Bombers over Sand and Snow: 205 Group RAF in World War II (英語) ハードカバー – 2011/8/19
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205 Group RAF provided the only mobile force of heavy night bombers in the Mediterranean theater in the Second World War. It operated mainly from bases in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Italy, with occasional excursions to Malta, Greece and Iraq, attacking tactical and strategic targets according to the demands of the wider war in the theater. The force was relatively small when compared with the numbers of aircraft available to Bomber Command in the Western European theater, and it carried on using the venerable Vickers Wellington long after this aircraft had been relegated to the training role in the United Kingdom.Like their UK-based counterparts the night bombers were intended to operate in a strategic role, bombing targets away from the immediate battlefront. However, the demands of the war in the Middle East and Mediterranean soon diverted the bombers from their strategic role and saw them operating much closer to the front line in support of the hard pressed ground forces.The bomber squadrons in North Africa usually operated from Advanced Landing Grounds scraped out of the bare desert, with only a few tents for shelter. In Italy they did have more or less permanent bases, but they still lived in tents (if they were lucky) often surrounded by a sea of mud. There were no pubs, often no beer, and the only contact with their families were the eagerly awaited letters from home. Also the squadrons in England did not have Rommel continually knocking on their door. Thus, the operations of the night bombers in the Middle East and Mediterranean were often governed by the general progress of the war in the theater. The ebb and flow of the land battles not only determined the activities of the night bombers, but also determined their location. This book tells their story.
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205 (Heavy Bomber) Group was created in October 1941, replacing 257 Group which had operated Wellingtons over North Africa since June 1940. In time, 205 Group flew combat ops over North Africa, the Med, Sicily, Italy, the Balkans, France and Germany with Wellingtons, Liberators and Halifaxes. Indeed 'Wimpeys' were used in the Med long after they had been relegated to training duties in England. During the war, 205 Wing flew almost 50,000 sorties, losing 938 aircraft.
205's war consisted on daytime and nocturnal strategic bombing ops, sea sweeps, minelaying, supply missions to partisans and battlefield support, the latter being of great importance to the campaign against Rommel. Then too, living conditions, especially in North Africa, were rugged in the extreme - pitched tents, blinding sandstorms, high temps in the day, freezing temps at night, enemy strafing attacks, etc.
Granfield does an admirable job of presenting 205's lengthy roster of missions in a comprehensive, readable narrative. Though most missions aren't covered in minute detail, they are effectively summarized and Granfield provides a number of first-person reminscences that bring 105's combat career to life.
The book is illustrated with photographs, maps and squadrons badges.
BOMBERS OVER SAND AND SNOW is a well-researched, informative account of the RAF's 'unknown' bomber war in the Med. It is a compelling tribute to those largely unknown warriors and the aircraft they flew. Recommended.