Abbildung: The Dam Busters
Abbildung: The Dam Busters Abbildung: The Dam Busters Abbildung: The Dam Busters Abbildung: The Dam Busters Abbildung: The Dam Busters

Introduced by Mary Stopes-Roe, quarter bound in cloth with cloth sides, blocked with a design by Richard Sweeney, set in Joanna with Gill Sans display, frontispiece and 16 pages of b&w plates, printed endpapers, 9½" x 6¼", 280 pages.

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The story of the 'dam busters' remains one of the classics of Second World War literature, and is the subject of a highly successful 1954 film of the same name. As Marshal of the RAF, Lord Tedder wrote in his original foreword, ‘The story which is told in this book cannot but make its readers feel humble in the face of such devotion, such self-sacrifice, and such courage. This edition is illustrated with contemporary black-and-white photographs, including trials of the bouncing bomb, and portraits of notable figures including Wing Commander Guy Gibson and Barnes Wallis. Pictorial endpapers show Wallis’s sketched designs from his original proposal to the Ministry for War, and a fascinating introduction by his daughter, Mary Stopes-Roe, recalls her father trialling his invention in the garden with catapults and marbles over the old tin washtub.

On 16 May 1943, 617 Squadron took off from RAF Scampton, bound for the Ruhr Valley. Their mission – Operation Chastise – was to bomb the dams of the Moesse, Eder and Sorpe; their weapon, especially designed for the quest, was Barnes Wallis’s bouncing bomb. The following day, nearly 350 million tonnes of water crashed down into the valleys below.

Brickhill invests his narrative with the energy of a thriller; himself a veteran of the Royal Australian Air Force, he combines the gripping story of that legendary raid with a history of 617 Squadron – charting the evolution of precision bombing and its use in the squadron’s subsequent missions: taking out power stations, canals, tunnels and even the Michelin tyre plant. The Dam Busters is a testament to the power of teamwork and inspiring leadership; the men’s immense bravery in desperate conditions shows how ‘exceptional skills and ingenuity can give one man or unit the effectiveness of ten.’

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