Humanity During Conflict: Mighty Eighth Airmen interactions with Civilians and Soldiers in Europe.
Most stories from the airmen of the Mighty Eighth tend to focus on their experiences in France, England, Germany, and Belgium. While these are the main areas of operations mentioned, some veterans had different experiences that were unique enough to have their own section. George Bailey and his crew were shot down over Berlin in the latter months of the war. Instead of landing in American lines, they crashed behind the Russian front-lines in the east. As the Russians and Americans rarely interacted with each other, George and his crew had the unique opportunity to see how the Russians behaved and worked in their field hospitals.
Herman Cranman was a bombardier in the Fifteenth Air Force and conducted bombing missions out of an airbase in Italy. While he is not a member of the Eighth Air Force, his story gives a perspective of how the Fifteenth Air Force conducted their business. Cranman was shot down during a mission and landed in Hungary and gives his account of his experiences there, as the Eighth airmen rarely ventured that far into Europe. Archie MacIntyre crashed and was captured in the German sector of Switzerland. He provided a detailed story of his time in Switzerland and showcased how differently the airmen were treated in the country based off the sector the Americans were in. MacIntyre eventually escaped from the German sector, in a plan that would have made a good premise for a Hollywood film.
Wilhelm van Schaardenburgh’s story is unique because he was not a member of the United States Air Force. He was a young boy that lived in a suburb of Rotterdam during World War II. He did not remember every detail of his life during the war but it provides patrons with a view of the lives of an Dutch family trapped in the middle of a war.
To read more about their stories, click on the link below.
Humanity During War Section 5