It was 20 February 1944 and ground crews on flight lines across East Anglia readied their aircraft for a mission. This mission, the first of Operation Argument, would constitute an all-out effort to wrestle air superiority from the Luftwaffe. The success of Overlord rested on the outcome of “Big Week”.
By the end of 1943, the US Eighth Air Force was at breaking point, German flak and fighters were shooting down bombers in their hundreds. But just one year later, the Eighth Air Force were masters of the air over Europe. So how did they do it?
On 12 August, 1944, Alexander Jefferson was flying his P-51 Mustang over the French Riviera, when he noticed a string of blinking red lights – anti-aircraft fire. His aircraft critically hit, Jefferson bailed out, and was soon captured by the Germans, beginning a nine-month ordeal as a Prisoner of War.
The 100th Bomb Group is one of the most famous of the Second World War - earning the nickname 'The Bloody Hundredth'. Their experiences are featured in the war drama Masters of the Air. But where did their legend come from?
Situated in large English country houses and hotels, rest homes were set up by the Eighth Air Force and jointly run by the Red Cross to provide an antidote to the mental stresses of air combat. They aimed to prevent emotional breakdowns among crew members by "returning them to a world they knew before".
The B-29 Superfortress is arguably the most important and controversial aircraft in human history.
With the dubious honour of being history’s deadliest bomber and the only aircraft to drop a nuclear weapon in combat, its story is one of ground-breaking innovation, unimaginable destruction and decisions that would dictate the course of the 20th century.
On Thursday 14 October 1943, B-17 Flying Fortresses of the Eighth Air Force amassed for an all-out air offensive on the production plants of Schweinfurt. The long-range penetration into Germany would become a pivotal moment in the American strategic bombing campaign, earning the nickname "Black Thursday".
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was vital to the US's strategic bombing campaign during the Second World War. During the conflict, B-24s served with every branch of the American armed forces and in every theatre of the war. Built in larger numbers than any other US aircraft, the B-24 would become a symbol of the industrial might of the American war machine.
Rhoda Robinson was one of thousands of members of the American Red Cross sent to Britain to set up Aeroclubs at Eighth and Ninth Air Force bases. Through their hard work, service clubs were transformed into morale-boosting 'homes away from home'.