The heroic, dramatic, and sometimes tragic history of how the US 8th Air Force changed the course of World War II.The US 8th Air Force came of age in 1944. With a fresh commander, it was ready to demonstrate its true power: from Operation Argument in February—targeting German aircraft production plants—to bringing the Luftwaffe to battle over Berlin, the combined US Air Force-Royal Air Force forces’ round-the clock campaign bottled up the German army in Normandy.
Day after day, the American bomber boys watched their comrades burn to death in blazing bombers, or observed their comrades being thrown out of exploding aircraft without parachutes and sink with their crippled aircraft in the freezing North Sea. But by the following spring they had destroyed the Nazi’s fighting spirit and saw Germany broken in two.
In this authoritative history, Kevin Wilson reveals the blood and heroism of the 8th Air Force. At the same time, he opens up the lives of the Women's Army Corps and Red Cross girls who served in England with them and feared for the men in the skies, and he hasn't flinched from recounting the devastation of bombing or the testimony of shocked German civilians.
Drawing on first-hand accounts from diaries, letters, and his personal audio recordings, the author has brought to life the ebullient Americans' interaction with their British counterparts, unveiling stories of humanity and heartbreak. Thanks to America's bomber boys and girls, the tide of World War II shifted forever.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations ix
List of Maps xi
1 'He had us dead to rights' 3
2 'Things are going to be tough from now on' 28
3 'A gasp of surprise and dread' 64
4 'What are those fools trying to do, kill all of us' 93
5 'Hiya Baby! Lovely day isn't it?' 107
6 'Up and down the streets people jeered and spat at me' 135
7 'Invasion! No longer just a gleam in the General's eye' 165
8 'An Me 109 came at me head on. I was terrified' 184
9 'Couldn't sleep. Kept seeing ships exploding' 199
10 'Some were blazing and some were blown to bits' 220
11 'All hell broke loose' 250
12 'Bodies were scattered all over the area' 273
13 'The greatest air battle of this war' 289
14 'I bet our lives' 329
15 'So cold tears came into ray eyes' 361
16 'The birds were really flying. What a sight!' 377
17 'Sitting off my wing was an Me 109' 409
18 'Let the English celebrate' 435
19 'I can't get away from the things I've seen' 457