This book describes the period when the American daylight offensive faltered and nearly failed and recalls the terrible losses suffered by Liberators on the low-level attack on the Ploesti oilfields in Rumania and by the B–17s on the notorious Schweinfurt and Regensburg raids which entered 8th Air Force folklore as Black Thursday. Fascinating anecdotes, eye-witness accounts and the hard-won experiences of the battle-scarred American fly-boys reveal the grim realities of air combat at four miles high above enemy occupied Europe, Berlin and the Ruhr. Grown up in the war they paint a revealing picture as only they can. The Mighty Eighth was an air force of hard-fighting, hard-playing fliers who suffered more casualties than the entire US Marine Corps in the Pacific Campaign. Here, in their own words are stories of survival and soul-numbing loss, of fly-boys who came together to fight an air war of the ferocity that had never been fought on such a vast scale before. While RAF Bomber Command was waging war at night, the 8th Air Force B–17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators bombed by day in a 24-hour round the clock campaign. This is also a partly a strategic history with a behind-the-scenes look at deployment of the bomber groups and the fighter escorts that would eventually become their salvation on the interminable deep penetration raids into the Greater Reich.