In June 1943 the quiet English countryside around the village of Ridgewell in northwest Essex was transformed by the arrival of the 381st Bomb Group with its B-17 Flying Fortresses. The subsequent battle in the skies over Europe witnessed the 381st, in concert with their fellow-airmen with the Mighty Eighth, striking 297 times at Hitlers Fortress Europe and dropping over 22,000 tons of ordnance in the process. The cost to the group was 131 aircraft and over 1200 combat crew missing in action, sustained during the course of a fiercely contested struggle stretching over 1000 days.
Ron Mackays interest in military aviation began during WWII. The local Coastal Command airfield at his birthplace of Wick, in northern Scotland, provided a wealth of British and American designs with which to stimulate his interest; postwar National Service with the RAF sustained that interest. A working knowledge of German has further extended his field of study into the Luftwaffe. To date, he has produced 25 books covering the aforementioned Allied and Axis Air Forces that include several co-authored projects; a further number are in the process of completion.