4 Group Bomber Command – An Operational Record
By Chris Ward
Pen and Sword (www.pen-and-sword.co.uk)
RRP GBP £25.00
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During World War 2 the RAF’s 4 Group in Bomber Command played a vital and critical role in the aerial offensive against Germany. This interesting book details their heroic operations and it gives plenty of supporting data on the aircraft and squadrons of this Group.
Prior to the War the RAF recognised the need for rapid expansion and it modified its command structure to accommodate this forecasted demand. At the start of the War, 4 Group was the only Group whose crews were trained in night operations. Hence the other Groups focussed on daylight operations.
After the War started 4 Group undertook long range leafleting sorties over Nazi Germany. These sorties required the crews to remain aloft for hours in unheated aircraft – often for 10 to 12 hours a time.
4 Group used a variety of aircraft models and variants during the War and the author gives an informed evaluation of their merits. The developments in aircraft technology helped 4 Group stay at the forefront of Bomber Command’s campaigns and many of the men who served with 4 Group became future inspirational leaders.
This book has outstanding chapters on squadron histories, their commanding officers, the stations they operated from and the losses in terms of aircraft. It is a highly useful reference work on 4 Group and its history.
The author has essentially split this reference book into two sections. The first section deals with operations. This data is effectively a monthly / quarterly / yearly diary of operations and these entries are highly detailed. The second section is a history of each squadron which was part of 4 Group.
The squadron entries normally consist of an introduction to the squadron, its operational code letters, is stations and dates, its commanding officers and dates, aircraft and aircraft types with dates, operational statistics (such as losses with respect to operations) and brief details of all known aircraft that operated with the squadron.
If the history of the bombing campaign against Nazi Germany interests you and you wish to know more about Bomber Command’s constituent Groups then this book is the book to have on 4 Group. The author’s research skills and his efforts in collating the data for this book are outstanding and he has done the memory of these brave flyers true justice. He deserves a “well done” and I would expect that his sister volumes on the other Groups will be of a similar very high standard.