This book describes one twenty-four-hour period in the Allied Strategic Bomber Offensive in the greatest possible detail. The author sets the scene by outlining the course of the bombing war from 1939 to the night of the Nuremberg raid, the characters and aims of the British bombing leaders and the composition of the opposing Bomber Command and German night fighter forces.
The aim of the Nuremberg raid was not unlike many hundreds of other RAF missions but, due to the difficulties and dangers of the enemy defenses and weather plus bad luck, it went horribly wrong. The result was so notorious that it became a turning point in the campaign. The target, the symbolic Nazi rally city of Nuremberg, was only lightly damaged and 96 out of 779 bombers went missing.
Martin Middlebrook recreates the events of the fateful night in astonishing detail. The result is a meticulous dramatic and often controversial account. It is also a moving tribute to the bravery of the RAF bomber crews and their adversaries.
"Using firsthand accounts, Mr. Middlebrook follows the planning, preparation and execution of the operation in meticulous detail, but he does more than that: employing hundreds of eyewitness accounts, he shows the raid from the point of view of the German defenses and the civilians on the ground. Factual and analytical, this is a portrait of mechanized warfare at the level of personal experience." Wall Street Journal, March 2016
Hardback, 368 pages
About the author: Martin Middlebrook was educated at various schools, including Ratcliffe College, Leicester. He entered National Service in 1950, was commissioned in the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC), and served as a Motor Transport Officer in the Suez Canal Zone and Aqaba, Jordan. Middlebrook subsequently spent three years in Territorial Army service.
He wrote his first book The First Day on the Somme (1971) following a visit to the First World War battlefields of France and Belgium in 1967. This is a detailed study of the single worst day for the British Army. Middlebrook gave the same single-day treatment to 21 March 1918, the opening of the German Spring Offensive, in The Kaiser's Battle. His Second World War books concentrate on the air war. A number of them again deal with a single day of action (The Nuremberg Raid, The Schweinfurt–Regensburg Mission and The Peenemünde Raid) while others cover longer air battles (The Battle of Hamburg and The Berlin Raids).
Martin Middlebrook has also written two books on the Falklands War, one from the British and Falkland Islanders' perspective and one from the Argentinian perspective.