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Bodenplatte - Crecy
The Luftwaffe’s Last Hope The Attack on Allied Airfields, New Year’s Day, 1945 John Manrho and Ron Pütz In the early morning of New Year’s Day 1945, as the last great German offensive in Ardennes slowly smouldered to an end and the Allies prepared for a final year of war in north-west Europe, against all odds, the Luftwaffe – assumed to be starved of fuel and fighting spirit – launched a massive, surprise, low-level strike targeted at Allied tactical airfields throughout France, Belgium and Holland.
Planned under great secrecy, the raid gambled on using the bulk of Luftwaffe fighter assets on the Western Front, with the aim of decimating significant elements of both the British 2nd TAF and the USAAF on the ground. As the winter skies lightened, more than 900 German aircraft – most of them Fw 190s and Bf 109s – swept across vulnerable and unsuspecting airfields, including Brussels and Eindhoven. Altogether, more than 200 Allied aircraft were destroyed, with a further 150 damaged. But for the Luftwaffe it was a pyrrhic victory; 271 fighters were lost and many more damaged. Worse still, of the 213 pilots lost, more than 20 were valuable formation leaders.
Using hundreds of eye-witness accounts and rare photographs,this is a definitive study.
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ISBN: 1 902109 40
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