By Gregory Fremont-Barnes
Gregory Fremont-Barnes examines the lives of the yank Bomber Crewmen of the 8th Air strength, ''The powerful Eighth'', who crewed, maintained and repaired the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses and the B-24 Liberators that flew from the airfields of Norfolk and Suffolk and different counties of britain. He highlights the actual and mental pressure put on those courageous males. lengthy bombing missions referred to as for brute energy to manage the airplane and awesome persistence to fly for hours at 20,000 ft at temperatures under freezing in unheated, unpressurized cabins. Then there have been Luftwaffe opponents and anti-aircraft hearth to cope with and it required fantastic ability and a few good fortune to come back from a venture unscathed. This booklet is a becoming tribute to those usually uncelebrated heroes who took the battle deep into the 3rd Reich, in addition to a desirable old account of the reviews they went via.
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Extra info for American Bomber Crewman 1941-45
For our own protection, we had to stay with the rest of the formation as long as we could. That became no longer possible when we lost our second engine, still over France. Luckily, there were no enemy fighters in the vicinity, but even so, an awfully empty feeling crept over me as we began to drop behind and below the other ships. Once a fighter escort appeared, the bomber no longer had any need for its ammunition, and jettisoned that, too. By the time it left the French coast, The Old Squaw was down to 14,000ft, with the crew discarding its machine guns and about 7,500 rounds of ammunition.
Thereafter the strategic air offensive was rapidly stepped up. In Europe, on the other hand, the Eighth Air Force was established early in 1942, with its first bombers arriving in Britain on July 6, and the first heavy bomber raid against occupied Europe launched on August 17. The first raid on Germany proper • 36 GROUND CREW INSPECTING A 8-17 FLYING FORTRESS BEFORE TAKE-OFF Ground crew mechanics were roused at least three hours before take-off to provide them with enough time to ensure that aircraft were functioning properly and were ready for service in the day's mission.
Nazaire, Dusseldorf, Bremen, or some other city of significant industrial or military importance. During the briefing the men would intently follow the ribbon or tape that led from their base to the target. A graph of the squadron would indicate the position each crew would be flying, and the time to start engines, taxi and take-off, the point and time of rendezvous with other formations, the target and the route back. If operating out of Britain, the men could see where the bomber stream would leave the English coast and would be briefed about the weather over the target by an officer familiar with meteorology.