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.
"Having authored a multitude of books and articles on the Air Force and Air warfare, Dorr should be the best person to illuminate the plight of the men who flew over Berlin on February 3, 1945. During the Berlin mission the Eighth Air Force launched 2,385 combat aircrafts from East Anglia targeting "every subway station and every telephone pole in the city." Ostensibly, this is the story of four of the men who flew in those planes, specifically the "Flying Fortress" B-17, one of the most popular bombers of the European theatre. Those four men and their planes appear and reappear infrequently in the narrative. The book flits back and forth between their tales and those of a few hundred others while also intermingling stories of other flyers and other bombing runs. Pilots and dedicated fans of WWII aircraft will best appreciate this book and its details of the engines, guns, construction, and durability of the fighters and bombers that leveled Germany. At its core, this is a book about planes, not about men." - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"Dorr's fascinating tale will be read at different levels, depending upon the knowledge of the reader. For some one just beginning to have an interest in World War II bombing operations, the author's overall picture of the powerful event will lure the reader into reading more, and the author provides an excellent bibliography for that purpose. The knowledgeable reader will savor Mission to Berlin for its intimate detail and the rarely seen level of information about aerial warfare in both large and small scale. And for the expert, the person every author dreads, sitting there reading, waiting to pounce on each and every error, Dorr will offer a genuine challenge - he makes no mistakes." - DEFENSE MEDIA NETWORK
"Mission to Berlin provides not only a detailed description of an Allied bombing campaign during World War II, but also an up-close and personal look at the individuals involved. Each part of the mission is described in a way that makes the reader feel that he or she is actually there, seeing what was going on as it happened. It makes readers appreciate the courage and skill of those who fought in the deadly skies over the 3rd Reich. " - BOWLING GREEN DAILY NEWS
"[Dorr] has written a great account of American aicrews flying dangerous missions deep into the heart of Nazi Germany...Allied airmen suffered massive losses, and many were killed or taken prisoner. Dorr has done a magnificent job telling their story." - WWII HISTORY MAGAZINE
"This is an excellent account of the Berlin campaign...Dorr takes readers on a World War II strategic bombing mission from the airfields of England to Berlin and back. This is 'you are there' reporting which covers all the players including pilots and other aircrew, ground crew, and escort fighters that accompanied the heavy bombers on their dangerous missions." - TUCSON CITIZEN
"In this fascinating volume, noted aviation historian Dorr uses official records, personal memoirs and first-person interviews to bring to vivid life the American airmen who braved flak, fighters, altitude and the elements to pound Adolf Hitler's capital into rubble and hasten the end of the Third Reich." - MILITARY HISTORY
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).