Commencing operations on November 1, 1943, the Fifteenth Air Force was the direct descendant of the American Ninth and Twelfth Air Forces which had fought in the Mediterranean since the summer of 1942. Moving from North African bases to those in southern Italy, its crews began their series of missions over the Alps to targets inaccessible to other Allied bomber forces based in England. Attacking oil refineries, railyards, aircraft plants, and other important infrastructure, the Fifteenth worked to cripple the German war effort and give the Allies the upper hand in the ongoing air war. Although enemy fighter planes were a major menace, the challenging weather over the Alps and the ubiquitous presence of antiaircraft fire—flak—also took a toll on American bombers throughout the campaign. Featuring captivating photography and eyewitness accounts from the men who survived these missions, Bombing Europe puts you in the cockpit of
these bombers and fighters that helped win the war.
Created in November 1943, the Fifteenth Air Force took the air battle against the Axis to areas throughout Europe that Allied bombers based in England could not reach. Its brave crews—in B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator bombers escorted by P-38 Lightning, P-47 Thunderbolt, and P-51 Mustang fighters—flew crucial missions to southern Germany, Austria, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, including the oil refineries at Ploieşti, Romania, all vital locations to the Nazi war effort. Contending with well-trained enemy fighters, flak, and the challenges of uncertain weather, the Fifteenth’s hard-won successes made a significant contribution to the victory over Nazi Germany and the Axis powers. With riveting text that draws from numerous firsthand accounts and over two hundred stunning archival images, Bombing Europe tells the story of the brave airmen who flew into enemy territory and dropped bombs from the skies all over Europe in an effort to win World War II.