Animation shows how the Allies bombed Hitler and Nazis into submission

The animation was created by the Imperial War Museum to mark the re-opening of the American Air Museum

It shows the progress of the Allied strategic bombing campaign against the Germans from 1939 to 1945 

The map is designed to highlight way the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces worked together

Bombing was essential to win the war for the Allies but has been criticised for killing thousands of civilians 

 

AIR CAMPAIGN THAT WON THE WAR

In the first few months of the war the British strategic bombing avoided targeting civilians and private property, as it was believed to be unjustifiable. But by 1945, entire German cities were being obliterated overnight.

No major German city avoided being bombed during the war and many were half-destroyed, including Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Dresden.

The RAF Bomber Command had dropped nearly one million tonnes of bombs in the course of 390,000 operations. The US Army Air Forces dropped more than 600,000 tonnes between 1942 and 1945.

The USAAF would carry out ’round the clock’ raids with its RAF counterparts – the American attacked by day and the British by night. German civilian deaths are estimated in the region of 400,000.

The progress of the Allied bombing campaign which helped to win the Second World War has been graphically illustrated in an extraordinary animation.

The map pinpoints the exact location of every bombing raid by either the Royal Air Force or the United States Army Air Forces from the start of the conflict in 1939 until its end six years later.

It vividly demonstrates the importance of the 1.6million tonnes of explosive deployed against the Nazis and their allies – and the way Britain and America collaborated in the war.

Map animation shows raids on occupied Europe from 1943 to 1945
  Beginnings: This image shows how the Allied bombing campaign against Germany was initially limited to just a few raids

Beginnings: This image shows how the Allied bombing campaign against Germany was initially limited to just a few raids

Allies: In December 1941, the US joined the Second World War; their raids are shown on the IWM map with red dots

Allies: In December 1941, the US joined the Second World War; their raids are shown on the IWM map with red dots

The animation was created by researchers from the Imperial War Museum in order to mark the re-opening of the American Air Museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire.

It is the first time the full extent of the Allies’ strategic bombing campaign against Hitler has been documented in this graphic format.

The video shows how in the early years of the war bombing raids were deployed relatively seldom, becoming more important as the conflict went on.

The US joined the war in December 1941, and from then on the RAF and the USAAF worked together to defeat the Axis threat in Europe.

Turning point: Around the time of D-Day in 1944, the volume of bombing attacks by the RAF and USAAF began to increase

Turning point: Around the time of D-Day in 1944, the volume of bombing attacks by the RAF and USAAF began to increase

Destruction: The two air forces jointly shouldered the burden of attacking the Nazis, as shown by the mixture of blue and red dots here

Destruction: The two air forces jointly shouldered the burden of attacking the Nazis, as shown by the mixture of blue and red dots here

Toll: This final image shows the location of every Allied bomb dropped on Western Europe from 1939 to 1945

Toll: This final image shows the location of every Allied bomb dropped on Western Europe from 1939 to 1945

The IWM graphic depicts RAF raids in blue and USAAF ones in red, demonstrating how the burden which was initially shouldered by Britain became increasingly shared by both air forces.

More than 80 per cent of bombing raids took place in the final 18 months of the war as the Allies advanced against Germany, recapturing France and then moving eastwards towards Hitler’s capital of Berlin.

A sudden flurry of bombs can be seen in the map in June 1944 – marking D-Day, when the air forces worked to support ground troops who landed on the beaches of Normandy in the action which decisively turned the tide of the war.

The bombing campaign is often credited with winning the Second World War for the Allies – but the tactics were also controversial because they led to hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, with British commander ‘Bomber’ Harris eschewing precision targeting in favour of area bombing

Aircraft: Many of the bombing raids were carried out by the Lancaster Bomber, pictured here at a British airfield in 1942

Aircraft: Many of the bombing raids were carried out by the Lancaster Bomber, pictured here at a British airfield in 1942

Damage: This picture shows the city of Dresden in February 1945 after a campaign of bombing by the Allies

Damage: This picture shows the city of Dresden in February 1945 after a campaign of bombing by the Allies

The animation project was spearheaded by researcher Emily Charles, who pored over RAF and USAAF records to chronicle every single Second World War raid.

She told MailOnline that existing books which describe the raids often fail to give their exact targets, so she had to go back to the original documents to rediscover details of the missions.

Describing how the bombing raids ended up affecting most of Western Europe, she added: ‘You look at the map and there’s not much that’s not covered in colour.’

The animation chronicles how the bombing started in France, spreading east towards the Netherlands and Germany before pausing in 1944 as the Allies prepared for D-Day, and then returning with a vengeance and sweeping in to Hitler’s heartland.

An interactive version of the video as well as other animations will be available to visitors at the American Air Museum once it reopens on Saturday.

The museum, part of IWM Duxford, tells the story of collaboration between Britain and the US from 1918 until the present day.

Among its other displays are aircraft used in the Gulf War and in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as older planes from the Second World War.

Around 30,000 US airmen were killed while serving in Europe during the war against Hitler.

Diane Lees, director-general of IWM, said: ‘The transformed American Air Museum will tell the story of the relationship between Britain and America in very human terms.

‘Personal stories come to the fore, vividly demonstrating the consequences of war in the 20th and 21st centuries.’

 

 

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Black Sheep One: Marine Fighter Ace With 26 Kills -Gregory “Pappy” Boyington

Pappy

Gregory Boyington would often muse that during his 20 months as a Japanese POW that his health actually improved due to the forced sobriety. Affectionately known by his men as “Pappy,” Boyington was a Marine fighter ace with a confirmed 26 kills who was known for his exceptional ability in combat as well as his hard living and outspoken demeanour.

In a global war for survival, such men are often prized more than they would be in garrison and Pappy was no exception. One of the few Marines to receive both the Medal of Honor and Navy Cross, this fighter ace would fight his way into the halls of military history as well as Hollywood.

Many might know him from the 1970’s show Baa Baa Black Sheep, which mused about his time with the famed Black Sheep Squadron. But fact is more fascinating than fiction, and the true story of Pappy Boyington proves he was a man truly larger than life itself.

Born to Fly and Fight

Born in 1912 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, he initially had the last name of Hallenback which was that of his presumed stepfather. He grew up in the Northwest where he would harness his desire to jump into a fight through high school and college wrestling.

Enrolling in Army ROTC while at the University of Washington, he subsequently graduated in 1934 with a degree in aeronautical engineering. After marrying, he attempted to enroll for flight training under the Aviation Cadet Act of 1935 but unfortunately found out that it excluded any men who were married.

A fortunate discovery led him to realize that his father was actually one Charles Boyington, who had divorced his mother when Gregory was just an infant. With the name Boyington on his birth certificate, Gregory Boyington was able to enroll as a US Marine Corps aviation cadet as there were no records under that name showing him as being married.
By mid-1935, he was able to transfer from his commission with the Army to the US Marine Corps Reserve and begin his training as an aviator in 1936.

flying_tigers

Flying Tiger aircraft in China via archives.gov
It was actually here in training that Pappy would pick up his affinity for liquor and the rest of the 1930’s for Boyington was spent training, drinking, and then training some more often followed by more hard drinking. By his own admission, Boyington acknowledged his hard lifestyle made for a lot of conflict during his time in the Marines.

However, in August of 1941, Pappy Boyington would get his first chance to jump into the fight as he resigned his commission with the Marines to join the famed Flying Tigers in China. Pappy said of the American Volunteer Group that they were “paying $675 per month with a bonus of $500 for every confirmed scalp you knocked down. In 1941 that was the same as making $5,000 a month today. And with an ex-wife, three kids, debts and my lifestyle, I really needed the work.”

A Path to Marine Corps History

Pappy’s time with the Flying Tigers was brief as he frequently clashed with the commander of the outfit, Claire Chennault.  He would gain valuable experience during his months flying in China and is credited with two Japanese air kills.  But with the United States in the war, Pappy broke his contract with the Flying Tigers and returned to the States in April of 1942.

In September, he rejoined the Marines and was commissioned a Major.  He would subsequently spend time with Marine Fighter Squadron 122 operating out of Guadalcanal and Marine Fighter Squadron 112 where he operated with little fanfare.

However, in September of 1943, he would become the Commanding Officer of Marine Fighter Squadron 214 where he would find his home and fame with the “Black Sheep Squadron.”

 

Pappy in his Corsair via archives.gov
Pappy in his Corsair via archives.gov

 

Given Boyington’s reputation for hard living, one could hardly think of a more apt name for the squadron led by the Major.  At 31 years old, he was nearly a decade older than most of the men he commanded which led to the nickname “Pappy.”

Fighting in his Vought F4U Corsair, Pappy was quickly distinguishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in the Pacific and one Marine you don’t try to out drink while back at base. During his first tour with his new squadron over the South Pacific, he personally shot down 14 enemy fighters in just 32 days with his unit taking out many more.  By the end of the year, his number had climbed to 25 and his fame continued to grow.

On January 3rd, 1944, he scored his 26th kill during a raid over Rabaul before being shot down during the melee.  After a desperate search for their famed pilot, Pappy Boyington was officially listed as MIA.  However, Boyington had been saved, but unfortunately, it was at the hands of a Japanese submarine.

From here, he would be transferred to a variety of POW camps before making his way to the infamous Omori Prison Camp near Tokyo where he would spend time with fellow future Medal of Honor recipient and famed submarine captain Richard O’Kane.

The End of a Storied Career

Pappy was released after the Japanese surrender and returned to the United States in September where he was met by former members of the Black Sheep Squadron.  Covered by Life Magazine, the men of the Black Sheep had what was documented as one amazing party as only a man like Pappy himself could enjoy.

Pappy had already been awarded the Medal of Honor by the late Franklin D. Roosevelt, but it was held back until his status could be confirmed.  In October of 1945, he received the Medal of Honor from President Truman and celebrated it as only Pappy would.

Pappy's Return as covered by Life Magazine
Pappy’s Return as covered by Life Magazine

He retired from the Marines in 1947 and was awarded the rank of Colonel for his combat service.  With a Medal of Honour and Navy Cross to show for it, Pappy Boyington would be one of the most celebrated aces of World War 2 as much for his personality as his action in combat.

The man who partied and lived as hard as he fought eventually died in 1988 after a long battle with cancer.  He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery as an iconic symbol of the United States Marine who know how to fight and knows how to live.

6 Famous WWI Fighter Aces