P-47 pilot Ray Walsh was almost caught by the blast produced when he destroyed an ammunition truck on June 23, 1944. Explosions downed a number of fighter-bombers.

The Day After D-Day

When the beaches were won, P-47 Thunderbolts were ready to take the air war to the ground.

★ Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress ★ The Boeing B-17 flew with nine or ten crewmen, depending on the year of the war, and each had a one in four chance of completing his 25 required missions. The strategic bombers flew some of the most hazardous missions of the war, hitting heavily defended German oil refineries, munitions plants, and transportation hubs. The most succinct compliment was paid to the four-engine Boeing by General Carl Spaatz, who, as the commander of U.S. Strategic Forces in Europe in 1944, knew what he was talking about. “Without the B-17,” he said, “we might have lost the war.”

B-17s and a Big Week of Bombing

★ Douglas C-47 Skytrain ★ Derived from the DC-3 airliner, the C-47 served with all the Allied air forces fighting the Axis powers during the Second World War, and it was license-produced in the Soviet Union. Known as the Dakota in British and Commonwealth service, C-47s flew in every combat theater. They carried paratroops, freight, and towed transport gliders. They also flew on search-and-rescue missions, medical evacuation flights, and on special operations inserting and recovering covert agents and sabotage teams, and supporting the activities of resistance fighters operating behind enemy lines.

C-47s on D-Day

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