particularly vivid and harrowing impression of what it was like to be in a city subjected to such intense air attack.

The result is a book which describes all aspects of this major event in the air war in unprecedented detail. It is also a book which the auth9or hopes will promote a better understanding of the complicated factors behind such bombing. A complete chapter is devoted to studying the attitudes of the ordinary people of both sides to the moral dilemma of the bombing and answering the question’Why?’

June 2008


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