The Memphis Belle, a B-17 Flying Fortress of the 8th Air Force, completes it’s 25th mission and it’s crew has the opportunity to return to the states.
The event would be documented in an Army Air Force documentary, and later a blockbuster movie. What wasn’t documented in the original documentary was the fact that over 30,000 airmen lost their lives taking the skies over Europe, 8,000 bombers destroyed.
More airmen died in the skies over Europe than Marines in the Pacific.
Today (literally) the Belle was unveiled after years of restoration at the US Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.
Today in History, May 17: 1943 – The Memphis Belle returns from her 25th mission over Europe. The B-17 Flying Fortress, heavily armed with nearly a dozen .50 caliber machine guns and thousands of pounds of bombs, had survived what by all reckoning, could not be survived. Thousands upon thousands of airmen died over German territory, blown out of the sky or dropping thousands of feet to their deaths. More airmen died over Europe than Marines fighting across the Pacific. With ten men in each bomber that went down, casualties were so horrific that crews were only expected to fly 25 missions…if they survived that, they went home. The crew of the Memphis Belle were some of those survivors.