The Boeing B-17 has come to epitomise the American war effort in Europe during World War II (1939-1945), the huge four-engined heavy day bomber taking the fight to Germany from the late summer of 1942 through to VE-Day. The primary operator of the Flying Fortress in Western Europe was the ‘Mighty Eighth’. This volume, which is the first of two dealing exclusively with the ‘Mighty Eighth’, covers the 15 Bomb Groups of the First Air Division, each of which controlled four squadrons. The evolution of the force is traced through first-hand accounts of those individuals that took part in the action.
Unquestionably the best American fighter of World War 2, the North American P-51 Mustang served in large numbers with the USAAF’s Eighth Air Force from late 1943 until VE Day, and was the mount of most aces in-theatre. Charged with the responsibility of escorting huge formations of B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator bombers on daylight raids deep into Germany, the P-51 pilots of the various fighter groups within the ’Mighty Eighth’ went head to head with the cream of the Luftwaffe’s fighter squadrons for control of the skies over the Third Reich.
Osprey’s examination of the B-24 Liberator Units’ participation in World War II (1939-1945). The B-24 Liberator was built in greater numbers than any other US warplane, yet its combat crews live, even today, in the shadow of the less plentiful, but better-known, B-17. Accounts of the ‘Mighty Eighth’ in Europe, and indeed many of the books and films that emerged from the greatest air campaign in history, often overlook the B-24, even though it was in action for as long as the Flying Fortress, and participated in just as many perilous daylight bombing missions.