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A Wing and a Prayer: The Bloody 100Th Bomb…
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A Wing and a Prayer: The "Bloody 100Th" Bomb Group of the U.S. Eighth Air Force in Action over Europe in World War II (original 1993; edição 1994)

por Harry H. Crosby (Autor)

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They began operations out of England in the spring of '43. They flew their Flying Fortresses almost daily against strategic targets in Europe in the name of freedom. Their astonishing courage and appalling losses earned them the name that resounds in the annals of aerial warfare and made the "Bloody Hundredth" a legend. Harry H. Crosby-soon to be, portrayed by Anthony Boyle in the miniseries Masters of the Air developed by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg-arrived with the very first crews, and left with the very last. After dealing with his fear and gaining in skill and confidence, he was, promoted to Group Navigator, surviving hairbreadth escapes and eluding death while leading thirty-seven missions, some of them involving two thousand aircraft. Now, in a breathtaking and often humorous account, he takes us into the hearts and minds of these intrepid airmen, to experience both the triumph and the white-knuckle terror of the war in the skies.… (mais)
Membro:SLA_English
Título:A Wing and a Prayer: The "Bloody 100Th" Bomb Group of the U.S. Eighth Air Force in Action over Europe in World War II
Autores:Harry H. Crosby (Autor)
Informação:HarperCollins (1994)
Coleções:English Classroom, Non-Fiction
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:World War II

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A Wing and a Prayer: The "Bloody 100Th" Bomb Group of the U.S. Eighth Air Force in Action over Europe in World War II por Harry H. Crosby (1993)

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Author Crosby has written an autobiography of his experiences during WWII in the 8th Air Force. I read it because this book was the basis of the mini-series, "Masters of the Air" which did not do justice to Crosby's character. "Masters" writers obviously took license with the book upon which it was based. The book reinforced two things from my career as an Air Force (SAC) navigator during the 1970s-1980s.. 1. In 30 years, nothing changed with respect to the way that navigators are treated. 2. Strategic Air Command's character was forged by the 8th Air Force over Europe during WWII. Crosby after "Masters" includes several more war stories and his lifetime decisions. An excellent read. ( )
  buffalogr | Mar 23, 2024 |
Crosby was one of the most experienced and best navigator’s in WW II. This is his extraordinary memoir. He reveals all his self-doubts in a most humble fashion. His superior navigating (he often ascribed it to luck, got him promoted to Group Navigator. At one point he was just one mission shy of the twenty-five needed to get sent home, when, ironically, because the horrendous loss rate had begun to decline, the number needed was raised to thirty. The rationale for doing so was truly monstrously evil. The assumption was that given the loss rates approaching 100% over 25 missions, when loss rates dropped, the logistics of supply changed:
“Until then, 8AF losses were about four percent per mission. Theoretically, by the time we had flown twenty-five missions, we were KIA or POW, and we had to be replaced. If we bucked the odds, we got to go home. Since the Eighth couldn’t plan on our being there we might as well not be taking up bunks and rations. Now, losses declined a little, down to about three percent, and our human logistics changed. We had to fly thirty missions”.
“On this mission, one crew, piloted by Glenn Dye, flew their twenty-fifth. They were done. They could go home. They were the only original crew of the 100th’s original thirty-five who finished a tour. One out of thirty-five made it through a tour. And even on Dye’s crew, one gunner was killed. None of the original crew all made it. That did not encourage us much.”
Navigators were crucial to the success, and return, of a mission. In his scrapbook* on the Smithsonian website, Crosby flatly states, “From a good pilot all I expected was a good truck driver. I wanted him to shut up, drive the plane, and stay out of things and as the navigator and the bombardier took care of the mission.” They had to rely on dead reckoning and radios for navigation; all the celestial navigation skills they had been taught as school were basically useless, and their octants soon piled up in the trash.

Lots of interesting tidbits. My favorite was why he decided not to bomb Bonn and picked another target. It’s in the scrapbook, if you don’t want to read the memoir. Crosby suffered from severe airsickness, common among navigators, as they spent considerable time watching the ground from low altitudes where it was always more turbulent. On one mission, they spun out of control, the pilot recovering with just two functioning engines. The plane had 1200 shell holes, 1 dead crewman, and five injured. They just made it back to England, landing on a “dummy” airfield.

Harmony between the Brits and Americans was problematic. So many British men were overseas, leaving the country to American males. Crosby was sent to attend a conference to discuss inter-ally relations. He found it enlightening. “All during the conference, no matter what the announced subject for discussion, we always kept returning to two knotty problems, disharmony among the Allies and too much harmony between the genders.”
The B-17 was known for being a tough old bird. There was always competition between B-24 and B-17 pilots on which was the better aircraft. “You can still start an argument with a WWII Air Corps veteran as to which was better, the B-24 or the B-17. Because of its highly efficient Davis wing, the B-24 carried a heavier load and flew faster. However, because of that same slim, narrow wing, the Lib was vulnerable. Hit that wing and down went the plane. A B-17 could get its crew back on one engine. Even with half its tail torn off or with a huge, gaping hole in the wings, fuselage, or nose, a good pilot could get his Fort and his crew back to the base.”
Regardless, the 100th was notorious for its high losses. “We had too much combat exhaustion, which was what they called it when a crew member was afraid to fly and quit. We had too many midair crashes of our own planes. We had too many cases of our airmen getting into fights at the local pubs."
Losses were horrendus. Crews had a 1 in 35 chance of making it back alive.

A truly fascinating and humble look at what it was like to fly missions in a B-17 over Europe.

*https://timeandnavigation.si.edu/navigating-air/navigation-at-war/wartime-navigator/harry-crosby ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 23, 2023 |
Harry Crosby has written an honest memoir of his experience as a B-17 navigator in the 100th Bomb Group. He gives a look at the crew dog’s and the staff’s experiences that encapsulates what is was like for the bombers in the Eighth Air Force. The fact that he was a navigator was a huge plus for me. ( )
1 vote Mark_Gutis | Apr 29, 2020 |
B-17 combat crew memoirs don't get much better than this! ( )
  B-17Dave | Nov 9, 2010 |
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To the memory of Jean Crosby, and to Mary Alice Crosby, in appreciation for so much of the joy in my life then and now.
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We floated over the I.P. and headed for the T.O. Doug took over, and I heard the bomb bay door rumbling open. "Good show, Croz." This from Doug. " No crosswind." Now to see the name of the city that we were about to blow off the face of the earth. I had to record it in my log. Bonn! Bonn, Germany. That's where Beethoven went to school. Bonn! According to what I had read on the record cover, Bonn was a university town, one of the prettiest places in Germany. I hit my mike button. "All positions from navigator. I have another target. We can't bomb Bonn." "
Command to navigator. Why not?" "That is where Beethoven went to school." Nine voices from the crew, all of them with variations of "My God!" or "Shit!" Sixty-three Flying Fortresses floated over Bonn, some of them with their bomb bay doors open. But no bombs fell. This time I really did twirl the E6B. If we turned back toward home and flew a little north of course, we could bomb half the railroads in the Ruhr Valley. I gave Colonel Harding the heading and the plan. In code, he relayed the formation behind us. At this point the Luftwaffe hit us. Head-on. Same as usual. Lights blinking at us. As one German pilot went by us, he was so close I saw him adjust his goggles with his left hand. Doug was ready for the next head-on hit by a Messerschmitt, and he knocked it out of the sky. Miraculously-and maybe God was on my side after all-I saw no B17's become great balls of fire. Then Doug went back to his job. Bending over the eyepiece and twiddling his knobs, he aimed at a huge Ruhr railroad center. He creamed it.
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They began operations out of England in the spring of '43. They flew their Flying Fortresses almost daily against strategic targets in Europe in the name of freedom. Their astonishing courage and appalling losses earned them the name that resounds in the annals of aerial warfare and made the "Bloody Hundredth" a legend. Harry H. Crosby-soon to be, portrayed by Anthony Boyle in the miniseries Masters of the Air developed by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg-arrived with the very first crews, and left with the very last. After dealing with his fear and gaining in skill and confidence, he was, promoted to Group Navigator, surviving hairbreadth escapes and eluding death while leading thirty-seven missions, some of them involving two thousand aircraft. Now, in a breathtaking and often humorous account, he takes us into the hearts and minds of these intrepid airmen, to experience both the triumph and the white-knuckle terror of the war in the skies.

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