Greetings from the Mighty 8th Air Force:

Written by Jonathan Abbott

On Monday, August 17th 1942, twelve American bombers took off for Rouen, France. They were the main force of eighteen bombers sent under Royal Air Force fighter escort. Their target was a marshaling yard. They returned to base at exactly seven in the evening. Not a plane was lost, and the only significant damage to them was inflicted by a pigeon colliding with the nose of one ship.

8th_air_force

                Insignia of the 8th Air Force

8th air force

B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 8th Air Force heading to a target



That Monday was a great celebration for the Americans. It was the first US heavy bomber raid for a unit called the 8th Bomber Command. It proved, at least in the minds of the Americans, that heavy bomber raids could be successfully carried out in daytime with minimal casualties. August 17th was the first sputtering of a machine that would later become the US 8th Air Force. By the war’s end, the 8th would be the largest air force of its type in the world, able to send 2,000 bombers and 1,000 fighters on a single mission. Of the 1.5 million Americans to pass through Britain during World War Two, 350,000 of them belonged to the 8th Air Force. Their mission was to take out the German military, not in the field, but at home, depriving it of the ability and desire to make war. Their battleground would be the skies of Europe, and their front line, the green fields of East Anglia.

8th air force

Embroidered souvenir of the 8th Air Force

England would leave an indelible mark on the lives of the Americans who served there. They in turn would leave their mark on England. Their legacy would be left on the men and women who met them, the children who grew up with them, and in the towns and fields of East Anglia, where the young Americans lived, played and died.

Somewhere in London, someone bought a handkerchief and sent it home to loved ones, where it was kept as a reminder of England and the largest single air force in the world, the Mighty 8th.



For More on the Eighth Air Force Check Out:

Blood and Fears: How America’s Bomber Boys of the 8th Air Force Saved World War II


Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany


The Boys In The B-17: 8Th Air Force Combat Stories Of WWII


For Related Articles See:

memphis belle

The Memphis Belle and William Wyler, the Story of the Story

B-24

THE EIGHTH AIR FORCE BATTLES THE LUFTWAFFE IN DAYLIGHT RAIDS

wulfe hound

WULFE HOUND – THE FIRST B-17 CAPTURED BY THE NAZIS

One thought on “Greetings from the Mighty 8th Air Force

  • admin says:

    Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you liked the article. Please grab my feed or subscribe for future articles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Past and Present WWII History Posts