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America’s Aerial Warriors Today

America’s Aerial Warriors Today

Life begins at 40 or 50, or … It’s a sure fact of life that we all reach a point where we can’t begin to guess how long ago something in our lives happened. Did such and such happen five years ago? Or was it 10? We get to the point where we can’t even […]

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Messerschmitt Bf 109E “Emil”

Messerschmitt Bf 109E “Emil”

Apart from its combat record, the Bf 109 remains a historic aircraft for sheer numbers produced. More than seven decades after WWII, only the Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik exceeds the Messerschmitt’s total of 34,000 produced, even under the pressure of continual Allied bombing. Nothing else comes close. Frequently, the Soviet Yakovlev fighter series is compared to […]
Post D-Day Fighter Conference

Post D-Day Fighter Conference

What we have here is an executive retreat held in Bottisham, Cambridgeshire,  home of the 361st FG, August 1944. It is a get-together of all fighter group COs in the 8th Air Force and represents a who’s who of Post D-Day fighter aviation. Front to back: 20th FG (Col. Harold Rau’s Gentle Annie), 352nd FG […]

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D-Day: Planning the  Aerial  Assault

D-Day: Planning the Aerial Assault

Today the numbers involved in Operation Overlord are unthinkable: 6,000 bombers, more than 5,000 fighters, some 1,600 transport aircraft, and 2,500 gliders. All crammed into scores of airfields throughout Britain, but mainly in southern England. All were serviced, armed, and assigned aircrews, eager to take off on the day called “D.” That spring, the American […]
A Pilot’s View of D-Day

A Pilot’s View of D-Day

In his memoir, Lt. Col. Richard E. Turner recalled D-Day for the Ninth Air Force’s 354th Fighter Group at Maidstone, Kent. He described the “Pioneer Mustangs’” rare D-Day missions: night escort of troop carrier aircraft and gliders. Since the 25th of May, the group had been informed that it was on a six-hour alert status, […]

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P-47 Thunderbolt on D-Day

P-47 Thunderbolt on D-Day

P-47D UN-V, named “Pat,” from the famed 56th FG, 63rd FS, prepares for another fighter sweep in support of the invasion.  The second mount of Capt. Gordon S. Stevens, it survived until early September, being lost with Capt. Roy Fling at the controls. Stevens himself was lost in a “Pat” replacement on the 18th of […]
D-Day Fighter Pilot Accounts: Little Friends over the Beach

D-Day Fighter Pilot Accounts: Little Friends over the Beach

They must have been a sight for sore eyes to the soldiers on the beach as wave after wave of fighters, bombers, and paratrooper-stuffed transports, some towing gliders, passed overhead, all of them adorned with black and white painted stripes. The invasion was on, and many of the fighter pilots expecting a Luftwaffe slugfest were […]

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Multi-Engine Monday: B-25 Mitchells over the Mediterranean

Multi-Engine Monday: B-25 Mitchells over the Mediterranean

Wavetop warfare: Skip-bombing and Big Guns When the North American NA-62, officially dubbed B-25, first flew in August of 1940, it was less than a roaring success. The UK and France had just chosen the smaller Douglas DB-7 Boston (A-20 Havoc) attack bomber over the North American design. However, in the years leading up to […]
The Pilot’s View of Iconic Aircraft – Fighting Cockpits

The Pilot’s View of Iconic Aircraft – Fighting Cockpits

The combat-aircraft cockpit has some sort of magical attraction to all who fly and those who would like to fly. It is the throne room in which aerial warriors, both past and present, sat and engaged in that rare form of combat that is built around the third dimension. It was—and is—man and machine wielding […]
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