Bombs Away! covers strategic bombing in Europe during World War II, that is, all aerial bombardment of a strategic nature which took place between 1939 and 1945. In addition to American (U.S. Army Air Forces) and British (RAF Bomber Command) strategic aerial campaigns against Germany, this book covers German use of strategic bombing during the Nazi's conquest of Europe: the Battle of Britain, Operation Barbarossa, and the V 1 and V 2, where the Luftwaffe targeted Warsaw and Rotterdam (known as the Rotterdam Blitz). In addition, the book covers the blitzes against London and the bombing of other British industrial and port cities, such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Southampton, Manchester, Bristol, Belfast, Cardiff, and Coventry bombed during the Battle of Britain.
The twin Allied campaigns against Germany?"the USAAF by day, the RAF by night?"built up into massive bombing of German industrial areas, notably the Ruhr, followed by attacks directly on cities such as Hamburg, Kassel, Pforzheim, Mainz, Cologne, Bremen, Essen, Düsseldorf, Hanover, Dortmund, Frankfurt, and the still controversial fire-bombing of Hamburg and Dresden. In addition to obvious targets like aircraft and tank manufacturers, ball bearing factories and plants that manufactured abrasives and grinding wheels were high priority targets. Petroleum refineries were a key target with USAAF aircraft based in North Africa and later Italy, bombing the massive refinery complexes in and around Ploesti, Romania, until August 1944 when the Soviet Red Army captured the area. Other missions included industrial targets in southern Germany like Regensburg and Schweinfurt. Missions to the Nazi capital, Berlin, started in 1940 and continued through March 1945. Throughout the war there were 314 air raids on Berlin.