Author Topic: A little something for a slow, cold rainy day  (Read 706 times)

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Online Alte Schule

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A little something for a slow, cold rainy day
« on: December 07, 2018, 05:59:40 PM »
This gun is liberty; hold for certain that the day when you no more have it, you will be returned to slavery.
Toussaint Louverture

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Re: A little something for a slow, cold rainy day
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2018, 07:15:43 PM »
God bless those men who had the stature and fortitude to fly in that thing.
And looks like a really cool 2 days... If I had $6Grand sitting around.

Offline Shield45

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Re: A little something for a slow, cold rainy day
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2018, 07:54:12 PM »
Ive been in the nose gun position of a B25. Hard to imagine being there in a combat situation. Sorta right out there unprotected. Awesome view in flight Id bet.

To all those who have and are serving america so we can do this silly stuff.

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Offline Gilgondorin

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Re: A little something for a slow, cold rainy day
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2018, 07:59:29 PM »
Excerpts from "Masters of the Air" -by Donald L. Miller:

Page 91 - Chapter 3, "The Dangerous Sky', sub-chapter heading "Into Thin Air":

"....The whip-crack cold found most of its victims at exposed positions in the bombers: waist gunners at open windows, breasting heavy winds, and tail gunners who removed frozen canvas covers that impeded the movement of their guns. Ball turret gunners who were forced to remain in their turrets for hours over enemy territory urinated in their clothing, freezing their backs, buttocks, and thighs "so badly muscles sloughed and bones were exposed".

Ball turret gunner George E. Moffat of the 482nd BG [Gilgondorin Acronym Note: "Bomber Group"] observed that "by the time you reach your objective you are so miserably fed up you don't particularly give a damn whether you 'get it' or not." On one mission just after "bombs away", there was a tremendous explosion of flak just below Moffat's turret. Within seconds, he began to feel his fingers and feet growing numb. "I looked around and found a small hole in the Plexiglas and my wire connection between my glove and suit was severed."

The electric suits were wired in series, like Christmas tree lights, and when one glove went out, other parts of the suit went out as well. Moffat knew he couldn't stay in the turret long without freezing, but if he left his guns with fighters still in the are he would put the lives of the crew in jeopardy. "So I stayed." He pounded his fist against his guns and his feet on the floor of the turret to quicken the movement of his blood. "The pain was maddening and almost unbearable. Tears streamed down my face over my oxygen mask and froze.... I was nearly ready to quit and welcome death."

A minute or so later, the enemy fighters disappeared and he was able to crawl out of his turret. When the pilot dropped the bomber down to 20,000 feet, a buddy offered Moffat one of his electrically heated gloves. "The heat made my feet and hands ache so that I had to shut my eyes and grit my teeth to keep from screaming."

Page 121 - Chapter 5, "The Anatomy of Courage", sub-chapter heading "Never Saw Such Kids":

"An obliging press, understandably more angry with the Nazis than eager to be objective, went along with the rosy reviews of the bomber barons. "We wre all on the same side, then," Walter Cronkite explained later, "and most of us newsmen abandoned any thought of impartiality as we reported on the heroism of our boys and bestiality of the hated Nazis." As Andy Rooney noted, "the worst kind of censorship has always been the kind that newspaper people impose upon themselves."

A bred-in-the-bones skeptic, Rooney ignored the fantastic claims of enemy damage and focused instead on the boys in the bombers. It was his job, he thought, to tell their story, a story "buried under the damnably cold heap of statistics the Allies are trying to pile higher than Axis statistics." But there were, he conceded later, stories that were "too sad" to report. One in particular lived in his mind.

While Rooney and some other reporters were waiting in front of control tower for a squadron of bombers to return, word spread that a ball turret gunner was trapped in his plastic bubble underneath the plane. "The gears that rotated the ball to put the gunner in position to shoot and then return him to the position that enabled him to climb out and back up into the aircraft had been hit and were jammed. The ball-turret gunner was caught in a plastic cage."

Just before landing, the Fortress' hydraulic system, which was riddled with shell holes, malfunctioned, making it impossible for the pilot to put down the wheels. The emergency hand crank for operating the main landing gear had also been destroyed by enemy fire. The pilot would have to do the a belly landing. "There were eight minutes of gut-wrenching talk among the tower, the pilot, and the man trapped in the ball turret. He knew what comes down first when there are no wheels. We all watched in horror as it happened. We watched as this man's life ended, mashed between the concrete pavement of the runway and the belly of the bomber.

Rooney returned to London that evening, unable to write the most dramatic and ghastly story he had ever witnessed."

Page 139 - Chapter 5, "The Anatomy of Courage", sub-chapter heading "An Unkempt Promise":

"Even Clarke Gable, who flew only occasionally, came close to breaking down. He would drink himself to sleep, and every now and then disappear from the base for a day or two to find refuge in a cottage near Windsor Castle owned by his friend, the actor David Niven.

When visiting a badly wounded comrade at an Air Force hospital he lost control, putting himself close to a court-martial. The ball turret gunner had been hit in nearly every part of his body and was wrapped up like a mummy. The doctor in charge, an Army Colonel, told Gable the boy had only hours to live and was so numbed by morphine he would not know the actor was in the room.

The surgeon described the injuries with clinical precision, pointing to each of them: lung gone, spine severed, ribs broken. Gable noticed the gunner's eyes getting moist. He grabbed the doctor's arm, pulled him into the hall, and pinned him against the wall. "If you ever do anything like that again, I'll kill you."

Page 211 - Chapter 8, "Men At War", sub-chapter heading "Our Father Who Art In Heaven":

"After Black Thursday, a story spread through the ranks of the Eighth Air Force that, although not true in its particulars, expressed the new mood. It was about a solitary, shot-up B-17 limping home to England.

Someone on the plane radioed the tower: "Hello, Lazy Fox. This is G for George, calling Lazy Fox. Will you give me landing instructions please? Pilot and co-pilot dead, two engines feathered, fire in the radio room, vertical stabilizer gone, no flaps, no brakes, crew bailed out, bombardier flying the ship. Give me landing instructions."

The reply came a few seconds later: "I hear you G for George. Here are your landing instructions, Repeat slowly, please, repeat slowly. Our Father, who art in heaven...."

* * * * * *

Normally this would be Gilgondorin's cue to insert some kind of witty one-liner remark about how ridiculously awesome it would be to have the money and time to visit Big Sandy and shoot that thing IRL.

However, with today being December 7th and the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, about this time I usually start thumbing through this book and others like it, to remember the four years of heroism and sacrifice one morning's worth of bombs, burning ships, and chaos squeezed out of one of our nation's youngest and most courageous generations.

Incidentally, in case it's not already rampagingly obvious, I can't recommend this book highly enough for you guys to read if you get the chance; although the passages I selected here were only to stay on topic to the OP's video, the book is about the entire bomber effort in and of itself and of all the may ins and outs, both from the perspective of men in every position in the bird, and all the people supporting them on the ground.

It's freaking amazing and is easily one of my top 5 favorite history books of all time.