This story is one of our favorites and we thought it was time to reblog it. Without further ado, here is the tale of an unlikely friendship between two veteran World War II pilots. Two 63rd …
An aircrew of the 455th Bombardment Group, 743rd Bomb Squadron (15th AF) standing in front of the B-24H Liberator “TePee Time Gal” at San Giovanni Airfield (Foggia), Italy, 1944-45.
He -according to some sources it’s Major David G. Bellemere- is wearing a sample of typical late-WW2 clothing. Of interest are the M-2 armor vest (used by “armor-seated” crews), M-3 armor apron and M-3 flak helmet- that helmet was worn over an A-11 helmet, B-8 goggles and A-14 oxygen mask. Our friend shows his healthy individualism with those neat 1940 Pattern RAF boots.
The Americans, as usual, always overkill with any kind of gear. Better safe than sorry.
For a short time in November 1943, the 43rd Bomb Group was flying missions to a Ring Ring, a coconut plantation near Gasmata. Although these weren’t the most exciting missions, the area was being prepared for a December ground invasion, which made the mission necessary. It was observed in the 43rd’s Group History that, “Our combat crews don’t seem to think much of this type of target, preferring to hit something that will blow up with a loud noise and a satisfactory amount of flame and smoke, but the Army seems quite pleased with the results of our bombing and apparently considers the destruction of these targets essential.”
Flying from Port Moresby to Ring Ring on November 24th was 1/Lt. Henry J. Domagalski and his crew in their B-24 nicknamed ZOMBIE. Their mission was an armed reconnaissance to the area, with the crew running into no trouble as ZOMBIE’s bombs were unloaded over Garove Island. As the B-24 flew over the Dampier Strait, the crew encountered a formation of nine Japanese “Lily” bombers accompanied by 12 “Oscar” fighters returning to Wewak from a mission to Finschhafen.
Head over to A Zombie that Almost Lived up to its Name for [Paul Harvey]the rest of the story. Gooood day![/Paul Harvey]
72 years ago today
Large by huge version HERE
Located on the coast of a natural harbor on the eastern coast of New Britain, an island in the Southwest Pacific, Rabaul was a German colony in the 1900s that was captured by the Australians in World War I. Two nearby volcanoes, Vulcan and Tavurvur, erupted violently in 1937, destroying most of the city. After World War II started, it was captured by the Japanese in January 1942, after which it was transformed into a major stronghold with approximately 97,000 troops that would easily fend off Allied attacks until October and November 1943. While the Allies continued to advance towards Japan, they cut off Japanese supply routes to Rabaul and continued to bomb the city and surrounding area. It was officially surrendered at the end of the war. After the war was over, the city became a trading hub until Tavurvur erupted in 1994, once again destroying a large part of the city. Developments closest to the volcano were never rebuilt.
One of the more unusual tactics used by the Japanese against US air raids was dropping white phosphorus bombs in the midst of a bomber group. Despite the caption I don’t see a “struck down” B-24, just bursts from Willie Pete.
Here’s a similar picture and the source:
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