» » Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan 1942-1945

Download Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan 1942-1945 epub

by Mel Foster,Barrett Tillman

Whirlwind is the only book to examine in depth the human drama behind the most important bombing campaign in history. While the air war against Nazi Germany has been covered in-depth by many books, Barrett Tillman, a renowned authority on military aircraft and the air war in the Pacific, is the first to tackle the air war against Japan. For decades, historians and politicians have debated whether or not Japan was on the verge of surrender in August 1945-before the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tillman argues that for all the widespread death and suffering, the bombing of Japan remains a great example of air power's ability to end a long, bitter, and bloody war without invasion. Writing from the perspective of the aircrews and the generals and admirals who commanded them, Tillman examines all aspects of the human drama of the war, combining historical analyses with the words of survivors from both sides of the bomb.
Download Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan 1942-1945 epub
ISBN: 1400164206
ISBN13: 978-1400164202
Category: History
Subcategory: Americas
Author: Mel Foster,Barrett Tillman
Language: English
Publisher: Tantor Audio; MP3 - Unabridged CD edition (March 2, 2010)
ePUB size: 1552 kb
FB2 size: 1457 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 821
Other Formats: docx lrf doc txt

An excellent historical narrative covering strategic bombing theories and many facets of the planning and operations of the air war over the Japanese Homeland. This review is by one who lived the B-29 experience from beginning to end as, primarily, a navigator but also holding the bombardier rating, assigned to the 792 Squadron, 468 Group, 58 Bomb Wing at its Salina, Kansas organizing and can corroborate many of the accounts and conclusions the book propounds.

Illustrating one of the important conclusions that the B-29 was deployed prematurely and had problems with the engines was my experience. On the very first mission the squadron flew, from Kharagpur, India to the advance base at Pengshan, China , I substituted for an ill navigator of another crew and, unfortunately, we had to abandon the plane over Northern India (Assam) before getting to the Hump. We were in the jungle a couple of days and returned to base in about a week. During my time in India with approximately a dozen Hump crossing attempts, the first (above) and the last ended in abandoning the plane due to engine problems. The second bail out occurred on the China side returning from Pengshan. Twelve weeks were spent with a Chinese family before rescue.

My first combat mission was to Palembang, Sumatra staged from Ceylon on which flying time of 17 hours and 5 minutes was logged. As the navigator it was a nightmare being all over water and the effort to minimize fuel consumption forced low altitude flying which negated any celestial sightings because of 100% cloud cover. Navigation was limited to dead reckoning using forecast wind direction and force for the target approach of almost 2,000 miles. To my immense satisfaction, as my ETA (estimated time of arrival) expired, our radar operator picked up the Sumatra coast line. We were directly on course but my calculated ground speed had been too high. With over a thousand flight hours as a navigator this was the closest to being "lost" I experienced!

The Palembang mission was one of two memorable ones, the other being the May 23, 1945 Tokyo raid when 550 B-29's were over the target during a very short period. Was a grim spectacle with the city burning below, the searchlights lighting up the sky, antiaircraft shells exploding all around and B-29s everywhere at all kinds of altitude and direction. Was a marvel that so few mid-air collisions occurred that night.

As I've grown older have thought often of the ground support people responsible for keeping the air crews operating safely and effectively. In my case am especially grateful for the unknown persons who packed my parachutes and are a major reason for my survival with only a few scratches.

Ex-Captain Robert A. Harden; United States Army Air Forces
Here is the whole story of the aerial assault on the Japanese home islands from 1942 to 1945. There have been other excellent works on various aspects of the campaign, but Barrett Tillman's latest effort encompasses the entire story, covering virtually every mission against the home islands flown by both American and British forces during the war.

When I first learned that this book was in the works, I initially thought that it was going to be another lengthy tome on the B-29s that carried the vast majority of the bombload against Japan. Instead, I was pleased to see that Tillman has included the entire story, from the Doolittle raid barely 3 months after the Pearl Harbor attack to last photoreconnaissance sortie over Japan after the surrender in 1945.

While the B-29 saga is not the entire book, the plane's development, deployment, and operations are nonetheless thoroughly covered. Tillman doesn't hold anything back on that score, since the B-29 story was mostly one of failure until General LeMay made a drastic, almost bizarre change in mission tactics months after the first bomb fell from a Superfort. The advent of nighttime low-level firebombing by massed B-29 formations literally changed the campaign from one of failed expectations to stunning success.

Some reviewers have given Tillman's other aviation history books low marks because of his somewhat casual writing style and his bias towards nonstop action as opposed to a more scholarly approach to the subject. It would be regrettable to see that here as other reviews accumulate, because it's Tillman's unique style that makes Whirlwind a truly great read. If you want scholarly history on the bombing of Japan or any other element of World War II, voluminous references abound. But most of us are not scholars and care little for scholarly research. Tillman knows that and writes to the audience that appreciates a historical narrative told in a manner that captures and holds the reader's interest from cover to cover. Whirlwind excels in that category while delivering its subject matter with clarity and thoroughness.