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Books On USAF B-17, especially about USAF in Great Britain

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by Oldecuriosity, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. Oldecuriosity

    Oldecuriosity New Member

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    I am writing a story about a B-17 based in Lincolnshire during the war. can anyone recommend some good books for my research? There seem to be dozens out there, not sure where to start, all recommendations welcome please.
     
  2. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    First off, I hate to sound picky, but Lincolnshire was the WWII 'home' of RAF Bomber Command. The only 8th AF airfield in Lincs was Goxhill, and that was used as a training base for fighters. The 8th is more usually associated with East Anglia ( Norfolk, Suffolk & Essex ) and also Northamptonshire.

    There are many, many books of all types to choose from. The #1 starting point for al lsucj research is Roger A Freeman's seminal 'The Mighty Eighth'. After that, there are many unit histories, books about individual raids and some excellent first-hand accounts ( plus one of the best WWII movies ever made, 'Twelve O'Clock High' ).......
     
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  3. Oldecuriosity

    Oldecuriosity New Member

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  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I've just been looking along my bookshelves ; it would be useless I think to recommend dozens of books detailing tonnages of bombs dropped, losses, etc.

    For what it was really like ( or pretty much as close as we can get ), not just in actual combat but also in the relationships and impact on the cultural life near the airfields, there are two memoirs which I would very strongly recommend : -

    ' A Wing And A Prayer' by Harry H Crosby

    ' The Fall Of Fortresses ' by Elmer Bendiner.

    These are books written by very astute observers and almost reach the level of literature. Once read, never forgotten.
     
  5. Oldecuriosity

    Oldecuriosity New Member

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    Thanks that's really useful, please keep the recommendations coming folks :)
     
  6. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    Just a suggestion but it might be helpful in your searches and research to use USAAC or USAAF instead of USAF.

    USAF wasn't used officially until 1947
     
  7. Oldecuriosity

    Oldecuriosity New Member

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    Cheers for that, I'm still finding my way. USAAF it is.
     
  8. Big Daddy

    Big Daddy Member

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    The RAF used a squadron of B17Fs (and later Gs) based out of Oulton, in Norfolk, beginning in January, 1944. RAF 214 Squadron was formed as a special unit to provide RCM (Radio Counter Measures) and began ops in April 44 in raids on La Chapelle and Brussels. They flew cover at 25,000 feet, jamming German radar and VHF voice comms. They usually flew at 2000 feet above the bomber stream and maintained station during the entire length of the raid. As a result, they suffered substantial losses. In just one year of operation, they lost 15 aircraft, 81 aircrew killed and 37 captured. In July they were joined by 223 Sqn which was equipped with B-24J Liberators (eventually converting to B-17Gs or "Fortress IIIs" as the British called them). There is an excellent article in the January issue of Flypast magazine on this special force.

    Cheers,
    DC
     
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  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    IIRC, the first combat use of the Flying Fortress was the RAF's 90th Squadron, which flew the B-17C back in late 1941 to early 1942.
     
  10. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    Also at Pearl Harbor and Philippines on Dec 7/8, no?
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I want to say that the RAF was using them as early as July, 1941, but I have to double check...That would be several months before war broke out in the Pacific.

    But from what I remember, the B-17Cs fared rather poorly in RAF hands, and they were soon passed along to Coastal Command for use in ASW patrols.
     
  12. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    90 Squadron's first operation using Fortress 1s was a raid on Wilhelmshaven on July 8th, 1941.
     
  13. Oldecuriosity

    Oldecuriosity New Member

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  14. B-17granddaughter

    B-17granddaughter New Member

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    I am new to the forums also, but have just published a book called "From Farm to Fort" about my grandfather leaving the farm and becoming a waistgunner aboard a B-17. He wrote in vivid detail about his daily life, and the book consists of over 225 letters home, pics, etc. He had several close calls and lost many comrades while stationed in Italy, and flew lead B-17 on bombing missions over Germany and more.


    Please check it out at our website:
    worldwarIIletters.com
     
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  15. Oldecuriosity

    Oldecuriosity New Member

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    Thanks for your reply, I have been looking at your stuff on twitter, its of great help. have just watched 'Red Tails' this morning. i found it of very little use but thought it was a really good film, v good special effects and plenty of artistic licence.
    I enjoyed reading Wing & A prayer, and Serenade To The Big Bird, both very good first hand accounts.
     
  16. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Glad you're enjoying the books ! Another one to consider, written from a slightly different angle ( but no less dramatic ) , is : -

    Screaming Eagle - Memoirs Of A B-17 Group Commander by Major-General Dale O Smith (Algonquin 1990 ). He commanded the 384th flying out of Grafton Underwood in Northamptonshire.
     
  17. Oldecuriosity

    Oldecuriosity New Member

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    Thanks Martin, I will put that on my list. I have a heap of books now, seem to be spending more time researching than writing but sometimes you do...
     
  18. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Glad to see you're keeping at it ! :salute:
     

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