Category Archives: History

8th AAF Attrition

Bill Brandt, June 24, 2022

I just started a book that Hogday recommended, about the 8th Army Air Force in England. I know that they suffered tremendous casualties, but just cold numbers really don’t tell the whole story. Yes, more were killed flying those bombers and fighters into Nazi-occupied Europe than all of the Marines killed in the Pacific. Over 26,000 airmen were lost in those skies.

One had to complete 25 missions before you could rotate home and the odds, particularly in 1943, of doing that were if not stacked against you, pretty heavy. I’m trying to remember a statistic citing death or seriously wounded before those 25 missions were complete, but 1:3 seems to come to mind.

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Filed under Army Aviation, History

Russia Today: Living Under the Soviet Union’s Shadow?

For more years than I can remember since 1992, I have wondered if the West squandered an opportunity to help bring democracy to Russia. Much like during the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, when people accused others of “losing” Eastern Europe after WW2. It was a UVA Professor who was very influential to my thinking who said that Eastern Europe wasn’t ours to “lose” – the Soviets already occupied it. Although surely one could argue that a geopolitically naïve Franklin Roosevelt erred greatly in agreeing to let Stalin take Berlin – and have his spheres of influence. But then, the frail and dying Roosevelt believed Stalin when he promised to allow free elections.

But could Russia have evolved differently today had Boris Yeltsin had some more help and encouragement?

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Filed under Headlines, History, International Affairs, Uncategorized

The 6th of June in History

By lex, on Thu, June 3, 2004

Milblog readers will find plenty to keep them occupied during the drive to commemorate the Normandy invasions of 60 years ago..

But did you know the date’s other significance in military history? In naval history (keeping in mind that the USMC is a naval force)?

No? Then read on:

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Filed under by lex, History, Marines, Military, Neptunus Lex

Maria Aus Stuttgart *

I’ve met some interesting people along the way, and Maria is no exception. She is in my car club, and 87 years young. When we connected a few days ago, she remembered that 20 years ago, with her husband recently passed, I took her on a club drive.

I have trouble remembering something from 2 hours ago.

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Lady Be Good

Lady Be Good, as discovered 16 years later, in 1959

She was named after a popular song that had been written by George Gershwin. It had been turned into a movie.

She was a nearly new B-24D, just flown from the States to serve in the 376th Bomb Group at Soluch Airfield, Libya where the Group was tasked with bombing Italian ports feeding Hitler’s war machine.

Her crew of 9 were typical of men during that time, all in their 20s, some leaving young wives and fiancées. They had never been on a combat mission previously.

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Filed under Air Force, Army Aviation, History, USAF

Ukraine – A Bit of Recent Alternative History

A Lexican recently made a post on the F/B page that surprised me.

We just past the date where the number of days since the Berlin Fell was equal to the number of days that it was up.

10,316 days.

From August 3, 1961, when I was 11 years old, to November 9, 1989 when I was 39 years old.

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Miscellaneous Ramblings – 01/06/22

If there is an informal poll for “Worst Commerical Airport – Passenger Category” – my vote would go to SFO – San Francisco. Even getting there, between the weather and the traffic, can be a challenge. I can remember years ago, picking up my parents, that the wind and rain was so strong that I would unintentionally change lanes driving over the Bay Bridge. And on that bridge, it’s a long way down.

And because traffic can really bite you, sometimes I’ll leave an hour earlier than what I think I really need.

Once you get there – turning off from the Bayshore Freeway – that’s US 101 – you are funneled into several “Y” intersections with little time to react.

I think that they built this facility over the years in sort of an “ad hoc” manner and any “master plan” to handle the traffic went by the wayside.

At least that’s my opinion.

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Where were you 58 years ago today?

November 22, 1963

I was in the 7th grade, in between classes. A group of students was around a teacher, and the teacher said “Yes, he’s dead”. Walking down the hall in between classes, I had heard what I thought were rumors from other students in the hallway until the teacher confirmed it.

My mother was going into a Bank of America branch and saw everyone sobbing.

What a week that was for America.

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The Wright Brothers

Like Joe Rosenthal’s iconic photo of Iwo Jima, this first flight was immortalized almost by accident .

I just finished David McCullough’s wonderful book on the Wright Brothers. He did some thorough research, including many notes by them on the study of bird flight, and letters.

One theme remained with me throughout the book.

Perseverance.

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Filed under Aeronautical Engineering, Airplanes, Flying, History

On this date in history…

November 8, 1950

During the Korean War the very first- ever jet vs. jet aerial dogfight took place. U.S. Air Force pilot Lt. Russell J. Brown was flying a Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star and successfully shot down two North Korean MiG-15s, which were possibly piloted by Russians. The MiG-15 was the fastest, most maneuverable fighter jet of its day, and generally dominated the skies it flew. Taking down two in a dogfight was a tremendous opening salvo.

H/T to my Air Force friend who sent this…

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Filed under Airplanes, History, USAF