The title is some misleading as Blitz Week is actually covered in Volume 1. We actually start in June 1943 during the build-up to the ambitious raid on Ploesti. We then follow the bomber units that moved from Britain to North Africa as they took part in early raids in the new theatre (a nice touch this - these raids are often skipped over), before the attack on Ploesti is covered in great detail. The focus then turns back to Britain, and the costly series of unescorted raids deep into Germany. The Regensburg and Schweinfurt raids of August 1943 are covered in great detail as it the return to Schweinfurt later in the year. The book ends in December 1943, leaving plenty of scope for future volumes.
Most of the text comes from first hand accounts of the raids written by the participants (mainly in official reports or post-war memoirs), as well as extracts from oral histories. These extracts are compelling and thought provoking stuff, and give a real insight into the brutally high human cost of this part of the bomber war - one of the main concerns of most contributors are the other bombers that they see falling out of the skies around them. The use of wartime writings also means that not all of our eyewitnesses survived the fighting, and the chapter notes are very good at tracing their fate. There are also accounts written by survivors from aircraft that were shot down, some captured and some that evaded.
The eyewitness accounts and oral history is just as strong as in the first volume, but the structure of the book is somewhat lacking here. The text linking the first hand accounts is good for individual raids, but there is little discussion of the wider picture. A little introduction to each chapter would have been invaluable, and a brief conclusion to wrap up the story. Otherwise this is an excellent book and a valuable contribution to the literature on the strategic bombing campaign.
1 - The Raid that Failed
2 - Consider Yourself Already Dead!
3 - Night and Day
4 - The Long Fall
5 - Complete Your Tour with a Trip to the Ruhr
Author: Martin W. Bowman
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation