High in the sunlit silence’
What a difference a year makes - as a squadron of the 381st Bombardment Group completes another mission. This scenario, timed around September 1944, depicts the B17s in relaxed, somewhat open, formation while overseen by the escorting P51s. The aircraft have set aside the original olive drab camouflage paint scheme, now adopting a natural metal finish as the combined Allied forces achieve air superiority. Only a year ago this same Group had launched 22 aircraft on the first mission to Schweinfurt for only 11 to return.
Based at Ridgewell, England, the 381st was one of the most successful of the 8th Air Force Groups completing 296 missions between 22 June 1943 and 25 April 1945 - a hugely demanding rate of operations with missions being mounted virtually every 2nd day for the period.
The composite, comprising many images from recent airshows along with an archive skyscape, shows the returning Group aircraft in a rather loose formation in the final stage of the flight home in the last of the daylight.
Title is quote from 'High Flight'