A History of the Mediterranean Air War, 1940–1945

Tunisia and the End in Africa, November 1942–1943

A History of the Mediterranean Air War, 1940–1945

The third volume in the epic military aviation series focuses on the Allied invasion of North Africa during World War II. This work of WWII history takes us to November 1942 to explain the background of the first major Anglo-American venture: Operation Torch, the invasion of French North Africa. Describing the fratricidal combat that followed the initial landings in Morocco and Algeria, it then considers the unsuccessful efforts to reach northern Tunisia before the Germans and Italians could get there to forestall the possibility of an attack from the west on the rear of the Afrika Korps forces, then beginning their retreat from El Alamein. The six months of hard fighting that followed, as the Allies built up the strength of their joint air forces and gradually wrested control of the skies from the Axis, are recounted in detail. The continuing story of the Western Desert Air Force is told, as it advanced from the east to join hands with the units in the west. Also covered are the arrivals over the front of American pilots and crew, the P-38 Lightning, the Spitfire IX, and the B-17 Flying Fortress—and of the much-feared Focke-Wulf Fw 190. The aerial activities over Tunisia became one of the focal turning points of World War II, yet are frequently overlooked by historians. Here, the air-sea activities, the reconnaissance flights, and the growing day and night bomber offensives are examined in detail.

A History of the Mediterranean Air War, 1940-1945

Volume 2: North African Desert, February 1942 - March 1943

A History of the Mediterranean Air War, 1940-1945

The first volume of this series dealt with the initial 19 months of the air war over the Western Desert of North Africa. This volume picks up the story as the 8th Army, following its hard-fought success in Operation Crusader, was forced back to the Gazala area, roughly midway between the Cyrenaican/Tripolitanian border of Libya and the frontier with Egypt. It covers the lull prior to the disastrous defeat of the 8th Army in June 1942 and the loss of the important port and fortress of Tobruk. The costly efforts of the Allied air forces to protect the retreating British and Commonwealth troops and prevent this turning into a rout is examined in depth. So too is the heavy fighting which followed in the El Alamein region as the line was stabilized. This period was ameliorated somewhat for the Western Desert Air Force by the arrival – at last – of the first Spitfires. The buildup of both the army and air force which followed, coupled with new commanders on the ground, meant that Rommel’s Deutsche Afrika Korps was defeated at Alam el Halfa at the start of September, and then again, comprehensively, at the climactic battle of El Alamein in October. Joined now by the first units of the United States Army Air Force, the Allied air forces began to achieve a growing ascendancy over those of the Axis. The long, rather slow, pursuit of the Italo-German forces right across Libya is recounted, including the capture of Tripoli, followed by the breakthrough into Southern Tunisia at the end of March 1943. This allowed a linkup with the Allied forces in Tunisia (whose story will be related in Volume 3) to be achieved. In this volume follow to the fortunes of some of the great fighter aces of the Desert campaign such as Jochen Marseille and Otto Schulz of the Luftwaffe, Franco Bordoni-Bisleri of the Regia Aeronautica and Neville Duke, Billy Drake and ‘Eddie’ Edwards of the Commonwealth air forces. While the fighting above the constantly moving front lines form the main narrative of this book, the Allied and Axis night bombing offensives and the activities of the squadrons cooperating with the naval forces in the Mediterranean are certainly not neglected.

A History of the Mediterranean Air War, 1940-1945. Volume 4

Sicily and Italy to the fall of Rome 14 May, 1943 – 5 June, 1944

A History of the Mediterranean Air War, 1940-1945. Volume 4

The fourth volume in this momentous series commences with the attacks on the Italian island fortress of Pantellaria which led to its surrender and occupation achieved almost by air attack alone. The account continues with the ultimately successful, but at times very hard fought, invasions of Sicily and southern Italy as burgeoning Allied air power, now with full US involvement, increasingly dominated the skies overhead. The successive occupations of Sardinia and Corsica are also covered in detail. This volume, then, is essentially the story of the tactical air forces up to the point when Rome was occupied, just at the same time as the Normandy landings were occurring in north-west France. In its pages are found what can justifiably be considered the story of ‘the soldiers’ air force’. Frequently overlooked by more immediate newsworthy events elsewhere, their struggle was often of an equally Homeric nature. With regards to the long-range tactical role of the Allied heavy bombers, only the period from May to October is examined herein, while they remained based in North Africa. Thus the period from November 1943 when the US 15th Air Force was formed to pursue the strategic air offensive against the Reich, together with the RAF’s 205 Group of night bombers, will be covered in a future (sixth) volume. Volume Five will deal with the rest of the tactical war in Italy and Greece, over the Adriatic and Aegean, and with the entry into the South of France to join forces advancing southwards from Normandy.

A History of the Mediterranean Air War 1940–1945

North Africa

A History of the Mediterranean Air War 1940–1945

This first volume in the seminal series on World War II aerial combat, pilots, and tactics that “reads like an encyclopedia on the subject” (Portland Book Review). In the early days of World War II, both Allied and Axis powers extended the theater of war to North Africa, where hard-fought battles were conducted in the harsh desert. But before anyone could claim victory on the ground, they had to hold dominion in the air. Here, historian Christopher Shores has combined his books Fighters over the Desert and Fighters over Tunisia into one volume, as well as adding updated information about the deadly fighter aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft, and maritime units active in the Mediterranean. Full of in-depth research and featuring essential maps, this is “an intimate introspection by these men of their experiences and the respect that they shared not only for each other but also their adversaries” (The Military Reviewer).

A History of the Mediterranean Air War, 1940-1945. Volume 4: Sicily and Italy to the Fall of Rome 14 May, 1943 - 5 June, 1944

A History of the Mediterranean Air War, 1940-1945. Volume 4: Sicily and Italy to the Fall of Rome 14 May, 1943 - 5 June, 1944

The fourth volume in this momentous series commences with the attacks on the Italian island fortress of Pantellaria which led to its surrender and occupation achieved almost by air attack alone. The account continues with the ultimately successful, but at times very hard fought, invasions of Sicily and southern Italy as burgeoning Allied air power, now with full US involvement, increasingly dominated the skies overhead. The successive occupations of Sardinia and Corsica are also covered in detail. This volume, then, is essentially the story of the tactical air forces up to the point when Rome was occupied, just at the same time as the Normandy landings were occurring in north-west France. In its pages are found what can justifiably be considered the story of 'the soldiers' air force'. Frequently overlooked by more immediate newsworthy events elsewhere, their struggle was often of an equally Homeric nature. With regards to the long-range tactical role of the Allied heavy bombers, only the period from May to October is examined herein, while they remained based in North Africa. Thus the period from November 1943 when the US 15th Air Force was formed to pursue the strategic air offensive against the Reich, together with the RAF's 205 Group of night bombers, will be covered in a future (sixth) volume. Volume Five will deal with the rest of the tactical war in Italy and Greece, over the Adriatic and Aegean, and with the entry into the South of France to join forces advancing southwards from Normandy.

The Western European and Mediterranean Theaters in World War II

An Annotated Bibliography of English-Language Sources

The Western European and Mediterranean Theaters in World War II

The Western European and Mediterranean Theaters in World War II is a concise, comprehensive guide for students, teachers, and history buffs of the Second World War. With an emphasis on the American forces in these theaters, each entry is accompanied by a brief annotation that will allow researchers to navigate through the vast amount of literature on the campaigns fought in these regions with ease. Focusing on all aspects surrounding the U.S. involvement in the Western European and Mediterranean theaters, including politics, religion, biography, strategy, intelligence, and operations, this bibliography will be a welcome addition to the collection of any academic or research library. Routledge Research Guides to American Military Studies provide concise, annotated bibliographies to the major areas and events in American military history. With the inclusion of brief critical annotations after each entry, the student and researcher can easily assess the utility of each bibliographic source and evaluate the abundance of resources available with ease and efficiency. Comprehensive, concise, and current—Routledge Research Guides to American Military Studies are an essential research tool for any historian.

The Bombers and the Bombed

Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945

The Bombers and the Bombed

The ultimate history of the Allied bombing campaigns in World War II Technology shapes the nature of all wars, and the Second World War hinged on a most unpredictable weapon: the bomb. Day and night, Britain and the United States unleashed massive fleets of bombers to kill and terrorize occupied Europe, destroying its cities. The grisly consequences call into question how “moral” a war the Allies fought. The Bombers and the Bombed radically overhauls our understanding of World War II. It pairs the story of the civilian front line in the Allied air war alongside the political context that shaped their strategic bombing campaigns, examining the responses to bombing and being bombed with renewed clarity. The first book to examine seriously not only the well-known attacks on Dresden and Hamburg but also the significance of the firebombing on other fronts, including Italy, where the crisis was far more severe than anything experienced in Germany, this is Richard Overy’s finest work yet. It is a rich reminder of the terrible military, technological, and ethical issues that relentlessly drove all the war’s participants into an abyss.

Strategy for Victory: The Development of British Tactical Air Power, 1919-1943

The Development of British Tactical Air Power, 1919-1943

Strategy for Victory: The Development of British Tactical Air Power, 1919-1943

Strategy for Victory: The Development of British Tactical Air Power, 1919-1943 examines the nature of the inter-Service crisis between the British Army and the RAF over the provision of effective air support for the army in the Second World War. Material for this book is drawn primarily from the rich collection of documents at the National Archives (UK) and other British archives. The author makes a highly original point that Britain's independent RAF was in fact a disguised blessing for the Army and that the air force's independence was in part a key reason why a successful solution to the army's air support problems was found. The analysis traces why the British army went to war in 1939 without adequate air support and how an effective system of support was organized by the RAF. As such, it is the first scholarly survey of the origins and development of British air support doctrine and practice during the early years of the Second World War. The provision of direct air support was of central importance to the success enjoyed by Anglo-American armies during the latter half of the Second World War. First in North Africa, and later in Italy and North-West Europe, American, British and Empire armies fought most if not all of their battles with the knowledge that they enjoyed unassailable air superiority throughout the battle area. This advantage, however, was the product of a long and bitter dispute between the British Army and the Royal Air Force that began at the end of the First World War and continued virtually unabated until it was resolved in late 1942 and early 1943 when the 2nd Tactical Air Force was created. Battlefield experience and, in particular, success in North Africa, combined with the hard work, wisdom and perseverance of Air Marshals Sir Arthur Tedder and Arthur Coningham, the active co-operation of General Bernard Montgomery, and the political authority of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, produced a uniquely British system that afforded the most comprehensive, effective and flexible air support provided by any air force during the war. The book is divided into two equal parts of five chapters. Part one surveys how the British Army went to war in 1939 without adequate air support, and part two explains how an effective system of air support was organized by the middle years of the war. The analysis traces Britain's earliest experience with aircraft in the Great War 1914-1918, the inter-war period of doctrinal development and inter-Service rivalry, and the major campaigns in France and the Middle East during the first half of the Second World War when the weaknesses in Army-RAF co-operation were first exposed and eventually resolved. As such, it is the first scholarly survey of the origin and development of British air support doctrine and practice during the early years of the Second World War.

The Last Century of Sea Power

From Washington to Tokyo, 1922–1945

The Last Century of Sea Power

In this second volume of his history of naval power in the 20th century, H. P. Willmott follows the fortunes of the established seafaring nations of Europe along with two upstarts—the United States and Japan. Emerging from World War I in command of the seas, Great Britain saw its supremacy weakened through neglect and in the face of more committed rivals. Britain’s grand Coronation Review of 1937 marked the apotheosis of a sea power slipping into decline. Meanwhile, Britain’s rivals and soon-to-be enemies were embarking on significant naval building programs that would soon change the nature of war at sea in ways that neither they nor their rivals anticipated. By the end of a new world war, the United States had taken command of two oceans, having placed its industrial might behind technologies that further defined the arena of naval power above and below the waves, where stealth and the ability to strike at great distance would soon rewrite the rules of war and of peace. This splendid volume further enhances Willmott’s stature as the dean of naval historians.