Raising the colours

Maelstrom Eighth Bomber Command launched 969 missions between August 1942 and May 1945 and, as the force built up, over 2,000 fully loaded four-engine bombers would be swirling upwards through the fog and cloud above their bases in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.  That’s 2,000 unguided aircraft in an area about the size of Greater New York City or the Blue Mountains in NSW. A … Continue reading Raising the colours

The loss of ‘Old Bag of Bolts’

“…But Bolts couldn’t make it back with the remaining fuel. She headed towards an island for an emergency landing. Her position was radioed to aid in the rescue of her crew. Then Bolts gave out of gas. She sat down in the water a few hundred feet off shore… Members of her crew swam to safety and later were rescued by a submarine. Beyond saving … Continue reading The loss of ‘Old Bag of Bolts’

Heavy going (Pt.1)

With the B-17’s brave but beleaguered WW2 service in the Pacific and its epic contribution to victory in Europe, along with the B-24’s ubiquitous duty in every corner of the conflict, it would be easy to forget that the RAF also operated both types. Indeed the British were the first to use the American heavies in anger, and their combat experience would profoundly shape the development and … Continue reading Heavy going (Pt.1)

Heavy going (Pt.2)

In Heavy Going, Part One I shared a British pilot’s impressions of flying the RAF’s “American heavies” during World War Two. However it’s never easy to understand which B-17 and B-24 models the British used when. They didn’t simply follow the American alphabetical system, and the Mark numbers they did use were largely assigned in the order that the purchase agreements crossed some overworked Whitehall clerk’s desk. Still, an outline of … Continue reading Heavy going (Pt.2)