Chastise: The Dambusters Story 1943
(Trade Paperback / Paperback)
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A brand new history of the Dambusters raid from best-selling and critically acclaimed military historian, Max Hastings. Operation Chastise, the RAF's 1943 assault on Germany's dams, has passed into legend as one of the RAF's greatest feats of arms. `The Dambusters' 1955 movie mad...e Barnes Wallis, inventor of the `bouncing bomb' which breached the Mohne and Eder dams, one of Britain's most celebrated `boffins'. Max Hastings's new book, however, also highlights the grim reality that 617 Squadron's achievement was not victimless. Drawing on harrowing survivors' narratives, he describes the stupendous floods that swept the Mohne and Eder valleys in the early darkness of 17 May, drowning around 1,400 people, almost half of them French prisoners or East European women forced labourers. Few modern writers are better qualified to offer a fresh telling of this amazing story. In 1977, for his classic history BOMBER COMMAND, the author interviewed Barnes Wallis, Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris, 5 Group's commander Sir Ralph Cochrane, together with dambuster `Micky' Martin and many other aircrew veterans. Like all Hastings's books, his DAMBUSTERS is above all a human story, portraying the mostly doomed young heroes of 617 Squadron in unprecedented detail. While millions have watched the movie, few know how this saga fits into the `big picture' of World War II. Hastings describes the raid as `a supreme piece of military theatre, of priceless value to Churchill and Britain at a time when the country's prestige had fallen low, especially in American eyes'. Though Chastise's impact on German industry was less than its architects hoped, it lifted the hearts of the battered British people. This is a timelessly moving tale, of very young men who achieved the almost impossible- yet also, unthinking, unleashed a Biblical catastrophe. This is a book destined to grip yet also surprise all who love the Dambusters legend, together with a new generation of readers to whom it is unknown.