Cooper works hard to fill in the gaps left by wartime reports, and he largely succeeds. There is page after page of rambling statistics:
' The final attack on Cologne during the Battle was on the 8-9 July, when a much reduced force of 288 aircraft were sent, of which 257 attacked the target. The [railroad] marshalling yards in the north of the city were attacked and disabled after 1000 tons of bombs were dropped on the area. The Germans reported the city being without gas and electricity, and water was only available after tremendous difficulties had been surmounted. The city of Cologne was a burnt-out shell, and only the cathedral had escaped damage. Once again [Luftwaffe Major] Paul Zorner had been in action; he relates: 'I attacked a British bomber but my fire was returned by the rear gunner and it escaped into cloud. When I attacked another bomber, having seen its bluish exhaust flames, I gave a long burst into the exhausts and I saw it explode and later crash.' ' (p. 129)
You could almost feel pity for the German residents, until reading about the treatment of people who helped shot-down airmen. After the war, John Whitley returned to see those who helped him:
' In 1945, Whitley made a point of returning to Paris and other places to thank the people who had helped him. By the end of the day he was full of Cognac, as everywhere he had gone he had been given a nip of this drink. The family of Mahoudeauxs all came out to greet him, except one son who had been taken to Buchenwald concentration camp. One of his 'helpers' had been shot by the Germans in 1944, and another had frozen to death in a railway truck. A man called Poiner, who had helped him, had died of starvation and torture in prison. Two others had been executed, and another was in Switzerland recovering from tuberculosis of both lungs. Florentino had been hit by machine-gun fire which had damaged his legs so badly that he walked with a limp for the rest of his life....' (p. 120) What a brutal occupation force!
First published to acclaim in 1992, this book deals with the exploits of Bomber Command during their offensive against German Industry in the Ruhr during World War II. The author begins by describing the role of Bomber Command and goes on to define the Ruhr area and its great importance in terms of industrial output to the Germans. The author provides the statistics for bombers dispatched, the number, which actually got to the targets and those, which never made it for one reason or another. Air Battle of the Ruhr is a complete overview of a major aspect of the air war against mainland Germany – a subject that has rarely been dealt with in such depth. This book fills in an important gap in the history of the Royal Air Force.