Star-Spangled Spitfires (Kindle)
Through the medium of period photography, Star-Spangled Spitfires chronicles the combat operations of the USAAF units equipped with the iconic Supermarine fighter whilst employed in both the European and Mediterranean theatres of war, from the summer of 1942 right up to the end of the conflict.
Only a handful of British combat aircraft wore the stars and bars of the USAAF during the Second World War, with the Beaufighter, Mosquito and Spitfire being the key types to see action with American crews in American squadrons. The Spitfire was, by some margin, the most widely used of the three, and the Yanks that flew it in combat rated the fighter very highly. Employed primarily by the six squadrons of the 31st and 52nd Fighter Groups, initially from airfields in the UK and then in North Africa and Italy, the Spitfire was used both as a fighter and fighter-bomber until it was replaced by the P-51 Mustang from the spring of 1944.
The final star-spangled Spitfires in the frontline were the Eighth Air Forces high-flying and unarmed PR XI photo-reconnaissance aircraft, flown by to the 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group alongside F-5 Lightnings from November 1943. Ranging as far into Germany as Berlin, the PR Blue Spitfires provided critical target imagery both pre- and post-strike for the Mighty Eighths heavy bombardment groups through to April 1945.
All feature here across a series of black and white and colour images that all capture some unique aspect of the star-spangled Spitfire's illustrious service career.
As featured inThe Times 17/3/17
The 3rd Air Division: Elveden Hall was the Headquarters of this division of the 8th US Army Air Force. Broadly speaking it flew B17 Flying Fortresses out of Suffolk, but included some bases in Norfolk. Some units had short periods flying B24 Liberators. The famous 'Bloody Hundredth', based at Thorpe Abbotts was typical of the units within the 3rd Air Division. From June 1943 to January 1944 it concentrated its efforts against airfields, submarine facilities and aircraft industries in France and Germany. January through May 1944, the Group bombed enemy airfields, industries, marshalling yards,…By Martin Bowman
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