Skip to comments.WWII in color: Rare photos from 1942 show Flying Fortress
Posted on 03/19/2013 5:44:56 PM PDT by Doogle
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my old base in the background...*smiles*
Ubon...but knew folks from Nakhon Phanom
Thanks, man. My dad really would have loved to see that.
There were beautiful airplanes from at least as far back as WWI. For some reason, military planes tend to be more aesthetically pleasing than civilian ones.
Everything from the Spad to the F-22 are great looking planes but to me, WWII was the Golden age. I think form must follow function as the better performing aircraft tend to also be the prettiest ones.
It is hard to believe how many different aircraft designs came out in WWII. The number must be in the hundreds. Now an aircraft is developed over decades or at least many years.
I told this story before...
Several years ago a friend of mine amused me by accompanying me to a local airshow she had absolutely no interest in. *smiles*. After a few hours of walking around I said let’s go sit somewhere...rest. (I was making my way down to where the 51’s were) I saw them preparing for their part of the show.
They were off within minutes, but went way out to make a sweeping turn (which told me they were going to be making a hot pass)...I told her to check out the people moving closer to the flight line (by the hundreds) and she asked whats up? I told her it was one of the reasons I wanted to come....she gave me that Charlie Brown wrinkled lip look...(that watevaa look)...then I saw all the people looking our way and pointing, I knew they were coming from behind us *smiles*....well they came by haulin with that glorious sound...and all she could say was WOW....WOW.....WOW....
...I smiled and said pretty good for a 60 year old plane huh?...she went WOW with a big smile...instant fan.
I was at the Tulsa air show around 1986 or 87. There were a bunch of Air Force planes on static display with their pilots and crew with them. I guess they were answering questions etc.
We had gotten a bit tired and found a place sort of out-of-the way and sat down on some concrete. We were within about 20 feet of a hot dog stand.
The first interesting thing was that several of the Thunderbird pilots in their flight suits drove up (in Thunderbird cars) and bought hot dogs. I was surprised they would eat hot dogs just before performing.
The other thing which caught my attention was when a couple of P-51s performed, all the air crew quit answering questions etc. and got on top of their planes. That was the one thing which they really wanted to see.
“When I saw those P-51s over Berlin I knew the jig was up.’’— Hermann Goering, 1944. The single best, most lethal , piston-engine fighter plane of WW2, if not of all time.
As good as the Corsair was and it was(”Whispering Death’’, the Japs called it) because of that four-bladed prop, large nose and high landing gear it was a bitch to fly on and off carriers. The P-51 also saw service in Korea.
I found the image on a Bing search, but the source page is here:
Thanks for the link!
Was that the one at Allaire Airport in Wall Township? That was the one I saw. Tight isn’t the word. My God how those guys managed to get into those planes wearing those bulky flight suits and a parachute!
Hubba Hubba! My favorite ‘’nose gal’’ on a B-17 was a scantily clad cutie named ‘’Miss Bea Haven.’’
...same group the week before, up in Morristown, *smiles*
I thought I became part of the group when I got wedged between the two uprights in the bomb bay.
My Father in Law passed away yesterday. He was a WWII radio man and gunner on B17 - crew called it “Pride of the Yankees”... shot down over Switzerland and interned. He and buddies escaped across the Alps and ended up with the French underground. He was a true hero... he saved a fellow crew members life who had been severely injured by flak. An amazing man. He gave us a recording of an interview that the daughter of the Pilot of his plane made with him in May of 2001... four tapes. My husband and I listened to this today and it brought back the enormity of what this man who was just barely in his twenties did to protect this country. He was shot down April 13, 1944 and he passed away on April 13, 2013. I guess this was one battle he couldn’t best.
My Father in Law’s Pilot was 22. You are right about the youth involved here....and they embraced the mission and sought to win.
What is just staggering, and awe-inspiring to me is that when we consider that the casualty rate for 8th AF and RAF Bomber command was 65%, and the KIA was above 25%, a 25 mission tour was a near-suicide assignment, yet they went up, and back up day after day.
For the Colonel...and Mr.Bob Reid....Two b-17 pilots we lost this year from Legion post 216...Austell, Ga.
Agreed. Anytime there's an airshow and there's a F4U, or Mustang, or (rare) Lightning, or B-17 or B-29 at the show, I am well pleased. I have not seen a Spitfire live and up close, alas, and it is in my top 5 of most beautiful aircraft ever made, alongside the big Connie (if we include aircraft from all eras).
But back to WWII...I know she's the ugly, redheaded stepchild of fighters, but to me she's pretty to me - not hollywood beautiful, but like the cute girl you see in church one day with the great personality that you end up marrying. I speak of course about the Hurricane. They shot down 3 Germans for every 2 that Spits shot down.
And here's a color photo allegedly from China from the war of a P-40 shooting down a zero.
Here's one in military camo:
A U.S. Air Force Lockheed EC-121R Constellation of the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing over Southeast-Asia on 15 January 1969.
I consider myself lucky to have seen a Spitfire live and up close once in this life. I was working in southern England in the late eighties, and was invited to an air show during a short break.
Of all the enjoyments I experienced that day, only one remains fresh in my memory, and that's when a Spitfire came roaring over the grandstands at low altitude. I can't even begin to describe the awesome effect of pure power that thing put out. It was magical.
To me the B-17 was the coolest, most beautiful looking airplane ever built, beautiful and deadly. A more potent symbol of righteous American might and the technology and craftmenship America could produce. It’s been my honor to have known three men who flew aboard B-17s and to a man they all told me that they’re today “By the Grace of God and that plane’’. It could take tremendous punishment and still keep flying. I’m just in awe of it. This nation owes a great debt to these men and to the Boeing family.
He spoke about the casualties on his interview tapes... he kept repeating it to the interviewer... the death count when a squadron was taken out. He spoke about the crewman who had his leg and hip muscle splayed by flak and how he tried to give him first aid and then morphine. They parachuted the guy into Switzerland and he lived through it (they did something so his chute would open, I couldn’t understand it on the tape). May not have if our Pop had not have done what he could. Amazing that he could think while taking flak and the plane going down. I looked at the age Pop was at the time... He was born in June of 1925 and this happened in April 1944... He was just shy of turning 20.
I think they were the “greatest generation” precisely because they embraced their duty to defend our freedom and fight evil ...and they were so very young when they embraced this mission. Not like today when we call 19 year olds ‘children’ and they need to be on Mommy and Daddy’s health care plan... because they are too ‘young’ to provide for themselves. What a long way we have fallen.
Amazing...what a hero he was! We are in a business where we “find” written journals and things of that nature.
Many times, we have found flight diaries from the guys on the planes...detailing which planes went down during a certain mission (and which of their friends were on board). Usually says something like “Red’s plane hit over XXX, went down..we counted two or three chutes.”
One in particular really hit home to me. This airman was a turret gunner and he watched as his good friend’s plane went down. He wrote a screed about it at the end of the day in his diary. I was so upset reading it that I nearly cried. HOWEVER, later we discovered a letter from the “lost” friend dated just after the War. Turns out he did survive, had been in a Prison Camp, and was writing from a Hospital on the West Coast to let his buddy know he was OK.
I was “dancing” around when I found this letter...telling my husband “Look! He Made It!”
Just think of what those very young people did! Your FIL saved guys who went on to have kids, grandkids, great grandkids and who probably contributed greatly to society. My Great Aunt was a WAC nurse overseas...I’m sure she did her share too. Sadly, she died of cancer before I was old enough to ask her.
My sympathies for your loss; and my thanks for sharing a little of him with us.
His papers have his flight diary and he lamented not being able to locate his journal that he kept from the day he entered the service. I hope my husband will be able to locate it. He did write several essays about what he went through right after his return to US in late 1944. I wish I could share his story. I am going to seek out a way to do that.