Osprey's German Flak Defenses vs Allied Heavy Bombers


Donald Nijboer


Osprey Publishing


$22.00 MSRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 80 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softcover
ISBN: 978-1-4728-3671-7

This edition of Duel puts forth a pair of what looks initially unlikely adversaries, but in reality was a way of life for the opposing forces for many years. Both the British and American air forces felt that the enemy could be bombed into submission and that it would quickly end the war. They were both wrong of course and while British bombers were (for the most part) incapable of anything other than just bombing cities into rubble, the Americans felt that, by bombing during the daylight, they would be able to perform 'precision' bombing of specific facilities.

Of course the defense wasn't going to let them to this with impunity and with a combination of fighters and ground based anti-air artillery did their best to make these missions costly. In fact, one of the first major tasks when the Nazis came to power was to build up a fairly robust air defense, something that only increased dramatically once war started and the British started bombing raids.

Just as bombing was generally wildly inaccurate, with only a small percentage of bombs hitting the designated target, so throwing flak into the air was not a sure way to knock down bombers. The number of shells expended in the attempt was incredible, but not only were their successful at times in bringing down bombers, but they were also able to damage a greater number. Frequently this damage was enough to allow fighters to pick them off or for the bomber to crash en route to their base due to this damage. There was also a huge morale issue as no one likes to fly into an area where your life could be snuffed in an instant.

It was a war of improvements and countermeasures that continued until the very end.

As is the norm with this series, the author provides a bit of background history to the two adversaries as well as a look at how the crews both in the air and on the ground were trained. We also get a look at the aircraft and the gun types to see how they performed against each other. Tactics were quite important in this sort of situation and we see how those changed as the war progressed. Add to all this some great period photos and superbly done art work and you'll have an excellent book that is well worth picking up. 

August 2019

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