Through Blue Skies to Hell: America's

Through Blue Skies to Hell: America's "Bloody 100th" in the Air War over Germany

by Edward M. Sion
Through Blue Skies to Hell: America's

Through Blue Skies to Hell: America's "Bloody 100th" in the Air War over Germany

by Edward M. Sion



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A “surprisingly revealing” look at air combat, combining a WWII bombardier’s journal with a present-day perspective (Aviation News).
This comprehensive look at air war over Europe during the climactic year of World War II combines firsthand experience with expert analysis. The centerpiece is a mission-by-mission diary of 1st Lt. Richard R. Ayesh, bombardier on a B-17 Flying Fortress, who flew with the 100th Bombardment Group, 13th Combat Wing of the 8th Air Force—the legendary “Bloody 100th.” He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Croix de Guerre, and Air Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, among others. This book follows Ayesh’s progress from his youth during the Great Depression in Wichita, Kansas, which was rapidly becoming the air capital of the nation, to his arrival in England as a lieutenant in a bomber crew assigned to assault the Third Reich.
The author provides a look at the principles of American daylight strategic bombing, while relaying the overall military situation on the ground and in the air just after D-Day. Covering all aspects of air war in a clear, concise, yet nontechnical manner, the book covers such topics as photo-reconnaissance, munitions and bomb types, aircraft characteristics, fighter and bomber tactics, bomber formations, strategic target selection, radars, countermeasures and counter-counter measures. The unaltered diary of Lt. Ayesh is presented mission-by-mission, punctuated by tragedy and heroism, with explanations and commentary of the significance of events and actions described en route. The result is one of the most frank and exciting works on the air war over Europe to date.
After Lt. Ayesh is followed on his perilous return home in U-boat infested waters, the book assesses the effectiveness of US strategy in ultimately paralyzing the Nazi war machine. Finally, the complex moral issues raised by area and city bombing are explored, with twenty-first century implications.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935149965
Publisher: Casemate Publishers (Ignition)
Publication date: 01/10/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 383,763
File size: 7 MB

About the Author

Edward Sion Ph.D., is currently Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Villanova University. He has held visiting positions at Arizona State, the University of Toulouse and the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute. He has authored 185 peer-reviewed publications, primarily on the end stages of stellar evolution. The father of two grown children, he currently resides with his wife in Radnor, PA.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Preface     xi
Growing Up in the Air Capital     1
The Making of an Airman     5
The Bombardier's Arsenal     13
Top Secret Bombsight     21
Bomber Formations & Fighter Tactics     27
Blind Bombing, Radars and Pff     37
Heading to Combat     49
Welcome to Thorpe Abbotts     53
Legend of the Bloody Hundredth     65
Situation Ground War, Post D-Day     69
Situation Air War, Fall 1944     79
The Nerve Center at High Wycombe     83
The Air War on Synthetic Oil     97
German Defenses Against Bombers     107
Eve of Combat     117
Mission by Mission (I)     123
London Encounters     143
Mission by Mission (II)     151
The Lucky Bastards Heading Home     175
The Impact of Strategic Bombing on Final Victory     179
20th Century Moral Issues and 21st Century Implications     187
Notes     195
Bibliography     205
Index     211

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