A Photographic Odyssey of the 353rd Fighter Group During the Second World War

Graham Cross

The 353rd Fighter Group, the ‘Slybirds', participated in the major WWII aerial battles. 450 photographs provide a unique window on this historic group.
Date Published :
July 2017
Publisher :
Fighting High Publishing
Illustration :
color and b/w photos throughout
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9780993415265
Pages : 208
Dimensions : 8.5 X 11 inches
Stock Status : In stock


The distinctive black and yellow chequered markings of the 353rd Fighter Group, the ‘Slybirds’, made them one of the USAAF ‘Mighty’ 8th Air Force’s most colourful fighter groups. Flying P-47D Thunderbolts and later P-51D Mustangs the 353rd’s appearance in the skies over occupied Europe witnessed growing American air power and helped to change the course of the air war. From mid-1943 until the end of hostilities in Europe, the 353rd participated in all major aerial battles from the 1943 Regensburg and Schweinfurt raids to ‘Big Week’, the attacks on Berlin, and the support of the D-Day landings and Normandy campaign in 1944. They went on to win the Distinguished Unit Citation during the Arnhem operation of September 1944 and after converting to P-51 Mustangs they continued to play a full and prominent role in the final smashing of the Third Reich from the air.

Fighting High Publishing has come together with respected 8th Air Force historian Graham Cross to tell the story of the ‘Slybirds’. With access to an unparalleled photographic archive built up over nearly thirty years of close association and friendship with the group, the author provides a detailed representation of all aspects of the group’s key activities. Focussing not just on the aircraft and pilots but also the vital work of the ground crews and service personnel, this is a stunning tribute that fills a major gap in the history of 8th Fighter Command. A full honour roll to those who made the ultimate sacrifice is included along with details of all POWs and all confirmed claims by the Group’s air-to-air aces.

Packed with nearly 450 photos, the majority of which are previously unpublished, unseen wartime colour photos and detailed captions, this book is a visual and information feast. This latest volume in Fighting High Publishing’s ‘Odyssey’ series is the most in-depth photographic record of the 353rd to date and provides a unique window on a fighter group at war.

About The Author

Graham Cross earned his doctorate in History from the University of Cambridge, and he specialises in twentieth century American military, diplomatic and political history and particularly the era of the two World Wars, the Allied air campaign and the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He has taught American history at Cambridge, University College Dublin, the University of Glasgow and Manchester Metropolitan University. He is a respected expert on the history of the 8th Air Force and for nearly thirty years has been the historian and UK contact for the 353rd Fighter Group. He wrote what many consider to be the definitive fighter group history – Jonah’s Feet Are Dry-The Experience of the 353rd Fighter Group During WWII (2001). He currently lives in Ely, Cambridgeshire with his wife Susan and two children.


"The basic story and detailed information is interesting reading, while the number of archive photos, and mix of both colour and black and white images will be a delight to modellers and 8th Air Force historians alike. Heartily recommended."

- Military Model Scene

"The book gives a comprehensive look at the 353rd Group, and a unique look at the men and machines which made up this formidable fighting force, Highly recommended"

- Britmodeller

"An amazing photographic tribute to the 353rd fighter group of the USAF. Magnificent."

- Books Monthly

“A very nicely produced book which will be enjoyed by USAAF enthusiasts with its unique collection of images and information.”

- Air Modeller

“In one book you will get photos of the main US aircrafts and their pilots, what should come handy in our [military modelling] hobby. Moreover, it might be important to read in order to understand some things connected to 353rd fighter group.”

- DetailScaleView

“A real boon for modellers is the Markings, Nose Art and Famous Aircraft section, with its splendid views of various P-47s and P-51s. This is a classy book indeed.”

- Airfix Model World

“The photo selection is little short of outstanding…succeeds in representing all aspects of life on a US Army Air Forces fighter station in the latter stages of the war. *Winner of the November 2017 Book of the Month award*”

- Aeroplane Magazine

“Every now and then a book comes along that is so good in every aspect - content, photo reproduction, editing, production values - that it can't possibly be matched...That benchmark may have just been surpassed.”

- Flightpath Magazine

“This superb book by 353rd FG historian Graham Cross is packed with 450 photographs covering the highs and lows of life serving with a fighter group from both the air and groundcrew perspective.”

- Military Modelling

“As well as being of interest to general readers, this is a very useful book for modellers seeking detailed archive pictures.”

- Flypast

“A magnificent book on the distinguished career of a ground attack and bomber escort unit.”

- Aviation News

“Packed with nearly 450 photos, the majority of which are previously unpublished, unseen wartime colour photographs and detailed captions, this book is a visual and informative feast providing a unique window on a Fighter Group at war. Essential for any student of the air war over Europe.”

- Classic Wings

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