Warfare in News


Posted on Friday 22nd March

The Dambuster Raid of 1943 has gone down in history as one of the most iconic events of the Second World War. Carried out by 617 Squadron, a hand picked, international team of specialist low fliers who were assembled to execute the daring low level raid which would strike at the heart of Germany's industrial regions.

To help you find out more about Operation Chastise as it was known, Pen and Sword Books have a selection of titles which deal with all aspects of the raid. As a general introduction to the story, you could consider the Dambusters bookazine.

For an indepth overview of the Operation, from planning through the aftermath, Dambusters - The Forging of a Legend is a comprehensive description of the raid and also gives us a complete record of what 617 Squadron did during the rest of the war.

Another title which gives a good narrative of the raid, with eye witness accounts from both the Allied and the German camps, is Alan W Cooper's The Men Who Breached the Dams.

If you are interested in original photography from 617 Squadron throughout
the war, take a look at Chris Ward and Andy Lee's Images of War book, which has rare photographs of 617 Dambuster Squadron At War. This is also available as a DVD slideshow.

Being such an iconic raid, there has inevitably been an enormous amount of analysis and theory published about the attack. Seventy years on, Alan Cooper delves through this material, focusing on first hand accounts, to bring us a timely reappraisal: The Dam Buster Raid.

Whilst historians can always play their part in describing events, nothing provides a greater insight than first hand accounts. Colin Higgs and Bruce Vigar have produced a book based on interviews with veterans: Voices in Flight: The Dambusters Squadron.

With extensive support from the families of the individuals involved there are two great biographies of those who took part in the raid: Firstly Melvin Young, The Dambuster Who Cracked the Dam (coming soon in paperback). Secondly, Breaking the Dams looks at the raid through the eyes of David
Maltby and his crew, in a volume compiled by his nephew.

Guy Gibson was the legendary leader of 617 squadron at the time of the Dambuster raid. He would later be awarded a VC for his role and enjoyed a celebrity status. Guy Gibson: Dambuster gives us a fascinating insight into his life and sheds new light on the controversial circumstances surrounding his premature death.

Whilst the raid destroyed two dams, created floods which destroyed many factories and killed hundreds of workers, its greatest success was probably in terms of morale. However the 617 Squadron suffered significant losses during the raid which are detailed in the excellent Dambuster Crash Sites.

Further Reading

The Dam Buster Raid

Only £19.99

The Dam Buster Raid

(Hardback - 216 pages)
by Alan Cooper

Seventy years ago, 133 airmen of 617 Squadron, later known as the Dambusters, set out to destroy the Ruhr Dams in Germany. This one operation amongst many carried out by Bomber Command has become one of the most well known in the whole history of WWII. Indeed, a very successful film was made about it which became a classic, etching the dramatic events of the Dambuster raids in the minds of young and old alike.… Read more...

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