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 



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.’



Fighter Aces


James Howell Howard the greatest fighter pilot story of WWII” held off 30 German fighters from attacking a squadron of B-17 bombers for over half an hour



James Howell Howard  was a general in the United States Air Force and the only fighter pilot in the European Theater of Operations in World War II to receive the Medal of Honor — the United States military’s highest decoration.CBS commentator Andy Rooney, then a wartime reporter for Stars and Stripes, called Howard’s exploits “the greatest fighter pilot story of World War II”. In later life, Howard was a successful businessman, author, and airport director.

 Born on April 13, 1913, in Canton (now Guangzhou), China, where his American parents lived at the time while hisophthalmologist father was teaching eye surgery there, Howard returned with his family to St. Louis, Missouri in 1927. After graduating from John Burroughs School in St. Louis, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pomona College inClaremont, California in 1937, intending to follow his father’s footsteps into medicine.Shortly before graduation, however, Howard decided that the life of a Naval Aviator was more appealing than six years of medical school and internship, and he entered the United States Navy as a naval aviation cadet. He began his flight training in January 1938 at Naval Air Station Pensacola, earning his wings the following January in 1939.Col_James_H_Howard

Howard initially was a U.S. Navy pilot aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6), based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, beginning in 1939. In June 1941, he left the Navy to become a P-40 fighter pilot with the American Volunteer Group (AVG), the famous Flying Tigers in Burma. He flew 56 missions and was credited with shooting down six Japanese airplanes. Following the disbandment of the Flying Tigers on July 4, 1942, Howard returned to the U.S. and was commissioned acaptain in the Army Air Force. In 1943, he was promoted to the rank of major and given command of the 356th Fighter Squadron in the 354th Fighter Group, based in the United Kingdom.

On January 11, 1944, Howard single-handedly flew his P-51 into some thirty Luftwaffe fighters that were attacking a formation of American B-17 Flying Fortress bombers over Oschersleben, Germany. For more than a half-hour, Howard defended the heavy bombers of the 401st Bomb Group against the swarm of Luftwaffe fighters, repeatedly attacking the enemy airplanes and shooting down as many as six. The leader of the bomber formation later reported that, “For sheer determination and guts, it was the greatest exhibition I’ve ever seen. It was a case of one lone American against what seemed to be the entire Luftwaffe. He was all over the wing, across and around it. They can’t give that boy a big enough award.”

The following week, the Air Force held a press conference in London at which Major Howard described the attack to reporters, including the BBC, the Associated Press, CBS reporter Walter Cronkite, and Andy Rooney, then a reporter for Stars and Stripes. The story was a media sensation, prompting articles such as “Mustang Whip” in the Saturday Evening Post, “Fighting at 425 Miles Per Hour” in Popular Science, and “One Man Air Force” in Truemagazine. The New York Times reported on January 19, 1944, that after Howard’s P-51 ran out of ammunition, he continued to dive on enemy airplanes. “An attack by a single fighter on four or five times his own number wasn’t uncommon,” wrote a fellow World War II fighter pilot in his postwar memoirs of Howard’s performance, “but a deliberate attack by a single fighter against thirty plus enemy fighters without tactical advantage of height or surprise is rare almost to the point of extinction.” The following month, Howard was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and in June 1944, he was presented the Medal of Honor by General Carl Spaatz for his January 11 valor.


In early 1945, Howard was promoted to full Colonel and assigned as base commander of Pinellas Army Airfield (now St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport) in Florida. With the establishment of the United States Air Force as a separate service in 1947, then-Colonel Howard was transferred to the Air Force. In 1948, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, commanding the Air Force Reserve’s 96th Bombardment Group.

 Medal of Honor citation

The citation accompanying the Medal of Honor awarded to Lieutenant Colonel James H. Howard on 5 June 1944, by Lieutenant General Carl Spaatz reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Oschersleben, Germany, on 11 January 1944. On that day Col. Howard was the leader of a group of P-51 aircraft providing support for a heavy bomber formation on a long-range mission deep in enemy territory. As Col. Howard’s group met the bombers in the target area the bomber force was attacked by numerous enemy fighters. Col. Howard, with his group, at once engaged the enemy and himself destroyed a German ME. 110. As a result of this attack Col. Howard lost contact with his group, and at once returned to the level of the bomber formation. He then saw that the bombers were being heavily attacked by enemy airplanes and that no other friendly fighters were at hand. While Col. Howard could have waited to attempt to assemble his group before engaging the enemy, he chose instead to attack single-handed a formation of more than 30 German airplanes. With utter disregard for his own safety he immediately pressed home determined attacks for some 30 minutes, during which time he destroyed 3 enemy airplanes and probably destroyed and damaged others. Toward the end of this engagement 3 of his guns went out of action and his fuel supply was becoming dangerously low. Despite these handicaps and the almost insuperable odds against him, Col. Howard continued his aggressive action in an attempt to protect the bombers from the numerous fighters. His skill, courage, and intrepidity on this occasion set an example of heroism which will be an inspiration to the U.S. Armed Forces.

Roar of the Tiger(1991) by James H. Howard

As a civilian after the war, Howard was Director of Aeronautics for St. Louis, Missouri, managing Lambert Field while maintaining his military status as a Brigadier General in the United States Air Force Reserve. He later founded Howard Research, a systems engineering business, which he eventually sold to Control Data Corporation. He married Mary Balles in 1948 in a military wedding ceremony. In later years, they were divorced and Howard then married Florence Buteau.

In the 1970s, Howard retired to Belleair Bluffs in Pinellas County, Florida. In 1991, he wrote an autobiography, Roar of the Tiger, chiefly devoted to his wartime experiences. On January 11, 1994, the 50th anniversary of the Oschlersleben attack, the Board of County Commissioners in Pinellas County proclaimed “General Howard Day” and presented him with a plaque. A permanent exhibit honoring General Howard was also unveiled in the terminal building of the county’s St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. Another exhibit paying tribute to Howard was subsequently dedicated at his alma mater, the John Burroughs School in St. Louis.

On January 27, 1995, Howard made his last public appearance when he was guest of honor at the annual banquet of the West Central Florida Councilof the Boy Scouts of America, in Clearwater, Florida. He died six weeks later at the nearby Bay Pines Veterans Hospital and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, survived by two sisters.


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


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 Tiger aircraft in China via
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
Pappy in his Corsair via


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