This is the poignant and exciting story of a statistical anomaly, a B-24 bomber crew that completed 50 combat missions in World War II. This crew was part of the famous 450th Bomb Group, which was nicknamed the “Cottontails” because of their white rudders. As part of the 15th Army Air Force, they flew strategic bombing missions out of Manduria, Italy (in the heel of the boot) and struck strategic targets which were out of the reach of the 8th Army Air Force bases in England. The group lost 1,505 airmen in only a year and a half—the equivalent of losing their effective flying strength three times over. The book’s title comes from the crew’s bomber, Shadow, which in turn was named for the pilot’s black cocker spaniel that flew with them on training missions. Based on interviews with the surviving crewmembers and their families as well as extant archival source material, the book details the childhood, training and post-war life of each of its 13 principal characters. Chapter One is a discussion of each man’s boyhood years and Chapter Two provides details of the training that each received. In Chapter Three, the original crew of ten (Crew #4-N-33) was formed in Clovis, New Mexico. An assignment for training in Clovis and in B-24s meant that the crew had been designated for heavy bombardment. Chapter Four includes a description of the four main objectives for the crew, one of which was to participate in POINTBLANK, the Combined Bomber Offensive, which called for the destruction of German fighter aircraft plants, ball bearing plants, oil refineries, rubber plants, munitions factories, sub pens and bases. Details of the structural components of most missions are provided in Chapter Five. The crew completes its first missions in Chapter Six. In Chapter Seven, “Shadow” completes its last after taking enemy fire, and Chapter Eight introduces a new plane, Sleepy Time Gal. The book’s Epilogue contains information about the post-war lives of the crew.
The United States relied heavily on bombing to defeat the Germans and the Japanese in World War II, and air raids were touted as “precision” bombing in American propaganda. But was precision possible over cloud-covered Europe or a darkened Japanese countryside? Could the vaunted Norden optical bombsight in fact “drop bombs into pickle barrels” as advertised? Were the American aircrews well trained and well protected? How good were their airplanes? What were the results of the costly raids? This work sets suppositions against facts surrounding the United States’ use of strategic bombing in World War II. Chapters cover the events leading up to World War II; the start of the war; the seers and the planners; the airplanes, bombs, bombsights, and aircrews; the planes Germany used to defend itself against American planes; the five cities (Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki) that experienced the most destruction; and the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey of the damage done by aerial bombing. The book also probes the government’s myth-building statements that supported America’s view of itself as a uniquely humanitarian nation, and analyzes the role played by interservice rivalry—“battleship admirals” against “bomber generals.”
The Western European and Mediterranean Theaters in World War II is a concise, comprehensive guide for students, teachers, and history buffs of the Second World War. With an emphasis on the American forces in these theaters, each entry is accompanied by a brief annotation that will allow researchers to navigate through the vast amount of literature on the campaigns fought in these regions with ease. Focusing on all aspects surrounding the U.S. involvement in the Western European and Mediterranean theaters, including politics, religion, biography, strategy, intelligence, and operations, this bibliography will be a welcome addition to the collection of any academic or research library. Routledge Research Guides to American Military Studies provide concise, annotated bibliographies to the major areas and events in American military history. With the inclusion of brief critical annotations after each entry, the student and researcher can easily assess the utility of each bibliographic source and evaluate the abundance of resources available with ease and efficiency. Comprehensive, concise, and current—Routledge Research Guides to American Military Studies are an essential research tool for any historian.
The true story of a little-known, yet remarkable World War II operation, which had all the hallmarks of a suicide mission. Beginning with a crazy plan hatched by a suspect prince, and an even crazier reliance on the word of the Nazis, Operation Chowhound was devised. Between May 1 and May 8, 1945, 2,268 military units flown by the USAAF, dropped food to 3.5 million starving Dutch civilians in German-occupied Holland. It took raw courage to fly on Operation Chowhound, as American aircrews never knew when the German AAA might open fire on them or if Luftwaffe fighters might jump them. Flying at 400 feet, barely above the tree tops, with guns pointed directly at them, they would have no chance to bail out if their B-17s were hit—and yet, over eight days, 120,000 German troops kept their word, and never fired on the American bombers. As they flew, grateful Dutch civilians spelled out "Thanks Boys" in the tulip fields below. Many Americans who flew in Operation Chowhound would claim it was the best thing they did in the war. In this gripping narrative, author Stephen Dando-Collins takes the reader into the rooms where Operation Chowhound was born, into the aircraft flying the mission, and onto the ground in the Netherlands with the civilians who so desperately needed help. James Bond creator Ian Fleming, Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn, as well as Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Churchill all play a part in this story, creating a compelling, narrative read.
Introduces the different kinds of bombers used during World War Two, their capabilities, the kinds of missions on which they were sent, and any special characteristics. Also discusses what some of the airplanes were used for after World War 2.
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was a four-engined heavy bomber flown primarily by the United States in World War Two and the Korean War. The B-29 remained in service in various roles throughout the 1950s. The British Royal Air Force flew the B-29 and used the name Washington for the type, and the Soviet Union produced an unlicensed copy as the Tupolev Tu-4. The name "Superfortress" was derived from that of its well-known predecessor, the B-17 Flying Fortress. The B-29 was the progenitor of a series of Boeing-built bombers, reconnaissance aircraft, trainers and tankers including the variant, B-50 Superfortress. The B-29 was one of the largest aircraft to see service during World War Two. A very advanced bomber for its time, it included features such as pressurized cabins, an electronic fire-control system and remote-controlled machine-gun turrets. Though it was designed as a high-altitude daytime bomber, in practice it actually flew more low-altitude nighttime incendiary bombing missions. It was the primary aircraft in the American firebombing campaign against Japan in the final months of World War Two, and carried the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Unlike many other World War Two-era bombers, the B-29 remained in service long after the war ended, with a few even being employed as flying television transmitters. The type was finally retired in the early 1960s, with 3,960 aircraft in all built. Without doubt there is a clear, strong requirement to put the record straight using primary source documentation to record the undoubted achievements alongside and in context with the shortcomings to the types design and operation that have otherwise received scant attention. The book will cover all variants and is profusely illustrated.
"The riveting true story of a World War II bomber pilot and the co-pilot who received orders to kill him...After the twists and turns in Goering's many missions, Frater finishes with a stunning revelation...the author delivers an exciting read full of little-known facts about the war. A WWII thrill ride." - Kirkus Reviews An unforgettable and thrilling tale of two WWII American bomber pilots who forged an unexpected friendship in the flak-filled skies over Nazi Germany. The air battle over Nazi Germany in WWII was hell above earth. It lasted three years and cost 125,000 Allied aircrew men, including 26,000 Americans from the US Army's Eighth Air Force in England, their lives. For bomber crews, every day they flew was like D-Day, exacting tremendous amounts of emotional uncertainty and trauma. Some men, like twenty-year-old U.S. Captain Werner Goering, accepted this, even thrived on and welcomed the adrenaline rush. They knew that death could come in a variety of ways: an unlucky flak burst, Luftwaffe fighters that could appear anywhere at any time, or pilot error while flying less than twenty feet apart. Werner Goering was an exceptional pilot. He was also the nephew of Herman Goering, leading member of the Nazi party and Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe. When Werner qualified to become a bomber commander in 1942, J. Edgar Hoover issued a top secret order to ensure that if his plane was downed for any reason over Nazi-occupied Europe, someone would be there in the cockpit to shoot Captain Werner Goering dead. The FBI and the American military would not prevent Werner from serving his American homeland in war, but neither would they risk the propaganda coup that his desertion, or even his live capture, would represent for Nazi Germany. So in early 1943, FBI agents fanned out across the United States to find a man capable of and willing to shoot Werner dead in the cockpit, and one who could then get the plane back home. They found Jack Rencher, a tough, insular, B-17 instructor in Yuma, Arizona, who also happened to be one of the Army's best pistol shots. That Jack and Werner became unlikely friends is just one more twist in Hell Above Earth, one of the most incredible untold tales to come out of WWII.
A record of much that has been filmed, written or sound-recorded in English between 1939 and 1995 on the subject of RAF Bomber Command's offensive against Nazi Germany, which remains highly controversial. Includes an index for cross-referencing purposes.