This book covers the first two years of the Lancaster's operational history, beginning with its development from the Avro Manchester and ending with the first raids on Berlin and the famous Dam Busters raid. This was a period that saw Bomber Command's future in real danger, as it became clear that British bombers were simply not hitting their targets.
Bomber Command was saved because it was the part of Britain's armed forces that was able to take the battle directly to Germany. Lake looks at the efforts made by Bomber Command to make its offensive more effective, starting with the adoption of area bombing. He then looks at the impact of Arthur "Bomber" Harris on Bomber Command, who took over just as the Lancaster began to enter service. Finally, in March 1942 the Lancaster flew its first mission.
Lake traces the career of the Lancaster fleet as it grew in strength from the first two squadrons of 1942 to the point where it was coming to dominate Bomber Command. This was also the period that saw a steady increase in the sophistication of the bombing campaign, and Lake takes us through the appearance of the bombing aids that slowly helped to improve the accuracy of the Lancaster.
The final chapter looks at Operation Chastise, better known as the Dam Busters raid, the most famous but least representative of all Lancaster raids.
The book finishes with a nice set of appendices, starting with some interesting statistics on the performance of Bomber Command's main types of aircraft, including the total number of sorties flow and aircraft lost. This section also includes an order of battle for Bomber Command in April 1943 and a list of squadrons that used the Lancaster.
Origins and Development
Low Level and by Daylight
1943- Onward to Berlin
Author: Jon Lake