This book describes the period when the American daylight offensive faltered and nearly failed and recalls the terrible losses suffered by Liberators on the low-level attack on the Ploesti oilfields in Rumania and by the B-17s on the notorious Schweinfurt and Regensburg raids which entered 8th Air Force folklore as ‘Black Thursday’. Fascinating anecdotes, eye-witness accounts and the hard-won experiences of the battle-scarred American ‘fly-boys’ reveal the grim realities of air combat at four miles high above enemy occupied Europe, Berlin and the Ruhr. ‘Grown up in the war’ they paint a revealing picture as only they can.
The ‘Mighty Eighth’ was an air force of hard-fighting, hard-playing fliers who suffered more casualties than the entire US Marine Corps in the Pacific Campaign. Here, in their own words are stories of survival and soul-numbing loss, of ‘fly-boys’ who came together to fight an air war of the ferocity that had never been fought on such a vast scale before. While RAF Bomber Command was waging war at night 8th Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators bombed by day in a 24-hour ’round the clock’ campaign. This is also a partly a strategic history with a behind-the-scenes look at deployment of the bomber groups and the fighter escorts that would eventually become their salvation on the interminable deep penetration raids into the Greater Reich.