Over Omaha Beach

B-17 over Omaha Beach

A B-17 comes in over the English Channel before rising up over the cliffs at Omaha Beach. After D-Day, cousin Mike co-piloted a B-17 which had been converted for strafing and carried 13 machine guns all pointed forward, each with 1,000 rounds of ammo. They strafed anything with a swastika on it and this included cars, tanks, trucks, trains, soldiers, planes, bunkers, or anything which looked ‘good’. Of special interest were cars with flags on the fenders. This was how Rommel’s car was strafed.
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The Bloody 100th Bomb Group Fields

USAF Thorpe Abbots 100th Bomb Group Control Tower

RAF Thorpe Abbotts is home to the 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum. The 100th came to be known as the “Bloody 100th”, after losing 12+ aircraft each on 8 missions over Germany. The 100th flew its last mission over Germany on April 10, 1945. About 5 acres near the control tower have been preserved, but the runways have been returned to farming. The 100th Bomb Group Museum looks like no other airfield I visited as it gets thoroughly policed daily and the buildings have been restored and kept in mint condition.
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Summer Storm

Summer Storm over RAF Lavenham

RAF Lavenham was home to the 487th Bombardment Group (Heavy) and flew B-24 Liberators and B-17 Flying Fortresses of the Mighty Eighth Air Force. It began operations in May 1944 in preparation for D-Day, when the 487th BG assisted Allied ground forces. The largest raid of the war was launched from Lavenham as part of a mission with 2,100 bombers and 725 fighters. USAAF Lavenham is entirely returned to farming and the control tower is now a nicely preserved home.
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RAF Tibenham


RAF Tibenham became home to the 445th Bombardment Group (Heavy) with B-24’s and on December 13, 1943, launched their initial raid on submarine pens at Kiel. The 445th bombed defensive installations on D-Day to assist ground forces. During the Battle of the Bulge, it bombed communications centers and fixed emplacements. The 445th flew its final combat mission on April 25, 1945. Today, RAF Tibenham is home to the Norfolk Gliding Club which uses the same runways, albeit now with numbers on them. During the War, no runway was numbered in order to not tip off the enemy.
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Over East Anglia

East Anglia Skies

The B-24 Liberator was World War II’s most produced bomber with a total production of 9,000+. From 1940-45, the skies of East Anglia were thick with fighters and bombers. East Anglia is an area of about 5,000 square miles, and in 1944, it contained 156 RAF/USAAF airfields each putting as many as 50 planes into the air daily. Imagine thousands of aircraft flying from airfields as close to each other as 5 miles. Air traffic control became a major headache and those controllers deserved medals just for doing their jobs.
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