1 Group was one of the 'normal' groups within Bomber Command, forming part of the Main Force (unlike 5 Group, which tended to operate in its own way or the Pathfinders).
This book is split into two halves. The first part is a narrative history of the Group, providing a day-by-day history of its activities. For most raids we get an overview of the entire force involved, the Group's contribution (often by airfield), the success or failure of the raid, and a casualty list.
The narrative gives a clear picture of how Bomber Command's effectiveness slowly improved, from it must be said a very low start early in the strategic bombing campaign, when the Command was lucky if more than a handful of its aircraft hit their official target on any particular raid. Over the course of the campaign the raids become more sophisticated, new navigation aides are introduced, and their impact becomes more and more devastating. At the same time the German defences become more and more effective, so until very late in the war losses remained high.
It is those high losses that stick in the mind. Some squadrons were almost wiped out time and time again. The highest losses were suffered by No.460 Squadron, which lost 140 Lancasters over 307 operations.
The second half provides reference details for the groups. These start with a brief squadron history and then give a list of bases, commanders, aircraft types, summary tables of their operational record – number of raids, losses and sorties, split by type of operation and type of aircraft. Finally there is a list of aircraft, organised by type and then serial number, tracing their fate. This section could have done with page headers to make it easier to tell which squadron you are looking at, but otherwise its' very useful.
1 - In the Beginning
2 - Quick Reference
3 - The Squadrons
4 - Bibliography
Author: Chris Ward with Greg Harrison and Grzegorz Korcz
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation