Military history

Hell's Angels: The True Story of the 303rd Bomb Group in World War II

Hell's Angels: The True Story of the 303rd Bomb Group in World War II

Although the United States declared war against Germany in December 1941, a successful assault on Nazi-occupied Europe could not happen until Germany’s industrial and military might were crippled. The first target was the Luftwaffe—the most powerful and battle-hardened air force in the world. The United States Army Air Forces joined with Great Britain’s already-engaged Royal Air Force to launch a strategic air campaign that ultimately brought the Luftwaffe to its knees. One of the standout units of this campaign was the legendary 303rd Bomb Group—Hell’s Angels.

This is the 303rd’s story, as told by the men who made it what it was. Taking their name from their B-17 of the same name, they became one of the most distinguished and important air combat units in history. The dramatic and terrible air battles they fought against Germany ultimately changed the course of the war.

Introduction

“And Then You Slept in the Barn”

“No Panty Waist Union Hours”

“She Is a Hell of a Big Ship”

“One Must be Able to Depend Upon His Crew”

“I Was Tired of Getting Hit”

“A Charmed Life, Maybe”

“The Kraut Fired a Burst into the Skipper’s Chute”

“I Like to Think She Was Pretty”

“How About Hell’s Angels?”

“We Checked Our Parachutes”

“Could We Keep It Up?”

“God Will Find Out”

“You Could Have Heard a Pin Drop”

“I Vowed That I Would Never Turn Back”

“He Was Lying on His Back Holding His Gun”

“This Is the Time When I Get Scared”

“He Was Mad As Fire”

“Our Forces Are Fighting a Hopeless Battle”

“Our Fighter Support Was Splendid”

“Hurry Up and Jump”

“I Was Finally Finished”

“You’ll Be Sorry”

“I Sure Do Get Homesick at Times”

“I Was Told Something Big Was Going On”

“I Became a Sort of Orphan Within the Bomb Group”

“We Poured Them into the Back of the Airplane”

“You Are Going to Have to Stay in There and Fight Them”

“The Back of the Engineer’s Head Had Been Blown Off”

“We Were All Very Frightened”

“Nothing Spectacular Except the Explosion”

“We Shut Down Everything Then”

“What the Hell Is Going On Up There?”

“Down in Flames Dove Another of Goering’s Fanatics”

“I Was Blown Out”

“All of Us Were Done”

“And Then He Fell Down Dead”

“They Are Working Me to Death”

Epilogue

The 303rd Hell’s Angels: Notable Facts and Achievements

Notes

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