on March 3, 2001
'B-17's over Berlin', edited by the respected British air historian Ian Hawkins, is a collection of stories told by the men of the US 8th Air Force, 95th Bomb Group, about their experiences in World War II. It is a labor of love of the men of the 95th Bomb Group and a fitting tribute to their contributions to the Allied victory over Hitler in the skies over Europe. The 95th is known as the first bomb group to bomb Berlin. Early in the war, Hermann Goring boasted that if Allied bombers ever appeared over Berlin, his name would be Meyer-an obvious anti-Semetic snub. Of course, by the time the B-17's of the 95th appeared over Berlin, Goring had pressing problems of a more serious nature--how to stop the Allies from bombing his cities into submission and how best to produce and allocate his own air resources. This story is told by many different men, divided more or less chronologically and following their progress from training through war's end. The result is an excellent portrayal of life in the 8th, from terrifying missions over Europe to the occurances of everyday life back on the base in England. The book is full of photos carefully chosen by Col. Ed Charles, the 95 Bomb Group's able historian. If a reader wants to get a feel for life in a bomber group during the war, this is the book to read, and I recommend it without reservation.
on February 23, 2008
My grandfather was Clifford B. Hamilton, Pilot of the B-17 #42-30194 "We Ain't Scared", 335th Sq, 95th bomb group (H).
The story told by the co-pilot of my grandfathers final mission, and last moments over Germany. It helped fill in the gaps of other stories told over the years.
Because the co-pilots parachute landed miles away from the rest of the surviving crew, he became separated and was able to escape and get back to England, he couldn't have known the rest of the story about the crew of my grandfathers plane #42-30194.
Although my grandfather (Cliff) didn't survive, the men that were taken as POW's were all given the chance to write home once a month ... they all took turns writing to my grandma, telling here that he had kept the plane up long enough for the survivors to bail out. The co-pilot was the last to bail out thanks to what he described as a boot kicking him out the door as he was buckling the last buckle of his chute...the plane exploded as he left the plane.
Thank You for "The rest of the story".
Grandson of B-17 pilot Clifford B. Hamilton
on December 13, 2011
This book is an outstanding read. It is filled with fantastic stories as told by brave men who were there and experienced war first hand. The pages are filled with heroics by these young men who were thrust into the horrific day time aerial combat over Europe. There are experiences that need to be read to be comprehended by those who can only have an inkling of an idea of what these men had to endure on a continuous daily basis. Amongst the sad stories, are stories of amuzing escapades by all ranks at one time or another. But that only puts into perspective the lives of these men as well as their attitudes. Though for that one will have to "read between the lines". Though what sums this book up for me is the small chapter titled "A DAY AT THE OFFICE". Which was written by a Surgeon Commander of the 8th Air Force, and describes to perfection just what these men faced daily. As it can only be imagined what these guys felt when they had to watch their friends aircraft twist and turn whilst rapidly burning away, or being systematically destroyed, shot to pieces by both anti aircraft fire or fighters. All they could do was count the parachutes, and wonder if their friends had been lucky! This was a real eye opener for me. Simply because I didn't realise just how bad it was for these daylight bomber crews. Well worth casting your eyes over the pages of this book folks. Once again disappointment will not be on the menu folks.