The Ripening Harvest
The seeds were sown when Harris, chief of Bomber Command, commenting on the 1941 ‘blitz’ by the Luftwaffe said ‘they have sown the wind and shall reap the whirlwind’. By 1942 the RAF and RCAF were building up the heavy bomber night force of Lancaster, Halifax and Stirling aircraft and the USAF had started their first operations with B17s. By the autumn of 1943 the above combined forces were mounting round the clock operations from over 300 bases crammed into an area, 150 miles by 50 miles, from Cambridge to York and indeed the ‘harvest‘ was being reaped.
Travelling down to Duxford, via the A1, at the weekend I was struck by all the village sign-posts telling the names of so many famous WW2 bomber stations. The countryside was in full summer bloom and some background shots were taken, via the car window (thanks Connor), to add some colour to B17 composites.
The image depicts a commonplace event as a B17 Group lifts off from a Lincolnshire base - slowly climbing away and struggling to form the complex defensive formations necessary for daylight penetration into Europe. It would be more than two hours after take-off before all the aircraft, often up to 800, were assembled over East Anglia and ready to head east.
Composite from many airshow images and background from the low-flying car!!