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8th AF Bombers.....


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#1 Martin Bull

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 07:16 AM

I thought I'd set this thread up before Crazy and Erich totally hijack my Mosquito one ! ;)

The B17 / B24 comparison can raise temperatures among veterans. The unglamorous B24 came in for a lot of 'ribbing'.
During the war, Fortress crews in East Anglia would often refer to the 'Banana Boat' as ' the packing crate they flew the B-17 over in'.

Now that's cruel ..... tongue.gif

[ 18 September 2002, 02:16 AM: Message edited by: Martin Bull ]
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#2 Tony Williams

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 07:34 AM

The B-24 had a much more efficient wing, which gave it a significantly better payload/range performance than the B-17. Because of this, RAF Coastal Command was keen to use them for long-range maritime patrol.

However, it seems that the B-24's flying characteristics were not as pleasant, and it was also more vulnerable to battle damage so more easily brought down.

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#3 Erich

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 04:00 PM

Well I cannot add much as I don;t have any time the rest of the week so here is my brief sentance on all of this.......

Both of the a/c crews as mentioned by Martin/ a bit of disruption when it comes to which was far superior.......they were equal in my opinion and needed. The B-24 could not reach the heights of the B-24 and was easily flamed especially by Fw 190 pilots in comparison to the B-17. From Luftwaffe standards as of summer through fall of 1944, both a/c were easily shot out of the sky and only because of masses of Allied escorts that there were not more. Got off topic there.....ooooppppssss....

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#4 CrazyD

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 06:44 AM

Thanks, Martin!
In case anyone didn't already read Martin's thread, I was just put on a project at work that deals with the 8th Air Force in ww2. Although I can't use any of you gents as legitimate source material (no matter how brilliant any of us are, textbooks are understandebly cautious in their sources!), this is all new to me, so I'd greatly appreciate pointers. And I'm quickly fascinated- I've mainly studied russia and armored warfare, so the air war stuff is relatively new. Feel free to go off in any direction (Erich ;) )(Friedrich, we MUST stay away from russia here! :D )- it's all new and interesting to me!

I'm still reading, and haven't really gotten enough to compare the two bombers. It does seem a drawback though that the B-24 apparently had a lower altitude ceiling than the B-17... correct?

And again, I can promise that I'll have plenty of issues to keep this thread going! (I'm gone till monday, but next week I'm full on this project)
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#5 Erich

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 03:52 PM

Crazy :

what is considered a legitimate source ? A textbook ? I think we can all say that the only sources really worth quoting are from vets although after 50 years they at times need a little help .....

there is also www.b24.com I think ?

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#6 Friedrich

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Posted 20 September 2002 - 12:03 AM

I like the B-24, but also like the B-17. :confused:

What am I doing here? As Crazy says, my head is too Eastern right now... I don't know much about aeroplanes and even less about American ones... but I think that the B-17 could receive a bit more damages than the B-24... (Am I right?) But the B-24 was better for missions further away...
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#7 Erich

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Posted 20 September 2002 - 04:38 AM

Friedrich :

They both could fly similiar distances. The B-17 had a higher altitude gain than the B-24. It did seem to Luftwaffe pilots that the B-24 was more easily damaged but I think it is a case of where the HE rounds landed. Not all landed where the pilots wanted them placed......near the inner wing and inboard engines, so the fuselage was holed pretty good at times and the tail and rudder shredded. I've got a few cine films of Luftwaffe gun camera footage and I can tell you that from summer 44 onward the Minen Geschoss 20mm and 30mm did gruesome damage to both US bombers. At times the B-24 Liberator was not fitted with a belly turret so this may also come in as a factor if the German a/c came in from below. The sturmgruppen that we have dedicated a web-site to came in a wedge formation than line abreast to then pick out individul bombers then at 150-200 yeards and closed within 30 metres at times before peeling off right or left. Their mode was to attack either from behind and slightly above(most preferred), or behind and slightly below where they would appear as many a US tailgunner has told me, to almost stand on theri props as they let loose with their cannons.
Both bombers were armed quite well with the .50's, twins in the tail and twins in the front, later with twins in the side gunner position in the B-17. German pilots had a very high respect for the Allied bombers especially during the beginnings of the attack when the Allied bombers were flying in tight boxes(pulks)...

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#8 CrazyD

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Posted 23 September 2002 - 04:00 PM

Good question on the sources Erich... Actually, we do have some leeway for what we use. Even in our textbooks, we can (and often do) note something like "Historians differ on accounts of this..." or something to that effect. My only point was (unfortunately) I can't actually cite one of YOU gents as a source. You know- I can't say "someone on this forum says...". But besides that, I'll look at anything. Sources that are obviously very biased are usually out, but besides that we're pretty flexible. And Erich, you're right- vets are good, even better is something that combines veteran accounts with more recent history to back them up...

And, first thing monday (oh goody...) I've got one. We want to come up with a map of one of the 8th Air Force raids on german targets. Preferably one of the more well known ones- the ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt comes to mind...
This would be a simple map, showing basically the route taken from England to the target, the route taken back to England, and, ideally, some areas where the B-17s ran into heavy Flak or fighter opposition.
Any ideas, anyone?

Also, on a general note, as Erich has already done, if anyone knows of any good internet resources on the 8th, I'd love to know about them as well...

Thanks, gents! :D

Friedrich, good call one the B-17 vs. B-24. That's the idea I get- toughger B-17, more range on B-24. And I'll still be "heading east" quite often... that's still my personal favorite area!
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#9 Erich

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Posted 23 September 2002 - 04:53 PM

Crazy :

Sadly our web-site is down as it would give you a "both" sides persepctive from summer of 44 till end of 44. Both means just that, the German as well as the American vets plus archival footage and officail documentation via the bomb groups and their representatives.
May I suggest the following for starts and hoping not to confuse you with the mass of detail....

www.fightertwon.prg
www.fighteraces.org
www.armyairforces.com
www.lf/czu/cz/museum119
www.kasselmission.org
www.353rd.com
www.pyker.dircon.co.uk/index.htm
www.b24bestweb.com
www.altus.af.mil/ho_www/combat.html this may be down.
Also just typing in the specific bomb group like "445th bomb group", may yield some results.

these are a few of the many that are out there !

Also there is 1/2 books on the Schweinfurt raid "Double Strike" by Ed Jablonski comes to mind but am not sure if it has a plot map.
Depending on the funds available for your lengthy articles I would also recommend this site :

http://aviationarchive.com

a bit spendy but has given me some good materials to work with.

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#10 Erich

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Posted 23 September 2002 - 06:52 PM

Crazy :

Just a thought, but if you have time, check with your library for this title....."Black Thursday" by Martin Caidin. This title also covers the Schweinfurt raid.

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#11 Erich

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Posted 23 September 2002 - 07:12 PM

If I could spell it would be a miracle !

one of the links is incorrect and maybe a couple are dead, you will have to check them out.

www.fightertown.org this is the correct one.

USAF chronolgy is :

http://paul.rutgers..../wwii/usaf/html
or
http://www.armyairfo...combathistories

think I've got the flu........
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#12 Erich

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Posted 23 September 2002 - 07:20 PM

Forget the last link Crazy, I must really be sick.......try this as a time line for your needs.

www.armyairfoces.com/aaftimeline.asp

I'm headin for bed ! :mad:

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#13 CrazyD

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Posted 23 September 2002 - 08:09 PM

Haha! Erich, I just returned frm the library. My original intent- Black Thrusday! I've already used Caidin's "Flying Forts". He seems pretty good, if a bit old- 60s, I believe. Good stuff though.
I wound up skipping Caidin in favor of the 3-volume "The Army Air Forces in World War II", edited by W.F. Craven and J.L. Cate. This one is from 1951, even older than Caidin, but it is huge and filled with info. Caidin actually uses a map for Schweinfurt- taken from this volume.

Ooops- that last link won't work on my machine for some reason...
Oh well...
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#14 Erich

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Posted 23 September 2002 - 10:42 PM

I'm sorry Crazy, the last link should read : armyairforces as the insertion. My head is banging and I've had the heaves so I will get off again, the flu is all around me now....treats !

Yuk

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#15 CrazyD

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 05:10 AM

Hope you feel better, Erich... flu's no fun at all.

[ 24 September 2002, 09:39 AM: Message edited by: CrazyD88 ]
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#16 CrazyD

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 02:44 PM

Wow! OK, I got that one working. I looked at that site before, but somehow missed that part.
Talk about detailed...
wow...

We got a map, but the question is still open. We got maps for the second attack on Schweinfurt (43) and Poliesti. But more would be fine. And the maps we found only have german airfields and fighter intercepts- no Flak concentrations.

Or- maybe does anyone know of a source that shows something of where in France and Germany the german Flak concentrations were?
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#17 Erich

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 06:08 PM

Hey, I'm drugged but I am here..now if I can spell I'd feel that much better.....

C, it is very difficult to pinpoint the Flak sites because there were so many and in several group configurations. The only thing close in my pea brain are the books by Schiffer pubs on the 88mm flak, and I think there are at least 4 to 5 published. Not aware of any web-site dedicated to Flak which is strange. A remote possbility is to write the city of Schweinfurt through their local city/tourist board, from here if you can reach them is to try their local historical branch and hopeful again that the records have not been destroyed. It may be futile but least you are attempting. In fact the city toursim board may have a website just by typing in www.schweinfurt.de or something similiar / of course what I just typed in may not even work, but if it idoes this will give you much quicker access. Other than this the possiblity of going through the national archiv's to see if there are Flak dispacements mentioned even through aerial photography during 1943 because the two attacks on the ball bearing factories were scanned over repeatedly before, during and after the battle(s)

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#18 CrazyD

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 06:36 PM

Hey, drugged up is better than sick...

We don't really need that much detail on the Flak. It is more that I would have liked to include some one the map. We can probably just do some reading and look for something like "we encountered especially heavy Flak over xxx...", then just put something on the map.
Not sure if I mentioned this, but the book I'm working on will be aimed at grade school/highschool, so we don't need too much detail.

The project is in a bit of a lull right now, so I likely won't have any issues for a couple days.

But I must say, this project is getting me more and more inetersted in the air war...
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#19 Erich

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 07:04 PM

C I'm taking this silly medication so I don't get sick and it is throwing my eyes all wacky like back in the 60's......yeah baby time to tok one up !.....arg ! I remember you now stating the work to be completed for the grade school students. Well not sure about how much detail you really want, but believe it or not there is quite a bit written, it is just taking the time out for the research end. Fun but time consuming with many disappointments. Any questions send me a private if you would like.

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#20 CrazyD

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 07:47 PM

Appreciate the offer, Erich- and I may well take you up on it.
More to the point though, this project is really getting me interested in the air war. I've been reading some of the other threads here on the air war, and I'm hoping to learn more. Hopefully, I'll soon be able to get in on some of the discussions you gents have.
'Cause the 8th project is for work... but once I really start to get interested in the air war, the 8th may well take a backseat.
I've already read some bits about that german ace, Hartman? The one with 300 and something kills? Wow...
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#21 Erich

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 09:16 PM

I don't know Crazy, studying some of the Luftwaffe aces such as Hartmann, Barkhorn and Rall, just to name several can be quite addicting ! ;) You'll never want to study the ground actions ever again.......ha ha ! I have found it very stimulating over the 37 plus years just as gents as Timo on the 1st SS Recon and Herr Kaleun on the U-booten arm, Ron on the Pacific front and others. I really do appreciate the diverse nature of our forum members as it would be somewhat of a drag to have to just discuss the same tired theaters repeatedly. Anyway as I mentioned the invitation is open. Getting back to Flak if you are intersted this is an Austrian site which has quite a few links besides covering Flak defences around Vienna. I beleive it shows in summary fashion the coverage of flak as a general rule for the major centers in all of Austria during the war. I haven't visted this link for a while but look for the mention of Luftwaffe and punch that up and it should bring up some nice materials.

www.geheimprojekte.at/

also our forum has Tony Williams from the UK who has quite the knowledge of AA guns /.....ammo / so this is a possiblity to if interested in ballistics and ranges given of certain weapons systems.

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#22 Mustang

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Posted 28 September 2002 - 11:59 PM

I think that one of the reasons that the eight air force did so well is the fact that the P-51 did very well as an escort and gave it very good defense against enemy fighters. Two drop-tanks could be affitted to the P-51 making it so that it could escort B-29's on very long trips. The B-29 had a range of 5,400 miles. :eek:
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#23 Friedrich

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Posted 29 September 2002 - 03:13 AM

Do anybody know how did the "George", flown by a good pilot performed against the P-51? It was the best Japanesse fighter at the moment, I think...
"War is less costly than servitude, the choice is always between Verdun and Dachau." - Jean Dutourd, French veteran of both world wars

"A mon fils: depuis que tes yeux sont fermes les miens n’ont cessé de pleurir." - Mère française, Verdun

#24 Mustang

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Posted 29 September 2002 - 03:58 AM

I just looked it up. The Kawanishi N1K-2 Shiden could hold it's own against the P-51. The only plane which gave it serious trouble was the F4U Corsair. It was also one of the most heavily armed planes in WWII, with 4 20 millimeter cannon and 2 machine guns. :eek: Since it did not do well for the purpose it was intended for, which was that of a bomber-destroyer, it was seen as a failure by the Japanese. It did not go into production until late 1944.

Some planes do better against other planes than others that others do against others. ;)

[ 28 September 2002, 11:00 PM: Message edited by: Mustang ]
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#25 Erich

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Posted 02 October 2002 - 08:29 PM

Crazy

I was just doing some research this morn for two family's interested in the Air war missions in October 1943. I have a listing of kills claimed by the Luftwaffe against the B-17 formations on August 14, 1943 whilst attacking the Schweinfurt VKF ball-bearing werk's. You you like this information for your book project ? I will be working on this and other items for late 43 for veterans/families so the info will be handy if needed......

E
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