01 February 2017
Companion book: “Normandy: a Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity” coming out 2017
Before the PC 552 was to lead the invasion of Normandy, allied intentions were to knock out the Luftwaffe to gain air superiority.
The story of the American involvement in World War II is still a cause for wonder. A relatively peaceful and dormant country turned into a frightening and all-powerful juggernaut, almost overnight. What the Americans did was apply entrepreneurism to warfare.
Round the clock bombing of the heart of Germany began to destroy aircraft production and landing strips. Americans initially relied on bombers such as the B-17 “Flying Fortress”, assuming they could defend themselves but it provided difficult to both defend themselves and bomb.
The allies needed a purpose built long range anti-fighter fighter to shield the bombers and the P-51 Mustang was born. The P-51 turned out to be superior to anything else out there and soon did the job. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, commander of the German Luftwaffe during the war, was quoted as saying,
“When I saw Mustangs over Berlin, I knew the jig was up.”
The Americans and British accomplished the goal of eliminating the Luftwaffe before the invasion.
This week in 1944, we leave the crew resting after an arduous crossing of the winter Atlantic.
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