Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole Revisits the 57th. Bomb Wing & Operation Bingo (11-1944/4-1945)- Jan. 22nd, 2007
Posted on 01/21/2007 6:11:53 PM PST by snippy_about_it
are acknowledged, affirmed and commemorated.
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On 6, November 1944 the Germans were holding the high ridges in the Northern Apennine mountains they called THE GOTHIC LINE. This defense line ran through the mountain ranges that reached, almost unbroken, from La Spezia on the north west coast of Italy to the City of Rimini on the Adriactic. Near the center and behind the German lines was the important transportation center of Bologna. Rail lines bringing war supplies from Germany, were for the most part routed through the Brenner Pass. Other rail lines from Austria were further east and led south into Venice and then into Bologna. These were the two main transportation lines that fueled the German machines in Italy.
It was estimated that 24,000 tons of supplies was flowing to the German troops each day. That was five times the minimum daily requirements needed to support the German troops that were locked in a winter stalemate with our Allied forces.
On the 6th. of November 1944, Operation BINGO was put into effect. It's objective was to stop the flow of German goods coming to the fighting front by closing off the Brenner Pass. The four B-25 bomb groups belonging to the 57th. Bomb Wing were to carry the bulk of the load. Fighter bombers of the 12th. Air Force's Tactical Air Command and the Desert Air Force (British) would assist. Some help would come from B-17's and B-24's of the 15th. Air Force.
A load of white phosphorous bombs heading down toward the gun emplacements protecting the the Orr Bridge at Brenner Pass.
Photo courtesy of Dave Mershon, 487th.
It was estimated that if electrical power could be denied the electrical driven locomotives that were used on the steeper grades, it would force the Germans to use more inefficient steam locomotives that would require part of the transportation effort to supply coal for these trains and also pull locomotives and rolling stock from their present activities. If this could be accomplished, it was estimated that it could reduce the carrying capacity in the Brenner Pass to around 10,000 tons a day.
On 6 November, the B-25's struck targets in the Brenner; the electrical transformer stations between San Ambrogio - hit by the 310th., through Ala - hit by the 321st., and Trento - hit by the 340th. The targets were all hit and destroyed or damaged to the extent that electrical power was denied to trains as far north as Balzano. The 319th., newly changed from B-26's to B-25's, hit railroad bridges in the lower end of Brenner.
The defense of the pass fell to the 2nd. Fighter Group of the Italian Facist Republic Air Force. These were Italian pilots flying Me-109's with German markings. With only about 50 planes these would not be the most effective deterrent. The primary defense fell to the German 5th. and 127th. Flak Regiments that manned the 366 heavy, anti-aircraft guns that were stationed from Verona, in the south, to Innsbruk, in the north. By the end of that day more heavy guns moved in around Ala and Rovereto.
In addition to the German gunners there were still Italians fighting along with the Germans. However the batteries were manned independently by either Germans or the Italians. The Italian gunners used an Italian cannon coupled with the German Radar.
319th Bomb Group
The German's main defensive weapon was the 8.8cm. Fliegerabwehrkanone, shortened to Flak. The 88 fired a 9.24KG (20.34 pound) shell to over 49,000 feet. It was coupled with the KG 40 gun director and the 41D gun laying radar. The gun director was a mechanical calculator with a stereoscopic height finder incorporated, capable of predicting a rectilinear or curvilinear course. The radar was capable of furnishing present azimuth, angular height and radar range to the gun director. Usually the gun batteries used radar tracking for range and optical tracking for direction. In cases where clouds or smoke obscured the bomb formations, radar controlled or barrage firing was used although it was not considered as effective as visual sighting.
Other guns were used also. The Italians made 90mm cannon, with a range of 26,000 feet and their 102mm cannon that reached to 40,000 feet were used to guard the Brenner Pass targets. While the larger guns were require to reach high flying B-17's and B-24's, lighter guns such the German and Italian 37mm cannon would reach up to 15,000 feet and the Italian 75mm ranged to 27,000 feet, were all effective against our B-25 Bombers who rarely flew above 13,000 feet. This meant any gun from a 37mm up could reach the medium bombers altitude. From the reports of the combat crews - they all did.
As the attacks increase on the Brenner Pass, targets of rail and road bridges, tracks and fills, the amount of flak guns increased. Batteries were added as far north as Bressanone. On the 11th. of November a flight of B-25's had 18 aircraft holed and one crash due to flak damage. Of the 16 attacks made during November, 11 had drawn flak. Of 300 sorties 20 B-25's were holed and one B-25 crashed.
In December 69 more guns were moved into the Brenner Pass by the Germans, making a total of 435. Anti-flak operations became standard practice by the 57th. Fighter bombers dropping general purpose bombs and the bombers dropping 20 pound fragmentation bombs and twisted pieces of tin foil called Chaff or Window (to confuse the radar) were tried.
Returning from a mission. 7T, 7Z and other aircraft of the 487th peeling off to land. August 1944 Alesan, Corsican
Photo courtesy of Dave Komigsberg, 487th.
At the end of December the 319th. Bomb Group flew it's last mission, over Italy, and returned to the U.S. in January of 1945. This left the 310th., the 321st., and the 340th. Groups the only medium bombers in the theater.
| Named after Gen. Billy Mitchell, the Army Air Corps' most famous figure of the 1920s and 1930s, the North American B-25 proved to be one of the best American weapons of World War II. First flown on August 19,1940, the B-25 was a rugged, adaptable and accurate medium bomber. Famed for its role in the Doolittle Raid on Japan, the B-25 served around the world and flew with several air forces. North American produced the Mitchell in many different models, nearly 10,000 B-25s in all.
The Mitchell proved to be highly flexible and was fitted with a wide variety of armaments. Some versions of the B-25 were armed with no less than fourteen forward firing .50 cal. machine guns; while other B-25s boasted a 75mm tank gun mounted in the nose. Besides being used as a horizontal bomber, the B-25 was used as a low-level attack and anti-shipping aircraft.
Since the end of World War II, B-25s have been used as private transports and are common participants at air shows. Today, "How `Boot That!'?", the crown jewel of the Cavanaugh Flight Museum's collection, is the most original flying B-25 anywhere in the world. Constructed in Kansas City, Kansas, the Army Air Force accepted this B-25 in August 1944. Assigned to the 380th Bomb Squadron, 310th Bomb Group, 57th Bomb Wing, the aircraft arrived in Italy shortly after its completion. From the fall of 1944 through late spring 1945, this aircraft completed more than eighty combat missions over northern Italy, southern Austria and what was Yugoslavia. The majority of these missions targeted rail bridges in the Brenner Pass, a 100 mile corridor through the Italian Alps which sheltered the main railway line from Germany to Italy.
Good evening, snippy!
Thanks for the new FOXHOLE thread. ;)
A compilation of all of them would yield a great illustrated history textbook. If you ever do such a project let me know,
I salute you.
Thanks for your kind words. I believe we have over three years of daily threads before we just couldn't handle doing it every day. Now it's once in a while when we can.
If we did a complilation it would most likely be on cd. We wouldn't dare profit from it but might make them available at cost.
Good idea, we know home schoolers use them and they make great reference material. Thanks for the push to get it done.
Good evening feather. We are trying to get one up at least monthly. We'll probably never get back to daily but we'll do our best to keep the Foxhole alive and well!
Yes, and you do, we just gots to have The FOXHOLE. ;)
Dang, I figured you for 100%. :-)
Sam's was less than mine. LOL.
Since I'm away from home this weekend, I can't ping my list till tomorrow evening, so this BUMP will serve as a place holder till then.
Hope you all are getting the New Year off to a GREAT start!
Thank you Neil. The New Year is full of blessings. I hope yours is going good as well.
Ha! Repost it is. We have so many to choose from and it never hurts to see them again. :-)
First coat of desert tan on the hull.
A couple of squirts of brown for variety.
The 8-wheel drive is fitted. The middle axles are raised 1/8" for less drag on smooth terrain (race track) and to avoid complications if rules require 4 and only 4 wheels.
More Firepower is needed.
Bittygirl took this shot to illustrate the suspension qualities.
The prototype closest to the proportions of the pine block.
Hornet. Enterprise provided escort for most of the operation.
I know you left that in so I could have the enjoyment of finding it.
Feel free to use any of my indexing. I'll send you all something in writing if you want it. At some point I'll get around to finishing the index. I've got to get the old computer working again first.
Now I understand why Orr and Yossarian both decided to paddle to Sweden.
(Read "Catch-22" if you don't know what I am talking about)
The B-25 was really a great airplane. Does anybody know how it compared to our other medium bombers? Say the B-26.
They must have preferred it over the B-26 as they seemed to use the B-25 almost exclusively in the Brenner Pass campaign.
Off to work I must go back tonight
I will try to answer your question tonight when I get home from work.
Good morning and ((HUGS)) to everyone at the Foxhole. How's it going, Snippy?
January 22, 2007
Walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him. Colossians 1:10
A story is told about a vendor who sold bagels for 50 cents each at a street corner food stand. A jogger ran past and threw a couple of quarters into the bucket but didnt take a bagel. He did the same thing every day for months. One day, as the jogger was passing by, the vendor stopped him. The jogger asked, You probably want to know why I always put money in but never take a bagel, dont you? No, said the vendor. I just wanted to tell you that the bagels have gone up to 60 cents.
Too often, as believers, we treat God with that same kind of attitude. Not only are we ungrateful for what Hes given usbut we want more. Somehow we feel that God owes us good health, a comfortable life, material blessings. Of course, God doesnt owe us anything, yet He gives us everything.
G.K. Chesterton wrote, Here dies another day, during which I have had eyes, ears, hands, and the great world round me. And with tomorrow begins another. Why am I allowed two? The psalmist said, This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it (Ps. 118:24).
Each day, whether good or bad, is one more gift from our God. Our grateful response should be to live to please Him.
Good one, snippy! "Death From Above!"
"Pinewood Derby." Oh, boy, does that bring back some memories. I still have one young enough to be in cubbies. Our Derby is Friday. He wants to do a more conventional, sleek racer. One pack we were in had an "open" division where people could race novelty cars like your tank and still race a conventional racer in the regular division. Good luck!
Thanks F-117A. Those B25s and the B17s sure could take a lot and still fly our boys home.
She's a beauty. Go team Go!
LOL. You know we did. You are so clever. :-)
It's been years but I read it. :-)
Good to see you.
In preparation for large-scale introduction of the Marauder into combat, the USAAF had set up B-26 Transition Training Fields at MacDill Field, Tampa, Florida and at Barksdale Field, Shreveport, Louisiana. Nine new USAAF medium bomber groups had been activated in 1942 as Marauder-equipped units.
Unfortunately, many of the pilots trying to master the Marauder at these fields had no previous twin-engined experience. In 1942, a series of training accidents took place stateside which placed the future of the entire Marauder program in doubt. Most of these accidents took place during takeoff or landing. The increases in weight that had been gradually introduced on the B-26 production line had made the wing loading of the Marauder progressively higher and higher, resulting in higher stalling and landing speeds. Veteran pilots in combat overseas had enough experience that they could handle these higher speeds, but new trainees at home had serious problems and there were numerous accidents, causing the Marauder to earn such epithets as "The Flying Prostitute", "The Baltimore Whore", "The Flying Vagrant", or "The Wingless Wonder", these names being given because the B-26's small wing area appeared to give it no visible means of support. Other derisive names being given to the B-26 were "The Widow Maker", "One-Way Ticket", "Martin Murderer", "The Flying Coffin", "The Coffin Without Handles", and the "B-Dash Crash". In particular, there were so many takeoff accidents at MacDill Field during early 1942 that the phrase "One a Day Into Tampa Bay" came to be a commonplace lament.
The USAAF was concerned about the high accident rate and seriously considered withdrawing the Marauder from production and service. The US Senate's Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program (better known as the Truman Committee, after its chairman, Sen. Harry S. Truman of Missouri), which had been charged with ferreting out corruption, waste, and mismanagement in the military procurement effort, also began looking into the Marauder's safety record. By July, the Committee had heard so many Marauder horror stories that they recommended that B-26 production be stopped. However, combat crews in the South Pacific, who were more experienced, were not reporting any particular problems with the airplane, and they went to bat for the Marauder. They exerted pressure, and the USAAF decided to continue with production of the Marauder.
However, by September of 1942, the situation had gotten even worse and training accidents had become even more frequent. By that time, the reputation of the Marauder had gotten so bad that civilian crews contracted to ferry USAAF aircraft to their destinations were often quitting their jobs rather than having to ferry a B-26. The Air Safety Board of the USAAF was forced to initiate an investigation into the cause. In October, the Truman Committee was again on the warpath and once again recommended that production of the B-26 be discontinued.
USAAF commanding General Henry H. Arnold directed that Brig. Gen. James H. Doolittle (fresh from his famous Tokyo raid) investigate the problem with the B-26 personally. Doolittle had recently been given command of the B-26-equipped 4th Medium Bombardment Wing, which was scheduled to take part in the invasion of North Africa.
Both General Doolittle and the Air Safety Board concluded that there was nothing intrinsically wrong with the B-26, and there was no reason why it should be discontinued. They traced the problem to the inexperience of both aircrews and ground crews, and also to the overloading of the aircraft beyond the weight at which it could be safely flown on one engine only. Almost immediately after the Marauder had entered service, it had been found necessary to add more and more equipment, armament, fuel, and armor, driving the gross weight steadily upwards. By early 1942, the B-26 had risen in normal gross weight from its original 26,625 pounds to 31,527 pounds with no increase in power. It had been found that many of the accidents had been caused by engine failures, which were in turn caused by a combination of poor maintenance by relatively green mechanics and a change from 100 octane fuel to 100 octane aromatic fuel, which damaged the diaphragm of the carburetors. Many of the B-26 instructors were almost as green as the pilots they were trying to train, and did not know themselves how to fly the B-26 on one engine only, and so could not teach the technique to their students.
General Doolittle sent his technical adviser, Captain Vincent W. "Squeak" Burnett, to make a tour of OTU bases to demonstrate how the B-26 could be flown safely. These demonstrations included single-engine operations, slow-flying characteristics, and recoveries from unusual flight attitudes. Capt. Burnett made numerous low altitude flights with one engine out, even turning into a dead engine (which aircrews were warned never to do), proving that the Marauder could be safely flown if you knew what you were doing. Martin also sent engineers out into the field to show crews how to avoid problems caused by overloading, by paying proper attention to the plane's center of gravity.
The efforts of the Army and Martin to improve training soon began to pay off, and accidents at training fields began to fall off, and within a month had reached a fairly low level. The Truman Committee finally relented, and stopped its demands for the cessation of Marauder production. Nevertheless, the derogatory nicknames still persisted, and word had not gotten down to the grass roots level that the problems with the B-26 had been identified and corrected. Student pilots still believed the popular legend that the B-26 was a deathtrap, and very few graduates requested assignment to a B-26 group.
The A-20 was designed to meet an Army Air Corps attack specification in 1938 but was in use by the French and British before delivery to US squadrons. Begun as a company- funded venture, the Havoc eventually became the most-produced Army Air Forces attack aircraft. It was also the one of the first US combat aircraft to have a nosewheel. On July 4, 1942, the first Army Air Forces bomber mission over Western Europe was flown by US crews of the 15th Bomb Squadron operating British Bostons IIIs (the Royal Air Force's name for most of their Havocs) against airfields in the Netherlands. The A-20 was used in every theater of the war and was also flown by Australia, Brazil, South Africa, and the Netherlands. The Soviets actually received more A-20s than the US did, but little is known about the type's operational career there. Some of the Dutch aircraft were captured by the Japanese and appropriated into service. The export version of the A-20C was the first aircraft to be ordered under a lend-lease contract. The P-70 was a modified A-20 fitted with an airborne intercept radar and four 20-mm cannon in a belly package as an interim night fighter until the P-61 was available. The F-3A was the photoreconnaissance version.
The A-26, the last aircraft designated as an "attack bomber," was designed to replace the Douglas A-20 Havoc/Boston. It incorporated many improvements over the earlier Douglas designs. The first three XA-26 prototypes first flew in July 1942, and each was configured differently: Number One as a daylight bomber with a glass nose, Number Two as a gun-laden night-fighter, and Number Three as a ground-attack platform, with a 75-millimeter cannon in the nose. This final variant, eventually called the A-26B, was chosen for production.
Upon its delivery to the 9th Air Force in Europe in November 1944 (and the Pacific Theater shortly thereafter), the A-26 became the fastest US bomber of WWII. The A-26C, with slightly-modified armament, was introduced in 1945. The A-26s combat career was cut short by the end of the war, and because no other use could be found for them, many A-26s were converted to JD-1 target tugs for the US Navy.
A strange aircraft-designation swap occurred in 1948, when the Martin B-26 Marauder was deactivated and the Douglas A-26 was re-designated the B-26. (It kept this designation until 1962.) B-26s went on to serve extensively in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. In Vietnam, they were commonly used in the Counter-Insurgency (COIN) role, with very heavy armament and extra power. This version, the B-26K, was based in Thailand and was, to confuse things further, called the A-26 for political reasons. B-26s were also used for training, VIP transport, cargo, night reconnaissance, missile guidance and tracking, and as drone-control platforms.
HEY!!! There's no treads on that vehicle!!
Just making sure you're still on the job. ;-)
Nice picture! Hiya Feather. :-)
Nice picture! Hiya Feather. :-)
It's a beautiful thing. Good to see you CJ.
We didn't build it on Tuesday. :-(
Performance numbers from Wikipedia
B-25J performance figures
* Maximum speed: 275 mph (239 knots, 442 km/h)
* Cruise speed: 230 mph (200 knots, 370 km/h)
* Combat radius: 1,350 mi (1,170 nm, 2,170 km)
* Ferry range: 2,700 mi (2,300 nm, 4,300 km)
* Service ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,600 m)
* Rate of climb: 790 ft/min (4 m/s)
* Wing loading: 55 lb/ft² (270 kg/m²)
* Power/mass: 0.110 hp/lb (182 W/kg)
Crew: six (two pilots, navigator/bombardier, turret gunner/engineer, radio operator/waist gunner, tail gunner
* Guns: 12× .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns
* Bombs: 6,000 lb (2,700 kg)
B-26G perormance figures
* Maximum speed: 287 mph (250 knots, 460 km/h) at 5,000 ft (1,500 m)
* Cruise speed: 216 mph (188 knots, 358 km/h)
* Landing speed: 104 mph (90 knots, 167))
* Combat radius: 999 nm (1,150 mi, 1,850 km)
* Ferry range: 2,480 nm (2,850 mi, 4,590 km)
* Service ceiling: 21,000 ft (6,400 ft)
* Wing loading: 46.4 lb/ft² (228 kg/m²)
* Power/mass: 0.10 hp/lb (170 W/kg)
* Lift-to-drag ratio: 12.0
Crew: seven: (2 pilots, bombardier, navigator/radio operator, 3 gunners)
* Guns: 12× .50 in (12.7 mm) Colt-Browning machine guns
* Bombs: 4,000 lb (1,800 kg)
So it looks like the B-25 has an advantage in range and bomb load vs the B-26.
The original B-26 was, for it's day, a very hot airplane with performanc efigures far in excess of the B-25. It was the high performance that gave fledging aircrews a lot of problems initially. MacDtll AFB in Florida was the home to the B-26 training unit and crashes were numerous. Things got so bad the Gen. Arnold had Jimmy Doolittle go down and check out the training as the AAF was thinking of cancelling the Marauder program. The basic problem was that a lot of the aircrew had NO twin engiine experience. Kinda like giving a 16 year kid with a new license the keys to an AC Cobra. SAMWolf covered this in #35
The B-25 on the other hand was relatively speaking a much more sedate aircraft to fly. I also suspect the the B-25 held up to battle damage a little better than the B-26 but I don't recall where I read this.
One other tidbit regards the B-26 FWIW. In the opening days of WW-II the 22nd Bomb Group was sent to Australia to help in the fight against the Japanese. They were equipped with the original shortwinged B-26As. In raids over japanese airfields on New Guinea after completing thier bomb runs the B-26sa were able to pull away from the Jap fighters. See Martian Caidan's Ragged Rugged Warriors for the full story.
Hope this helped some
Thanks to both of you for the info. The B-26 definitely looked sleeker. And newer. But I, personally, like the rugged looks of the B-25 better, it could both dish it out and take it, my favorite. I've read somewhere that it, like the DC-3, was very versatile, the most versatile airplane of the war, in fact.
Great pic Soaring Feather!
January 23, 2007
Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. Jonah 1:3
Why do people run away from God? Is it because of anger, disappointment, despair, disobedience, or a web of rebellion woven from our own desires?
The book of Jonah looks at a prophet who rejected Gods call to deliver His word to the people of Nineveh. In the first chapter (vv.3,10), we read that Jonah deliberately headed for Tarshish to run away from the Lord. He knew exactly where he was going and why. After being given a second chance (3:1-2), Jonah delivered Gods message but reacted angrily when the Lord spared the repentant city (3:104:2).
The book ends with the Lord speaking to Jonah about His compassion: Should I not pity Nineveh? (4:11). But theres no indication that the disgruntled prophet changed his attitude. The people of Nineveh repented; Jonah did not.
The story of Jonah should cause each of us to be honest about our feelings toward the Lord. Do we harbor resentment for His leniency toward people we feel deserve judgment? Have we forgotten that God has forgiven us? Are we ready to obey His call and leave the outcome to Him?
The story of Jonah illuminates our reactions to God and measures our willingness to trust Him when we cant understand His ways.