Author: Steve Richards
Format: 280 x 215mm
Number of pages: 144
Illustrations: 161 black and white, 26 colour and 6 coloured maps
Postage: UK £2.00, EU £7.00, Rest of the World: £10.50 air mail, £5.25 surface mail.
The Luftwaffe over Brum -
Birmingham's Blitz From a Military Perspective Steve Richards
WHEN STEVE Richards set out to write a history of Birmingham during the Blitz he did so with a zeal and enthusiasm which shines through on every page of this nicely produced book and every credit must go to him for producing a fine record of Birmingham’s experiences during the Blitz. it is books such as these - and this is a particularly fine example of the genre - which add so much detail and. indeed, the minutiae to the stories of individual towns and cities during this period of the Second World War. Not only is this an appraisal of individual raids, and with accounts from the participants as well the defenders, but it also examines the wider picture on the ground from the perspective of the civilian front, the industrial front and the military front. Of course, as a commercial and industrial centre, and Britain’s second city. Birmingham fared badly during air attacks on the city but the author has looked not only at the narrow’ period of the Blitz- proper but has also widened his coverage by setting the scene with accounts of the few First World War Zeppelin attacks and taking his accounts through to the very last raids on the city.
A superb selection of photographs accompany Steve Richards text, all of them informatively well captioned and mostly of exceptional quality. The range of subjects covered through the images is diverse, including air raid damage, aircraft losses, aircrew, factory scenes, the National Fire Service and Birmingham-Blitz related memorabilia with a good selection of the photograph reproduced in colour. The author has also compiled a series of meticulous appendices, including a full Roll of Honour of all of Birmingham’s Blitz civilian casualties and a full seven and a half pages of tightly-spaced names, five columns to a page, is a stark and sombre reminder of the awful death toll that air raids on Britain’s cities produced. Additionally, he has tabulated and detailed all known air crashes within the city as well as mapping the city’s anti-aircraft defences and Observer Corps sites. The book is certainly a very good read and is far from just being a reference book containing simply the facts and statistics of the raids - although these are all here as an important historical record. Certainly, this lovely volume will be of great interest to those with a local-history interest m Birmingham and its environs but will also appeal to those who have an interest in and study aspects of the Blitz and German air operations over Britain. It will also be of interest, surely, to those who live in Birmingham and merely just have an interest in their city. Here, they will find infoaion and imagery that will doubtless fascinate as they pore over the remarkable story of their home from a period of history that is now slipping from living memory. Britain at War have no hesitation in recommending this excellent publication to its readers.
REVIEWED BY ANDY SAUNDERS, Britain at War, March 2016 issue
This book represents a piece of detailed, beautifully illustrated and well-written research. The subject, as the title states, looks at the Luftwaffe's extensive attacks on Britain's second biggest city - Birmingham. It is astonishing to see just how much the bombing changed the landscape.
Intelligent use of sidebars has been made, pulling technical explanations out so that the main text is an easier read, but information on subjects including German beam navigation systems and unit designations is there for those who want it. The narrative is comprehensive, describing the military units engaged in the defence of Birmingham as well as those flying against it with equal clarity.
The book is extensively illustrated with archive photographs, maps and other images, all exceptionally well reproduced. The author draws stark comparisons between bombed buildings and their appearance after post-war rebuilding, with a particularly emotive pair of photographs showing the same houses in 1941 and 1982.
Comprehensive appendices and a detailed index complete a book of exceptional quality.
December issue of Aviation News
The Luftwaffe over Brum
Following on from the Battle of Britain commemorations, it is all too easy to neglect the 75th anniversary of the Blitz. When there is coverage of the German bombing offensive against British cities, it almost inevitably turns out to be Londoncentric. This new book, sub-titled 'Birmingham's Blitz from a military perspective', helps redress that balance.
Steve Richards sought here to compile something more than just a local history tome, and has succeeded admirably. He takes the story back to the first ever air raids against Birmingham, carried out by Zeppelins during World War One, and from there traces how the Midlands city prepared for potential future onslaughts. Naturally, the main focus is on the various phases of the Luftwaffe's attacks over 11 months in 1940-41 and the RAF's response, but the experiences of the civilian populace are far from neglected. Nor does Richards stop there, for he takes in the raids of 1942-43, offers intelligent analysis, and provides a range of appendices - one of which lists all known civilian casualties.
Attractively designed, deeply researched, well-written and boasting excellent photographic reproduction, self-published titles come little better. A tour de force, of higher quality than many a book to emerge from far bigger stables.
By Ben Dunnell, Aeroplane, December 2015 issue
The Luftwaffe Over Brum – Birmingham’s Blitz from a Military Perspective,
The product of immense research, this self-published work is a detailed account of all German air attacks on Birmingham and the surrounding area from 1916 to 1943. Most of it focuses on the World War Two years – the author’s accessible style relaying an immense amount of information, backed up by rarely seen images. It examines both the tactics of the attackers and the defences put in place to repel them. It offers a view of the human cost of the Blitz, listing all known fatalities from the region, as well as air crashes.
Flypast November 2015
One of the best "Home Front" books I've ever had the pleasure to read!! Excellent book by Steve Richards well written with many illustrations and relevant information. Probably one of the best wartime books I have read and I have read literally 100s. I didn't want it to end.
Paul Wain, Liverpool
…I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the history of Birmingham during the Second World War, the very well researched detailed subject matter presents the story from various perspectives and therefore should have appeal for the casual and more specialist reader. I received a copy as a Christmas gift last year and have read from cover to cover and will no doubt go back and refer to again and again. Definitely one of the 'must have' WW2 reference sources relating to the City of Birmingham and immediate surrounding areas.
Neil Wright, Solihull
Five stars, First class
W A Jones
Five Stars; A constant reference and remembrance.
Mrs Jean Stilliard
An excellent and well researched book which is of great use to those like myself who knows the places where some of the events that the author relates are.
Mr. Richards has done a superb job covering the air war over the Birmingham region. I have spent several years studying one of these events for a personal research project, and was extremely impressed with Mr. Richards' extensive research and captivating narrative.
Robert Johns, USA
Brilliant read. Old and young alike will love it.
Very interesting and well written.
This is an outstanding book. Steve Richards has done Birmingham proud by such a detailed and fascinating account of how the Second City and surrounding areas were blitzed by the Luftwaffe until their final air raid on 23rd April 1943. This will surely become the standard work on the subject.
Ray De Havilland, Birmingham
Thoroughly researched and full of excellent images and foot notes to illustrate the text.
By Delwyn Griffith, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.
Highly recommended to all those interested in the Blitz on Britain.,
Having been in touch with Steve Richards over a number of years during the whole process of his writing of this book he has truly excelled in producing a really good quality publication. The reproduction of the photos is to a very high standard, using large sized, clear and often unique pictures so that one can fully enjoy the detail. I have been very impressed by the depth and quality of research that Steve has gone to in the production of this work, certainly making full use of many documents held by the National Archives, Kew and rather recycling previous research on the subject has gone to great lengths to uncover primary sources of documentation. Rather taking the material at face value Steve has further explored other avenues of research to ensure that the facts recorded in his book are as near to exactly what occurred as will ever be ascertained. Even though I have few links with Birmingham I found this a most invaluable and interesting book and it makes an invaluable addition to my library and it is of exceptional value for money for such a good quality publication. Nigel Parker. Author of Luftwaffe Crash Archive series and Gott Strafe England.
By Mr Nigel Parker, Wantage, Oxon
The Battle of Birmingham 1940-1943, A long expected book does not disappoint. Wonderfully put together it allows the casual reader and the keen historian to really get a handle on the Luftwaffe's objectives and the British air defence response. The details of the German units and crew add a dimension often lacking in similar publications. The illustrations are excellent especially those covering air defence and German aircraft for specific raids. To a greater degree the author has achieved telling the story of the airwar from a Birmingham perspective essentially this book is the battle of Birmingham. Outstanding achievement a must read.
By Andrew Lound, Great Barr, Birmingham.
Mr Richards has cleverly combined acute scholarship with easy readability, combining a huge amount of technical detail. A splendid book, of interest to both the specialist reader and those fascinated with the history of Birmingham during World War 2. Mr Richards has cleverly combined acute scholarship with easy readability, combining a huge amount of technical detail with many touching personal stories of ordinary Birmingham and Black Country folk caught up in the war. It will come as a surprise to many, as it did to me, how many areas of Birmingham and the Black Country were targeted by the Luftwaffe. Stories and pictures giving details of individual houses and roads bring the book to life.
Lavishly illustrated throughout with high quality photographs, many not seen before as they come from the author's personal collection. Well produced on high quality paper, a book that will fascinate the general reader and be of great value to those who want a well-researched reference book.
By David Westley, Solihull, West Midlands.
PART 1 - SWEET AND SOUR VICTORY
Setting the Scene
Dinard, Northern France 17:45-01:00 hours (local time) 9/10th April 1941
281 and 283 Hales Lane, Warley, Smethwick, Staffordshire 17:00-18:00 hours BST 9th April 1941
915 (Barrage Balloon) Squadron Headquarters, Cadbury Lido, Rowheath, Bournville, Birmingham 21:00-01:00 hours BST 9/10th April 1941
RAF Wittering, Northants 22:00-01:00 hours BST 9/10th April 1941
‘Who’s going to pay for the damage?’
A Soured Outcome
PART 2 - THE CITY UNDER ATTACK
Ships in the Night
The City Prepares for War
Birmingham: A Beckoning Target
Eye on the Sky - the Observer Corps
The Balloon Goes Up
The Blitz Phase One: August 1940
An Explanation of Luftwaffe Unit Designations and Markings
The Blitz Phase Two: September 1940-February 1941
The Rationale Behind the Blitz
A War of Attrition
The Pressure Builds: September-October
Target 52 Bild: November-December
German Navigational Radio Beam Systems
The Hampden Patrol
UXB - Men at Work
The Winter Lull: January-February 194
The Horrors of Bombing
The Blitz Phase Three: Spring 1941
The East - Hitler's Primary Goal
KGr100 - The Fire Raisers
Another Heinkel Down
The Blitz Phase Four: Final Raids July 1942-April 1943
The Final Analysis
A - Who shot down the Smethwick Heinkel?
B - Royal Observer Corps Sites
C - Anti-Aircraft Guns – Birmingham Area
D - Anti-Aircraft Exercises
E - The Barrage Balloon
F - Luftwaffe Aircrew
G - German Bombs and British Bullets
H - The Raids in Summary
I - Civilian Air Raid Casualties
J - Aircraft Crashes in the Birmingham Area 1939-1945
Acknowledgements and Bibliography