381st Bomb Group – ‘Oubound’
The 381st was at the centre of the 8th Air Force operations from mid-1943 onwards, based at Ridgewell in East Anglia. The B17 operations depended on properly structured formations so that all the guns on board the aircraft could provide supporting fire. Despite this the 8th Air Force Groups suffered grievous losses all through the campaign – none worst than the 381st on the attack at Schweinfurt when of 26 aircraft sent out 12 were lost and 11 others returned with wounded on board.
The image shows the first three aircraft of the lead and high elements of the defined formation, there would be many more in each of these groups and in the lower element. The aircraft are from the 534th (H) Squadron, part of the 381st Group.