Preparation, it turns out, is everything. I’ve been reading Chastise, former Daily Telegraph editor Max Hastings’s 2019 record of the 1943 Royal Air Force “dambusters” raid against key dams in the German industrial heartland.

Crews had to fly heavy Lancaster bombers at night, very low, and then release a revolutionary bomb that would bounce on water for almost a kilometre, settling at the base of the dam wall before exploding. Nothing like it had been tried before. The bomb had to be developed as pilots were training for the dangerous run...

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