In April 1944, while B-17 Flying Fortresses of the USAAF’s 8th Air Force 381 BG bombed German aircraft production centers, they were intercepted by Messerschmitt Me 410s of Stab II / ZG 26.
October 24, 2016
April 18, 2015
Comments Off on Release Your Brakes and Hunt for Heaven by William S. Phillips
“They came from our secret base at Shangri-la,” President Roosevelt claimed of Doolittle’s “land-based” B-25 bombers that attacked Japan on April 18, 1942. It is common knowledge today that they flew from the deck of the carrier USS Hornet. However, back then, the idea of a fully laden, twin-engine bomber taking off in less than 500 feet was just as much a surprise to the Japanese as it was just to the US airmen whose job it would be to fly the mission.
Beginning 1 March 1942, in preparation for the famous Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, twenty-four crews were selected to pick up modified B-25 bombers in Minneapolis and fly them to Eglin Field, Florida. There the crews received intensive training for three weeks in simulated carrier deck takeoffs, low-level and night flying, low-altitude bombing and over-water navigation, primarily out of Wagner Field, Auxiliary Field 1.
Here William Phillips’ Release Your Brakes and Hunt for Heaven depicts Lieutenant Henry Miller, USN, from nearby Naval Air Station Pensacola supervising the training which would prepare the crews for their carrier take-offs. Airmen were instructed to “drop the landing flaps, pour on the coal and pull-up on the yoke.” None of the assembled volunteers would have ever guessed that in just under two months, sixteen B-25’s, loaded to 31,000 lbs – a ton greater than its designed maximum load – would claw their way into the air in less than 300 feet from a carrier off the hostile shores of Japan.
November 12, 2014
Compiled from official source documents this book covers the entire period of the USAAF, pre-war and post-war, and throughout World War II, up to the fomation of the independent U.S. Air Force in 1947. Described are many hitherto unknown facts about the U
July 21, 2014
Although best remembered for its exploits with Eighth Air Force units, the Mustang, in its various marks, actually made its combat debut firstly with the Royal Air Force in the Army co-operation role, and then with the USAAF’s tactically-optimised Ninth and Fifteenth Air Forces. Seeing action in Western Europe and the Mediterranean, pilots like Glenn T Eagleston, John J Voll and Samuel J Brown notched up impressive scores flying P-51Bs and Ds with the 354th, 31st and 52nd Fighter Groups. Rarely given the exposure enjoyed by their high-scoring brethren in the ‘Mighty Eighth’, this volume at last sets the record straight on Europe’s remaining Mustang aces.