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D-Day: Planning the  Aerial  Assault

D-Day: Planning the Aerial Assault

Today the numbers involved in Operation Overlord are unthinkable: 6,000 bombers, more than 5,000 fighters, some 1,600 transport aircraft, and 2,500 gliders. All crammed into scores of airfields throughout Britain, but mainly in southern England. All were serviced, armed, and assigned aircrews, eager to take off on the day called “D.” That spring, the American […]
Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker: 1929’s Heavy Hauler

Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker: 1929’s Heavy Hauler

An old workhorse goes back to work We only have roads into town three months of the year, while all the lakes and rivers are frozen. Otherwise the only way into Norman Wells and many of the other communities around us is by airplane. Usually float planes. That’s why I had the Bellanca CH-300 restored. […]

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Hawk 33 – A Day in the Life of a Vietnam Cobra Pilot

Hawk 33 – A Day in the Life of a Vietnam Cobra Pilot

March 20, 1971, was not a good day for American and Vietnamese forces engaged in Operation Lam Son 719. Originally billed as the operation that would prove the success of “Vietnamization,” that the South Vietnamese Army and Marines were capable of taking on North Vietnamese main force units successfully, the incursion into Laos was becoming […]
Sen-toku: Japan’s Underwater Aircraft Carriers

Sen-toku: Japan’s Underwater Aircraft Carriers

Sneaking Up On America … Again Pearl Harbor was the first. The American West Coast was to be next for a sneak bacteriological attack. Then, bomb New York City and obliterate the Panama Canal. According to the Japanese High Command, that was all to be accomplished early in the conflict—and they were deadly serious about […]

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D-Day Fighter Pilot Accounts: Little Friends Over the Beach

D-Day Fighter Pilot Accounts: Little Friends Over the Beach

They must have been a sight for sore eyes to the soldiers on the beach as wave after wave of fighters, bombers, and paratrooper-stuffed transports, some towing gliders, passed overhead, all of them adorned with black and white painted stripes. The invasion was on, and many of the fighter pilots expecting a Luftwaffe slugfest were […]
A P-40 Fighter Pilot’s Inspiration: six year old Georgie Boy

A P-40 Fighter Pilot’s Inspiration: six year old Georgie Boy

The “greatest generation” as a whole did not need a reason to fight. Provoked by a ferocious Axis that threatened to enslave the world, hundreds and thousands of young men answered the call to arms.  Preserving freedom, peace and security for future generations were the primary reason men signed up for service. Others saw it […]

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Curtis SB2C Helldiver and Ben Case: Bombing in the Beast

Curtis SB2C Helldiver and Ben Case: Bombing in the Beast

Ben Case and the SB2C Helldiver. We were launched while our fleet was 180 to 200 miles northeast of Manila. My group was assigned to hit Japanese ships in Manila Harbor. As we approached our dive area at 10,000 feet, big, black puffs of smoke from anti-aircraft fire began popping all around us.” Leslie Bennett […]
U.S. 8th Army Air Force – The Mighty Eighth

U.S. 8th Army Air Force – The Mighty Eighth

What a difference a year can make The changes came unbelievably fast. On January 1, 1943, the U.S. 8th Army Air Force in Britain numbered six bomb groups and one fighter group. Twelve months later the lineup had expanded to 26 bomb groups and 10 fighter. But even that was incomplete. Through 1944, the Eighth […]

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Carrier Aviation’s Greatest Error: Landing on the wrong deck.

Carrier Aviation’s Greatest Error: Landing on the wrong deck.

Other than a ramp strike, probably the most embarrassing error in carrier aviation is landing on the wrong flight deck. That’s what happened to this VF-111 “Sundowners” pilot who returned to his home, USS Lake Champlain (CVA-39), with a billboard’s worth of non-regulation markings applied to his F9F-5 Panther. During the period immediately after the […]
WW II’s Submarine-Sinking Fairey Swordfish

WW II’s Submarine-Sinking Fairey Swordfish

It’s impossible to look at the Fairey Swordfish, affectionately known as the “Stringbag,” and not say, “You have to be kidding! This was one of the Royal Navy’s most effective weapons of WW II?” A gigantic, bi-winged personification of the word “anachronistic,” as the saying goes, the Swordfish may have been ugly, but it was […]
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