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Mission to Berlin: The American Airmen Who Struck the Heart of Hitler's Reichby Robert F. Dorr
Synopses & Reviews
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.
In Mission to Berlin, Robert F. Dorr, 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.
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 the 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 aircrafts, flak slicing through hull and crew alike. Bomber crews also faced high-altitude induced cold temperatures, 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," just as you should think "I hope I get Mission to Berlin today!"
About the Author
Robert F. Dorr (1955–) is an author, U.S. Air Force veteran (Korea, 1957–1960), and retired senior American diplomat (1964–1989). He is the author of the weekly Back Talk column in the Air Force Times newspaper, the monthly Washington Watch feature in Aerospace America magazine, and numerous articles in major aviation and history magazines. He is both an analyst of present-day military events and a historian of past wars, having published about seventy-five books and ten thousand articles. Dorr speaks to groups about aviation and military history and is often interviewed on history programs. He lives in Oakton, Virginia, with his family—which includes his Labrador retriever—and has written Zenith Press titles Air Force One (2002), Hell Hawks! (2008), Mission to Berlin (2011), Mission to Tokyo (2012), and Fighting Hitler’s Jets (2013).
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