Aerial support

B-25 Mitchell bomber "skip-bombing" in New Guinea

B-25 Mitchell bomber “skip-bombing” in New Guinea

B-24 Liberator

B-24 Liberator

December 12, 2012 would have been Everett Smith’s 98th birthday. I will simply give a salute and say, Thank you for everything, dad. You don’t know how much I miss you. (unfortunately my blog was having technical difficulties Wednesday)
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B-17 Flying Fortress

B-17 Flying Fortress

The B-17 Flying Fortress was a primary resource for both the U.S. Army Air Corps and the Royal Air Force early on in the was. Depite going through fourteen different variations, General Arnold decided that the plane was not the most efficient for the unusual aspects of the Pacific War and it generally maintained a status of completing aerial supply drops.
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The U.S. B-24 Liberators was capable of of carrying up to 3629kg (8000lb) of bombs and had a range of traveling over 3200km (2000 miles). It was more modern than the B-17 with a longer range, heavier pay load and more speed. This plane was used by almost every army in almost all theaters of operation.
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B-25 bomber was a medium bomber which was easily controlled. Named after General Billy Mitchell, the only complaint about the plane was how loud it was. The usual joke heard, “The B-25 is the fastest way to turn aviation fuel into noise.” This plane saw service for four decades, with the Army, Air Force and Marines all having their own variations. This was widely used in the Pacific because it was capable of treetop level strafing and parafrag (parachute-retarded fragmentation bombs).
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B-29 Superfortress

B-29 Superfortress

The Boeing B-29 has become the most famous bomber since it was the Enola Gay that carried and dropped the first atomic bomb. It was designed to be a Hemisphere Defense Weapon with an extremely long range of 4100 miles and had a bomb load capacity of 20,000 pounds. It was well advanced in that the gun turrets were controlled remotely by the gunners sitting inside and using periscopes to aim their weapons. The plane had a total of ten 12.5mm machine guns.
A common complaint was the Wright R-3350 Duplex Cyclone engine and it was eventually replaced with the Pratt Whitney R-4360.
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There were numerous other bombers, such as: the Marauder, Dominator, Liberator, B-34, etc., many of which went through different variations.
But, since we are giving credit where credit is due – there were also numerous other planes involved in assisting the ground forces. You had the fighters, such as the P-40 which became known as the plane of the “Flying Tigers.” On February 1, 1945, the Corsair made their first regular operational flight from the US Navy aircraft carriers. It had a kill ratio of 11:1 with it’s six machine guns and capability of soaring 417 mph. The Corsair would become the best of the carrier planes.

Flying boat "Catalina"

Flying boat “Catalina”

And the, you had Dive Bombers, Torpedo bombers, attack planes, Reconnaissance, Cargo and Transport (like the C-46 Commando and C-47 Skytrain), Liason planes, Observation, Seaplanes, and Flying boats – eg. the PBY Catalina, some of which are still in use today. This ship was useful both as a rescue and a bomber.

This post is to give the reader an idea of the constant activity going on in any one area. The Allied forces and each branch worked separately, but simultaneously to accomplish one goal. Perhaps that is one reason why I find the WWII era so interesting. If anyone out there would like to further research this topic, I recommend daveswarbirds.com/usplanes/american.htm as an excellent starting point.

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on December 14, 2012, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. This reminds me of my college roommate’s husband, who served in WWII and was captain of a B-17 unit that flew 37 combat missions. His name was Ralph Minker and he served in the 447th BG with the 8th Army Air Force. His crew was called “The Lucky Bastards” as they survived their missions. My roommate, Sandra O’Connell, wrote a book, about his letters sent home, called “An American Family in World War II”.

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  2. came across your blog via pleisbilongtumii. i grew up in papua new guinea and have had the privilige of seeing and exploring many WWII relics and sites. fascinating history there! i enjoy what you’re doing here. –kris

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    • It would be great if you could describe the terrain and what you’ve seen there to my readers; I’m certain you would do a much better job than I have. A first hand account is valuable.

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      • thank you so much for thinking of that! i will definitely consider it. i think if i wrote something, it might have to be more musing and impression than a detailed account since my memories are from so long ago! email me (home page bottom of blog) if you ever want me to put something together for you. –kris

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        • Put your ideas into the appropriate post so that my readers can visualize what happened in New Guinea – that would be so nice of you!(been to your blog – I highly recommend it)

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  3. Thank you for visiting my blog. Your work here is excellent. I just wish that he had been in the mighty 8th in England. Yes, I am being totally selfish, but were it true you might have information for me. That is when my father was.

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    • Thank you for your comment. Do you have your father’s military records? With the internet these days there are so many ways to find data.

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      • Gpcox – this is a very long story and I must give you a short answer. It is also of work that I did in 2005-6. I started looking on the Internet especially through a wonderful forum: The Army Air Forces in 2005. They were very helpful. I live close to the Army Records Center in St Louis. They told me his records were destroyed in the “73” fire. They said everything through “R” was destroyed. His name was Rice. I do not have discharge papers. They gave me the alternative which does me no good. I want to know what he did and where in the 8th. I know that he enlisted, I know that he then became an Ordnance Officer. So, he has 2 serial numbers. I have photos of the 366th BS under the 305th BG in Chelveston, England, one of the many bases in East Anglia that we set up. I know that he was in England, France and Germany. Someone whose Dad was in the 305th sent me copied microfiche records of his dad’s whereabouts at Chelveston and my father appeared 2-3 time as the Officer in Charge.

        Life intervened at that point and I had to stop looking. I know that he must have been in a Service Group 1066th, 1060th? I am forgetting now. I also learned of someone who is reputed to be good at researching and NOT a scam artist. That is about it. Thanks. Liz

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        • Before you send anyone money – do your research. Also, many of the units have an association where members and family members can inquire for info.

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          • That is my problem. I don’t actually have a unit. That is my biggest problem. Personal who served units switched around. Meaning, he may well have served in several Service Units. This is my reality because I just have lots of photos and no documentation. Believe me I fully grasp the not sending money to strangers bit.Thanks.

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  4. arnoldthearmadillo

    The old Lancaster was not too shoddy

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  5. Nice post. . . and I like the way you remembered your father’s birthday.

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  6. This all reminds me of my dear dad 🙂

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  7. Very interesting posts and commentary. Nicely done!

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  8. I really enjoy learning from you. Keep up the great job.

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  9. Your description of the B-24 says that it “was more modern than the B-17 with a longer range, heavier pay load and more speed.” That made me smile. I’d heard that, with no little passion, many times before. My dad, Pfc. Lewis Miller, was a B-24 mechanic in Spinazolla, Italy. All his life he held something of a grudge against the B-17, which he thought received more publicity than his beloved — and far better, he claimed — B-24s. He died November 30th at the age of 90, still describing his work in that sea of mud in Italy as “just doing my job” and quietly counting his army days as among the best and worst of his life.

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    • I wish your father could have read it. Tell us all more about him.

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      • Thank you for saying so. I respect your opinion.

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      • Despite his work in tough conditions, seeing the gore of his slaughtered buddies in the inside of shot-up planes when (if) they limped back to base, being occasionally strafed as he did his job, my father wouild always nod to people like you dad, Smitty, and say, “THEY were the real soldiers.” The humility of this group of men and women was amazing. I salute them all.
        The sad part is that for many of us, there were long periods in our lives when we didn’t want to hear what they had to say. We still have much to learn from them. And they still have much to teach, if we will listen.

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        • Your father was very modest. It was entirely a team effort no one in that war should say they were not a real soldier. Yes, we should have listened more, that is why I am posting here and read all the others I can find.

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