Holding a piece of history

Roamy here. A co-worker’s father was a B-17 navigator in the 8th Air Force during WW2. He brought in a cigar box, and what a humble little treasure chest it was. There were patches, pins, and insignia, but the most fascinating items were these bomb tags.

There were a handful more, and there’s one for each mission he flew, with a little note on each. “Milk Run”, “Rough”, the various towns. There were maps as well, with his notes. I had no idea Schweinfurt was so important, but I am told there were ball bearing factories there which were vital for tanks and aircraft production. I like the one in the bottom left corner of the frame. V-E Day. What a flight that must have been – I guess the anti-aircraft guns were finally silent.

6 thoughts on “Holding a piece of history”

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schweinfurt%E2%80%93Regensburg_mission

    A good thumbnail history.

    It caused the 8th AF to take a really deep breath and change their operations and atactics through the fall of 1943. Spaatz & company realized they had to wait for the long range fighters to arrive before anymore deep strikes.

    It was the raids of early April 1944 escorted by waves of long range fighters which finally destroyed the Luftwaffe…and made D Day a possibility.

    1. What you say is true,but the 8th AF had also been severely hampered by the constant drain on its resources being diverted to the Mediterranean/North African theater.

  2. Also, the “ball bearings will shut down the factories” was an early example of the Air Force finding center of gravity and attempting to derail the enemies war production. And failing.

    The factories were pretty well plastered, but the machine tools mostly survived. Plus,Germany had huge stockpiles of ball bearings. Plus they were able to import stocks of ball bearings. It’s unlikely that any war materiel production was lost because of the very costly raids.

    That hasn’t stopped the Air Force from arguing that they can win the war themselves…

  3. If you want to know bad it really was, read Martin Caidin’s “Black Thursday”

    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Thursday-Martin-Caidin/dp/0553267299/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318686923&sr=1-6

    BTW, my father in law was a B-17 co-pilot, and was forced to set down their shot to hell aircraft in Switzerland. He sad the Swiss were terrible hosts and treated the aircrews like dirt. Wouldn’t wear a watch afterwards since it might say “Made in Switzerland” on it.

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