World War II Bomber Pilots and crews: Facing flak and enemy pilots.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: D-Day tours, Radio controlled (RC) planes, WWII scale models, Vintage Warbirds, WWII Aces, Female Pilots, Military Uniforms, Kamikaze Pilots, Dambusters, Doolittle Raid, American WW2 aces.
The B-32 Only Fought One Battle in World War II - After It Was Over
Despite the B-32âs upsides, the Army Air Corps was satisfied by the B-29âs performance and only dispatched three B-32s for testing in the Phillippines. Japanese fighter pilots on the ground perceived the overflying bombers in a different light. One Japanese ace, SaburÅ Sakai, claimed that they feared the American bombers were returning to bomb Tokyo in violation of the surrender. Another Japanese ace, Sadumo Komachi, stated that they were infuriated by seeing the American bombers flying unopposed over the Japanese capital after the devastation wrought by American bombs.
John Moffat , a pilot who helped sink the Bismarck in WWII, passes away at 97
A pilot who helped to sink the Bismarck during the Second World War has died at the age of 97. Lt Cdr John "Jock" Moffat was credited with launching the torpedo that crippled the German warship in 1941. The air strike carried out by the biplanes of HMS Victorious and Ark Royal on May 26 1941 was said to have been Britain's last hope of sinking the Bismarck before it reached the relative safety of waters off the coast of France. Moffat and his crew took off in his Swordfish L9726 from the deck of Ark Royal and made for Bismarck, fighting against driving rain, low cloud and a gale. He flew in at 50 feet, barely skimming the surface of the waves, in a hail of bullets and shells, to get the best possible angle of attack on the ship, naval chiefs said.
The WWII Hump Was One of the Deadliest Cargo Flights in History
Few people appreciate it today, but for a period of more than three years during World War II, a force of mostly American airmen undertook one of history's most complexââand deadliestââlogistical operations, flying thousands of tons of supplies from India over the Himalayas into China in rickety, under-powered cargo planes. 'The world's first strategic airlift,' the U.S. Air Force calls it. These flights over 'the Hump' were indispensable to China's war effort against the Japanese, and thus a major factor in the Allies' ultimate victory.
Classic turn-based strategy games: Conflict-Series
If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include Axis Balkan Campaign, D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, and the Battle of Bulge. In addition to WWII some other time periods include Korean War, American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War. The more complex campaigns like Operation Sea Lion, Invasion of Norway, and Invasion of Japan 1945, include Naval element and handling logistics of supply flow.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store since 2011)
Documentary film: Who Betrayed the Bomber Boys?
History is written by the victors. And yet not all victors are given equal space in the history books. In the last decade new monuments have commemorated everyone from the women of the Second World War to the animals of 20th-century conflict. Meanwhile, the airmen of RAF Bomber Command, who fought with bravery throughout the war, suffering 55,573 losses and winning 19 Victoria Crosses, have gone seven decades without proper public recognition. Who Betrayed the Bomber Boys - narrated by Stephen Fry - includes wonderful archive footage, two Dimblebys, and moving interviews with veterans.
World War II pilot Homer Buerlein remembers do or die on D-Day
"It was bedlam," Homer K. Buerlein recalls of his view from 3,500 feet of the June 6, 1944, invasion of Normandy. For Buerlein, a B-26 medium bomber pilot with the U.S. Army Air Corps 391st Bombardment Group, D-Day was just the 14th of his 58 missions, but one he'd never forget. Buerlein could see that the invasion was well under way below, with landing craft ferrying troops to the shore: "It was massive, massive activity all over the place. We were flying though the artillery and other Allied aircraft. It was as if there was a race to see who would get there first." The mission of the 391st was to take out two bridges near Caen, cutting off the flow of German reinforcements and ammunition as well as their route of retreat.
Henry Buller flew cargo over Himalayas during the Second World War
After Henry Buller finished his training as a radio operator he was assigned to fly in the 1352nd Squadron, a composite squadron of C-47 and C-54 cargo planes alongside converted B-24 and B-25 bombers. "When we finally got to Jorhat, there were all types of planes there to carry cargo. They issued us a .45 pistol, but... If the natives showed up, we knew just to throw that thing away. We knew it would take 30 days to walk out of the jungle, and we would need the natives. That was the roughest flying in the world up there. There's nothing but tundra and trees, and the air is so thin ... it's tough, but we had good planes. The venerable C-47 was the safest planes that ever flew."
Sherl Hendricks recalls surviving 4 days at sea in a one-man dinghy with another B-24 crew member
Sherl Hendricks lived through dangers both in the air and on the sea during WWII. Five of his crewmates on the Lady June II, a B-24 Liberator of the 13th Army Air Corps' 868th Heavy Bomber Squadron, perished in the Celebes Sea on July 21, 1945. The plane, out of fuel, was ditched and the crew bailed out. He struggled 4 days at sea in a one-man dinghy with Douglas Dean, the plane's radar man, before being hauled up the side of the Navy destroyer Bailey on July 26, 1945. "We heard planes and saw planes every day. We waved and I used my mirror to try to get them to see us, but it seemed like every time we were in a position to get the mirror on them they flew behind a cloud. It was very discouraging."
WWII photographs of Allied bomber crews at work
Life magazine has an online gallery, which features 40 World War II photographs of Allied bomber crews at work.
RAF gunner took part in 350 missions, won Distinguished Flying Medal twice, now for sale
Rare medals of an RAF hero who flew amazing 350 WWII missions are expected to fetch thousands of pounds in auction. The collection of memorabilia consists of at least five medals, and a flying logbook. But the item which has caused the most excitement is a rare Distinguished Flying Medal with the addition of a silver bar on the ribbon. Bill Tag, a war medal expert, said: "The little silver bar with a crown on it shows that he won the DFM not once but twice - a rare achievement given that the average life expectancy of bomber crews was eight weeks."
World War II tail gunner Raymond Nolt talks about his 66 missions aboard B-26 Marauder
Raymond Nolt fought Nazi Germany with a .50-caliber machine gun from his gunnery position behind the tail section of a B-26 Marauder bomber. He kept journal the entire time, and about Mission 1, he penned: "My first mission over enemy territory. Did not drop our bombs. Did not see any fighters. Saw some high vapor trails. Could not tell what they were. Our target was a marshaling yard."
His final entry, about Mission 66, was a short one: "The target was a railroad bridge in Moerdijk, Holland. Encountered some moderate inaccurate flak southeast of Rotterdam. My last mission."
B-29 crew members recall fixing plane's issues, caused by designs errors and sabotage, in-flight
People often assume that enemy pilots and anti-aircraft fire were the only noteworthy danger bomber crews faced. This excellent - and long - article highlights the constant struggle airmen had to endure.
Niel Eskildsen and Henry Chodacki put their lives on the line for each other, their country and fellow crew members on a B-29 bomber called Jack's Hack. Chodacki said the B-29 could have stayed on Boeing drawing boards awhile longer: "We were to receive 30 training missions ... But we finished with 24. One was a 2-engine landing, four were 4-engine landings and the rest were 3-engine landings. Most problems were fire related."
When overall performance of the B-29 wasn't at play, sabotage was at least once a concern. En route from Borinquen, Puerto Rico to Chakulia, India, flying a new B-29 watchful Chodacki found two fuel transfer problems in-flight and a third after an emergency landing in Ghana. At the base in Puerto Rico a fill cap was missing from a wing tank, and air turbulence over the wing vacuumed fuel out of the 2,900-gallon tank. And a valve between the plane's center tanks had been turned to the "off" position. Turning it on again did nothing to cause fuel to flow from the tank to another tank below it.
Denis Cayford: RAF specialist navigator in the Pathfinder Force took part in the Great Escape
Berkeley Denis Cayford, a veteran of the earliest WW2 bombing campaigns, joined the Stirling-equipped No 7 Squadron in January 1943 and was one of the first navigators to be trained on the H2S (the first airborne ground scanning radar system). On August 23/24 1943, he was on the mission to mark Berlin when searchlights spotted his Lancaster and a German night fighter attacked - setting an engine on fire and forcing the crew to bail out. As a POW Flight Lieutenant Cayford ended up in Stalag Luft III, where the Great escape took place. He was well down the tunnel when a German guard discovered the exit.
Downed B-17 pilot Robert Grimes evaded Nazi capture
In 1943 Army Air Forces pilot Robert Grimes and his 9-man crew flew bombing runs over Nazi-occupied Europe. During a mission near Aachen, their B-17 was attacked by German fighter planes. Within minutes, cannon fire took out the plane's tail and Grimes was wounded in the leg by machine-gun fire. He was the last to bail out before the B-17 crashed into a field close to a Luftwaffe base. On the ground he heard Nazi patrols and barking dogs but managed to hide until farmers saved him - handing him over to members of the Comet Line, a civilian escape organization, which guided him to the French-Spanish border.
B17 turret gunner Milton Lange: Fixing problems on an 8-inch catwalk 24,500 feet above the ground (Article no longer available from the original source)
Milton Lange knows the term "taking flak" - as a B17 turret gunner in the 305th Bombardment Group he saw his share of flying metal. Flak was the bane of the bomber's existence. Crews had flak jackets, much like bullet-proof vests, and they proved useful: One of the officers took a piece of flak to his chest and fell silent. Crew members rushed to help him, only to learn that shrapnel had cut the line of his radio set. In 1944 and 1945 bombing gear was not automated, but manual - problems had to be fixed with tools while the bomb bay doors were open, tens of thousands of feet above the ground.
World War II bomber pilot's Victoria Cross fetches record price: 335,000 pounds
A Victoria Cross granted to a World War II bomber pilot has sold at auction for 335,000 pounds. The VC, presented to Flight Lieutenant Bill Reid in 1944 by King George VI, was purchased by an anonymous bidder. Flt Lt Reid was given the Victoria Cross for his part in a bombing raid on Third Reich in 1943. He flew his Lancaster bomber 200 miles towards its target over Düsseldorf despite being wounded in two attacks. After suffering wounds to his head, shoulders and hands in the air attack over the Dutch coast and a second attack by a Focke Wulf 190, Flt Lt Reid carried out his mission and returned. Flt Lt Reid later joined the RAF's 617 Squadron (the Dam Busters).
B17 flight log (5 sept 1943 - 21 feb 1944)
World War II diary of a B17 Flying Fortress navigator. 8th Air Force, 386th Bomb Wing. 25 pages.
A Dawn Like Thunder: The True Story of Torpedo Squadron Eight by Robert J. Mrazek
"A Dawn Like Thunder" introduces a little-known and little-valued element of the war in the Pacific: The torpedo bombers. Through Torpedo Squadron 8 we learn of the role torpedo bombers' crews had. The torpedo bombers flew low and slow, with little air cover and often with defective torpedoes. Torpedo 8's losses at the Battle of Midway totaled 20 planes out of 21, and 45 men out of 48 men. Nevertheless, the squadron was rebuilt and sent back into action only one month after the Battle of Midway. Torpedo 8 left behind an impressive record: 35 pilots were granted 39 Navy Crosses.
Bomber Command tours take off in Lincolnshire, explore wartime aviation history
A tour of 5 WWII airfields includes climbing aboard a Lancaster, Just Jane, and sitting in all the crew positions: from the scary perch of a Tail End Charlie to the hot seat of the pilot. The bomber is based at East Kirkby's Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre. Clients also take a trip down a runway at Metheringham once used by Victoria Cross winner Norman Jackson, a flight engineer who climbed onto the wing of his Lancaster to put an engine fire out while being shot at by a night fighter. The tours are run by Lindum Heritage, whose manager Mick Purvis said: "The whole tour is all about rekindling the wartime atmosphere."
David Clarabut dive-bombed the Nazi battleship Tirpitz
Conditions in the Norwegian Sea, between snow storms, were ideal for flying when, on April 3 1944, David Clarabut took off from the deck of the fleet carrier Furious on Operation Tungsten. He was flying one of 21 Barracuda dive-bomber aircraft of the first strike of 827 and 830 Naval Air Squadrons, launched against the German battleship Tirpitz, which had just completed repairs after Operation Source (midget submarine attack). Surprise was complete when the first Wildcats and Hellcats screamed in over the mountains to strafe German flak positions, while the Barracudas claimed 6 direct hits and 3 probable hits.
WW2 veteran recalls Jericho raid: Dive-bombing French patriots out of Gestapo prison
On the 65th anniversary of a daring World War II bombing raid on a Gestapo prison, one of the few survivors has talked about of his part in the mission. Operation Jericho was organized to give 100 French patriots the chance to escape the firing squad, scheduled for 19 February 1944, at Amiens Prison in France. Mosquitos of the 2nd Tactical Air Force were ordered to fly as low as possible over the Channel and then on to Amiens. Once there they were to to dive-bomb the high prison walls. Pilot Officer Cecil Dunlop was on one of the first bombers to fly over the location and drop his payload.
B-24 pilot Walter T. Holmes was part of historic long-range bomber raid
"I am so happy to be back on Barksdale Field. This is where I started," Walter T. Holmes explained to over 100 people, there to see him presented the Distinguished Service Cross, the America's second-highest award for bravery in the attack on Nazi-controlled oil fields in Romania. He was a B-24 pilot in Operation Tidal Wave, one of the U.S. Army Air Corps' most dreadful feats. The raid Aug. 1, 1943, on Ploesti pioneered strategic bombing: 179 of the big, 4-engine bombers flew an 18-hour, 2,400-mile, treetop-level attack against the world's largest oil and gas refineries, which produced the majority of the high-octane fuel for the Nazi war machine.
B26 pilot James Fisher: trapped in thick fog, no batteries in radio, no place to land
Dec. 23, 1944, was my day off, but it did not stay that way. All of our squadron was ordered out just before noon. The squadron that was just returning from their mission was in bad shape: half did not return and of those that did were shot, broken, covered with blood, yet still trying to fire their guns. We were ordered to fetch a new B-26 Bomber from Liverpool and get it back to operation. We were wearing our combat uniforms with boots, gloves, helmets, pistols, jackets, parachutes - and, of course, we had no food. We were cold and our new B-26 was even colder. There was fog, we were told, but we were not told just how dense it was.
RAF bomber's precision run on Venice in 1945 destroyed Nazi ships but left city unscathed
The story of an RAF war hero, who led an attack on Venice that destroyed Nazi ships but left the historic city unharmed, has surfaced. Group Captain George Westlake DSO DFC was put in charge of Operation Bowler in March 1945. It was so codenamed because Air Vice Marshall Foster thought the destruction of any part of Venice would have led to them both being "bowler hatted" (dismissed). Westlake led over 100 fighter bombers in the attack from 10,000ft in a vertical dive - so accurately that the only damage sustained to Venice was the odd window pane being shattered. The locals climbed on to the rooftops and cheered them on during the raid.
Bomber pilot John Topham: crash-landed, was buried alive, shot an SS officer
John Topham's war story emerged as his WW2 militaria was put up for auction by medals and coins firm Corbitts. Topham was bombarding a German flying bomb site in 1944, when his Lancaster was crippled. He crash-landed, suffered a broken leg, and was found by the French resistance. With SS troops doing searches, he was hidden in a grave. SS officers, who were told that the burial was that of a shot down pilot, saluted the grave. Topham was told he would only have to spend half an hour in the grave, but the Germans posted 2 sentries. 36 hours later he was freed, and, refusing to go back into the grave, he shot dead an SS officer, who then took his place in the tomb.
A daring wing walk by Victoria Cross winner Sergeant Jimmy Ward
During WWII one member of an RAF Wellington bomber that crash-landed was rewarded for his bravery with the ultimate honour. Sergeant Jimmy Ward was granted the Victoria Cross after enemy aircraft fire had severed his plane's fuel line and caused the fabric on the wing to ignite. Pilot Capt R P Widdowson asked his men to deal with the fire. Sgt Ward climbed out on the wing. Secured by a rope, he crawled to the engine but realised the fight against the slipsteam was becoming tiring. Wearing a chest parachute and held by a fellow crew member, he battled against the air current and put out the flames. But his daring walk only delayed the inevitable...
Bill Pearce befriends German pilot who shot down his Lancaster bomber
Bill Pearce has come face to face with the German Walter Telsnig, who shot down his plane in Feb. 1945. Pearce was the wireless operator on a bombing mission when his Lancaster bomber was hit by 20mm cannon fire from Telsnig's Messerschmitt. One of 4 survivors from the crew of 7, Pearce spent 5 days on the run, before he was captured and handed over to the Luftwaffe. Even though Telsnig had tried to kill him, Pearce said they were now "mates". "At the time it was war and he was doing what he was ... trained to do and so was I." Pearce travelled to Salzburg for the meeting: the two men spent hours talking and swapping war stories.
Luftwaffe bomber pilot Willi Schludecker's peaceful legacy
Willi Schludecker, a Luftwaffe pilot who bombed Bath in the Baedeker raids of 1942, has now traveled back to the city to make a public apology. He flew over 120 missions, the average life span of a German pilot was 7, winning 2 Iron Cross medals. He is a genuine war hero: just on the wrong side. The Luftwaffe carried out the bombing of English cultural centres in retaliation for the British raids on Lubeck and Rostock. The Germans were angered the towns, which they regarded as tourism sites and not military targets, had been wrecked and retaliated - after consulting the popular Baedeker guidebook.
Historical look at physiology and World War II Air War
WWII-era physiologists solved problems related to flight, research that paved the way for an Allied victory, says Jay B. Dean, who prepared "High altitude physiology research and training platforms used by American physiologists during World War II: Innovative altitude chambers and high flying bomber aircraft" - presentation for the Experimental Biology conference. At the beginning aircraft were neither pressurized nor heated, but crews flew as high as possible to avoid enemy. Flying at 25,000-30,000 feet the crews suffered from the lack of oxygen and the low pressure - And long range bombing missions could last 8-10 hours.
World War II bomber crews denied the honour they deserve
The average soldier, sailor or airman who served with British forces 1939-1945 had a 1-in-19 risk of being killed. They all 'did their bit' - even those pushing paper in some general's headquarters. But RAF's Bomber Command's chances of finishing a "tour" of 30 operations were worse than evens, as each man had a more prospect of dying than of surviving. Among the aircrew of Bomber Command who flew Lancasters and Mosquitoes, Halifaxes and Stirlings over Nazi Germany through 5 years, 55,573 perished. A 1940 Battle of Britain medal was struck for "the Few". Why was nothing similar done for the men of Bomber Command.
Luftwaffe pilot Willi Schludecker returns to Bath to apologise for WW2 bombing
Decorated Luftwaffe Bomber pilot Willi Schludecker is to return to the city he bombed to make an apology in the annual remembrance service. He ruined dozens of buildings in Bath, Somerset, in April 1942 in his Dornier 217E-4. His dying wish is to make amends. "The war was madness. I realise now what I did and will come back to say sorry. I was afraid the British would be very angry but I find that now they are very gentle." Chris Kilminster, who lost relatives in the raid said it was a difficult decision to allow Schludecker to take part: "It took me a while to come to terms with the idea."
Over Himalayas and Internet, lost flights found - The Hump: WWII supply route
The Hump, American air crews called it. Or the Aluminum Trail, because the World War Two supply route from India into China was dotted with their wreckage. The route was vital, an aerial highway over some of the world's highest mountains, a path flown by hundreds of U.S. aircraft transporting supplies to the Chinese Army. The cost: Over 400 U.S. aircraft carrying almost 1,400 troops vanished. For decades, no one tried to recover their remains. But now 2 men (adventurer Clayton Kuhles and computer expert Gary Zaetz) are campaigning to make sure the U.S. government brings those missing fliers home.
B-17 waist gunner - Alles ist kaputt! The end of Hitler's war
On April 25, 1945, Soviet and American forces met at the River Elbe, near Torgau. That was the death knell for the Third Reich. That same day, Harry Mazer's B-17 Flying Fortress took off on a bombing raid. While flying over Pilzen the Flying Fortress's right wing was shot off by German gunfire. Mazer moved to the door: stuck. He threw his frame against the door, which then opened. "I fell out of the airplane..." Mazer landed on the top of a hill and was burying his parachute when two Germans in blue uniforms of Luftwaffe crested the hill. One carried a submachine gun, the other a carbine. Mazer was marched through the village where the townsfolk swore and spat at him.
China identifies 900 WWII aviation martyrs from several nations
Chinese historians have named over 900 aviation martyrs who perished in China during World War II, including 404 American pilots (flying tigers). "The names of the martyrs were discovered during the ... process ahead of the establishment of a memorial hall for the deceased aviators," said Wang Jian, of the Nanjing Aviation Association. In 1995 China constructed the Monument to the Aviator Martyrs in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in Nanjing. The names of 3,000 martyrs (870 Chinese, 2186 Americans and 236 Soviet soldiers) were inscribed on the monument. The newly-discovered names are expected to be added to the inscription.
Argentine pilots break silence over World War 2
In October 1942, Flight Lieutenant Donald McLarty was shot down over Libya on his 199th WW2 mission. Even though he was flying for RAF, his uniform was emblazoned with a word 'Argentina'. Many foreigners fought for the Allied, but historians have mostly focused on pilots from countries occupied by Nazi Germany. Few realize that 800 young men from neutral Argentina hurried to sign up as pilots. When McLarty climbed into his Hurricane fighter-bomber for a low-level attack on a German base, he needed to do just 2 more missions to earn a long break. It was not to be... He was persuaded to speak by historian Claudio Meunier, who spent a decade unearthing hidden stories.
John Henebry - master of 'skip bombing', 219 missions in the Pacific (Article no longer available from the original source)
John Philip "Jock" Henebry flew missions along the U.S. coast looking for submarines, but that assignment ended when Pearl Harbor was bombed. In 1942, he was transferred to the 3rd Bomb Group of the 5th Air Force, based in Australia. Flying A-20s and B-25s he mastered a low-altitude approach employed in a new "skip-bombing" strategy. The technique, developed by aviators like Paul "Pappy" Gunn, launched bombs almost at water level. The bombs skipped along the water like flat rocks thrown side-arm across a lake and slammed into an enemy ship. The difficult technique increased the odds that bombs would hit their targets.
The Day I sank Nazi Battleship Tirpitz
RAF pilots flew into military history when they won the Battle of Britain. The celebrations have brought memories back for an RAF flyer Archie Johnstone, who helped take on Hitler in a mission to defeat the pride of the German Navy in 1944. He flew as a bomb aimer with the Dambusters Squadron, which scored a direct hit on the battleship Tirpitz in a Norwegian fiord. The operation sent the warship to the bottom of the sea, removing a major threat to Russian convoys. Recalling the mission, he said: "I was in part of the second wave of planes to attack the Tirpitz... My task was to aim the massive 12,000lb bomb to sink the Tirpitz..."
Iron Cross awarded Luftwaffe pilot makes one more sortie to York
Luftwaffe pilot Willi Schludecker who bombed York during World War II was hailed as a guest-of-honour during a trip to the York-area. He targeted England in 32 separate missions paid a flying visit to RAF Linton-on-Ouse. He also met the daughter of railway worker William Milner, who was killed during the German raid on York in 1942. Brenda Milner said she no longer felt any hostility for what happened and she was happy to meet the German pilot. "I used to feel bitterness, but I got over that a long time ago. We were doing just the same sort of thing to the Germans." Schludecker was awarded Nazi Germany's highest military medal for his service: the Iron Cross medal.
Man who helped to sink cruiser KÃ¶nigsberg in a dive-bombing attack
Lieutenant-Commander "Fairy" Filmer, who helped to sink a German light cruiser Königsberg in a dive-bombing attack and spent 5 years as a German POW, has passed away at 91. Diving at 60 degrees as part of a force of 16 Blackbird Skuas with 800 and 803 naval air squadrons on April 10 1940, he hit Königsberg with a 500lb bomb, one of 3 which caught the ship. It was "the first time in the history of aviation that a major warship was sunk by air attack in wartime." He flew 5 more sorties against German shipping and the Luftwaffe. On the last he broke away from his flight of 3 Skuas to attack Heinkel 111s, shooting down one but being caught by a burst of fire.
American Helldiver pilot recounts tales of WWII danger
Navy Lt. Bill Emerson didnt yet know what the term kamikaze meant. He was a World War II Helldiver pilot, who operated "dive bomber" planes aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lexington CV-16. On November 5, 1944 a flaming Mitsubishi A6M kamikaze fighter came down from the sky and into his line of sight. "It was horrendous. When I think about the moment that it hit us, there is no other word for it but horrendous. The two people on either side of me died. I was burned badly, but the stanchion (large mast) in the middle of the room ended up saving me from the steel."
The Last Mission: Ending WWII 6 days after the second atomic bomb
James Smith's book "The Last Mission: An Eyewitness Account" chronicles how the raid in which he flew off Guam, was designed to destroy Japanese oil reserves far to the north. America was already in a Cold War with Russia, and feared that Russia would get at the valuable oil fields after World War Two. So even with knowledge that the Japanese were close to surrendering, the order to bomb the oil reserves was given. It was the longest bombing mission with B-29s ever attempted. As a result of the run, the bombing mission took out other specified targets that "turned the lights out on Tokyo."
World War II pilot Jay Zeamer was a Medal of Honor recipient
Jay Zeamer Jr., a WW2 bomber pilot who was awarded the Medal of Honor for fighting off enemy attacks during a photographic mapping mission, passed away at the age 88. He was awarded the nation's highest military honor after volunteering for the mapping mission over an area near Buka that was well-defended by the Japanese. While photographing crew saw 20 enemy fighters on the field, many of them taking off. But Zeamer continued with the run, even after an enemy attack in which he sustained gunshot wounds in both arms and legs. He maneuvered the damaged plane so that gunners could fend off the attack during a 40m fight in which 5 enemy planes were destroyed, one by Zeamer.
Escape or die: Shot down Allied airmen behind Nazi lines
How 5,000 Allied airmen, shot down behind Nazi lines, played cat and mouse with the Gestapo, and made a home run. Terry Bolter stood on the landing of the Brussels townhouse, a revolver in each hand, and peered out of the window. Below in the street, Gestapo officers were hammering at the door. He found it hard to believe this was happening to him. He was an RAF airman and had joined up to fight the Germans in a bomber from 20,000ft, not up close and personal. Was it only two months ago that he had been returning from a raid, winding down, thinking of bacon and eggs, when his RAF Halifax had been shot down by a Messerschmitt 109.
U-boat hit by the B24 Liberator bomber - Victoria Cross for Pilot
Submarine commander Oberleutant Clemens Schamong, who held an Iron Cross 1st class, ordered to open fire when an Allied B24 Liberator caught the German u-boat on the surface. Cannon shells from two 20mm anti-aircraft guns on the U-boat hit the B24 Liberator, which caught fire and the Germans thought it would turn away. Despite many more direct hits, Pilot Lloyd Trigg ran the burning bomber toward the u-boat, dropping 6 depth charges before the plane plunged into the Ocean and blew up. All men aboard it were killed. Two of the depth charges exploded alongside the U-boat, fatal strikes which had the submarine sinking. Trigg was decorated with the Victoria Cross.
Mythbusters re-create a bizarre World War II tale of survival (Article no longer available from the original source)
Plans bombed out for a large explosion south of Angels Camp that would re-create a bizarre World War II tale of survival. The effort was launched by Mythbusters. The myth that was to be tested is the story of a World War II American airman who survived a 20,000-foot fall from his B-17 bomber plane. The airman's plane was shot down and he jumped out without a parachute. As the man plummeted toward a glass railroad station, a bomb inside the station exploded. The blast from that counteracted the airman's fall and allowed him to survive by sending him to a much softer landing in a nearby field.
A Photographic Diary of a WWII Aerial Reconnaissance Pilot
Joe Thompson wasn't thinking about future generations as he chronicled his 4 years in the US Army Air Forces during WWII. He took the photos merely to relieve the tension of his missions. It was only decades later when he saw his experiences in a larger historical context. That led him to write a book, Tiger Joe: A Photographic Diary of a WWII Aerial Reconnaissance Pilot. He could chose some his own favorite photographs in the book. "Theres a picture of what we feared the most of the German planes - Focke-Wulf long-nosed 190. It was a deadly plane: powerful, maneuverable, heavy fire power; you did not want to meet it in the air."
British WWII Swordfish Pilot John Moffat recalls Bismarck sinking (Article no longer available from the original source)
Commander John Moffat hadn't seen a Swordfish biplane since 1945, when he was a pilot for the Royal Navy on a mission to sink the largest ship in the German fleet. He visited the London Air Show to see what is now a vintage aircraft, reflecting on the attack that sank the Bismarck and killed all but 115 of the 2,200-strong crew. On May 26, 1941, 15 torpedo-armed Swordfish aircraft were sent from the aircraft carrier Victorious to attack the Bismarck. Moffat's torpedo was one of two, possibly three, which hit the ship. He believes it was his torpedo that jammed the ship's rudder.
Wing Commander Tom Baker
Wing Commander Tom Baker had completed a large number of daylight bomber sorties when he was selected to be lead navigator on the RAF's most dangerous low-level bombing raid. 54 Blenheim bombers learned in the August 12 1941 that they were to attack the Knapsack and Quadrath power stations. At first, they were stunned: the bombers had to fly 250 miles over enemy territory in broad daylight and without a fighter escort... After the mission Baker became an instructor. On April 17 1942 he flew on his first operation for 6 months. His Blenheim was damaged, but his pilot managed to crash-land. Baker was taken to the Luftwaffe hospital, where he spent the next 8 months.
Neil Lambell flew in the most successful Lancaster during WW2
There were only 35 Lancasters out of 6500 that were successful in achieving 100 or more operational missions. The most successful plane was Lancaster ED888, which achieved 140 ops. ED888 arrived at 103 Squadron's base and began operations on May 4, 1943. The Lancaster became known as "Mother Of Them All". Neil was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallant service. On one occasion during an attack on Berlin he was hit on the face by a piece of shrapnel whilst making his bombing run, but undeterred, he released his bombs at the correct time.