During the air battles that destroyed Nazi Germany's ability to wage war, one bomb group was especially distinguished.
The Hell's Angels.
At the outbreak of World War II, the United States was in no way prepared to wage war. Although the US declared war against Germany in December 1941, the country lacked the manpower, the equipment, and the experience it needed to fight. Even had an invasion force been ready, a successful assault on Nazi-occupied Europe could not happen until Germany's industrial and military might were crippled.
Because no invasion could happen without air superiority, the first target was the Luftwaffe - the most powerful and battle-hardened airforce in the world. To this end, the United States Army Air Forces joined with Great Britain's already-engaged Royal Air Force to launch a strategic air campaign that ultimately brought the Luftwaffe to its knees. One of the standout units of this campaign was the legendary 303rd Bomb Group - a.k.a. Hell's Angels.
This is the 303rd's story, as told by the men who made it what it was. Taking their name from their B-17 of the same name, they became one of the most distinguished and important air combat units in history. The dramatic and terrible air battles they fought against Germany changed the course of the war.
©2015 Jay A. Stout (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
It's difficult to say--I sure didn't like to stop listening.
Although the stories of air combat are told in a way that's both exciting and personal, it's not just about air combat, which, when overdone, can get numbing or overwhelming. The fighting is woven into a total story of strategy, tactics, equipment and people. And it tells the story of the support personnel as well--these are the folks who made sure the aircraft and men were ready for each mission. And it includes lots of personal stories and vignettes that make the men and what they did that much more real. Altogether it makes a very engaging story.
Robertson Dean performs this amazing story with the gravitas it warrants while simultaneously drawing the reader into the gut-wrenching action that typified the air war over Europe. His timing and tempo, together with his ability to apply nuance and heart, move the book along perfectly. It's difficult to imagine this book read by anyone else.
Terror, heart and sacrifice at five miles high.
There is probably no better start-to-finish narrative history of a World War II Bomb Group.
Very well-narrated. The actual "story" of the 303rd and it's men is only about half the book. The other half is about the B-17 bombers, emerging technologies, and mission experiences. While I enjoyed this level of detail and background, it may appear more like a text book to many readers. The most important part of this book is that it does not shy away from the personal and physical impacts of combat.
Definitely. As a former combat fighter pilot, the author has an in-depth knowledge of the subject, and he is a master storyteller.
Half a Wing, Three Engines and a Prayer. They complement one another and Hell's Angels is largely about the personal reflections of flight crews and Half a Wing goes into technical aspects and covers the aftermath of the war on former combatants who meet one another.
BG Robert Travis, Commander 41st Bomb Wing
Saddened by all the carnage
January 14, 2016
"Hell’s Angels" is a true story about "20 something" youngsters who became men overnight. They volunteered as pilots and crew members in many of the most important and dangerous aerial missions in WWII. Jay Stout, the author, is a former combat fighter pilot who has "been there, and done that," and now plies his skills as a master story teller.
We owe these men a debt of gratitude, the history is enthralling along with the men and their stories. You get to know some of the thousands and thus become involved in their lives.
A true account of what it was really like to be in a B-17 crew in the dangerous sky's of Europe. They fought as a team and died as a team while slowly eroding the Nazi industrial complex. A great historical account of the Army Air Force.
Unable to choose one over the next. The book rubs the readers nose right into what the air war was like.
No, but I will look for more of Mr. Dean's writings.
As a former Airman, I had noting but respect for the men that got into those B-17's each day knowing that a large percentage would not return.
One of the best overall accounts of the air war I have read.
My father was a R waist gunner on Warewolf with Oxrider and on Yankee Doodle Dandy with O'Connor he completed 25 missions. I knew Van R White and was saddened to hear of his passing in May. Many of the names mentioned in the book were familiar but I didn't know them. Anyone is lucky to return from a war but to hear of the many things like the cold and youth of the 303rd among many other things and I realize my father was indeed blessed to have returned home to marry and have children. I didn't realize just how fortunate he was when he bailed out to come home alive. My only regret in getting this book now is that my father has passed and I cannot discuss it with him. This is a very enlightening story.
I just learned that Jimmy Stewart's first film after returning home from the air war over Europe was It's a Wonderful Life. I learned that just as I was finishing Hell's Angels. With our current understanding of PTSD, it's a wonder to me how any of the airmen who went up mission after mission could come back and build so much of the nation we enjoy today. The book was as relentless as the combat. Because of it I have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Greatest Generation.
Fascinated by WW2 Military History
It's hard to say that a story chronically the life and death struggle of service men in war is "entertaining" - that doesn't do them justice I feel. This is definitely a very researched account of what it was like to wage air battle in WW2. I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in air combat, WW2 or just a great story about men achieving the impossible.
Also, you can't beat Robertson Dean for narration - he's the best there is.
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