American Bomber Crewman 1941-45 (Warrior)
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Gregory Fremont-Barnes examines the lives of the American Bomber Crewmen of the Eighth Air Force, "The Mighty Eighth", who crewed, maintained and repaired the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses and the B-24 Liberators that flew from the airfields of Norfolk and Suffolk and other counties of England during World War II (1939-1945). He highlights the physical and psychological strain placed on these brave men. Long bombing missions called for brute strength to control the aircraft and extraordinary endurance to fly for hours at 20,000 feet at temperatures below freezing in unheated, unpressurized cabins. Then there were Luftwaffe fighters and anti-aircraft fire to contend with and it required incredible skill and some luck to return from a mission unscathed. This book is a fitting tribute to these often uncelebrated heroes who took the war deep into the Third Reich, as well as a fascinating historical account of the experiences they went through.
and introduced a new world to us. We learned to understand each other’s cultural differences, but were also surprised to find out how much alike we were in many ways. When we opened up our homes and hospitality to them, they responded wholeheartedly and gradually became a very large part of our lives. Many were in England for as long as three years, plenty of time to form a special bonding and lasting friendships. The GIs had a great liking for children, who needed no encouragement to make their
photographs revealing prominent landmarks, natural or manmade, which could serve to guide the path of the aircraft and aid in bombing. 40 © Osprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com Gunners generally received their own briefing in a separate room, where details of the mission were discussed, with emphasis on the strength of fighter deployment and the locations of possible fighter interceptions. An operations officer also dealt with issues such as altitude, weather, the type of fighter
riveted patches to the aircraft skin. Meanwhile, an assessment was quickly made as to which bombers were serviceable for the next mission and which required substantial repair. Some aircraft enjoyed remarkable service records, proving the resiliency of bomber aircraft. The 427th Squadron’s Sweet Rose O’Grady was a veteran of 143 The crew of the B-17 Knock-out Dropper returning from a mission over occupied Europe. The pilot (center) is wearing a flak jacket, as are two other airmen. Once on the
missions behind them would be obliged to carry on without them. Bob Gillman remembered the excitement he felt when the moment finally arrived: I am in a state of euphoria, since this is my last mission, and each of the crew have been joking about how nice it would be if I would volunteer to fly additional missions until they are finished too. Fat chance! I feel as though an enormous weight has just been lifted from my back, and it’s really hard to believe that I will not be flying any more combat
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