Bomb Group

The Eighth Air Force's 381st and The Allied Air Offensive Over Europe

Paul Bingley, Mike Peters

The story of the men of 381st Bombardment Group, based in England and flying dangerous bomber missions over Europe during World War II.
Date Published :
October 2022
Publisher :
Illustration :
50–60 photographs
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612009605
Pages : 336
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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In February 1942, a reconnaissance party of United States Army Air Force officers arrived in England. Firmly wedded to the doctrine of daylight precision bombing, they believed they could help turn the tide of the war in Europe. In the months that followed, they formed the Eighth Air Force – an organization that grew at an astonishing rate. To accommodate it, almost seventy airfields were hastily built across the eastern counties of England.

At the heart of the Eighth Air Force was its bombardment groups, each equipped with scores of heavily armed, four-engine bombers. These Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses and Consolidated B-24 Liberators were soon punching through the enemy's defenses to bomb targets vital to its war effort. They were crewed by thousands of young American airmen, most of whom were volunteers.

This book tells the story of just one "Bomb Group" – the 381st, which crossed the Atlantic in May 1943. Arriving at RAF Ridgewell on the Essex-Suffolk border, its airmen quickly found themselves thrown into the hazardous and attritional air battle raging in the skies over Europe. The 381st’s path led from its formation in the Texan desert, to its 297th and final bombing mission deep into the heart of Hitler’s Third Reich. This is the remarkable story of one group and the part it played in the strategic bombing campaign of "The Mighty Eighth."

About The Author

Paul Bingley has worked in the civil aviation industry for oner thirty years. He is the current Chairman of the Ridgewell Airfield Commemorative Museum in Essex and regularly delivers talks on the airfield’s history. Paul is acknowledged as being one of the best of the new generation of Eighth Air Force historians.

Mike Peters is a retired Army Air Corps officer with more than thirty years of military service. He is now a full-time military historian and Chairman of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides. Mike has published books on the Glider Pilot Regiment in WWII and the Operational History of the Army Air Corps.



1. Swift
2. Bolero
3. Black Ribbons and Oil
4. Forward Together
5. Operation A
6. A Sham
7. The Jinxed Ship
8. Beating the Life
9. Scrub the Sky
10. Snow and Skis
11. Total War
12. Ridgewell's Revenge
13. Trafalgar
14. Big B
15. Work Hard for Doolittle
16. The European Theatre's Stage Door
17. Secrets and Lies
18. Triumphant We Fly
19. Tails and Fins
20. Buzz Bomb Alley
21. Allies and Enemies
22. Leading the Way
23. A Last Farewell
24. Some Sunny Day
25. The Lie of the Land


"Bingley and Peters offer a wonderful accounting of how the 381st contributed to the strategic bombing campaign of the Mighty Eighth."


"In an extraordinary achievement of marrying historical research with a smooth writing style, Bomb Group works as an introduction to the Eighth Air Force as well as required reading for the well-versed in the subject. Authors Paul Bingley and Mike Peters have produced a detailed account of the 381st BG, and at the same time overlaid the larger historical context of the United States' first air force with an offensive mission—an offensive mission unproven in its day. Richly researched and full of personal stories recalling training, the horrors and otherworldly nature of aerial warfare, sweating out missions on the ground and the sense of duty, Bomb Group is a valuable addition to the body of work on Eighth Air Force history. Be forewarned, after reading this book your debt of gratitude to these teenagers and young men of the 381st and the whole of the Eighth Air Force will grow exponentially."

- Scott W. Loehr, President & CEO, National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force

"It had me immersed ankle deep and slipping on empty .50 Cal shell casings, freezing, at 25,000 feet above occupied Europe, and thankful that many men actually did it while I only read about it, just as you should."

- Julian Whippy, Despatches

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