Author’s Notes, A Pilot’s View of WWII

B-17-pilot Boecking was with the 379th Bomb Group, one of 12 heavy Bombardment Groups in the First Bombardment Division of the US 8th Air Force, in WWII.

The USAAF bombers that pounded Germany during the day and the RAF bombers that continued it all night were said to be a big part of the reason that Hitler’s forces lost the war. By then, German resources were spread too thin. Franklin Delano Roosevelt summarized it so well when he said: “Hitler built a fortress around Europe, but he forgot to put a roof on it.”

Kimbolton Air Force Base. August 1945. Public | Domain

The 379th Bomb Group was one of 12 heavy Bombardment Groups in the First Bombardment Division of the United States 8th Air Force. Throughout his tour of duty, Robert and his B-17 crew were stationed at Kimbolton Air Force Base – initially shared with the RAF.

The 379th BG was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for its raid on Oschersleben, Germany, Jan. 11, 1944, and a second award on the citation for “extraordinary heroism, determination and ‘esprit de corps’ in action against the enemy from May 29, 1943 to July 31, 1944.”

From his first mission to the last, B-17 pilot, Robert Boecking, recorded the mission target —what and where it was, and sometimes he added comments about crew members. It is interesting to note the pre-printed quotes—presumably meant as an inspiration—at the bottom of most pages. To help understand the terms Robert uses in his Journal. As you read Robert’s Journal and comments, you will see how very fortunate he was to have made it back home safely.