A vivid narrative history, packed with first-hand accounts, of the US Eighth Air Force's VIII Fighter Command from its foundation in 1942 through to its victory in the skies over Nazi Germany.
On August 7, 1942, two events of major military importance occurred on separate sides of the planet. In the South Pacific, the United States went on the offensive, landing the First Marine Division at Guadalcanal. In England, 12 B-17 bombers of the new Eighth Air Force's 97th Bombardment Group bombed the Rouen–Sotteville railroad marshalling yards in France. While the mission was small, the aerial struggle that began that day would ultimately cost the United States more men killed and wounded by the end of the war in Europe than the Marines would lose in the Pacific War.
Clean Sweep is the story of the creation, development and operation of the Eighth Air Force Fighter Command and the battle to establish daylight air superiority over the Luftwaffe so that the invasion of Europe could be successful.
Thomas McKelvey Cleaver has had a lifelong interest in the history of the fighter force that defeated the Luftwaffe over Germany. He has collected many first-hand accounts from participants over the past 50 years, getting to know pilots such as the legendary “Hub” Zemke, Don Blakeslee and Chuck Yeager, as well as meeting and interviewing leading Luftwaffe pilots Adolf Galland, Gunther Rall and Walter “Count Punski” Krupinski. This story is told through accounts gathered from both sides.
"The European air war from 1942 to 1945 is a daunting subject, but Tom Cleaver’s study of VIII Fighter Command contributes to our broader knowledge of ‘The Mighty Eighth’ with detailed coverage of personalities and events, plus insightful analysis." - Barrett Tillman, author of 'When the Shooting Stopped: August 1945'
"Drawing from USAAF and Luftwaffe post-combat reports, technical manuals, and personal accounts, Cleaver’s work has a crackling immediacy, giving the reader a genuine sense of what these pilots and ground crews experienced, along with providing historical context to the decisions and actions taken by the combatants throughout the air war." - Lynn Ritger, author of 'The Messerschmitt BF 109'
"The brilliance of Tom Cleaver’s latest effort – Clean Sweep – rests on the back of his grub-around-in-every-corner-and-under-every-rock research. He brings shiny gems to us – accounts, recollections, facts and perspectives that are fresh, and that complete a story that is too often told with soulless numbers and numbing narratives. Heartily recommended." - LtCol Jay A. Stout, USMC (Ret.), author of 'Fighter Group: The 352nd "Blue-Nosed Bastards" in World War II'
"This is a first class history of the campaign that was instrumental to Allied victory during the Second World War." - History of War
"A well-focused history of the costly U.S. Air Force campaign over Europe that fatally degraded the Nazi war machine." - Library Journal
"[A] fascinating tale with lots of detail." - The Armourer
"While there have been many books on the US Army Air Forces' fighter and bomber operations from Britain during the Second World War, few, surely, have been as well written as this... A very worthwhile and highly readable tome." - Aeroplane