By Gregory Fremont-Barnes
Gregory Fremont-Barnes examines the lives of the yankee Bomber Crewmen of the 8th Air strength, ''The potent 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 different counties of britain. He highlights the actual and mental pressure put on those courageous males. lengthy bombing missions known as for brute power to manage the airplane and outstanding persistence to fly for hours at 20,000 ft at temperatures under freezing in unheated, unpressurized cabins. Then there have been Luftwaffe opponents and anti-aircraft hearth to deal with and it required marvelous ability and a few success to come from a venture unscathed. This publication is a becoming tribute to those usually uncelebrated heroes who took the battle deep into the 3rd Reich, in addition to a desirable ancient account of the stories they went via.
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When you're five miles up in the air, you're not passing anything (although there were pieces of airplanes falling down all around you). It isn't noisy; you don't hear anything but the wind whistling next to your ears. I know when I first came back, I told my father I had glided for over four miles before I pulled the ripcord. Kennett was fortunate, for sometimes bailing out was impossible, as when the aircraft went into a tailspin. Gunner Bill Fleming recalled how, when flying over Hamburg at 28,OOOft, his plane was hit by unidentified enemy fire: We went into a diving spin and the pilot rang the bail-out alarm but nobody could jump out because the centrifugal force was holding us.
Library of Congress) Once assigned to a base airmen sometimes found that they were among thousands of other men working in the same capacity and that their status was not as special as before. " Indeed, the casualty rate was so high that crewmen often established strong bonds between them, with distinctions sometimes becoming blurred between officers and non-commissioned officers. Whole crews sometimes went on leave together, and even on the base saluting and military formality was often eschewed except when decorations were awarded or dignitaries visited.
The fear I felt was unbelievable. As we came down, somehow, even the pilot couldn't say later how he did it, he pulled that plane out of the dive. We started at 28,000 feet and leveled off only at 6,000. Downed fliers particularly dreaded landing in the Channel in the winter, when the water was especially cold. Still, they had inflatable boats with "Gibson Girl" emergency radios, which were operated by a crank. Moreover, the Royal Navy operated high-speed motor launches out of Harwich and Great Yarmouth to rescue downed airmen, both RAF and USAAF personnel.