And There's No Victory Parade In Indiana by M.A.Meddings
My father was a member of the RAF's Bomber command during the second world war. He was a navigator and at the start of the war flew missions in Wellington bombers where he had to navigate using a dead reckoning method with a sextant and the benefit of the star formations. The Wellington bomber had a special observation dome on top of the fusilage for that purpose. In early 1940 he transferred and was attached to the Royal Canadian airforce where he served for the rest of the war.
During that service he came into contact in 1942 with the newly arrived American army airforce and was actively involved in night raid training for the crews.
The Americans firmly believed that daylight raids using the greater flight ceiling of the flying fortress bomber would allow them greater accuracy in pinpoint bombing of targets and their tactic of precision bombing was used.
The german fighter pilots however quickly learned that a frontal attack on the Fortress virtually neautralised the bombers fire power since the flying fortresses armament was mostly concentrated on the sides and the rear of the aircraft. The Americans suffered very heavy losses during these initial raids .
A design change later on corrected this fault and the attacks continued right through to the end of the war.
Whilst the RAF continued with night raids there was a virtually continuous bombing campaign on German industrial production which eventually told and broke its back.
The bombing raids on Germany by the 8th Air Force and the RAF's bomber command, took the heart out of Germany's industrial production. By September 1944 , Germany had lost 75% of Its fuel production. Out of the 1.5 million tons of bombs dropped on Germany, the flying fortress bomber dropped 500,000 tons. The 8th Air Force had fired 99 million rounds of ammunition during these flights and it is thought that 20,000 German planes were destroyed. In total, over 12,000 flying fortresses were built in the war and nearly 250,000 Americans experienced flying in them. 46,500 were either killed or wounded. However, the part played by the Flying fortress in the European theatre of war was of great importance.
Into the crucible they went these boys
Young men with their 'gum chum'
And silk stockings for the girls
latter day cowboys in base ball caps
Yankee doodle hero's come to the fight
Over there, over there , oh the Yanks
Are coming the Yanks are coming
Now we see them every where
'Got any gum chum'
The schoolchildren cry
But these Yanks had come to die for freedom
Come to fly from the floating army base
That was Britain my homeland 1942
These boys were
The eight united states army airforce
Raw recruits to the air war on Germany
Precision bombing bravado
Took the toll
Roll flying fortress roll
With your gun decks
Armed to the teeth
Yet none to the Fore
So the crews bore the brunt
Of dreadful losses
For initial design tactical error
Attack from the front
was all they need do
To bamboozle the skip
And his whole damn crew
Down in the drink
My daddy and Blue
And there's no Victory parade
Poetry by lastromantichero
Read 1603 times
Written on 2007-02-10 at 12:07
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Phyllis J. Rhodes
Phyllis J. Rhodes