• The gripping story of the Eighth Air Force in EuropeTold by surviving membersBrings to life the horror of bombing raids over Germany
In 1941 the RAF fought a desperate battle of survival against the Luftwaffe over Britain. After victory in the Battle of Britain a new generation of American pilots, gunners, and bombardiers arrived, along with a new generation of flying machines called the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 Liberator, the P-47 Thunderbolt, and the P-51 Mustang fighter. Soon they men were hurling themselves and their unproven planes across the Channel and into the teeth of enemy firepower, raining down bombs on the German military machine, and going up against Hitler's best fliers in the sky.
This is the dramatic oral history of the Army Air Corps and the newly created Eighth Air Force stationed in Britain, an army of hard-fighting, hard-playing flying men who suffered more fatalities than the entire U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific campaign of World War II. Here, in their own words, are tales of survival and soul-numbing loss, of soldiers who came together to fight- and win - a kind of war that had never been fought before.
The Mighty Eighth chronicles the testimony of the pilots, bombardiers, navigators, and gunners who daily put their lives on the line. Their harrowing accounts recall the excitement and terror of dogfights against Nazi aces, manoeuvering explosive-laden aircraft through deadly flak barrages, and fending off waves of enemy fighters while coping with subzero temperatures.
Beginning with the opening salvos from a mere dozen planes, crewmen describe the raids on Berlin and Dresden, the fiasco at Ploesti, Romania, and Black Thursday over Schweinfurt. They fell to the terror of seeing aircraft destroyed- helplessly watching as comrades crash and burn, or parachute over enemy territory, where they will attempt to evade enemy capture through the underground. Others tell of mourning downed airmen murdered by vengeful citizens and soldiers, and of those who endured captivity in POW camps.