Surviving Bomber Aircraft of World War 2 –
A Global Guide to Location and Types
By Don Berliner
Pen and Sword (www.pen-and-sword.co.uk)
RRP GBP £19.99
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World War 2 still evokes painful and frightening memories of the aerial bombing campaigns conducted by both sides. In the UK the Blitz is an infamous symbol of the war and it was a horrifying experience. Similarly, Dresden for example is the same for the Germans. These campaigns were undertaken by bomber aircraft and this book expertly catalogues those bomber aircraft that have survived to the present day.
Both Allied and Axis aircraft are considered. Each double page spread contains a colour photograph of an example of the aircraft as viewed in an aviation museum, examples of different versions (marks) of the aircraft (often in wartime photos) and a textual description of the type with statistical data. The book can help and aid when visiting museums and it is a fascinating record for aviation enthusiasts.
In some ways the aerial bombing campaign took precedence over other forms of aviation. Fighters often provided “cover” for the bombers or they attacked the incoming bombers of the opposition. Combat aviation was dominated by the “bombers”. Other aircraft were vital but they tended to have a “back-seat”.
Bomber aircraft of the major air forces can be sub-divided into a number of categories. There were attack, light, medium and patrol. Only the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the US Army Forces envisaged the need for many thousands of four engines heavy and very heavy bombers. These bombers were highly capable of striking far into the enemy’s homeland. The German Luftwaffe failed in its bombing campaigns as it lacked such long range aircraft and this was a history-changing error.
Bombing campaigns affect the ability of the enemy to produce and equip their armed forces. Also they can have a devastating effect on the morale of the enemy’s civilian population. The vital supply chains can be affected and therefore effective bombing campaigns can significantly reduce the war-making potential of the opponent. This can shorten wars and save many thousands of lives.
The aircraft in the book can be viewed in North America, Western and Eastern Europe, Australia and Japan. Aircraft technology evolved rapidly in a few short war years and the book illustrates how technology affected aeronautical warfare.
Aircraft and their histories have always fascinated the public and aviation museums are highly popular. The aircraft of the Second World War are extremely so and this book serves as an excellent guide to those few “bombers” that have survived. It is an exceptional book and one can spend many very enjoyable hours reading its contents.