A Horrific Day over Schweinfurt

Today in History, October 14, 1943:

During it’s Second Raid on Schweinfurt, Germany’s ball bearing plants, the Mighty US Eighth Air Force loses SIXTY B-17 Flying Fortress bombers to German fighters and anti-aircraft fire.

That number becomes more ominous when you know that each aircraft had at least a 10 man crew, meaning that 600 airmen either lost their lives or were captured that day.

The casualties in the Eighth Air Force over Europe accounted for more than half of the losses for the entire US Army Air Corps.

With over 26,000 dead, it surpassed the horrific losses of the US Marine Corps during the war by far…the USMC having lost almost 18,000 dead in the bitter battles in Pacific Islands.

Going Home…

 

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.