Military history

Black Thursday

Black Thursday

The battle fought on Black Thursday stands high in the history of American fighting men. It will be long remembered, like the immortal struggles of Gettysburg, St. Mihiel and the Argonne, of Midway and the Bulge and Pork Chop Hill. Tens of thousands of our airmen fought in desperate battles in the sky during World War II. From China to the Aleutians, from Australia through the Philippines and across the Southwest Pacific, through the Central Pacific, in Africa and the Mediterranean, and across the length and breadth of Europe, American fliers engaged in combat with the Germans, the Japanese, the Italians.

In all these battles one stands out among all the others for unprecedented fury, for losses suffered, for courage. This was the battle on Black Thursday, Mission 115 of the VIII Bomber Command from bases in England to the savagely defended German city of Schweinfurt. It was a battle in which we suffered unprecedented losses, and a battle that we cannot in honesty remember as having produced the results we had hoped for, or that hurt the enemy’s war effort as much as we had believed.

PROLOGUE

PART I — BACKGROUND TO THE MISSION

Chapter I — BOLERO, SICKLE, CBO

Chapter II — SCHWEINFURT

Chapter III — THE LUFTWAFFE

PART II — THE MISSION BEGINS

Chapter IV — FIRST MOTION

Chapter V — NOTES SELECTED AT RANDOM

Chapter VI — THE BRIEFINGS

Chapter VII — “A BRIGHT GREEN FLARE.”

Chapter VIII — AIRBORNE

Chapter IX — “YOU WORK UP THERE…”

Chapter X — FIRST BLOOD

PART III — ATTACK

Chapter XI — LINE PLUNGE THROUGH CENTER

Chapter XII — THE UNNAMED

Chapter XIII — A QUEEN DIES HARD

Chapter XIV — SCHWEINFURT BELOW

Chapter XV — HOW THE GERMANS FOUGHT

Chapter XVI — TIME HACK

Chapter XVII — THE TRAIN TRAVELER

Chapter XVIII — THE FORTS COME HOME

PART IV —THE SUMMING UP

Chapter XIX — THE BOMBING: EVALUATION

Chapter XX — IN THIS WE FAILED

EPILOGUE

APPENDIX. MISSION 115