...Air Campaign 28 from Osprey Publishing
Title: D-Day 1944
Author: Stephen A. Bourque
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
The Deadly Failure of Allied Heavy Bombing on 6th June. Number 28 in the Osprey Air Campaign series, this is a 96-page soft-cover book on an element of the D-Day invasion that is so often overlooked or only mentioned briefly.
The Introduction sets the scene, when the contribution of the heavy bombers to the overall Fire Plan was not as successful as it might have been. That is followed by a straightforward Chronology of key events. Next there are the details of the Allied Capabilities, covering the resources available to RAF Bomber Command and both US 8th & 9th Air Forces, and which also includes bomb aiming equipment and radar/navigation systems. That then switches to the German Capabilities, with both passive and active defence arrangements. Campaign Objectives, with specific reference to the Joint Fire Plan for the assault, goes over the aims and potential problems that faced the air force planners. The largest part of the book details the Campaign itself, the targets and how successful the various attacks were, or of course, were not. Operation Flashlamp was the code-name for the Bomber Command element. There are detailed maps of each of the invasion beaches, illustrating which RAF and USAAF units the various targets and their approach routes. There was a fear of the danger that bombing short may badly impact the invasion forces, and a result was that many bombs actually missed their main targets and hit the surrounding civilian areas, some with deadly effect. Protected by concrete many of the targeted gun batteries remained operational to face the troop landings but naval gunnery was able to help out. Everything is rounded off with a well balanced Analysis and Conclusion.
Illustrated throughout with archive photos and some of the excellent artwork and maps by illustrator Edouard A. Groult, this covers an important, if less successful element of the D-Day operation. Interesting reading and good value for money as ever from this Osprey series.
Thanks to Osprey for our review copy.