Through Blue Skies to Hell

America's "Bloody 100th" in the Air War over Germany

Edward M. Sion

 
Date Published :
March 2008
Publisher :
Casemate
Language:
English
Illustration :
16 pages b/w photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Hardback
ISBN : 9781932033670
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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+
In stock
$32.95
Paperback
ISBN : 9781935149873
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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+
In stock
$18.95

Overview
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This book provides a comprehensive look at air war over Europe during the climactic year of World War II, combining firsthand experience with expert analysis. The centerpiece is a mission-by-mission diary of 1st Lieutenant Richard R. Ayesh, bombardier on a B-17 Flying Fortress, who flew with the 100th Bombardment Group, 13th Combat Wing of the 8th Air Force—the legendary “Bloody 100th.” He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Croix de Guerre and the Air Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, amongst others.

This book follows Ayesh’s progress from his youth during the Great Depression in Wichita, Kansas, which was rapidly becoming the air capital of the nation, to his arrival in England as a Lieutenant in a bomber crew assigned to assault the Third Reich.

Once in Europe, the author provides a look at the principles of American daylight strategic bombing, while relaying the overall military situation on the ground and in the air just after D-Day. This work is uniquely self-contained and covers all aspects of Air War in a clear, concise, yet nontechnical manner. Topics include photo-reconnaissance, munitions and bomb types, aircraft characteristics, fighter and bomber tactics, bomber formations, strategic target selection, radars, countermeasures and counter-counter measures. The unaltered diary of Lt. Ayesh is presented mission-by-mission, punctuated by tragedy and heroism, with explanations and commentary of the significance of events and actions described en route. The result is one of the most frank and exciting works on the air war over Europe to date.

There is no varnishing of words in this book, instead, after Lt. Ayesh is followed on his perilous return home in U-boat infested waters, the book assesses the effectiveness of US strategy in ultimately paralyzing the Nazi war machine. Finally, the complex moral issues raised by area and city bombing are explored with 21st century implications.

EDWARD M. SION Ph.D. currently resides with his wife and two children in Radnor, PA

About The Author
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Edward Sion Ph.D., is currently Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Villanova University. He has held visiting positions at Arizona State, the University of Toulouse and the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute. He has authored 185 peer-reviewed publications, primarily on the end stages of stellar evolution. The father of two grown children, he currently resides with his wife in Radnor, PA.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
PREFACE

1. GROWING UP IN THE AIR CAPITAL
2. THE MAKING OF AN AIRMAN
3. THE BOMBARDIER'S ARSENAL
4. TOP SECRET BOMBSIGHT
5. BOMBER FORMATIONS & FIGHTER TACTICS
6. BLIND BOMBING, RADARS AND PFF
7. HEADING TO COMBAT
8. WELCOME TO THORPE ABBOTTS
9. LEGEND OF THE BLOODY HUNDREDTH
10. SITUATION GROUND WAR, POST D-DAY
11. SITUATION AIR WAR, FALL 1944
12. THE NERVE CENTER AT HIGH WYCOMBE
13. THE AIR WAR ON SYNTHETIC OIL
14. GERMAN DEFENSES AGAINST BOMBERS
15. EVE OF COMBAT
16. MISSION BY MISSION (I)
17. LONDON ENCOUNTERS
18. MISSION BY MISSION (II)
19. THE LUCKY BASTARDS HEADING HOME
20. THE IMPACT OF STRATEGIC BOMBING ON FINAL VICTORY
21. 20TH CENTURY MORAL ISSUES AND 21ST CENTURY IMPLICATIONS

NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX

REVIEWS
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",,,enables the reader better to understand how and why things were the way they were in the skies of Europe in the Second World War. Very readable, surprisingly revealing.”

- Aviation News (UK), September 2008

"…an interesting and challenging read and a valuable contribution to air war literature.”

- Fighting High (UK), July 2008

"...delivers a real punch... a fine, straight forward, informative look at the air war over Europe after June 6 1944, with a surprising amount of new perspective on the moral issues of area bombing with implications in the present century. A worthy book about yesterday for today and tomorrow."

- Midwest Book Review, June 2008

"The combination of personal memoirs dotted in between the facts about the 100th's missions, plus the evident research skills of the author providing an intelligent analysis of a great many usual aspects of the events surrounding the 8th Air Force in Europe, creates a startling combination of the poignant and the historic.”

- Military Modeling, May 2009

"…an elaborate study….well worth adding to any collection.”

- Military Modeling International, August 2009

"…an educated critique of the US bomber offensive during the Second World War…. An interesting read well worth taking up…”

- Scale Aircraft International (UK), September 2008

"... an exceptional work on the Allied bombing campaign during World War II. While drawing on his uncle's diary for close-in combat experiences, he also provides a scientist's eye for the true chokepoints of German industry, particularly its synthetic fuel industry. Full of facts, anecdotes and strategic perspective, while following the progress of America's "Bloody 100th” Bomb Group, Sion has provided a fascinating look at the massive WWII air war--a unique campaign in modern history."

- Stephen Tanner, author of “Afghanistan: A Military History” and “Refuge from the Reich: American Airmen and Switzerland During World War II”

"very readable account…intertwines the deeply personal and day to day minutiae of life on a Mighty 8th bomber base with the pros and cons of daylight missions and US offensive strategy. A chilling read…"

- Flypast, August 2008

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