Nazi Germany Declared War on the USA on 11 December 1941. Big mistake. By late 1942, American bombers of the “Mighty 8th” Were Bombing Germany

Margaret Bourke-White photographs the Mighty 8th

 

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“In 1942, LIFE Magazine sent Margaret Bourke-White, the first female photojournalist accredited to cover WWII, and the first authorized to fly on a combat mission, to take pictures of the VIII Bomber Command, commonly known as the Eighth Air Force or The Mighty 8th.

 

Honey Chile II

Getting ready: Members of the flight and ground crews of a B-17 bomber named ‘Honey Chile II’ make adjustments to their plane prior to a mission, Polebrook, Northamptonshire, England, fall 1942. (photo by Margaret Bourke-White, courtesy of Life Magazine)

 

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Pep talk: Before taking off on a mission in 1944 a Flying Fortress crew in England receives a talk from 26-year-old Chaplain James O. Kincannon, a Van Bueren, Arkansas, minister affectionately known as ‘Chaplain Jim’ (photo by Margaret Bourke-White, courtesy of Life Magazine)

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Good luck charm: Portrait of an unidentified American servicemen, possibly the tail gunner of a B-17 bomber, with a child’s bunny doll tucked into the waistband of his fur-lined-flight suit and a type B-4 life preserver, known as a ‘Mae West’.  (photo by Margaret Bourke-White, courtesy of Life Magazine)

 

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Comics in the sky: An American soldier paints caricatures of Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito on the nose of a B-17 bomber named ‘Flying Flit-Gun,’ which originated from the 97th Bombardment Group of the 8th Bomber Command. [a flit-gun was used in homes in the USA to kill mosquitoes and flying pests] (photo by Margaret Bourke-White, courtesy of Life Magazine)

 

Easy riders

Easy riders: Three American military personnel, possibly ground crewmen, sit on their bicycles in front of a B-17 bomber named ‘Berlin Sleeper II’ (photo by Margaret Bourke-White, courtesy of Life Magazine)

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Power of precision: The VIII Bomber Command, commonly known as the Eighth Air Force, was assembled to strategically bomb Nazi-controlled cities after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (photo by Margaret Bourke-White, courtesy of Life Magazine)

 

54,000 flight crewmen of the US 8th Airforce were either killed in combat or taken prisoner in World War Two. The 8th Air Force historical site is here:

 

http://www.8thafhs.org/index.php

Published by

Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/