USAAF B-17 bombers "Flying Fortress" over Schweinfurt, Germany. Home of ball bearing manufacturing, Schweinfurt was bombed 22 times during Operation Pointblank (1943-44) by a total of 2,285 aircraft.
US Army Air Force map of Second Schweinfurt Raid. On Oct. 14, 1943, the US Eighth Air Force sent 320 B-17s to bomb the ball-bearings plant at Schweinfurt, Germany, 60 B-17s lost. The heavy losses led to the temporary suspension of daytime bombing without escort.
Group Commander Frank Savage of the fictional 918th Bomb Group from 'Twelve O'clock High' was somewhat modelled on the Commander of the 306th Bomb Group (918 divided by 3!), Frank Armstrong. He was initially Commander of the 97th Bomb Group and was co-pilot alongside lead pilot Paul Tibbetts in the first 8th AAF heavy bomber raid from Grafton Underwood on 17th August 1942. He survived the war.
Lt. Elbert S. Wood, navigator on a B-17 bomber during the second Schweinfurt raid over Germany (14 Oct 1943), was the sole member of the crew who did not parachute safely to ground after the plane was damaged. (Lt. Wood, wounded, was probably strangled by his own parachute lines.)
Stars and Stripes Schweinfurt raid
B-17F's from the 92nd bomb group in formation on Thursday October 14th 1943 the crews heard the dreaded words 'Schweninfurt Again' it was to be known as black Thursday the raid against the Scheweninfurt ball baring factory 60 B-17s would not Return home 600 Airmen would perish...