This is a fantastic story that if made as a movie would never be believed as being true. Truth can be stranger than fiction.
The B-17 "Ghost Fortress"
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Pretty wild, such a classic aircraft..
Those massive bomber missions in which they have to stay in formation. I even find the simple history of the B-17 is interesting:
I just followed the link I posted above and realized that it was to the second page of the article. I've now fixed it so that it links to the first page. It really is an amazing story.
The formations that they had to fly must have been terrifying. Knowing that you could not take evasive maneuvers when taking fire must have instilled the kind of anxiety that makes one want to ripe their own heart out just to make it stop. These men may not have had to look their enemy in the eye but the helpless fear they faced had to be greater than that of any man on the ground. At least the guy on the ground could run away...