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BIG WEEK by Bill Yenne


Six Days that Changed the Course of World War II

by Bill Yenne

Pub Date: Dec. 31st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0425255759
Publisher: Berkley

Military and aviation historian Yenne (U.S. Guided Missiles, 2012, etc.) documents the events of the week beginning February 20th, 1944, during which Nazi Germany's aircraft industry and air defenses were destroyed, contributing to the preparation for the D-Day invasion.

The author provides a day-by-day account of what took place as German industrial facilities were targeted for attack. Yenne skillfully situates the action, pulling together various threads. He summarizes briefly the history of strategic bombing from its origins in Italy and Russia during World War I, and he highlights the recruitment and deployment of the intelligence teams that profiled the German economy and war machine to identify bottlenecks and target them to be destroyed. Yenne examines the creation and development of the many aircraft armadas that took to the skies that February from their bases in eastern England. This is an amazing story in which planning and organization—such as the ever-increasing flow of materiel into the U.K.—combined perfectly with ingenuity and luck (the weather in that February week was ideal but almost unprecedented). Yenne then takes up the effectiveness of the America’s daytime bombing campaign as both the number of bombers and the range of their fighter escorts increased. Ultimately, the setbacks of late 1943, when losses of bombers and flight crews to German air defense forces became almost unsustainable, were reversed. Yenne also shows how the bombing campaign finally helped break the back of Hitler's war economy.

Well-written and fast-paced, this will be compelling to specialists and general readers alike.