040623 - THROUGH THESE EYES: A World War II Eighth Air Force Combat Diary
By T/Sgt James Lee Hutchinson
This is the story of Eighth Air Force bombing missions leaving England to blast targets in Hitler's Third Reich in 1944–45. Each clear day, the skies filled with hundreds of B17 Flying Fortress bombers and their escorts crossing the English Channel toward enemy targets protected by anti-aircraft batteries and German fighters waiting to attack the heavy bombers.
The skies over the target were filled with black flak appearing to be so thick you could walk on it! The exploding shells filled the space with flying chunks of iron as bombers started their bomb run on the target. We often could hear the flak pelting our plance like a "buckshot" on a tin roof. This flak would often strike a vital part of the plane or wound a member of the crew! Our waist gunner was wounded on our tenth mission!Some missions we could count hundreds of holes in our plane after we landed safely in England! Bombers receiving a direct hit were blown out of the sky and another ten man aircrew was lost. Planes severely damaged had to drop out of formation and face enemy fighters alone unless some of our P-51 or P-47 escort fighters protected them. Bombers disabled or on fire had no choice but to order the crews to bail out. Airmen who survived the parachute jump were captured and placed into German prisoner of war camps (POW). They were classified as "missing in action".
Forty-eight photos, some sixty years old are included in this 350 page book to illustrate the story of the author's childhood in the Great Depression through the great air war of World War II. A description of each mission from a sixty year old diary is included. I think you will enjoy the story of a teenage Radio-Gunner's experiences in the Mighty Eighth Air Force.
Other books by Sgt Hutchinson include "Bombs Away", "Boys In The B-17" and "B-17 Memories".
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