[PDF] Chastise: The Dambusters Story 1943 By Max Hastings – Tactical-player.co.uk
A Masterly History Of The Dambusters Raid From Bestselling And Critically Acclaimed Max Hastings.
Operation Chastise, The Overnight Destruction Of The M Hne And Eder Dams In North West Germany By The RAF S 617 Squadron, Was An Epic That Has Passed Into Britain S National Legend.Max Hastings Grew Up Embracing The Story, The Classic 1955 Movie And The Memory Of Guy Gibson, The 24 Year Old Wing Commander Who Won The VC Leading The Raid In The 21st Century, However, Hastings Urges That We Should Review The Dambusters In Much Complex Shades The Aircrew S Heroism Was Wholly Authentic, As Was The Brilliance Of Barnes Wallis, Who Invented The Bouncing Bombs But Commanders Who Promised Their Young Fliers That Success Could Shorten The War Fantasised Wildly What Germans Call The M Hnekatastrophe Imposed On The Nazi War Machine Temporary Disruption, Rather Than A Crippling Blow.Hastings Vividly Describes The Evolution Of Wallis Bomb, And Of The Squadron Which Broke The Dams At The Cost Of Devastating Losses But He Also Portrays In Harrowing Detail Those Swept Away By The Torrents Some 1,400 Civilians Perished In The Biblical Floods That Swept Through The M Hne Valley, Than Half Of Them Russian And Polish Women, Slave Labourers Under Hitler.Ironically, Air Marshal Sir Arthur Bomber Harris Gained Much Of The Credit, Though He Opposed Chastise As A Distraction From His City Burning Blitz He Also Made What The Author Describes As The Operation S Biggest Mistake The Failure To Launch A Conventional Attack On The Nazis Huge Post Raid Repair Operation, Which Could Have Transformed The Impact Of The Dam Breaches Upon Ruhr Industry.Chastise Offers A Fascinating Retake On Legend By A Master Of The Art Hastings Sets The Dams Raid In The Big Picture Of The Bomber Offensive And Of The Second World War, With Moving Portraits Of The Young Airmen, So Many Of Whom Died Of Barnes Wallis The Monstrous Harris The Tragic Guy Gibson, Together With Superb Narrative Of The Action Of One Of The Most Extraordinary Episodes In British History. I found the book to be immensely enjoyable to read having seen the film many times and having a very keen interest in all things RAF during WW2 As is often the case the book is better than the film but on this occasion they complement each other perfectly and provide the reader and viewer with a wonderfully accurate insight into what was perhaps the greatest example of RAF endeavour and flying during the conflict Perhaps only surpassed by the 3 gliders that landed at Pegasus bridge on the evening of the 5th 6th June 1944 The book debunks many hitherto theories about the role of Bomber Harris and the notion that the raid was not warmly embraced and supported by many others in the RAF, a result in part of the film and subsequent documentaries about precision bombing Certainly Guy Gibson was not the benign character portrayed in the film by Richard Todd but there again without his demeanour and driven character 617 squadron would never have been able to perform such an undertaking.The only blemishes I could find are the account of the reception debrief Les Munro received from Gibson after he had to return prematurely, plus a highly optimistic caption for a Lancaster wreck on the Dutch coast In an interview with Munro many years after the war he described his debrief by Gibson as being very curt and blaming him for not flying low enough, so absolutely not exonerated The pic on page 268 9 believed to be that of A Apple has appeared in previous books on the Lanc as unidentified but cannot be a BIII of the type used on the raid as it has the side windows glazing which were a feature of the BI but deleted for the BIII Max Hastings latest military history with usual scholarly accuracy and research A truly fresh approach to a well known story, but with a focus on the personalities behind the air crew and the impact to the civil population following the floods many of whom were German slave workers from occupied European territories, not commonly known Recommended read for those who want to learn behind this famous military victory which gave hope to the British population during the dark days of struggle against the evils of Nazi power. From the original Enemy Coast Ahead written by Gibson himself the recently published uncensored version is much authentic through wartime storyteller Paul Brickhill s offering to much scholarly works from John Sweetman and latterly James Holland, the raid that became known as the Dambusters has probably received as much coverage in print and on film than almost any other single event of the WW2 That being so, you would imagine that there is nothing else to be said about the event and in relation to the actual facts of the raid, you would be correct But Max Hastings has approached the night of 16 17 May 1943 and the events leading up to it and its subsequent effects from a different angle Whilst he has followed the timeline of the raid he has focussed much on personnel rather than the technical detail He looks at how the crew and those who could only watch and wait might have felt by reference to letters, conversation and family relationships He examines the legacy of the breaching of the dams, not forgetting the experiences of those caught up in the subsequent deluge, which he describes in terrifying detail Consequently, this is a much rounded account and not just a re telling of a well known story I have read all the books referred to above and Richard Morris excellent biography of Guy Gibson and like anybody of my generation, I ve seen the film countless times Even so, I found Max Hastings account extremely readable and a worthwhile addition to my bookshelf This was a big story featuring major characters like Barnes Wallis, Arthur Harris, Guy Gibson and not forgetting Winston Churchill himself It will always stand re telling, especially by an author of the quality of Max Hastings.