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Enemy Coast Ahead - Uncensored: The Real Guy Gibson

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He struggled daily to work the Handley Page Hampden, and then the Avro Manchester, flying both into enemy airspace with great difficulty. We were out to bomb them until they found themselves weak and punch-drunk from our blows, so that they would fall back before our invading armies.

All the men awarded decorations before or during the raid are represented in this game by their own marker, each imparting a unique characteristic to its crew. Having 'lent' out my original copy of this terrific book, I was delighted to have this well-produced edition once more in my collection. Written by the man himself this is a no nonsense memoir that gives a glimpse of men who did their duty, under the command of a man who was driven to do his best to ‘get the job done’.

It looked more like a petrol barrel than an explosive device, but the painstakingly engineered and tested outer layer cushioned a volatile mine designed by Wallis to bounce over torpedo nets and kiss the lip of the dam, its backspin carefully devised to hug the dam rather than ricochet on impact. Gibson joined the RAF prior to the war, and he recounts the early stages of combat and the daily struggle with first the Handley Page Hampden and then the Avro Manchester aeroplanes on long and arduous missions into enemy airspace. He regularly appears on television and radio and has written and presented the BAFTA-shortlisted BBC documentaries, Battle of Britain and Dam Busters. Guy Gibson will always be remembered for leading the daring raid on the German Ruhr dams with a unique special bomb, but his illustrated memoirs cover so much more and provide a very important view into the life of pilots and commanders of RAF Bomber Command. The coverage of their missions is fully documented along with the heart braking losses during the fight for England's survival.

Fascinating how the crews has to use flares and incinary bombs to make a visible track to the target. It covers the period from the eve of war as he is peacefully relaxing on a beach in late August 1939 and contemplating the likelihood of war breaking out, up to the Dambusters raid itself on the 16/17 May 1943, though the events of that raid, which is likely to be the main reason why most readers pick up this book, occupy only a small proportion of the narrative. This edition of the book, published by Crecy, has used that draft, restoring some of Gibson's more robust and less than tactful opinions and comments on personalities, tactics and the course of the war, which the censor and his original publishers omitted. The book was written at the time as is evidenced by the fact that little detail is given about the radar sets carried by the night fighters, the bouncing bomb (referred to only as a mine) and Barnes Wallis being given the code name 'Jeff''; this gives the book real authority.There are several good books about the Battle of Britain and the American B17 bombers, but these are about day time operations. The game board is organized into three sections, the Mission Planning Blotter, the Flight Map (from Scampton to the Ruhr), and the Target Maps. The Target Maps are intended to portray (and analyze) four key elements in a bomber’s attack: altitude, speed, distance from the dam, and the angle of approach to the face of the dam’s wall. Near the end of the book there is a brilliant narrative that shows just how far the RAF had come in night bombing. A definitive new edition of a classic memoir, published in association with the RAF Museum, complete with more than 100 photographs and notes from leading historians.

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