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Old 11-18-2009, 10:51 PM
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1943 B-17 crew

I ran across some photos. Since it is a bit passed Veteran's Day I decided that I would post this anyway to illustrate the way it was when we were in the worst stages of the war in the air. This crew is in front of a B-17F: no chin turret, no nose guns, and obviously not much future.
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:10 AM
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Good picture.
It is an amazing amount of courage and focus to stay, on what seems like an eternity, flying the straight and level bomb run, in formation, unable to maneuver from the Hun's attentions.

The fighter pilots may win the headlines, but the attack/bomber crews won the war..
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Old 11-21-2009, 12:25 PM
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Interesting:


42-29749 Belle of the Bayous, with rear: Lt H. Banton, Lt. J. Omohundro, Sgt. O. Click, Sgt. P. O'Leary, Sgt. H. Prezlomski, Lt. J. Carson, Lt. R. Matthews, front: Sgt. J. Degraf, Sgt. R. Nelson, Sgt. G. Brown and Sgt. E. Smith


42-29749
Sep. 6 1943 landed at West Malling. Pilot Lt. Daniel D. Nauman.
Sep. 16 1943 landed North Cornwall. Pilot Lt. Jack H. Omohundro.
Dec. 20 1943 landed Nuthampstead. Pilot Lt. Walter R. Illies.
Jan. 11 1944 Landed at Tibbenham. Pilot Lt. William E. Mclawhorn.
June 7 1944 returned to ZOI.

You can also find out what dates their missions were and what the targets were:

http://www.351st.org/loadlist/search.php

Enter in: 42-29749 under "Aircraft search"

Last edited by Gran Drewismo; 11-21-2009 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Caplax40 View Post
Interesting:


42-29749 Belle of the Bayous, with rear: Lt H. Banton, Lt. J. Omohundro, Sgt. O. Click, Sgt. P. O'Leary, Sgt. H. Prezlomski, Lt. J. Carson, Lt. R. Matthews, front: Sgt. J. Degraf, Sgt. R. Nelson, Sgt. G. Brown and Sgt. E. Smith


42-29749
Sep. 6 1943 landed at West Malling. Pilot Lt. Daniel D. Nauman.
Sep. 16 1943 landed North Cornwall. Pilot Lt. Jack H. Omohundro.
Dec. 20 1943 landed Nuthampstead. Pilot Lt. Walter R. Illies.
Jan. 11 1944 Landed at Tibbenham. Pilot Lt. William E. Mclawhorn.
June 7 1944 returned to ZOI.

You can also find out what dates their missions were and what the targets were:

http://www.351st.org/loadlist/search.php

Enter in: 42-29749 under "Aircraft search"
Thanks for adding the more human aspect of that photo. I got it from a man with whom I worked at Boeing. He was a photographer and gunner in the 8th Airforce and I have a collection of his pictures. He also knew the crew of Memphis Belle and the " story" of how they gained fame. Doesn't at all match the press releases.
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:18 PM
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Belle of the Bayous

Hi There,

I've been attempting to solve a mystery and this picture has further confused the situation. My Mum had a relative Henry 'Hank' Przelomski who wore a British Uniform with a peaked cap (my Mum assumed an officer). He lived in Preston, UK. She saw him in Preston from Fall 1941 to Jan/Feb 1943 and then he was reported Missing in Action. He was born in Ohio, USA but was of Polish descent and in fact my Mum thinks on his uniform there was an emblem that stood for Poland and perhaps the words POLAND on his sleeve somewhere. I don't know enough about the ins and outs of the war. Would have he signed up with the RAF, and then finished the war with the Americans. It appears that the B17 that is in that picture has successful missions right into 1944....would there be any way to find out about Henry Przelomski record of missing in action. Could he have reappeared? Family not aware??


Gayle
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:16 PM
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Belle of the Bayous

Yes, it is an interesting picture. The man standing in the rear, second from the right is my father, John P Carson Jr. At the time the picture was taken he was the co-pilot of this aircraft. The pilot, Lt Jack H Omohundro is second from the left at the rear. My father and Jack flew 15 combat missions in this aircraft. Further, Jack named the aircraft after his first wife... a southern belle (Louisiana). The aircraft survived the war and ended up sold as war surplus scrap to Paul Mantz (aerial photographer for the movies - )

This crew all trained together in the US before going overseas. This crew and aircraft was assigned to the 509 Bomb Squadron, 351st Bomb Group, 1st Air Division, 8th Air Force. They flew out of AAF Station 110, Polebrook, England.

My Dad completed 23 mission before he was shot down in another aircraft (Kentucky Babe) and spent about a year as a POW in Stalug Luft One, barth, Germany. Jack survived his 25 missions, was awarded at the DFC, 4 Air Medals etc and returned to the US. He later was a pilot with PAN American until he retired in 1979. He died 8 October 2010. The last of his crew. I had the honor to met and know him as a friend.

Just thought you would like to know.
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by BullDog03 View Post
Yes, it is an interesting picture. The man standing in the rear, second from the right is my father, John P Carson Jr. At the time the picture was taken he was the co-pilot of this aircraft. The pilot, Lt Jack H Omohundro is second from the left at the rear. My father and Jack flew 15 combat missions in this aircraft. Further, Jack named the aircraft after his first wife... a southern belle (Louisiana). The aircraft survived the war and ended up sold as war surplus scrap to Paul Mantz (aerial photographer for the movies - )

This crew all trained together in the US before going overseas. This crew and aircraft was assigned to the 509 Bomb Squadron, 351st Bomb Group, 1st Air Division, 8th Air Force. They flew out of AAF Station 110, Polebrook, England.

My Dad completed 23 mission before he was shot down in another aircraft (Kentucky Babe) and spent about a year as a POW in Stalug Luft One, barth, Germany. Jack survived his 25 missions, was awarded at the DFC, 4 Air Medals etc and returned to the US. He later was a pilot with PAN American until he retired in 1979. He died 8 October 2010. The last of his crew. I had the honor to met and know him as a friend.

Just thought you would like to know.
Thanks for putting some names and information to the picture.

I know enough about the history of the war to know there are 2 jobs I would not have wanted. A submarine crewman anywhere or a bomber crewman over Europe. There is a comfort in a bad situation to having some control over your destiny. For both of those jobs often there was none. It took a lot of balls for them to stay with it for the 25 missions but we would not have won any other way.

My hats off to your Father.

Last edited by Rifledriver; 03-09-2011 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rifledriver View Post
Thanks for putting some names and information to the picture.

I know enough about the history of the war to know there are 2 jobs I would not have wanted. A submarine crewman anywhere or a bomber crewman over Europe. There is a comfort in a bad situation to having some control over your destiny. For both of those jobs often there was none. It took a lot of balls for them to stay with it for the 25 missions but we would not have won any other way.

My hats off to your Father.
I flew with veterans of the 8th and 15th and I have known many more who were in the bomber business and the photos and stories that they passed on to me are unforgetable . I had a close friend with whom I worked at Boeing who flew B-24's in the 15th out Cerrginola ( SPL) and to sit with him and his crew while they went over their history in the 15th was amazing. Lew, my friend and pilot left two airplanes on the Island of Vis that were so shot up that they wouldn't have made it to Italy. The 15th had it much tougher than the 8th but they never got the press. The 8th had nice barracks in which to live, the 15th were housed in tents and they had to fly over or through the Alps to and from a mission to Europe losing airplanes and crew to terrain and weather as well as flak and FW-190's. They were a different breed
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Parks View Post
I ran across some photos. Since it is a bit passed Veteran's Day I decided that I would post this anyway to illustrate the way it was when we were in the worst stages of the war in the air. This crew is in front of a B-17F: no chin turret, no nose guns, and obviously not much future.
It took that many men to fly one of those things? Even without the mentioned machine guns? wow
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:39 PM
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Welcome to our first time posters........that is amazing.

I hope the thread as it builds can answer your questions.....
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:46 PM
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It took that many men to fly one of those things? Even without the mentioned machine guns? wow
I had always remembered that the B17 had a crew of 10... Don't know what the extra guy was doing in that photo..

Here's a link that shows what each crew memeber was and if you click on the position it will take you to a page that shows what each member did on a mission.

http://www.azcaf.org/pages/crew.html
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Old 03-09-2011, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by solofast View Post
I had always remembered that the B17 had a crew of 10... Don't know what the extra guy was doing in that photo..

Here's a link that shows what each crew memeber was and if you click on the position it will take you to a page that shows what each member did on a mission.

http://www.azcaf.org/pages/crew.html
Sometimes there was a photographer or an extra to man the nose gun. I flew as an observer and trainee some times at Langley.
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:42 PM
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Bob- Most of the early B-17Fs did have a single .30 in the nose, like the B-17E, operated by the bombadier when not on the bomb run. Later, when they had discovered most bombadiers could not find a target to save their lives, they used formation drops with a master bombadier in the lead aircraft calling the drop. At that point, most of the bombadiers were nose gunners. Later B-17Fs did have two cheek 50s, which as you duly noted are missing from this early photo. Did they keep the .30 on those aircraft?

Who operated the nose turret on the B-17G? Was it the pilots or the bombadier? Never mind, looked it up and the gun sight was just above the Norden for the bombadier.

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Old 03-10-2011, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by tazandjan View Post
Bob- Most of the early B-17Fs did have a single .30 in the nose, like the B-17E, operated by the bombadier when not on the bomb run. Later, when they had discovered most bombadiers could not find a target to save their lives, they used formation drops with a master bombadier in the lead aircraft calling the drop. At that point, most of the bombadiers were nose gunners. Later B-17Fs did have two cheek 50s, which as you duly noted are missing from this early photo. Did they keep the .30 on those aircraft?

Who operated the nose turret on the B-17G? Was it the pilots or the bombadier? Never mind, looked it up and the gun sight was just above the Norden for the bombadier.

Taz
Terry Phillips
The early B-17 F's didn't have " as designed" nose guns to start with and there were many field designed mods before Boeing designed some dedicated nose gun installations. .30's to start with and then the .50's in the nose dome and then cheek guns. The cal.50 weighed something close to 80 pounds if I remember and the recoil required some strong mounting structure. I have seen so many different early nose gun installations that I can't recall them all. Late Douglas built model F's came out with the chin turret and then all B-17G's had them. The sight was mounted on a curved rod mounted on the deck just forward of the bomb sight and operated by the bomb aimer when he wasn't aiming. The two chin turret cal.50's were no match for a string of FW-190's coming straight at you with the 30MM cannons that out-ranged and out-hit the .50's. Hitting a fighter with a flexible gun in a bomber was extremely lucky. Most B-24's and B-17's had 10 man crews except for the Mickey ships that sometimes had an extra radar guy.
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:11 PM
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Bob- Thanks. Had seen all kinds of configurations and was curious. The .30 in the nose was obviously something kind of makeshift and could not have been very effective. Essentially a WW-I weapon even if you had 8 of them like the RAF.

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Old 03-10-2011, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by tazandjan View Post
Bob- Thanks. Had seen all kinds of configurations and was curious. The .30 in the nose was obviously something kind of makeshift and could not have been very effective. Essentially a WW-I weapon even if you had 8 of them like the RAF.

Taz
Terry Phillips
I never understood why the British hung on to the .303's in their airplanes. I have a picture somewhere of an He111 that was shot down and crash landed in England. It was so full of little .303 holes that almost see through it. The cal.50 browning was and still is a formidable weapon but the Germans had the best with their cannons. The rounds were designed not to penetrate so much but to have tremendous explosive force and they were deadly when they hit. When sheet metal parts are shook loose at 165MPH they tend to leave the airplane and take things with them. Oxy bottles and fuel tanks were vulnerable as well as primary structure.
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Old 03-11-2011, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by tazandjan View Post
Bob- Thanks. Had seen all kinds of configurations and was curious. The .30 in the nose was obviously something kind of makeshift and could not have been very effective. Essentially a WW-I weapon even if you had 8 of them like the RAF.

Taz
Terry Phillips
Terry, I was thinking about you flying in the F-111 within a sealed, quiet, and heated capsule at 40.000 and booming along at something above Mach 1. And then I thought about the stuff in '43-44 where one was in the fully exposed -40 deg howling wind and roaring engines while sucking on oxygen for 6 to 8 hours. I only did it a few times in the states without being fired at and I can't imagine how it was even though I bunked with those who did it. Unbelievable how primitive the " state of the art" equipment was.
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Old 03-11-2011, 05:58 PM
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Bob- Douglas Bader was the big proponent of the 8 x .303s and when he was shot down, the RAF very quickly went to a four cannon armament on their fighters. The cannon had some big advantages against bombers and slow movers, but their slow rate of fire could be a disadvantage against fighters because of holes in the pattern like a duck flying through a shotgun pellet spread. With the 50's rate of fire, there were few holes in the pattern, especially with 6 or 8 of them firing.

Still, I would rather be hit with a .50 shell than a cannon shell any day. The P-38 had a good compromise with 4 x .50s and a 20 mm, all boresighted straight ahead.

We wore oxygen masks, but even in combat were breathing a mixture of pressurized cockpit air and oxygen and only went to 100% if there was a problem. We had a combat setting for the cabin pressure that ran lower pressure in the cockpit in case you took a round through the capsule at medium altitude. Even a couple of hours of pure oxygen will give you a screaming headache if you do not valsalva frequently to get rid of all the O2 absorbed into the inner ear. I am not sure B-17 crews were breathing pure oxygen, but were probably using a mixer similar to what we used. Pure oxygen is a fire hazard if a hit or a spark occurs. At least we could drop our masks and breathe cockpit pressurized air. So could the B-29 guys.

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Old 03-11-2011, 09:47 PM
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Actually, in the mid-war period, the British put the "C" wing on their Spitfires, which split the difference: 4 .303 and 2 20mm. Towards the end of the war they did go to 4 20mm, which I think by then may have had an improved rate of fire.

One thing they did do was to make the cannons more compact; early on they had long barrels extending well forward from the wing (consider the Typhoon) but later they managed to fit them entirely within the wing (the later Tempests).
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by tazandjan View Post
Bob- Douglas Bader was the big proponent of the 8 x .303s and when he was shot down, the RAF very quickly went to a four cannon armament on their fighters. The cannon had some big advantages against bombers and slow movers, but their slow rate of fire could be a disadvantage against fighters because of holes in the pattern like a duck flying through a shotgun pellet spread. With the 50's rate of fire, there were few holes in the pattern, especially with 6 or 8 of them firing.

Still, I would rather be hit with a .50 shell than a cannon shell any day. The P-38 had a good compromise with 4 x .50s and a 20 mm, all boresighted straight ahead.

We wore oxygen masks, but even in combat were breathing a mixture of pressurized cockpit air and oxygen and only went to 100% if there was a problem. We had a combat setting for the cabin pressure that ran lower pressure in the cockpit in case you took a round through the capsule at medium altitude. Even a couple of hours of pure oxygen will give you a screaming headache if you do not valsalva frequently to get rid of all the O2 absorbed into the inner ear. I am not sure B-17 crews were breathing pure oxygen, but were probably using a mixer similar to what we used. Pure oxygen is a fire hazard if a hit or a spark occurs. At least we could drop our masks and breathe cockpit pressurized air. So could the B-29 guys.

Taz
Terry Phillips
I did some flying with Larry Blumer, a P-38 Ace, who shot down 5 FW-190's in less than 10 minutes. He was the classic fighter pilot; ready to fight anybody anytime and he told me about that fight and I should describe it again but the essence of his description was that when he hit a victim it disintegrated and his airplane came back with damage from flying through the debris many times. That combination of .50's and a 20MM concentrated within an area of a few feet was absolutely deadly. He did not dog fight anybody. It was a hit and run affair every time. One of his more interesting stories was shooting down a Spitfire that jumped him somewhere over Europe. He assumed that it was a captured Spit flown by a German but to be safe, he destroyed the gun camera film when he got back to base. Larry trained with Chuck Yeager at Tonapah, Nevada.


Early and late WW2 oxygen masks had a mixing feature so that one did not breathe pure O2 but the dehydration and headaches did persist. If you had to, you could get pure O2 from the supply hose.

The B-29 was like flying in the fanciest hotel compared to the B-17's and B-24. It was heated, pressurized , and comparatively quiet...and roomy. It was unique to scoot through the " communication tunnel" between the forward section and the aft section .
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