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Idaho II BB -24 - Geskiedenis

Idaho II BB -24 - Geskiedenis

Idaho II BB-24

Idaho II

(BB-24: dp. 13.000 n .; 1. 382 '; b. 77'; dr. 24'8 "; s. 17 k; cgl. 744; a. 4 12", 8 8 ", 8 7 ", 12 3", 2 21 "tt .; cl. Mississippi)

Die tweede Idaho (BB-24) is van stapel gestuur deur William Oram, p & Sons, Philadelphia, 9 Desember 1905- geborg deur juffrou Louise Gooding, dogter van die goewerneur van Maho; en in opdrag by Philadelphia Navy Yard 1 April 1908, kaptein S. W. B. Diehl in bevel.

Die nuwe slagskip het in April-Mei 1908 'n vaart na Kuba uitgevoer en na 'n besoek aan Panama teruggekeer na Philadelphia vir veranderinge. Die skip het op 22 Februarie 1909 deelgeneem aan die reuse vlootoorsig in Hampton Roads, ter viering van die terugkeer van die Great White Fleet van sy rondvaart oor die hele wêreld. In Maart keer sy terug na die Karibiese Eilande vir maneuvers, en neem aan deelneem aan opleidingsoperasies tot Oktober 1910. Idaho seil 29 Oktober vir oefeninge in Britse en Franse waters en neem by haar terugkeer deel aan skietoefeninge in Chesapeake Buy 19 tot 23 Maart 1911.

Idaho het op 4 Mei 1911 vanaf Philadelphia gevaar vir 'n vaart op die Mississippirivier na die hawens van Louisiana. ~ Sy stoom daarna na die ooskus van Florida vir slagskipmaneuvers, en gaan voort langs die kus en in die Karibiese Eilande totdat sy die reservaat in Philadelphia 27 Oktober 1913 binnekom. Daar bly sy tot 9 Mei 1914, toe die skip na die Middellandse See vaar. met middelskepe vir opleiding op see. Nadat sy verskeie hawens in Noord -Afrika en Italië besoek het en 'n streng opleidingsprogram uitgevoer het, het Idaho op 17 Julie 1914 by Villefranche aangekom, haar bemanning na Maine oorgeplaas en 30 Julie uit diens gestel. ~ Sy is oorgegee aan die regering van Griekeland, wat sy as kusverdedigingsskip Kilkis gedien het totdat sy in April 1941 deur die Duitse vliegtuig in die hawe van Salamis gesink is.


Een van die dinge wat my nog altyd die meeste verbaas het oor ons veterane, ongeag watter tydperk u praat, is die ouderdom waarop hulle gevra is om heroïese take uit te voer. Kenneth Holcomb, die inwoner van Wisconsin, is 'n goeie voorbeeld hiervan.

Kenneth het grootgeword op 'n melkplaas in Monroe, Wisconsin, net suid van Madison. Toe die aanval op Pearl Harbor die nuus maak, soos soveel in hierdie land, weet Kenneth dat hy iets moet doen. 'Dit was ongeveer twee weke na Pearl Harbor dat ek 'n plakkaat vir die Amerikaanse weermag se lugkorps gesien het. Dit het gesê om 'n vlieënier te word. Dit het vir my baie goed gelyk, ”onthou Kenneth. Sy volgende stop was die werwingstasie in Madison. Daarna is hy na 'n hotel in Chicago gestuur om op sy inlywingseremonie te wag. 'Ek was nog nooit in 'n stad so groot soos Chicago nie. Ek het aanhoudend by myself gedink, hoe de hel gaan ek hierdie plek vind? ” Na 'n dag nadat hy die besienswaardighede gesien het, kon hy sy hotel vind en hom voorberei op sy sweer by die weermag.

Kenneth wou vlieënier word, maar die noodlot het ingetree en hy het gou 'n radio -operateur geword. Hy is na Scott Field in Illinois gestuur, waar hul leuse die beste verdoemde radiooperateurs ter wêreld was! Daar het Kenneth alles geleer wat hy kon oor die kommunikasie van die vliegtuig. 'Ons het ons radio's binne en buite geleer. Ons het ook Morse -kode geleer. ”

Nadat die radio -opleiding afgehandel is, is die nuut gemonteerde radio -operateurs na Salt Lake City, Utah, om hul bemanning te ontmoet en in die kanonne op die Wendover Army Air Field te oefen. 'Dit was interessant om u bemanning te ontmoet, aangesien u 10 nuwe mense ontmoet het waarmee u dit sou moes deurmaak. Ons beste rewolwer kan my beste vriend word. ”

Na opleiding by Wendover is Kenneth en sy bemanning na die Gowen-vliegveld, Idaho, om vlugopleiding vir die Consolidated B-24 Liberator te ondergaan. 'Ek onthou dat ek gedink het dat dit 'n vreemde vliegtuig was. Ons vlieëniers het daarvan gehou en gesê dat dit wonderlik gevlieg het. Ek onthou dat hulle bly was om te sê dat dit 'n bietjie vinniger was as die B-17.

Nadat Kenneth en sy bemanning die Liberator opgelei het, het hulle by Topeka, Kansas, aangemeld, waar hulle 'n splinternuwe B-24 afgelewer het. 'Ons was uiteindelik op pad na Engeland. Ons het die Noordelike Roete geneem. Dit het soos 'n groot avontuur gevoel, want dit was net ons alleen. " Soos die legende sê, toe sy bemanning in Engeland aankom, het hulle hul splinternuwe vliegtuie by 'n vervangende depot van hulle laat haal en is hulle na RAF Horsham St. Faith gestuur waar Kenneth en sy bemanning by die 458ste Bombardment Group, 752ste, sou aansluit Eskader. 'Dit was 'n mooier basis met regte baksteengeboue.

Na 'n bietjie opleiding met die groep, het dit gou tyd geword vir Kenneth se eerste werklike gevegsending. 'Dit was vreemd, ek was nie bang of iets nie, ek was seker lam.' In die donker van 04:00 is die spanne uit hul slaap wakker gemaak. Daarna om 5:00 ontbyt by die gemorsaal. 'U hoor altyd van die slegte kos, maar ons kos was redelik goed, want ons het 'n goeie basis gehad. Ons het ongeveer 'n uur om te eet en 'n koppie koffie te drink, en dan sou ons om 06:00 by die inligtingsessie aanmeld. Daarna sou ons Jeeps na die vliegtuie neem. By die vliegtuig gesels ons met die vlieënier en berei ons voor om op te neem, nie later nie as 08:00. Dit hang ook af van waar u die dag was. ” Kenneth se eerste missie was om 'n spoorwegaansluiting te bombardeer. 'Ons het baie spoorweë gebombardeer.'

Foto met vergunning van Kenneth Holcomb

Kenneth se taak op die vliegtuig was om langafstandkommunikasie volgens Morse-kode uit te voer. Die spanne is aangesê om nie te praat tensy hulle moet nie. Terwyl die bomaanval bymekaarkom, kon Kenneth vanuit 'n klein venster na sy stasie kyk. Wat aan die ander kant van die venster was, is nou 'n stuk geskiedenis. 'Ek kon uitkyk en bomwerpers rondom ons oor die velde van Engeland sien vorm.' Hierdie massavormings sal gereeld honderde bomwerpers insluit wat hul doelwitte op vyandelike gebied kan tref. Hulle sou so hoog klim dat die temperatuur soms -60 grade sou bereik.

Namate die bomwerperskorps naby die teiken sou kom, sou vyandelike lugafweervuur ​​of 'flak' op die formasie begin skiet. 'Daar was soveel skille. Jy kon eintlik hoor hoe dit die vel van die vliegtuig tref. Dit het soos hael geklink. Dit het nog erger geword naby die Duitse kus. Baie keer kon ons eintlik die teikenarea kies, want die lug daarbo sou verduister word deur al die swart vuis wat ontplof. Ek was nie te gereeld bekommerd oor vegters nie, maar die flak was vreeslik. ”

Hoe nader hulle aan die teiken gekom het, hoe erger was die verdediging. 'Dan sou ons 'n sein van die hoofvliegtuig kry om ons bomme te laat val. Bomme weg! Dan draai ons gewoonlik 180 grade en kom ons so vinnig as moontlik weg. ”

Kenneth en sy bemanning het dieselfde roetine 18 keer gedoen sonder werklike probleme. Elke keer sou hulle rolhouers of ander fabrieke tref. Missie 19 sou heeltemal anders wees. Die missie van 10 Julie 1944 het begin as die vorige missies vir die bemanning. Hulle was op die B-24 U kan dit nie saamneem nie en was besig om die teiken in te sluit. 'Ons het 'n minuut goed gevaar, en toe boem! Ons is in die regtervleuel getref. Flak het ons gekry. Ons nr. 3 en 4 enjins is getref. Die vlieënier kon nie nommer 3 pluk nie. Dit was 'n groot probleem vir ons, want dit het 'n groot sleepplek veroorsaak soos 'n groot skuurdeur. Ons vlieënier, Lt. James Monahan, kon die vliegtuig nie meer in vorm hou nie en ons moes val. Die vliegtuig was besig om afdraande te ry, aangesien ons nie hoogte kon handhaaf nie. Ons het gewonder oor 'n cumulus -wolkdek en omdat ons geen navigator aan boord gehad het vir hierdie missie nie, het ons nie geweet of ons nog die kus bereik het nie. Sodra ons afgeklim het tot ongeveer 23.000 voet, het ons besluit om die bomme te verwyder, en op ongeveer 9.000 voet het luitenant Monahan ons beveel om te red. Ek het deur die bombaai gegaan. Dit was my eerste sprong. Toe ek die vliegtuig verlaat, het ek begin tuimel voordat ek op my rug beland het. Dit was so 'n vreemde gevoel dat ek opkyk na die vliegtuig. Ons neusskutter, S/SSgt Kenneth S. Kenyon, se valskerm het nie gefloreer nie en hy is vermoor. ”

Kenneth se valskerm ontplooi en hy onthou dat dit 'n lae wolklaag was. 'Die wolke was so laag dat ek die grond eers op die laaste minuut gesien het. Toe ek land, het kinders gehardloop en my valskerm gegryp en dit in die bosse weggesteek. Hulle het my weggesteek toe daar Duitse vegters rondvlieg wat ons soek. ” Toe besef Kenneth dat hy een van sy stewels in die borgtog verloor het. 'Glo dit of nie, later die aand het ek my skoene in die veld gevind.' Die hele eerste dag was Kenneth weggesteek van die Duitse weermag wat op soek was na die neergeslaan bemanning. “Uiteindelik omstreeks 22:00. hulle het vir my burgerlike klere gebring om in te trek. Hulle het my ingelig hoe ek met die Duitsers moet optree. Om nie oogkontak te maak nie en nie met my militêre houding te staan ​​nie, aangesien hulle dit sou insien. ”

Kenneth het die volgende maand saam met gesinne in die omgewing deurgebring totdat 'n tyd aangebreek het dat hy en ander neergestorte vlieëniers na Switserland gesmokkel sou word. Hy is herenig met sy vriend en top -rewolwer, Cecil Spencer. 'Die gesin het ons na die stad geneem en gesê ons moet wag totdat hulle 'n ander motor kry. Terwyl ons wag, word ons na die Duitsers gestuur. Dit blyk dat hierdie laaste gesin dubbele agente was. Ons is na 'n tronksel gelei met twee sakemanne en 'n Duitse soldaat wat dronk en AWOL was of sonder afwesigheid afwesig was. Ons het daar ongeveer 'n maand lank op strooimatrasse geslaap en weeluise gekry. "

Na ongeveer 'n maand van ballingskap was die agtste leër op pad na hul plek en bevry die gebied. Die Duitse weermag het besluit om hierdie gevangenes te skuif en op 'n tronktrein gelaai. 'Ons was daar tot ongeveer 21:00. omdat die spore uitgeslaan is. Daar was soveel verwarring, ons glip net van die trein af en word nie opgemerk nie. Ons het die eerste aand in die treinwerf weggekruip. Dan in die lang gras. Ons kon die kerkklokke hoor lui dat die bevryding aan die gang is. ”

Die volgende oggend was helder en helder. Toe hulle 'n straat oorsteek, het 'n polisieman wat die verkeer gelei het, hulle opgemerk en ontbied. 'Ons is na die polisiestasie gelei, waar ons gemaklik gehou en gevoed is totdat 'n kennisgewing gekom het dat alle geallieerde vlieëniers by die groot hotel in die stad moet aanmeld. In die hotel is die bemanning getrakteer op al die geriewe wat 'n mens sou verwag. 'Ons het al die kos en bier gehad wat ons kon hanteer. Ons was 'n week daar en is toe na Parys gestuur. Dit was die eerste keer dat ek my vrou kon meedeel dat ek lewe. Sy het 'n telegram ontvang dat ek neergeskiet is en as MIA gelys word. Stel jou haar verbasing voor toe sy 'n telegram van my van Parys sou kry wat sê ek is OK! "

Vir Kenneth was die geveg verby. Hy beëindig die oorlog in C-54's. Na die oorlog het hy die Universiteit van Wisconsin bygewoon om 'n graad in elektriese ingenieurswese te behaal. Hy behaal sy privaat vlieëniersertifikaat in 1946 en spandeer die res van sy vliegloopbaan in die rustige lug vanuit die gemak van sy Piper - vreedsame lug wat hy en sy bemanning in 1944 gehelp het om te beveilig.


In die historiese konteks van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog en die Stille Oseaan -teater was Amerikaanse verliese naby Yap (nou deel van die Federale State van Mikronesië) aansienlik, maar word dit vandag nog steeds oor die hoof gesien. Strategies geleë tussen die Filippyne en Guam, is die Japannese besette Yap byna daagliks geteiken van Junie 1944 tot Augustus 1945 ten koste van honderde Amerikaanse mans, waarvan 110 steeds as vermis in aksie (MIA) geklassifiseer word.

Die gedenkteken toon die werklike wrak van 'n F6F-5 Hellcat wat deur Ens. Joseph Cox, een van 36 Amerikaanse vliegtuie wat naby die eiland geval het. Joseph se vliegtuig is op 6 September 1944 saam met drie ander Hellcats van die USS Enterprise neergeskiet en is matig ongeskonde gevind. "Dit is werklik een van die mees unieke wrakke en nou gedenktekens in die Stille Oseaan," verduidelik Pat. 'Na die oorlog is die grootste deel van die wrak oor die hele wêreld opgetel en verwyder. Gelukkig het die Yapese in hierdie geval die wrak as grafte gerespekteer en sorg dat hulle dit bewaar en onthou van die Amerikaanse mans wat tydens die oorlog hul lewens verloor het. ”

Die toewyding was die Yap-goewerneur Sebastian Anefal, die Amerikaanse ambassadeur Peter A. Prahar en ander hooggeplaastes saam met die 90-jarige broer van die vlieënier, Ellis Cox van Idaho.


5 Vrae met Patrick T. Ranfranz


Amerikaanse ambassadeur neem deel aan die toekenning van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog.


Op 24-28 Julie 2010 het die Amerikaanse ambassadeur by die FSM Peter A. Prahar na die Yap-staat gereis om deel te neem aan die toewydingseremonie van die Ensign Joseph E. Cox Memorial, vernoem ter ere van 'n Amerikaanse vlootvlieënier wie se F6F-5 Hellcat-vegter vliegtuig is op 6 September 1944 oor Yap neergeskiet. Lede van die Cox -familie, insluitend die broer van Joseph en#8217, asook lede van die familie van vaandrig Howard Holding, wat tydens dieselfde sending vermoor is, is tydens die seremonie vereer as gaste . Die goewerneur van die staat Yap, Sebastian Anefal, en die luitenant-goewerneur Tony Tareg het ook deelgeneem aan die goed bygewoon geleentheid.

Onder leiding van die Missing Air-Crew Project en History Flight Organization in die VSA, en met die steun van die Yap State Visitor ’s Bureau en die Yap State Department of Public Works and Public Safety, erken die gedenkteken die meer as ses-en-dertig Amerikaanse vliegtuie wat neergeskiet is in die Tweede Wêreldoorlog naby Yap State en die 110 Amerikaanse mans wat steeds vermis bly. Ambassadeur Prahar het in sy opmerkings gesê dat: “ Hierdie individue en organisasies het saamgespan om te verseker dat daar uiteindelik 'n behoorlike, permanente gedenkteken is vir vaandrig Joseph E. Cox en al die ander mans wat hul lewens tydens Yap tydens die wêreld verloor het Oorlog II, waarvan sommige se oorskot nog nie teruggevind is nie. ”

Ambassadeur Prahar het ook gesê dat ek nie 'n groter eer vir 'n Amerikaanse ambassadeur kan bedink as om voor die families van dienspligtiges te staan ​​wat ter verdediging van die vryheid geval het om hul diens te erken en te verseker dat hul opoffering nie vergeet word nie . ” Die ambassadeur het gepraat oor diegene wat tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog in Yap vermoor is, en diegene wat hierdie helde geken het, dra persoonlik die heilige herinnering aan hul geliefde seun, broer, eggenoot en vader wat sy lewe so gegee het. dat ander in vrede en vryheid kan lewe. Ek kan u ook verseker dat hul opoffering en die opoffering van die ander dienspligtiges wat hier gesterf het, nie deur die mense van Yap vergeet is nie. ” Hy haal die Amerikaanse skrywer James Michener ’s &# 8220Tales of the South Pacific ”: “Hulle sal lank lewe. Hulle het 'n Amerikaanse kwaliteit. ”


Groot lugvaartgeskiedenis museum

Daar is altyd iets nuuts aan die gebeur op hierdie plek en kinders kan 'n kans kry om van naby met ou vliegtuie en stralers te kom. Boonop het hulle klasse vir kinders om meer te leer tydens 'n klasuitstappie. – Robert

Goeie tyd!

Dit is altyd lekker om 'n wonderlike versameling ou yster te sien. Het baie lekker gesels met die mense in die museum. Baie goed ingelig. Dit word selfs nog meer plesier omdat ek van die toerusting wat nou in die museum is, gevlieg het. Dankie almal, en hou so aan! – Dale

Yankee Air Museum – Groot aantrekkingskrag vir almal!

Dit is 'n wonderlike klein museum! Veral ideaal vir kinders, want daar is baie aktiwiteite, simulasies en lugvaartinligting! Lees die verhaal oor al die vroue wat Rosie the Riveter geïnspireer het; dit is alleen die moeite werd. – MW


'N Verkeerde reg: Japannese Amerikaners en die Tweede Wêreldoorlog

Die Idaho State Museum is opgewonde om hul eerste reisuitstalling van 2020 aan te kondig. 'N Verkeerde reg: Japannese Amerikaners en die Tweede Wêreldoorlog spoor die verhaal van hierdie gevangenisstraf en die mense wat dit oorleef het. Hierdie reisuitstalling van die Smithsonian's National Museum of American History open Saterdag 25 Januarie 2020 en sal tot Sondag 5 April 2020 te sien wees.

Uitstalling Oorsig

Nadat Japan Pearl Harbor op 7 Desember 1941 aangeval het en die Verenigde State 'n oorlog in Europa en die Stille Oseaan aangegaan het, is die nasie oorweldig deur skok, woede en vrees-'n vrees wat oordryf word deur jarelange vooroordeel teen Asiërs. In reaksie hierop het president Franklin Roosevelt uitvoerende bevel 9066 onderteken. Hierdie bevel het 75 000 Amerikaners van Japannese afkoms en 45 000 Japannese onderdane na gevangenissentrums gestuur.

Jonk en oud het saamgedrom in haastig geboude kampe, swak lewensomstandighede verduur en was twee en 'n half jaar lank onder toesig van militêre wagte. Intussen het dapper Japannese Amerikaanse mans hul lewens in gevaar gestel om vir die Verenigde State te veg.

Sowat 40 jaar later het lede van die Japannese Amerikaanse gemeenskap die land daartoe gelei om die verkeerde dinge wat hy gedoen het, te konfronteer - en 'n beroep op die kongres gedoen om dit reg te stel.

Verbind ons volk se geskiedenis met Idaho

Hierdie belangrike nuwe uitstalling bring hartverskeurende persoonlike verhale, fassinerende dokumente, pragtige foto's en boeiende interaksies na Boise, Idaho. Maak 'n fout reg kyk na kultureel relevante temas soos immigrasie, vooroordeel, burgerregte, heroïsme en wat dit beteken om 'n Amerikaner te wees.

Tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog is 13 000 Japannese Amerikaners in Idaho opgesluit. Die Idaho State Museum is geëerd om saam te werk met Minidoka National Historic Site om die nasionale uitstalling te verbeter met artefakte wat direk verband hou met Idaho. Die museum bied ook openbare programmering aan in samewerking met hierdie indrukwekkende uitstalling.


Bomber Battle: B-17 Flying Fortress vs B-24 Liberator (Wie wen?)

Kernpunt: Elke kant het lugdigte argumente waarom die bomwerper beter was.

Meer uit die nasionale belang:

Een van die argumente wat die meeste bespreek word uit die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, is die 'beter' bomwerper, die Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress of die Consolidated B-24 Liberator. Die argument het begin in kroeë en diensklubs, waar bemanningslede van die twee soorte tydens die oorlog tydens diens ontmoet het, en sedertdien voortgegaan het.

Dit geld veral veterane wat in Engeland gevlieg het waar B-17's oorheers het binne die Agtste Lugmag, en waar 'n groot aantal oorlogskorrespondente berig het oor die lugoorlog oor Duitsland terwyl dit in die somer deur die bemanning van die Vlieënde Vestings geveg is van 1943. Dit was onder die agtste lugmag B-17 en B-24 spanne dat die argumente die sterkste was, en dit is onder die veterane dat hulle voortgegaan het, aangesien 'n algemene openbare konsensus ontstaan ​​het dat die B-17 die beste was bomwerper ooit gebou.

Harde analise?

Sedert die oorlog word die argument dat die B-17 die beter bomwerper van die twee was, dikwels deur lugvaartskrywers en historici bestendig wie se persoonlike kennis van vliegtuie en lugvaart in die algemeen slegs bestaan ​​uit wat hulle gelees of vertel het. Min skrywers het ooit statistieke of vliegtuigprestasies gebruik om hul standpunt te bewys, maar het hoofsaaklik staatgemaak op wat hulle geleer het van advokate wat aan die een of ander kant van die argument is. Baie B-17-liefhebbers maak staat op emosie om hul posisie te probeer versterk. Hulle wys op foto's van B-17's wat teruggekeer het na die basis met groot gate wat daar deur flak of vegters gesit is. Voormalige B-17-bemanningslede wat 'n gevegstoer oorleef het, beklemtoon dat omdat die Ou Fort hulle huis toe gebring het het die beste te wees. Net so sê B-24 veeartse dieselfde oor hul vliegtuig. Kinders en kleinkinders van B-17-veterane wys op opmerkings van voormalige Stars & Strepe verslaggewer en moderne TV-persoonlikheid Andy Rooney, tot die gevolgtrekking dat as hy in die geveg sou moes gaan, hy verkies het om in 'n B-17 te wees. Rooney het nog nooit regtig gesê waarom hy dit glo nie. Hy het 'n paar missies in B-17's gevlieg en 'n ander in 'n B-26, maar nooit 'n missie in 'n B-24 nie, alhoewel hy 'n geruime tyd by die 44ste Bomb Group deurgebring het. Die gevegsrekords van albei vliegtuie bestaan ​​wel, en dit dui aan dat die standpunte van B-17-advokate inderdaad goed kan val binne die kategorie van wensdenkery.

Beide die B-17 en die B-24 kom uit die filosofie van die vroeë 1930's dat langafstandbomwerpers gebruik kan word om die kontinentale Verenigde State teen 'n buitelandse vyand te verdedig deur 'n invasievloot te vind en te laat sink terwyl dit nog 'n paar honderd kilometer van Amerikaanse kus. Dit was die argument wat diegene wat brig. Genl Billy Mitchell en was 'n algemene mening onder die offisiere van die Army Air Corps, hoewel toekomstige gebeure later sou bewys dat dit ongegrond was.

Die oorspronklike bedoeling van die Army Air Corps was om 'n landgebaseerde, langafstand swaar bomwerper te ontwikkel wat die B-17 in die kategorie van 'n medium bomwerper sou verlaag. Senior strateë van die Air Corps wou 'n langafstand-bomwerper met 'n afstand van 5000 myl hê, 'n konsep wat gelei het tot die ontwerp en ontwikkeling van die B-15 en dan tot die selfs meer ambisieuse B-19. Beide tipes was egter ondermagtig en die weermag het besef dat die beskikbare kragstasies nie voldoende was om die tipe vliegtuig aan te dryf wat hulle regtig wou hê nie.

Projek A: die "Multi-Engine" bomwerper

As 'n kompromie het die weermag verkies om 'n voorstel vir 'n minder ambisieuse projek voor te lê en die ontwerpvereistes uiteen te sit wat uiteindelik gelei het tot beide die B-17 en B-24, sowel as die kragtiger Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Die uiteindelike doelwit is uiteindelik bereik met die koms van die langafstand B-36, alhoewel die vliegtuig eers enkele jare na die oorlog in gebruik geneem is.

Die voorstel-bekend as Projek A-het slegs gespesifiseer dat die vliegtuig 'n 'meervoudige motor' sou wees. Met die uitsondering van Boeing, het al die mededingende vervaardigers aangeneem dat die weermag op soek is na 'n tweemotorige vliegtuig en hul inskrywings daarvolgens ontwerp. Boeing het egter besluit om die krag met twee ekstra enjins te vergroot en het dus 'n ontwerp gekry wat die reikwydte en die laaivermoë sou vergroot bo die wat dan moontlik was met twee enjins. Die Boeing-prototipe het die eerste keer in 1935 gevlieg en begin met aflewerings vroeg in 1937. Die prestasie van die nuwe B-17 het egter 'n gevegsradius van nie meer as 'n duisend myl toegelaat nie, en die weermag het ander alternatiewe begin oorweeg om die trefafstand uit te brei. van sy swaarbomwerpervloot. 'N Voorgestelde gevegsradius van 1,500 myl sou lei tot die ontwikkeling van die B-29 en die B-32 wat gevolg het, maar dit het ook veroorsaak dat die weermag 'n nuwe ontwerp van die maatskappy Ruben Fleet, Consolidated Aircraft, van nader bekyk.

In Januarie 1939, aangevra deur president Franklin D. Roosevelt, het die Amerikaanse leër van die US Army Air Corps, generaal Henry "Hap" Arnold, 'n vereiste gepubliseer vir 'n viermotorige bomwerper met 'n afstand van 3000 myl, 'n top-lugsnelheid van meer as 300 myl per uur, en 'n diensplafon van 35 000 voet. Op grond van ervaring van ander ontwerpe en hul eie agtergrond met langafstandvliegbote, het Consolidated teen die einde van die jaar 'n prototipe van 'n ontwerp van 1937 gehad. Die weermag het erkenning gegee aan die moontlikhede wat die nuwe ontwerp bied, en het sewe YB-24-prototipes vir toetsdoeleindes gekontrakteer en 36 B-24A's vir operasionele gebruik voordat die eerste vliegtuig selfs gevlieg het.

Verander die rol van die B24A

Teen die tyd dat die nuwe vliegtuig in produksie begin, het oorlog in Europa uitgebreek en die Verenigde State het begin om vliegtuie en ander militêre hardeware aan die Britte en Franse te verskaf. Frankryk het nie langafstandbomaanvalle ontbreek nie, en die Verenigde State het ingestem om 'n aantal nuwe bomwerpers, wat die bynaam 'Liberator' gekry het, na bewering deur Winston Churchill te verskaf.

Die val van Frankryk het gelei tot die kansellering van die aflewering van alle vliegtuie wat vir Frankryk bestem was, en die Liberators, wat as LB-30's aangewys is, is vir Britse gebruik herlei. Vanweë hul langer reikafstand het generaal George Brett in die herfs van 1941 aanbeveel dat verskeie B-24's na Britse magte in Noord-Afrika herlei word van diegene wat na Engeland sou gaan. Namate die oorlog versterk het, het die Amerikaanse weermag besluit om die rol van die B-24A te verander, en die meeste is omgeskakel na langafstand-vervoer, terwyl 'n paar met kameras toegerus is vir verkenning. Die Japannese aanval op Pearl Harbor het op 7 Desember 1941 een van die bekeerde bevryders op die grond by Hickam Field betrap.

Voor die toetrede van Amerika tot die oorlog, is beide die Flying Fortress en die nuwe Liberator in die geveg getoets deur die Royal Air Force. In die lente van 1941 het die Amerikaanse weermag 20 B-17C's na Engeland gestuur vir gebruik deur die RAF om hul gevegsvermoëns te toets. Alhoewel die RAF-bemanningslede die Flying Fortress geprys het vir sy vermoë om vyande se vuur te tref, was die toets 'n treurige mislukking vir die baie gepubliseerde bomwerper. Meganiese probleme het die Boeing-bomwerpers geteister, en die akkuraatheid van die bombardement op groot hoogtes was baie minder as wat geadverteer is. Die toets het 'n twyfelagtige einde bereik nadat drie van die 20 vliegtuie verlore geraak het deur vyandelike optrede, vyf in ongelukke vernietig is en die res as gevolg van meganiese mislukking. In 39 soorte het slegs 18 vlieënde vestings daarin geslaag om 'n teiken te bombardeer. Daar word vermoed dat slegs twee bomme die teikens waarop hulle gemik was, werklik getref het - en nie een Duitse vegter het in die vestings se gewere geval nie.

Nadat die B-17's in Britse hande ondoeltreffend was, het die Army Air Corps probeer vasstel hoekom. Aanvanklik was die Britte beïndruk met die vermoë van die Fort om skote te weerstaan, maar die vroeë vertroue het vinnig verdwyn omdat die gewenste resultate nie bereik is nie. Amerikaanse militêre leiers blameer die mislukking dat die Britte besluit het om die vliegtuig te gebruik om van baie hoë hoogtes af te bombardeer, wat tot onvoorsiene probleme gelei het: bevrore gewere, ruitvensters en suurstofversaking. Op groot hoogte het die vliegtuig nie die spoed en vuurkrag gehad om vyandelike aanvalle te hanteer nie. Ironies genoeg het die RAF gekies om die vliegtuig te bestuur onder presies dieselfde omstandighede as wat baie Amerikaanse weermagkorpsbeamptes beweer het dat dit moontlik was met die B-17, alhoewel die Amerikaanse opleidingsplan vir operasies op aansienlik laer hoogtes vereis het.

Die RAF se voorkeure

Die Britte het ook B-24's gekry om te probeer, en hoewel die resultate uit die Amerikaanse oogpunt minder was as waarop gehoop is, verkies die RAF die Liberator bo die vesting vanweë die swaarder vragvermoë. Die belangrikste probleme met die toetse van die Liberator was dat die nodige aanpassings vir die soort oorlog wat in Europa gevoer word langer geneem het as wat verwag is, terwyl die Britte verkies om die Liberators met 'n hoë kapasiteit in die vervoerrol te gebruik. Die verslag van die RAF-bemannings wat beide die Amerikaanse ontwerpte Flying Fortress en Liberator gevlieg het, was dat hulle moontlik geskik sou wees vir 'n oorlog in die Stille Oseaan waar missies oor oop oseaanvlaktes gevlieg sou word, maar hulle was te swak gewapen vir dagligoperasies Duitsland. Hulle het berig dat die vliegtuie nuttig kan wees as nagbomwerpers.

Teen Desember 1941 was B-17's al meer as vier jaar in diens van die Amerikaanse weermagbomaanvallers. In September 1941 is twee eskaders van die 19th Bombardment Group uit Hamilton Field, Kalifornië, gestuur om 'n swaar bomwerper in die Filippyne te bied. Twee maande later vaar die grondvlak van die 7de bombardementgroep per skip om by die 19de aan te sluit. Die eerste van die lugelement het Kalifornië op 6 Desember verlaat en te midde van die Japannese aanval in Hawaii aangekom.

Bomwerpers maak hul debuut in die Filippyne

'N Deel van die 19de bomgroep is op 8 Desember in Clark Field vernietig, toe Japannese bomwerpers die vliegtuie op die grond teëgekom het te midde van die herbewapening vir 'n aanval op Formosa. Gelukkig is 'n deel van die groep suidwaarts verskuif na 'n nuwe vliegveld by Del Monte op Mindanao en sou dit vir 'n paar weke verder vlieg. Slegs 'n paar bevryders was in die Verre Ooste wat as transports gedien het toe die oorlog uitbreek, en 'n paar ander sou in die eerste weke van die oorlog na Australië gestuur word.

Dit was in die Filippyne en Java dat Amerikaanse swaar bomwerpers hul gevegsdebuut gemaak het. Terwyl die B-17's daarin geslaag het om hulself te bekamp in die stryd met die Japannese, het ontwerptekorte, veral in bewapening en wapenrusting, baie vinnig duidelik geword. In die verwarring na die Japannese aanval het die Amerikaanse weermag 'Project X' gestuur, 'n aanvulling van 80 swaar bomwerpers, om die geallieerde magte in Australië te versterk, met die doel om die Amerikaanse magte in die Filippyne te ondersteun. In die 80 vliegtuie was 15 LB-30 bomwerpers wat uit Brittanje teruggeneem is, hoewel slegs 12 Australië werklik bereik het. Die LB-30's het nie baie goed gevaar in gevegte in Java nie (ook nie die B-17's nie) as gevolg van die onervarenheid van die bemanning. Behalwe vir die 19de Bomb Group-spanne wat van Del Monte na Darwin gebring is, het min van die bomwerpervlieëniers meer as 'n paar uur se vier-enjin-ervaring gehad. Die verlies as gevolg van 'n ongeluk was net so groot soos die vyand se optrede. Namate die aantal LB-30's afgeneem het, het die res aangesluit by die bekeerde B-24A's wat in die teater was in vervoerdienste, vrag na en ontruimdes van Java en Mindanao.

Namate die botsende bemoeiingspanne na die Java-veldtog teruggekeer het na die Verenigde State, is hulle versoek om verslag te doen van hul ervarings. Die vlieëniers wat teruggekeer het, waarvan die meeste met B-17's gevlieg het, het berig dat die B-17 beter gestaan ​​het teenoor Japannese vegters, hoewel hulle klaarblyklik nie hul eie verliese in ag geneem het nie en dat verskeie van die LB-30's verlore gegaan het tot grondaanval en ongeluk. Die legende van die superioriteit van die Flying Fortress oor die Liberator is gebore. Tog, ironies genoeg, sou die gewilde B-17 binne 'n jaar op pad wees uit die oorlog in die Stille Oseaan en sou die B-24 binnekom.

Die HALPRO -projek

Na die Java-veldtog het B-17's as die enigste swaar bomwerpers gebly wat in die Suidwes-Stille Oseaan se operasionele gebied geword het, hoewel 'n handjievol LB-30's en B-24's in die vervoerrol gedien het. 'N Paar bevryders was in Junie 1942 by die Slag van Midway betrokke, maar in die Midde-Ooste het die bevryder teruggekeer om te veg in die rol waarvoor dit bedoel was, as 'n langafstand-bomwerper. Die HALPRO-projek, vernoem na sy bevelvoerder, kolonel Harry Halvorsen, was oorspronklik bedoel vir diens in China, waar die oorlogsdepartement dit voorgestel het as die kern van 'n swaar bomwerper wat toegerus is met B-24D's wat 'n strategiese bomaanval begin teen die Japannese vaderland uit basisse in China. Na die Doolittle Raid het Birma egter geval en 'n massiewe Japannese offensief in China het gelei tot die verlies van die gebied waaruit die bomwerpers sou werk. HALPRO is herlei om 'n enkele langafstand missie teen die olie-raffinaderykompleks in Ploesti, Roemenië, te vlieg, hoewel planne nog steeds vereis dat die eskader na China sou voortgaan.

Terwyl die afstigting in die Midde -Ooste was, het die Duitsers in Afrika begin aanval, en die HALPRO -mag is beveel om in Palestina te bly. Saam met die HALPRO -afleiding, is die tiende lugmagbevelvoerder, majoor genl Lewis H. Brereton, uit Indië bestel met soveel van sy swaar bomwerpers as moontlik. Dit was slegs 'n handjievol strydmoeë B-17's. The HALPRO squadron and Tenth Air Force B-17s went to Palestine where they were joined by more B-24s to make up the nucleus of what would become the Ninth Air Force Bomber Command.

Operating from Egypt and Palestine under the command of General Brereton, the B-24s of the HALPRO squadron and an advanced element of the 98th Bombardment Group began the American bombing effort against the German war machine. Attacks were aimed at the supply lines of the German Afrika Korps, particularly the ports and supply depots at Tobruk and Benghazi in Libya. The U.S. B-24s often operated in formation with RAF Liberator squadrons. As it turned out, the force mix of B-24s and B-17s was exactly reversed from that of the bomber forces in Java. By mid-October the American heavy bomber force in Palestine consisted of 53 B-24s and only 10 B-17s. The B-24s in Africa performed well as they went against German and Italian targets. Missions were flown at night and in daylight as the fledgling Ninth Air Force took advantage of the cloak of darkness on missions to the most heavily defended targets.

B-17s in Doolittle’s Twelfth

It was not until the late summer of 1942 that American heavy bombers began operations over Western Europe from bases in England. The first groups to arrive in England were B-17 groups, of which two would transfer to North Africa in the fall of 1942 to become the heavy bomber force of Jimmy Doolittle’s Twelfth Air Force. While U.S. Army Air Forces commanders in other theaters were not locked in to the daylight-bombing methodology, the leadership of the fledgling Eighth Air Force felt that it had a point to prove and all missions were planned for daylight operations.

The first B-17 missions were flown in September 1942 to Rouen, France. A little over a month later the pioneer Eighth Air Force B-17 groups were joined by the 93rd Bomb Group, the first U.S. Army B-24 group to see combat from English bases. The 93rd went on to rack up an impressive combat record, including the lowest loss rate of any of the heavy-bomber groups that entered combat with the Eighth Air Force in 1942. In fact, the loss rate per sortie for the 93rd Bomb Group was lower than that of all but three of the B-17 groups, two of which did not enter combat until mid-1944. The other did not enter combat until November 26, 1943, more than a year after the 93rd flew its first mission.

For several weeks the 93rd was the only B-24 group flying combat from English bases. But on November 7, 1942, the 44th Bomb Group, which was actually the oldest B-24 group in the Army, flew its first mission. After the 44th Bomb Group entered combat, it quickly achieved a reputation as a “hard luck” outfit, taking fairly heavy losses in comparison to the other groups, though they came about in ones and twos, and in one instance as the result of a midair collision. Shortly after the 44th entered combat, three squadrons of the veteran 93rd were sent south in support of the North African campaign while the fourth was placed on a special assignment. The departure of the 93rd left the 44th alone in the skies over Occupied Europe, and their smaller numbers led their peers in B-17s to take heavier note of their losses, just as had those who fought before them in Java, where the proportion of B-24s to B-17s was similar.

1943: Dark Days for Eighth Air Force B-17s

Flying Fortress crew members began saying that they didn’t need a fighter escort when the Liberators were along, because the German fighters would go after the smaller force of B-24s. Yet, in spite of the higher losses in the first few months of operations, the overall loss rate for the 44th Bomb Group was no higher than those of the B-17 groups. In fact, they were lower at 3.73 percent than nine of them and equal to two others, all but two of which entered combat after the 44th.

The summer and early fall of 1943 were dark days for the B-17s of the Eighth Air Force as they attempted deep-penetration raids into Germany without fighter escort. This is the period that is most often addressed by the TV documentaries and literature about the bombing campaign in Europe. The leadership of the Eighth was trying to prove that the prewar concept that the “bomber will always get through” was not ill-founded. The British, however, had decided to change tactics after early experiences against the Third Reich. Due to heavy losses, the RAF elected to discontinue daylight operations and turned entirely to night-bombing operations. British military aviation leaders suggested that the Americans do likewise, but the Eighth Air Force leadership insisted on continuing daylight operations.

On August 17, the Eighth Bomber Command mounted a massive effort with a split force of B-17s going against Regensburg and Schweinfurt. The 147 airplanes of the Regensburg force were to go on to North Africa. When they got there, 24 bombers were missing, 17 of which had been shot down. Of the 230 bombers that went to Schweinfurt, 36 failed to return—a total of 60 B-17s had been lost in one day. Previously, the highest single-day loss had been 26 airplanes—all B-17s—lost on June 26. The terrible losses of August 17 were repeated on October 14 when a 360-plane force of B-17s went back to Schweinfurt and 60 failed to return. Sixty B-24s were supposed to have gone to the target, but bad weather in their assembly area caused a mission scrub, though a small force from two groups went on to Germany to create a diversion for the B-17s. Losses in such numbers would be repeated among Eighth Air Force B-17 formations a couple of times in early 1944, though never to such a large extent among the B-24s that flew alongside them.

Throughout the summer of 1943, Eighth Air Force B-17 crews found themselves alone in the skies on the long—and treacherous—missions over Germany. In early June the two B-24 groups that made up the entire Liberator strength of the Eighth at the time were taken off operations. Rumors abounded, and many B-17 crew members who had bought the line that their airplanes were superior probably believed the B-24s were gone because they couldn’t “hack the mission.” They were probably ignorant of the fact that their own type gehad het been withdrawn from combat duty in the Pacific because of its shorter range capability in comparison to the longer legged B-24s. It was that very factor that had led the chief planners at Army Air Forces Headquarters in Washington, DC, to conclude that the B-24 was the only type that could possibly fly what was to be the most dangerous and ambitious heavy-bomber mission of World War II.

During the first week of June 1943, the 389th Bomb Group arrived in England to bolster the two groups already there. Three weeks later, after several low-flying training missions over England, the three groups pulled up stakes for North Africa, leaving most of their ground echelons behind. They joined the two B-24 groups of the Ninth Air Force Bomber Command on a series of missions against targets along the Mediterranean, including Naples, Rome, and the German aircraft factories at Weiner-Neustadt in Austria.

However, the real reason the B-24s had gone to Africa was to attack the Ploesti, Romania, oil refineries in a daring low-level attack that put the crews in range of every weapon available to the German defenders, from 88mm antiaircraft guns to machine pistols, not to mention German and Romanian fighter aircraft. The August 1, 1943, mission to Ploesti cost the Eighth Air Force groups 30 B-24s out of 103 on the 171-plane mission, a loss rate just shy of 30 percent and considerably higher than the loss rates suffered by the B-17s on the Regensburg and Schweinfurt missions. Twenty-five other Liberators were lost from the two Ninth Air Force groups on the mission known as “Tidal Wave.”

Disparity in Publicity

No less than 51 Eighth Air Force B-24s were lost during the three months the three groups were in Africa, a loss of almost half of the airplanes in the groups. Ironically, the 44th sustained twice as many losses as the seemingly charmed 93rd. In proportion to their smaller numbers, the B-24 groups of the Eighth sustained even higher casualties during that summer and “Fall of Fortresses” than did their peers in the B-17 groups. The skies were extremely hazardous for both types, and the B-24s were getting their share of punishment from enemy fighters and flak.

What the B-24 groups were nie getting was publicity. While the world knew all about the great air battles over Germany being fought by the B-17s, very little about the B-24s was making its way into newsprint.

Along with thousands of words telling how the brave boys in B-17s were going up against the Germans, pictures of battle-damaged airplanes began showing up in Stars & Stripes and U.S. newspapers that illustrated the “ruggedness” of the Flying Fortresses. Looking closely at these pictures, which have been republished in numerous books about the B-17 and the Eighth Air Force, one who is familiar with airplanes and aerodynamics sees that much of the damage is confined to structural areas of the airplane that are not necessary for flight. Many B-17 battle-damage pictures show holes in—and even sections gone from—the vertical stabilizer, otherwise known as the “tail,” an airfoil, the sole purpose of which is to keep the nose of the airplane tracking straight however, there are pictures of B-24s maintaining formation with one of their twin vertical stabilizers shot completely away—and one famous Liberator suffered the loss of both when it was struck by a British Lancaster bomber, yet it returned to the United States for a War Bond Tour. The huge stabilizer of the B-17 presented a target for rounds that would miss the smaller tail of a B-24.

Wing Design—Which Model Has the Edge?

There is only one part of an airplane—any airplane—that is absolutely necessary for flight and that is the wing. This is one area in which the B-17 possessed something of an advantage over the B-24. The aerodynamics of the Flying Fortress stemmed from designs of the late 1920s and early 1930s, featuring a wide chord, the width of the wing from leading to trailing edge, and shorter span. The British slang “kite” is appropriate for the B-17, because the huge wing provided tremendous lift that did make for a stable bombing platform and, at least in the minds of B-17 fans, provided increased lift that was valuable in the event of a power loss on an engine. The B-24, on the other hand, incorporated a brand-new wing design that was on the very cutting edge of aviation technology in 1937. The long, narrow Davis Wing was what is known as a “high aspect ratio” wing, meaning that the span is proportionally much greater than the chord, a feature that provides significantly reduced drag and increased performance on heavier airplanes—which is why the B-24 was considerably faster than the B-17.

The strength of an airplane wing is in the spar, the piece of wood or metal around which the wing is constructed of ribs and stringers, then covered by a metal or fabric skin. If the spar on the wing of the B-24 was hit by flak or an explosive cannon round, it was likely to fail, sending the airplane into a spin toward the ground. However, if the spar on a B-17 was hit, the results were the same. As with the huge vertical stabilizer, the wider wing of the B-17 often resulted in hits in noncritical areas that missed the spar and would have passed harmlessly in space behind the slimmer wing of the B-24.

Part of the B-17 myth is its “rugged construction.” However, in the aviation world, “rugged” and “weight” are practically synonymous, and the fact is that the Liberator was considerably heavier than the B-17 in all models. The empty weight of an airplane is the sum of the weight of the components used in its construction—including the ribs, spars, stringers, and longerons that form the wings, the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, and the fuselage. If the B-17G was so much more “rugged” than the B-24J, why did it weigh 20 percent less standing empty? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that there was more dead space in the huge airfoils of the B-17 where hits could do little damage. The larger wings and vertical stabilizer of the B-17 could take hits that did only superficial damage because they missed crucial components that would cause structural failure if they were damaged.

Engine Power On Equal Measure

One area in which the B-17 and all models of the B-24 were completely equal was in the power of their engines. Both the Flying Fortress and the Liberator were equipped with engines that were flat-rated at 1,200 shaft horsepower each at takeoff—for a total of 4,800 hp on an airplane with all engines running. Yet, in spite of the heavier airframe of the B-24, it was considerably faster than comparable models of the B-17 and carried a similar payload over longer distances and a considerably larger one on shorter legs. By the end of the war, the Army had increased the gross weight of the B-17G to the point that it could carry a bomb load almost as great as that carried by the B-24J, but at a sacrifice in airspeed that made the Fortress more than 50 miles per hour slower at normal cruise speed. The one area in which the B-17 had better performance, at least in theory, was that the airplane’s lighter weight allowed it to operate at higher altitudes. This was only true with light payloads and reduced fuel, though.

In January 1945, Eighth Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. James H. Doolittle wrote a letter to Army Air Forces chief of procurement General Barney Giles in which he expressed his preferences for the B-17 over the B-24 for his command. However, the circumstances of Doolittle’s letter are somewhat suspect. He wrote it at a time when the War Department was in the process of cutting back on aircraft production and was making the decision as to which types to continue in production. As the only combat commander at the numbered air-force level who favored B-17s, Doolittle may very well have been concerned about replacements. Within four months after the letter was sent to Washington, the last B-17 to be built by Boeing rolled off the assembly line. Liberator production continued for several weeks after B-17 production ceased, and was only suspended when it became apparent that the war would soon be over.

Doolittle’s letter is interesting because he wrote it at a time when losses in his command had been declining for some time while his sister unit in the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe, the Fifteenth Air Force, was continuing to sustain fairly heavy losses among its force of B-17s and B-24s. Yet no preference was shown for B-17s in the Fifteenth Air Force, where the proportion of Liberators to Forts was reversed from that of the Eighth in England. The heavier losses among Fifteenth Air Force groups were due in part to the longer missions over enemy territory, while two of the most heavily defended targets in Europe—the oil fields at Ploesti and aircraft factories at Wiener-Nuestad, Austria—lay within the Fifteenth’s area of responsibility. On an ironic note, losses among Fifteenth Air Force groups increased even while they decreased in the Eighth as Allied ground forces closed in on Germany.

Which was the better airplane? In reality, it is probably accurate to say that for the kind of war fought by the Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces in Europe, there was really very little difference. Advocates of the superiority of the B-17 are surprised to learn that their per-sortie overall loss rate was nearly half a percent higher among Eighth Air Force groups than that of their peers who flew B-24s. When comparing the number of sorties flown and losses sustained by the two types, the difference is even greater. Groups flying B-17s flew 60.38 percent of sorties flown by the Eighth Air Force and sustained 69.75 percent of the losses, while B-24 groups flew 29.77 percent of the sorties yet sustained only 26.1 percent of the heavy bombers lost. Groups that operated both types flew 9.85 percent of the sorties and took 4.14 percent of the losses.

Most who look at these statistics quickly jump to the conclusion that the B-17 losses were heavier because of the period in 1943 when they were going it alone on deep-penetration missions over Germany. This theory is contradicted by the fact that Eighth Air Force B-24 groups suffered losses that were even higher on a per-group basis than those of most B-17 groups during the same time frame. Furthermore, the overall losses were lower for the three B-24 groups that were in combat in the summer of 1943 than those for most B-17 groups.

Was the B-17 Safer?

Even more astounding, the last seven Eighth Air Force B-17 groups to enter combat, all of which began their missions during a time when more and more B-24 groups were entering combat, flew 16.93 percent of all sorties and took 22.28 percent of the losses. Yet seven B-24 groups that entered combat during the same time frame flew almost the same percentage of sorties—16.85 percent—but sustained only 14.99 percent of the losses, a difference of more than 5 percent. In the Eighth Air Force, 1.43 percent of all heavy-bomber sorties resulted in an aircraft missing in action. In B-17 groups, 1.66 percent of the sorties resulted in a loss, while in B-24 groups the loss rate was 1.26 percent, a difference of 0.4 percent. These figures relegate to myth the belief that the B-17 was the “safer” airplane. It is also worth noting that the Eighth Air Force B-24s were often used on tactical missions at lower altitudes where ground fire was more effective after the invasion, while in the strategic role their formations operated below the B-17s, where the flak was thicker.

In the Pacific Theater, there was no doubt as to which type was “best” because it became an all-B-24 region by the end of 1943. General George Churchill Kenney chose the B-24 as the heavy bomber for his theater because, unlike the daylight-bombing crowd that had gone to Europe, he had no particular preference for the B-17. Since the European Theater of Operations had been given precedence in the conduct of the war, the Eighth Air Force had priority in equipment and was receiving the new B-17 groups that had already been formed before the outbreak of the war. Before he went to Australia to command the Allied air forces in the Southwest Pacific Area of Operations, Kenney was told he would have to function with only the two B-17 groups that were already in the theater, but that he could have one group of B-24s that was then in the training pipeline.

General Kenney began his World War II combat career in the Pacific with two heavy-bomber groups under his command, the 19th and 43rd, both of which were equipped with B-17s and had been in combat since early in the war. The 19th had been in continuous combat since December 8, 1941, and was already worn out. In late 1942, the 90th Bomb Group arrived in Australia with four squadrons of B-24Ds. Shortly after the 90th arrived, Kenney sent the 19th back to the United States. The 90th got off to a shaky start due to cracks in the nose struts of its airplanes, but once its B-24s began combat operations, they quickly proved superior to the B-17 for the kind of war being fought in the Southwest Pacific. Missions were long and required considerable distances over water, conditions for which the Liberator had been created.

The B-24 in the Pacific Theater

Beginning in the spring of 1943, the 43rd Bomb Group replaced its B-17s with B-24s, ending the combat career of the Flying Fortress in the Pacific. Not a single B-17 bomber ever appeared in the skies over Japan while hostilities were under way. Just as the 43rd began converting to the Liberator, the 380th Bomb Group arrived in Australia and began combat operations with B-24s. The 22nd Bomb Group, which had entered combat with B-26s, then was equipped with B-25s, would also convert to the B-24. Operating from Darwin, the men of the 380th utilized the long-range capabilities of their Liberators by flying a mission to attack the oil-refining complex at Balikpapan, Borneo, a flight that kept the crews in the air for as long as 17 hours.

On the Asian mainland, Liberators assigned to the 7th Bomb Group of the Tenth Air Force were flying 14-hour missions from bases in India to attack targets as far away as Bangkok, Thailand. Other long-range missions were being flown by B-24s assigned to the 28th Composite Group in the Alaska Command. By the end of the war, 28th B-24s were flying missions from the Aleutians against targets in the northern home islands of Japan. The extremely long-range missions flown in the Pacific would have been impossible with the shorter legged B-17s.

The B-24 became a key factor in the plans of Generals Douglas MacArthur and Kenney as they sought to push the Japanese farther and farther north away from Australia and back toward Japan. The MacArthur/Kenney strategy was to isolate major Japanese installations with air power, while capturing terrain on which to construct airfields from which to launch B-24s on long-range missions that eventually were reaching all the way to the Philippines.

As the war moved northward, Far East Air Forces Liberators began attacking the Japanese homeland. Kenney and his bomber commanders worked to extend the range of the four-engine bombers until 2,400-mile round-trip missions were being flown routinely by B-24s. In comparison, the average mission flown by B-17s in Europe was less than 1,600 miles.

Missions by B-24 crews in the Pacific were considerably different from those of their peers in Europe. Much of the flying was over water, which reduced the exposure of the bomber crews to flak to a small percentage of mission time in comparison to the constant exposure faced by Eighth Air Force crews prior to the Normandy invasion. Kenney had no point to prove in regard to daylight bombing, and often his crews struck the most heavily defended targets at night, thus further reducing the exposure of the aircraft and crews. Consequently, B-24s in the Pacific flew missions at much lower altitudes than heavy bombers in Europe, and thus achieved much greater accuracy with their bombs. Shortly after General Kenney arrived in Australia, he introduced the concept of low-altitude “skip-bombing” by heavy and medium bombers. Although the skip-bombing role was assumed by the twin-engine A-20 and B-25 gunships that became important weapons in the Southwest Pacific, some B-24s were modified with radar equipment to become “snoopers,” which flew at night on daring low-level attacks against Japanese shipping.

Converted to Transport Use

Another use of the Liberator that proved extremely valuable to the war effort was as a long-range transport. Stripped of guns, armor, and other equipment, the transport version of the B-24 could carry a 10,000-pound payload up to 1,000 miles, or 6,000 pounds over 3,300 miles. Most of the original B-24s delivered to the Army Air Corps were converted into transports, as were about half the LB-30s that were repossessed from the British. In 1942, Ford Motor Company began converting B-24Ds into the C-87 transport on the assembly lines at the Willow Run Plant in Michigan for a burgeoning military airline that was soon operating the converted Liberators throughout the world. In early 1943, a squadron of C-87s was sent to India’s Assam Valley for operations across the Himalayan Hump into China. The Liberator also played the major role in the antisubmarine Battle of the Atlantic, becoming a weapon greatly feared by German U-boat crews.

While the Liberator proved to be an extremely versatile airplane, the Flying Fortress was also used for other roles, though in much more limited fashion than its sister bomber. In the Pacific, both B-17s and B-24s were converted for transport use after they were replaced in combat units. The Fifth Air Force converted a B-17 into an executive transport for General MacArthur’s personal use. The Eighth Air Force used B-17s as weather-reconnaissance aircraft, while their most prolific noncombat role was as lifeboat-carrying search and rescue (SAR) aircraft with the Air Transport Command. It was as an SAR airplane that several B-17s survived the war, while all but a handful of B-24s were scrapped.

In the final analysis, there is no real way to determine if either the B-24 or the B-17 was truly superior. But, the record of the two types indicates that, of the two, the Liberator design was more versatile and considerably more advanced than that of the Flying Fortress. The combat records of both types contradict the assertions that aircrews flying B-17s were “safer” than those in B-24s. The argument as to which was the best can never be settled. As long as there are still two surviving heavy-bomber veterans, one from each type, the B-17 veteran will believe his airplane was best, while the B-24 vet will know better.

This article by Sam McGowan originally appeared on the Warfare History Network.


100th Bomber Group

COL. HARRY F. CRUVER 01 AUG 1945 -- UNTIL GROUP WAS DISBANDED.

COL. KELLY KIA AT SOTTEVAST 28 APR 44

First Mission: 25 June 1943
Last Mission: 20 Apr 1945
Missions: 306
Total Sorties: 8,630
Total Bomb Tonnage: 19,257 Tons
Aircraft MIA: 177

Major Awards:

Two Distinguished Unit Citations:
17 Aug 1943 Regensburg
4/6/8 Mar1944 Berlin

Claims to Fame

Early History:

Activated 1 June 1942 at Orlando AB, Florida. Originally scheduled to be a B-24 group. Formation did not commence until late October 1942 at Gowan Field Idaho, thereafter the Group was transferred to Walla Walla AAb, Washington on 1 Nov 1942 and received their first B-17s for training. Then the group moved to Wendover field in Utah on the 30th of November 1942 until 28 December 1942 when they moved to Sioux City AAB, Iowa. At the end of January 1943 they moved again to Kearney AAFd Nebraska. the ground unit left Kearney on the 2 May 1943 and sailed on the Queen Elizabeth, arriving in Greenock on the 2nd of May 1943. the aircraft left Kearney on the 1st of May 1943 for advance training and processing at Wendover Field, Utah before taking the northern ferry route to England on the 21st of May 1943.


Idaho II BB-24 - History

Idaho During World War I
[ Rickie Lazzerini]

When America entered the war on April 6, 1917, the country's focus on political and social reform made a dramatic switch to wartime efforts. Idaho contributed to the war effort in a number of ways, including agricultural production, conservation, and manpower. The state's Council of Defense was organized by May of 1917 and quickly began promoting patriotism. The Idaho National Guard, Second Regiment, which had been sent to the Mexican border to guard against Francisco (Pancho) Villa and his raiders, was recalled and sent to war. A total of 19,279 Idahoans were active in the armed forces 782 were killed. (13)

Idaho produced more than soldiers for the war effort. Production of agricultural products increased dramatically, as did prices, resulting in a boom for farmers. This increased demand for agricultural goods and soldiers caused a labor shortage in the state. Courts postponed trials to allow jury members to work in the fields, schools gave fall and spring vacations so students could help out, and even local businessmen lent a hand. The demand of the war called for conservation as well as increased production. Idaho families, like most American families, had wheatless and meatless days to conserve food. They also produced as much of their own food as possible by planting victory gardens and canning goods.

Not all of the effects of war in Idaho were positive anti-German sentiment became common. In 1917, Idaho was home to 4,000 German-born citizens and 1,000 Austro-Hungarian citizens who lived in fear of discrimination and vigilantism. Idahoans held German-language book burnings, and German language was dropped from school curriculums. Another unfortunate side-effect of the war was the world-wide outbreak of Spanish Influenza. The flu reached Idaho in October of 1918. Public events were cancelled, and theaters, churches, dancehalls, and schools were closed. Entire communities were quarantined. World War I brought an era of prosperity for local farmers and businessmen, but the decrease in demand during the following decade caused a recession that would damage Idaho's economy.

The Great Depression in Idaho
[ Rickie Lazzerini]


The decade of the 1920s is often referred to as the "Roaring Twenties" in many American history books, but that wasn't the case for many in Idaho. Industry in Idaho was sluggish after war demands ceased. Inflation hurt farmers who were plagued with over production and lack of demand. The lumber industry witnessed a state of decline as well. The state was also experiencing a period of population loss that began with the end of the gold rush in 1890. Beginning in 1890, over 50,000 people had left Idaho, mostly for California. The poor economy in Idaho foreshadowed the great depression that was to hit the country in the following decade.

Despite the fact that Idaho's economy had been struggling throughout the 1920s, this did not prepare them in any way to deal with the devastation of the Great Depression that would follow. Farmers suffered the most wheat prices dropped to .26 per bushel, and cattle dropped to $20 per head, which was the lowest price since 1890. Idaho farmers' total cash income fell from $116 million in 1929 to $41 million in 1932. (14) The value of gold rose during the depression, causing a small gold mining boom, but most industries were in distress.

Relief came from the government through the plethora of "alphabet soup" agencies, such as the CCC, CWA, and the WPA. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) gave direct grants to local and state governments. For every three dollars spent by the local government for relief, the federal government gave one dollar. This program provided $16 million in relief for Idahoans between 1933 and 1935. (15) The Civil Works Administration (CWA) hired many Idahoans during the winter of 1933-1934. These workers built roads, streets, bridges, hospitals, and airports. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), The Works Progress Administration (WPA), and the National Youth Administration (NYA) also created employment for many Idahoans during the depression. The government provided aid for farmers in need through the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Farm Credit Administration, and the Farm Security Administration. These programs helped the people of Idaho survive the Great Depression, but it took another world war to totally revive the economy.

Idaho During World War II
[ Rickie Lazzerini]


The demands of the Second World War were powerful enough to reverse the slump in the economy and pull the nation out of the Great Depression. Idaho contributed manpower and resources to the war effort. Over 60,000 Idaho men and women served in the war 1,784 were killed. Idaho's natural resources and agriculture were tapped for the war causing a boom in the state's economy. Livestock products, including beef, pork, chicken, and eggs were all exported. The Idaho potato, beans, peas, onions, corn and fruit were also produced for the war. Idaho's abundant minerals, such as lead, zinc, silver, and tungsten, were mined and transformed into war goods. The lumber industry in northern Idaho received large orders. In 1942, mills in Potlatch, Coeur d'Alene, and Lewiston produced 427 million board feet of white and ponderosa pine.

Idaho was also home to the construction of numerous military bases. Farragut Naval Base was constructed on the south end of Lake Pend d'Oreille. The project employed 22,000 men. After construction, over 5,000 men were stationed at the base and its six boot camps. The Army and Air Force used Gowen Field near Boise as a major B-24 bomber base. In addition, Sun Valley Resort closed during the war and was used as a Navy hospital. Idaho became home to two major and sixteen minor German and Italian prisoner of war (POW) camps. The largest camps were located at Farragut and Rupert, others were in Rexburg, Sugar City, Rigby, and Idaho Falls. (16) The Second World War recovered Idaho's failing economy completely and put to use the agricultural, natural, and political resources of the state.


Consolidation of the empire

In April 1220 Frederick’s nine-year-old son, Henry VII, was elected king by the German princes, thus negating Frederick’s promise to Pope Innocent that he would relinquish control of Sicily in favour of Henry, for it meant that Sicily and Germany would eventually be united under one ruler. Although Frederick sought to exonerate himself with Pope Honorius III by claiming that the election had been held without his knowledge, he had to pay for it by surrendering extensive royal prerogatives to the German ecclesiastical princes.

Crowned emperor by the pope in St. Peter’s Church, in Rome, on November 22, 1220, Frederick confirmed on the same day the legal separation of the empire from the Kingdom of Sicily while continuing the existing personal union. In addition, he granted important privileges to the Italian ecclesiastics and issued laws against heretics, and it seemed indeed that harmony had been reestablished between the emperor and the pope for some years to come. Frederick spent the following years consolidating his rule in Sicily. He broke the resistance of the barons to revocation of certain of their privileges and defeated the rebellious Saracens (1222–24), whom he later resettled in Apulia where they became his most faithful subjects, providing him with a loyal bodyguard immune to papal influence.

In addition to erecting a chain of castles and border fortifications, he had enlarged the harbours of his kingdom and established a navy and a fleet of merchant vessels. He instituted measures designed to bring trade under state control and make the manufacture of certain products the monopoly of the state. Finally, he created a civil service for which candidates were trained at the first European state university, in Naples, which he himself founded in 1224.