A storm of steel

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21 Responses to A storm of steel

  1. Bad_Brad says:

    My dad flew 3 tours in a B24. Waste gunner. A member of the Lucky Bastards Club. He had occasions of “Battle Fatigue”. But he got through it and raised a family and was very successful. They give out bound books at the end of each tour. Kind of like a year book in high school. Some of the pictures in those old books will scare the shit out of you.

  2. Nemo says:

    I love the smell of exploding 500 pounders in the morning … as long as they’re exploding well away from me ;^))

  3. Just a Chemist says:

    There is a cool music video* for Sabaton’s “Metal Machine” song that focuses on one of those carpet bombing raids of WWII. I wonder what that must have been like, to be a pilot of a bomber near the back of one of those bomber formations looking out over the expanse of American military power. Terrible and frightful to be sure, but also a sense of something awesome happening.
    * – cool by music video standards, which are pretty low.

  4. grego says:

    Those men in the bombers were some brave, brave people. Flying into that amount of flak would be so scary I can’t even imagine what it would feel like.

  5. Dan Patterson says:

    Nearly 24,000 young men died in the European Theater of Operations while crewing aircraft in action. Many more died as a result of accidents and as POW.
    Twenty Four Thousand.

    http://www.taphilo.com/history/8thaf/Air-Force-Casualaties-WWII-Summary.pdf

    And they climbed into those piston-pounders willingly, knowing their likely fate.

    The typical age of an aircrew was in his early 20s. Look at that soiboi nearby and think of his whiny ass climbing into a military vehicle with the sole purpose of defending his crew. Go ahead. I’ll give you a minute to construct the mental scene.
    Throw up in your mouth?

    We are a disgrace to our ancestors.

    • Andrew says:

      It was safer to be a Marine fighting the Japs than to be a bomber crewman over Nazi Germany. Think about that. Safer to fight the Japs than to take to the air.

      And yet some survived and willingly returned and did multiple tours.

    • Bacon says:

      Well said, Dan. I fully agree, we are indeed a disgrace to our ancestors.

      And yet, and yet, as great as they were, that Greatest Generation came back and raised a much softer generation full of fucking hippiedoodles, which in turn raised the current crop of useless soibois.

      So I find it difficult to blame the whiney ass soibois, they were raised that way and most simply don’t know any better.

    • Oldfart says:

      Back in the mid-60’s I worked with a guy who had served as bombardier/nose-gunner over Germany. He told us about watching the bombs fall, then hit and destroy buildings, railroads, bridges, whatever…
      Our job was to layout a freeway through the mountains of southern California. Every day we parked our truck and loaded our gear into a 3’x5′ cable-car suspended over a river. Loaded, the little car was typically about six feet from the water. He had to cover his eyes rather than look down. He suffered from acrophobia all his life. I can’t even imagine the terror he experienced when we crossed that little river nor the bravery it required to fly all those missions

      • Sabre22 says:

        I can relate I love to fly Huey at treetop height is cool Especially when the pilot puts it on its side to turn and you are looking straight out at the ground. i have flown commercial all over the country and to Europe multiple time s but put me on a ladder and i do not like it at all. it is a different circumstance than being on a plane

        • Thomas Crowley says:

          Amen to the sideways Judge with just your hand on the ceiling and centrifugl force holding you in ,joint I’m glad I could fly though, that bumping the Bush was a mofo.

  6. nwoldude says:

    War is Hell.

  7. brighteyes says:

    I was on a hill in Arizona Territory Near Charley Ridge one evening eatin chow and the whole hill lit up. We were running for cover which there was none. The ground was just shaking like hell. We were later told it was a enemy tank they found hid in Dodge City. Years later, like a few years ago I found my Lt. on line. Come to find out that was an American ship unknowingly shooting at us. He said he was scrambling to get it shut off. We found huge hunks of shrapnel after it was over. Sons a bitches go zub zub zub as they pass by yer head.

  8. fishdawg says:

    Granny’s brother patched them up and got them ready for the next raid(B 17s) – if they made it back.

  9. Tsgt Joe says:

    The worst part was not being able to do anything. The bombers had to hold formation no matter what. If the sky was black with flac, drive on through, if the Germans were coming right down your throat with head on attacks, hold your place in formation. If anything, tighten up the formation, make it more difficult for the germans. My dad, a ball turret gunner, said he was scared stiff until the fighters attacked, then he was too busy to think about being scared.

  10. RHT447 says:

    My dad was a B-17 pilot and flew 35 combat missions over Europe with this group–

    http://www.447bg.com/

    As the Nazis got pushed farther and farther back, their flak units became more concentrated. His first mission was January 2, 1945, so my dad saw a LOT of flak. Told me that they came back on three engines “more than once”. They also got shot at by an Me163 Komet.

  11. singlestack says:

    This is what launched all that steel.

    http://efour4ever.com/88.htm

    It could fire a 20 lb projectile up to 35,700 feet straight up. Amazing.

  12. G22timmichigan says:

    Read a great book about Jimmy Stewart’s ww 2 service in Europe flying b24 liberators . He was 33 yrs old at the time, he flew 20 mission. Wow was it rough for those men ,what they saw and what they endured . Truly the greatest generation!!!

    • Andrew says:

      That panicky look he has in “It’s a Wonderful Life” was attributed to his PTSD, which he had in spades. He almost wasn’t able to act after he came back.

  13. Paul B says:

    Big brass balls. It was something special to be one of those guys.

  14. Speedy Dasher says:

    My best friend’s dad was a Waist Gunner on a B-17, he passed a couple of years ago but never spoke of his experiences’ until a few years before he passed. He joined the service to learn welding, then one day someone came by and asked him if he wanted to go out and shoot skeet. They told him he did pretty well and would he consider being a gunner and it paid more money.

    So, he flew 23 missions before he was shot down and crash landed in Sweden, whole crew walked away from the crash. He said that it was tough to come back to the barracks after a raid and realizing how many new crewman were already in his buddy’s bunks. They filled them with replacements as quickly as they could to avoid returning crews physically seeing empty bunks, as if that really helped.

    Great guy, worked hard after the war, raised a good family and had a good life. RIP Vincent, you deserve it.

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