In The Pointblank Directive, L. Douglass Keeney draws on extensive new research to create a richly textured portrait of air power and leadership, and tell perhaps the last untold story of WW2: jow the Allies drove the Luftwaffe from the skies over Europe and saved D-Day.
As the Allies began to plan for the invasion of Europe, they faced a massive problem. Without absolute air superiority over the Normandy beaches, the success of D-Day was doubtful. The Pointblank Directive was the plan to stop the Luftwaffe.
The Pointblank Directive changed the direction of the entire Allied bombing effort in Europe. No longer would the bombing campaign range across German industry. Instead it would be focused on driving the Luftwaffe from the sky. No longer would the American fighters' primary mission be the protection of the bombers. They were now free to seek out and destroy the Luftwaffe wherever they found their foe, in the air or on the ground. The bombers would act as bait to draw the Germans up to the waiting and eager American Mustangs, Thunderbolts and Lightnings. At the same time German fighter factories were targeted to further erode the Luftwaffe's capabilities. The goal was nothing short of the destruction of the Luftwaffe to insure the success of D-Day.
At the center of the operation were three inspired leaders. General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, commander of the United States Army Air Forces, was the architect of the American daylight bombing campaign. With just five months to go before D-Day, Arnold put his lifelong friend General Carl A. "Tooey" Spaatz in command of the strategic bombing forces in Europe, while tapping aviation legend General James "Jimmy" Doolittle to lead the mighty 8th Air Force. Together with their pilots, aircrew and group personal, they were responsible for executing Pointblank.
In The Pointblank Directive, L. Douglass Keeney carefully reconstructs the events in the air war that led up to D-Day while painting an in-depth portrait of the lives and times of the men who made the victory of D-Day possible.
"A thoroughly satisfying read: informative and entertaining. What is always mind-boggling is the sacrifice made in any war. Pointblank Directive shows quite clearly what the airwar leading up to D-Day cost both sides of the conflict. More importantly, it fills a needed gap in knowledge of exactly how critical the proper air campaign can be in determining the ground conflict. Historians and students of World War II history alike will be well-served reading this book."
--Bernie Chowdhury, author of The Last Dive: A Father and Son's Fatal Descent into the Ocean's Depths (Harper)
"The Pointblank Directive is a richly textured portrait of air power and leadership, possibly the last untold sotry of D-Day. Using extensive new research, Keeney carefully reconstructs the events that led up to the success of that battle."
--Savannah Jones, www.sirreadalot.org
"...comes from a historian who considers the politics and personalities of The Pointblank Directive and how it become one of the most amazing military come-backs in history. By raid's end some forty percent of the Allied planes had been shot down. The story of how forces recovered from these heavy losses and flew to victory against impossible odds makes this a powerful account of strategic air command decision-making processes, battles, and close encounters, offering a fresh analysis of how The Pointblank Directive changed the world."
--The Midwest Book Review (March 2013)
"I enjoyed this book immensely. It was fast-paced, exciting, filled with the untold yet in no way unglamorous adventures and perilous day-to-day existence of the United States Air Force ... This is one of the best historical books I have read."
- The San Farncisco Book Review (April 16, 2013)