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)
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ANY SERIOUS REVIEW OF GERMANY’S WAR PRODUCTION FIGURES IN WWII BETWEEN 1942 AND LATE 1944 CLEARLY DEMOSTRATES THAT 8TH AIR FORCE’S STRATEGIC AIM TO DESTROYED GERMANY’S INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION AND WIN THE WAR OF ATTRITION. FAILED DRASTICALLY.
FACTS ARE THAT GERMAN PRODUCTION NUMBERS WENT UP PROGRESSIVELY IN EVERY MILITARY CATEGORY, UNTIL 1945, WHEN MILITARY INDUSTRIES WERE OVERRUN BY ALLIED AND RUSSIAN GROUND FORCES, THIS INCLUDED BALL BERINGS BY THE WAY, THE 8TH’S MOST PREFERRED & BLODDIEST TARGET. AIR CREW LOSSES WERE UNSUPPORTABLE AT THE END OF THE DAY.
INCREASED GERMAN MILITARY PRODUCTION WAS THANKS TO WAR PRODUCTION MINISTER SPEER’S CLEVER TECHNIQUES OF DISPERSION AND MOVEMENT UNDERGROUND OF PRODUCTION FACILITIES UNDERGROUND.
THIS IS THE PROXIMATE REASON THE NEW 8TH AF COMMANDER DOOLITTLE ORDERED 8TH BOMBER COMMAMD TO FNUCTION AS BAIT TO BRING UP THE LUFTWAFFE WHERE 8TH FIGHTER COULD SHOOT THEM DOWN. CHANGE OF 8TH AF MISSION. PRECISION BOMBING A BLOODY FAILURE.
THE 12TH AF, THE 15TH AF AND THE 9TH TACTICAL AF WON THE WAR BY DESTROYING GERMANY’S FUEL & SYNTHETIC FUEL INDUSTRIES, AND IT’S TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS.
THE WEHRMACT LOST ON THE THE GROUND, AND LUFTWAFFE IN THE AIR BECAUSE THEY RAN OUT OF FUEL, NOT OUT OF TANKS ETC AND FIGHTERS RESPECTIVELY.