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The latest season of Amazing War Stories is now live. Using the latest 3D audio technology we tell inspiring true stories each taken from the museums we support

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Lightning Strikes & The Ragged Irregulars of Bassingbourne

On the 9th of October, 1943, one of the bloodiest air battles of the war was unfolding over German skies.  Over 300 hundred fighters were attacking the Flying Fortresses of the American 1st air division, who were on a daylight bombing raid to Anklam, East Germany.

The dog fighting was savage, the Germans relentless.  The men on the bombers who flew that day were seasoned war fighters and those that returned said they had never experienced anything like it.

It was one of the first times the American planes from the 8th Airforce had been able to strike this far into the Nazi homeland.  New modifications to their fortresses meant they could now travel much greater distances – but it also presented them with a new problem.

The disadvantage of long range bombing missions meant that the friendly escort fighters with smaller fuel tanks couldn’t keep up with you – so you were flying without their protection.  Without the fighters for cover the Germans would attack with virtual impunity.

This is the remarkable true story of 10 men in one of those flying fortresses, a plane called Lightning Strikes.  By the end of the mission, three quarters of the bomber group were either destroyed or badly damaged and 50 men never made it back…

They were The Ragged Irregulars of Bassingbourne..

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