History of the B-17-G
The B-17-G was America’s most famous heavy bomber during WWII. Over 12,000 were produced for combat. Today only about 40 remain in museums. Less than a dozen of these are in flying condition. It was a relatively fast, high-flying, long-range bomber with heavy defensive force at the expense of bombload. It developed a reputation for toughness based upon stories and photos of badly damaged B-17s safely returning to base. The B-17-G dropped more bombs than any other U.S. aircraft in World War II. Of approximately 1.5 million tons of bombs dropped on Nazi Germany and its occupied territories by U.S. aircraft, over 640,000 tons were dropped from B-17s. In addition to its role as a bomber, the B-17 was also employed as a transport, antisubmarine aircraft, drone controller, and search-and-rescue aircraft.
History of the 92nd Bombardment Group
The 92nd Bombardment Group was a B-17-G Flying Fortress group that formed part of the US Eighth Air Force and took part in the strategic bombing campaign as well as supporting the D-Day invasions, Operation Market Garden, the crossing of the Rhine and taking part in the Battle of the Bulge.
Its combat debut came on 6 September 1942 when it joined the 97th and 301st Bombardment Groups in an attack on the Avions Potez factory at Meaulte and the St Omer-Longueness airfield. The group was then withdrawn from combat and used to train replacement crews from November 1942 until May 1943, helping to cope with a dangerous shortage of trained personnel.
Combat operations resumed in May 1943, and the group remained in action for the rest of the war.
The group spent most of its time taking part in the strategic bombing campaign over Europe. Between May 1943 and February 1944 (when the heavy bombers began to take part in the pre-invasion bombardment of France) the group attacked the shipyards at Kiel, took part in the infamous attacks on the ball bearing plants at Schweinfurt, attacked mines in Norway and the submarine base at Wilhelmshaven.
On 6 March 1944 the group took part in the first large American raid on Berlin, suffering heavy losses in the attack. From April 1944 the Group took part in operations designed to support the D-Day landings, attacking airfields and communications targets in France. The group also took part in the attacks on the V-Weapons. The group attacked German troops during the breakout at St. Lo and attacked German gun positions and bridges during Operation Market Garden.
On 27 September 1944 the group flew its 200th mission, an attack on yards at Cologne.
From October 1944 the group returned to the strategic bombing campaign, taking part in the attacks on the German oil industry and transport links. It also took part in the Battle of the Bulge, attacking bridges and railway marshalling yards in an attempt to isolate the German troops taking part in the battle. The group also supported the crossing of the Rhine.
The group took part in the last major Eighth Air Force mission of the war, an attack on the Skoda works at Pilsen on 25 April 1945. This was the 92nd’s 310th mission. The group lost 154 aircraft in combat during its 310 missions.
About William Ford
Exerting great skill and ability First Lieutenant (Air Corps) William J. Ford, Jr., United States Army Air Forces led his formation on a steady and accurate bomb run from which the target was bombed with devastating effect. He flew his unescorted bomber for two hours over enemy territory and, although subjected to continuous attacks, he brought his aircraft and crew safely back to base.
The 19″ x 30″ prints are available in Limited Edition sizes of 600 Signed & Numbered and 50 Artist Proofs.
For another Sam Lyons WWII bomber painting (two B-24s from the 489th Bomb Group), please check out Home to Halesworth.