Eighth Air Force

The Eighth Air Force was the primary component of the U.S. Army Air Forces based in England during World War II. It carried out bomber operations against Nazi-occupied Europe and the German homeland, bombing by day while the British Royal Air Force carried out night raids. Eighth Air Force fighter aircraft also engaged the German Luftwaffe in intense dogfights for mastery of the skies above Western Europe.

Cronkite and General Eisenhower tour German bunkers in Normandy after the war.

Eighth Air Force

Walter Cronkite: The War As He Saw It

by Eric Niderost

Walter Cronkite is the acknowledged dean of American journalists, an icon whose distinguished career spanned 60 years. Cronkite is best known as the anchorman and managing editor of The CBS Evening News, a position he occupied from 1962 to 1981. Read more

In this painting by Jack Fellows, P-39s flown by Major George Greene, Jr., (foreground) and “Buzz” Wagner take on Japanese Zeros over the Salamaua Peninsula.

Eighth Air Force

WWII Planes: The Bell P-39 Airacobra “Peashooter”

by Sam McGowan

If there is an American combat airplane that has achieved an ill-deserved reputation, no doubt it would be the much-maligned Bell P-39 Airacobra, a tricycle landing gear single-engine fighter whose reputation was greatly overshadowed by the more famous, and of more recent design, Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, and North American P-51 Mustang. Read more

German camp authorities and delegates of the International Red Cross discuss the disposition of packages at Luft Stalag III B.

Eighth Air Force

Steve Stupak: Surviving the German Death March

By Al Hemingway

By 1945, the war in Europe was nearing its conclusion. Having suffered a severe defeat at the hands of the Allies in the Battle of the Bulge, Adolf Hitler’s seemingly indestructible Third Reich was quickly crumbling under the Allied juggernaut. Read more

Eighth Air Force

The Ijmuiden Raids: None Came Back

By Allyn Vannoy

Even as they were being integrated into the European Allied air campaign, the use and operation of American B-26 Marauders, and other medium bombers, was still being worked out—with sometimes, as at IJmuiden, Holland, disastrous results. Read more

An American soldier cautiously approaches two burning vehicles that had been destroyed by a German ambush. As a scout, Private Sevel never wore equipment or heavy clothing in order to stay mobile on the battlefield.

Eighth Air Force

A Scout in Patton’s Third Army

By Kevin M. Hymel

The Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighter plane dove out of the sky with machine guns firing. The pilot’s target—a pontoon bridge being stretched across Germany’s Werra River by American engineers. Read more

Eighth Air Force

The Red Ass Squadron Goes to War

By Charles W. Sasser

Unlike bomber crews that went home if they survived a designated number of missions, World War II fighter pilots like Lieutenant Jim Carl, 354th Fighter Group, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), flew until the war ended, they got shot down over enemy territory and were captured, or they died. Read more

Eighth Air Force

Deadly Duel Above Berlin

By Mark Mathosian

“Our mission was Berlin. We flew in that dreaded position—last and lowest in the squadron.”

Archie Mathosian, B-17 Radio Operator, A/C #521 (Skyway Chariot), 100th Bomb Group (H), USAAF

“Last and lowest in the squadron.”These Read more

Eighth Air Force

Why America Participated in the Allied Bombing of France in WWII

By Flint Whitlock

By any standard, the ancient city of Rouen, in Upper Normandy, is a historical treasure. Within its magnificent High Gothic Notre-Dame Cathedral (which was portrayed in a famous series of paintings by the Impressionist Claude Monet as well as by his contemporary Camille Pissarro) is a tomb containing the heart of Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199) who had been King of England and the Duke of Normandy. Read more

Eighth Air Force

Bombs, Booze, and Broads

By Glenn Barnett

The date of November 10, 1942, is still vivid in the mind of Albert Wayne Boam. That was the day that he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, hoping to become a fighter pilot. Read more

In this painting titled Wounded Warrior by artist Richard Taylor, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed Silver Meteor, heavily damaged during a raid on Munich, Germany, on July 11, 1944, is escorted safely to its base in England by a pair of North American P-51 Mustang fighters. The Mustang provided long-range escort for the heavy bombers penetrating deep into German airspace.

Eighth Air Force

Long-Range Fighter Escort

By Gene J. Pfeffer

On August 17, 1942, the 97th Bomb Group began the opening attack of the U.S. Army Air Forces’ (USAAF) strategic bombing campaign against Germany. Read more

Eighth Air Force

First Raid For the Mighty Eighth

By Michael D. Hull

General Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, commander of the U.S. Army Air Forces, was a man both driven and under great pressure in the spring and early summer of 1942. Read more

Eighth Air Force

The American Air Museum in Duxford

By Roy Stevenson

In the lush, green rural community of Duxford, a 20-minute bus ride from the university town of Cambridge, the American Air Museum in Britain houses the finest collection of historic American combat aircraft outside the United States. Read more

Eighth Air Force

The Last Flight of the Lonesome Polecat

By Diane Condon-Boutier

Every February 11, Rouxmesnil-Bouteilles, a tiny town in Upper Normandy situated north of the Seine River a short distance inland from the coastal city of Dieppe and some two hours from the D-Day invasion beaches, pays homage to 10 American airmen who crashed into the town center, narrowly missing the local children assembled in their schoolhouse just a few yards away. Read more