Where was the Luftwaffe on D-Day? Historians have debated that question for six decades, but in 2010 a formerly classified World War II D-Day history was restored, and in it were a new set of answers. Pointblank is the result of extensive new research using that newly restored history to create a richly textured portrait of air power and leadership, and perhaps the last untold story of D-Day: Three uniquely talented men and why, on the single most important day to the survival of the Third Reich, the German Air Force was unable to mount a single effective combat mission against the invasion forces.
After a year of unremarkable bombing against Germany aircraft industry, and with just five months to go until D-Day, General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, commander of the United States Army Air Forces placed his lifelong friend General Carl A. "Tooey" Spaatz in command of the strategic bombing forces in Europe and gave his protege, General James "Jimmy" Doolittle command of the Eighth Air Force in England. For these fellow aviation pioneers and air war strategists, he had but one set of orders: Sweep the skies clean of the Luftwaffe by June 1944. Spaatz and Doolittle couldn't do that, but they could do what Arnold really wanted: Clear the skies sufficiently to gain air superiority over the D-Day beaches. The plan was called Pointblank. In Pointblank, 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 these aviation pioneers.
"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)