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B-17’s and their escorts of the mighty 8th Air Force race to their targets over occupied Europe.  

By 1945, there were 16 numbered Air Forces in the USAAF, fighting all over the world.  The 8th’s main mission was massive daylight bombing raids of occupied Europe from their bases in England.  Between 1942 - 1945, the 8th Air Force (just one of the 16 Air Forces) lost more men than the United States Marine Corps!

Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber flying in the waters off New Guinea.

A lot can be seen in this amazing photograph.  The pilot is able to talk to his rear facing enlisted gunner via an ICS system, the gunner operates a twin .30 caliber machine gun for strafing and self defense.  There are several white bombs painted just forward of the cockpit, each indicating a mission where ordnance was dropped.  Forward of the painted bombs there is “OK” written on a fuselage panel, when maintainers work on aircraft they often use a colored grease pencil as a reminder that a part or whole aircraft is safe for flight.  Forward of the “OK” writing is a round symbol, probably the squadrons logo.   

G-DOCU departing Manchester bound for London Gatwick. Neither this route nor this aircraft still operate. CU was retired to Victorville in 2013.

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