P-51s of 352nd Fighter Group Escort B-24Js of 458th Bomb Group

Lt. Bob "Punchy" Powell, in P-51B "PE-P" 42-106914 named "The West 'by Gawd' Virginian" leads P-51Ds of the 8th Air Force, 1st Bombardment Division, 67th Fighter Wing, 352nd Fighter Group, 328th Fighter Squadron, (Bodney Airfield, Norfolk), in escorting Consolidated B-24J-150-CO Liberators of the 8th Air Force, 2nd Bombardment Division, 96th Combat Bombardment Wing, 458th Bombardment Group, (Horsham St. Faith Airfield, Norfolk, England) on a mission to France. The photo was taken during the Normandy Campaign between June 7, 1944 and July 17, 1944. Powell crashed his P-51B on takeoff, July 18, 1944. The B-24Js with "J4" on their fuselages are from the 753rd Bombardment Squadron, and ones with "Z5" are from the 754th. The 753rd's aircraft are from the Azon Project, which used standard 1000-pound (453 kilogram) bombs fitted with radio-controlled fins. The theory was that the plane's bombardier could steer the bomb into the target. However, clear weather was required, often not something found in Northern Europe, even during the summer. The ten missions of Azon Project were ineffective, but the bomb's principle's were sound and it was the basis of many other guided weapons. Azon bombs were also used in the Pacific.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
United States Air Force
Date Photographed: 
Saturday, July 1, 1944
Over North Sea