By Christopher Miskimon
The 381st Bombardment Group formed up at an airfield in Texas, trained, and then crossed the Atlantic to England in May 1943. They arrived at RAF Ridgewell, one of seventy air bases hosting units of the United States’ Eighth Air Force, America’s primary bomber force for the war over Northwest Europe. US military strategists were convinced that daylight precision bombing was the key to destroying Nazi Germany’s war industries and set about to prove it. The aircrews of the 381st were soon in the skies over Europe, braving enemy fighters and flak to deliver their payloads against factories, railroad yards and other vital targets. They flew the B-17 Flying Fortress; by the war’s end the 381st flew 297 missions over Germany.
The remarkable story of the 381st is told in great detail in this new work. The authors’ passion for their subject is obvious in the detailed research and meticulous organization of the book. Extensive use of veteran recollections bring life to the narrative. This book is a fitting tribute to the veterans of the 381st.
Bomb Group: The Eighth Air Force’s 381st and the Allied Offensive over Europe (Paul Bingley and Mike Peters, Casemate Books, Havertown PA, 2022, 406 pp., maps, photographs, appendices, notes, bibliography, index, $37.95, hardcover)