Through Blue Skies To Hell

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

Edward M. Sion

234 x 156 mm, 256, 16 pages b/w photos, 9781932033670, £19.99, Hardback, Casemate
19 May 2008

Currently not in stock.

• A comprehensive analysis of US strategic daylight bombing
• Includes chapters on fighter tactics, bombing tactics and bomber formations

This book provides a comprehensive look at the air war over Europe during the climactic year of World War II, combining firsthand experience with expert analysis. The centerpiece of the work is a mission-by-mission diary of 1st Lieutenant Richard R. Ayesh, bombadier 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 was a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, Croix de Guerre, Air Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, and numerous other medals.

This book follows Ayeth’s progress from his youth during the Great Depression in Wichita, Kansas, a city which at the time 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 comprehensive look at the principles of American daylight strategic bombing, while relaying to the reader the overall military situation on the ground and in the air over Europe just after D-Day. This work is uniquely self-contained and covers all aspects of the Air War in a clear, concise, yet non-technical manner. Topics include photo-reconnaisance, munitions and bomb types, combatant aircraft characteristics, fighter tactics, bomber tactics, bomber formations, strategic target selection, combatant and defensive radars, counter-measures (and counter-counter measures), logistics, ground crews, and air scouts. The author, interweaving his analysis with the urgent firsthand diary of a participant in the Bloody 100th, describes the air war in full fashion, in the process revealing a number of insights. Throughout 35 combat missions, the unaltered combat diary of Lt. Ayesh is presented mission-by-mission, punctuated by tragedy and unbelievable heroism, with explanations and commentary on the significance of the 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, either through the diary or the analysis that accompanies it. Instead, after the gallant Lt. Ayesh is followed on his perilous return home in U-boat infested waters, the book assesses the effectiveness of US strategic daylight bombing in crippling and ultimately paralyzing the Nazi war machine. Finally, the complex moral issues raised by area bombing, city bombing and the controversies surrounding them are explored, all with 21st century implications.

EDWARD M. SION, Ph.D., a native of Kansas, 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. A recipient of numerous grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, he has authored or co-authored 185 peer-reviewed publications, primarily on the end stages of stellar evolution. He currently resides with his wife and two children in Radnor, PA.

Reviews

An account of a USAAF airman’s experiences as a bombardier on B-17s with the 100th Bomb Group in the air war over Germany with an analysis by one of America’s top astrophysicists, who studies the goals, failures and successes, and the strategic implications for the future. Good.

AEROPLANE, 06/2008


...very readable account... This book inter-twines the deeply personal and the day-to-day minutiae of life...

FLYPAST, 8/2008


An interesting read well worth taking up... a cut above the rest…

AVIATION NEWS, 09/2008


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Through Blue Skies To Hell America's "Bloody 100th" in the Air War over Germany

• A comprehensive analysis of US strategic daylight bombing
• Includes chapters on fighter tactics, bombing tactics and bomber formations

This book provides a comprehensive ...

(Paperback)

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