I just finished watching a YouTube video on a comparison between the Focke-Wulf FW-190 and the P-51 Mustang.
Learned a lot of things. I knew that the Mustang really came into its own when a Rolls Royce test pilot, Ronald Harker, decided to substitute the Allison V12 for a Merlin. Didn’t realize that (A) the Merlin was still more powerful at 20,000 feet than the Allison was at sea-level, and (B) fuel consumption was significantly improved. It was a win-win, and turned the Mustang from a good fighter to an icon. Actually it was a “win-win-win” as it gave the Mustang the high altitude performance that it lacked.
I have written a bit about the 5 Hollywood directors who went to the front lines both in the Pacific and ETO for WW2.
And I reviewed the work of one of them, William Wyler, with the brilliant restoration of his unused film in making his Memphis Belle. There is more to write about these 5 fascinating directors, but suffice it to say there is a nice Netflix documentary, with commentary by 5 contemporary famous directors, on them.
That has to be a future post for me.
In the meantime on the F/B page, Hogday posted a fascinating video from George Stevens on Germany right after the war.
On February 19, 1945, Operation Detachment commenced and the landings on Iwo Jima began.
Seventy-five years ago, U.S. Marines came ashore on a desolate eight-square-mile volcanic island dominated by Mount Suribachi and located roughly halfway between the Marianas and Tokyo. Iwo Jima’s value lay in its airfields. B-29 Superfortresses that were damaged or low on fuel could land there, and Army Air Forces fighters based on the island could escort the bombers to their targets in Japan. Three Marine divisions—more than 70,000 men—had the task of seizing the island. But an operation that U.S. commanders forecast would take a week to complete would stretch out to five weeks, and the Marines’ determination and sacrifice on Iwo Jima would become enduring touchstones for the Corps.
Before that time, the Marines didn’t know that the Japanese would be in a labyrinth of tunnels, bunkers, and caves, prepared over many months in anticipation of their landing. They could wait out the massive bombardments of the Navy ships. One tunnel was 90′ deep.
They had seriously underestimated the Japanese defenses. The battle would last 36 bloody days. For every square mile of that island, more than 800 Marines would lose their lives.
When I was in Germany all those years ago, I was interested in talking to Germans about the war. I met a middle-aged couple on the train who admitted that until Stalingrad, they thought Hitler was great. And, knowing the condition Germany was in after the first World War, I could understand them if not agree with them. Even in the late 30s after Krystallnacht, those Germans who could not see the evil coming chose to ignore it.
I just had one of the more pleasant and interesting afternoons that I can remember in some time. A few days ago, an ad from the Neptunus Lex Facebook page blipped by – “History Come Alive – a Talk With Bud Anderson and Dean “Diz” Laird at the California Aerospace Museum.
I had to get a ticket.
Anderson, as many know, flew with Chuck Yeager (they are friends to this day) in the famous 357th Fighter Group. He is a triple ace.
Before today, I hadn’t heard of Dean “Diz” Laird. He too is an ace and is the only Navy WW2 ace to have served in both the ETO and the PTO.
Until today, I didn’t even know that the U.S. Navy had an aviation presence in the ETO.
We all write books – books of our lives. For those who believe in a Deity, perhaps our book is reviewed for us when it is time.
Virtually all of us leave this world with our books unknown by anyone else. One of the reasons I have enjoyed re-posting so much of Lex’s work, is that he left his book – or I should say, much of his book, for the world to see. He was a man I admired and respected.