Download Bringing the Thunder: The Missions of a World War II B-29 by Gordon Bennett Robertson Jr. PDF
By Gordon Bennett Robertson Jr.
The B-29 bomber used to be made to leap in skinny, chilly air, losing its large bomb load from heights so nice that the crews may possibly by no means see their objectives throughout the clouds less than. That used to be simply nice with Ben Robertson, pilot answerable for one of many substantial 4 engine bombers hammering Japan to its knees in a nonstop bombing crusade within the Pacific. while common LeMay ordered the B-29s to modify strategies from sunlight, high-altitude bombing runs to night, low-level runs, Ben's perspective replaced. What used to be obvious as easily dangerous--bombing Japan--now appeared an awful lot extra like suicide.
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Additional info for Bringing the Thunder: The Missions of a World War II B-29 Pilot in the Pacific
Thinking about all of this, I had many concerns: the takeoff would be dangerous, exacting, and challenging; there was considerable weather en route; we would have neither guns nor ammunition (removed to save weight); Tokyo was the most heavily defended city in Japan; and we would fly the bomb run at only 230 miles per hour at only 5,600 feet altitude. We would be overloaded; our take-off weight was 138,000 pounds-I 3,000 pounds over the design limits of the airplane. This was to be a maximum-effort, low-level, night incendiary raid with over 300 Superforts participating.
They probably spent 99 percent of their meager air time flying in clear weather, practicing military manuevers. They were not instrument qualified. Contrasted to airline pilots who flew day and night in good weather and bad, they were woefully inadequate. So was their- equipment, which lacked the instrumentation and radios that the airlines had. Some of the pathetic but remarkable survival stories were those of pilots who had crashed in blinding snowstorms or thunderstorms while trying to visually follow a canyon, or a highway, or a railroad track while flying only feet above ground level in an open-cockpit, single-engine airplane.
We wondered what brought us back and not others. Training? Pilot skill? Or just luck and faith? We were inclined toward the latter. We were bewildered and a little lost as some realization of what the ugly business of war was all about came over us: You would have to coax an overloaded airplane off the ground while sweating out an engine failure, fire, explosion, or runaway prop on takeoff, any of which would probably be fatal; then endure the stress of a seven- or eight-hour flight to the target, much or all of it on instruments in storms.