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Thread: World War II according to Helldiver

  1. #26


    How about if we re-title the thread "America's Role In World War II According To Helldiver" :mixedsmi:

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cees Donker View Post
    I didn't read anywhere in this thread anyone stating that. Or did I miss something? Same goes for Bazz: I don't think Helldiver implied such a thing.....

    i never said helldiver did, its one of my bad traits then whenever i see something talking about ww2 i always seem to say it :redf:
    yes i know i cant spell half the time! Thank you kindly to those few who pointed that out

  3. #28
    I met a fellow about a decade ago, a Canadian boy from the prairies who had served in the US Navy. There was no work around home for him in the late 'thirties, so he found a way to get down to the 'States and enlisted in whatever he could find. The navy took him in, I believe he was around nineteen at the time.

    He spent a few years running some sort of coastal patrol in a small boat based out of San Francisco. Then Pearl Harbour happened.

    He was re-assigned to landing craft, and spent the rest of the war commanding a variety of LC's througout the island hopping campaign.

    Leo's memories indicate that he may have beached his boat at every second island landing. Notable among his recollections are that of moving his boat slowly through the dark of Iron Bottom sound, picking up survivors "during" a major naval engagement.

    Another is the sound of Japanese bombers gliding down the hillside of an island to strike a group of landing craft tied up in a lagoon. Their idea may have been that the inland hillside was so steep and close to the lagoon, that an attack from that direction would not be suspected. They were right.

    The only sound Leo heard was the whisper of their props as the twin engine craft appeared overhead from an impossible direction.

    The next was the explosions of ordinance, the roar of radial engines as the pilots slammed open their throttles, and gunfire as the American boys realized what was happening and opened up in defence. Leo said they were all just kids. In his early twenties, he was the "old man" of the lot. They had felt safe in that lagoon, and most were busy enjoying a little time off, splashing around in the tropical waters. He said a lot of those kids died right then.

    Leo's survival was based on his experience. While the other skips had felt the lagoon was safe, had simply tied up and let there crews relax, Leo felt apprehensive. He had moved his LC to the other end of the lagoon, moored it in the shade of overhanging trees, and ordered his crew to maintain watch.

    Even then, they never saw the bombers coming.

    Assuming that he had possibly memorized some recognition charts, I asked Leo what sort of bombers they were. He looked at me funny, and said simply, "Mitsubishis!!"

    A few more question, and I realized that he and his peers had refined aircraft recognition to an economical art. According to Leo:

    All Japanese bombers or twins were Mitsubishis.

    All Japanese fighters were Zeros.

    All American fighters were Grummans, or Corsairs. ( Easy to see the bent wings.)

    All flying boats were PBY's. ( He may have had a name for small craft like Kingfishers, but I negelected to ask...)

    Single engine bombers were Avengers ( He couldn't believe how loud they were!) and twins were B-25's.....but he said he almost never saw those.

    I asked him about P-51's or Liberator bombers, he snorted, and said he'd seen them only in magazines.

    Whenever I meet folks who have survived events like the Second World War, no matter who they are, I go out of my way to make time, and ask about their experiences. It's more than a fascination with the event. For me, it's about learning human nature, about how people learn to adapt, survive, and make decisions under unimaginable circumstance.

    From children to housewives to servicemen, I've listened to countless recollections spaning Berlin to London to Amsterdam and Jakarta during WW2. Mind boggling stuff. Helldiver, my respects and my thanks for every word you post.

    Please don't mind that I post words on Leo's behalf, he's not here to do the talking anymore.

  4. #29
    Of course a very famous personality, Brig. Gen Jimmy Stewart ret. commanded and flew in a B-24 squadron in WW2 over Europe.

  5. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by jankees View Post
    (though I wish someone would finally make a real FSX Mustang...).
    Fear not Jankees, A2A is rebuilding the P-51D with a full Accusim treatment... and a few treats.

  6. #31
    Tank You Hell Diver for giving us all a chance to be free in this country today, I have just a small comment..if I may. I see so much of the term "B-25 Mitchell" In January 1942 Lt Col Doolittle always refered to the B-25 as just "The B-25 Airplane" in his correspondence for preperations of the Tokyo Raid. Having talked with a North American employee who was on the design team for the NA-62 (prototype B-25) he said that the B-25, B-25A, B-25B, and the first production block of the B-25C were just refered to as the B-25...thats all.



  7. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by casey jones View Post
    Tank You Hell Diver for giving us all a chance to be free in this country today, I have just a small comment..if I may. I see so much of the term "B-25 Mitchell"


    I think the name might've come from our side of the pond,
    RAF (and RN) were very good at adding names to 'imported' aircraft types, the P-51 for example only gained its' 'Mustang' epithet on joining the RAF, likewise the 'Catalina'
    'Wildcat' ,'Baltimore' and 'Harvard' to name but a few.



    (RAF ret'd)

  8. #33
    Senior Administrator huub vink's Avatar
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    Personally I think Helldiver is absolutely right. I don't think any war has winners or losers. War is just a stupid conflict which could have been avoided when we had been as intelligent as we humans often pretend to be.


  9. #34
    SOH-CM-2019 Crusader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huub vink View Post
    Personally I think Helldiver is absolutely right. I don't think any war has winners or losers. War is just a stupid conflict which could have been avoided when we had been as intelligent as we humans often pretend to be.


    Very well stated Huub . An excellent definition .


  10. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by huub vink View Post
    Personally I think Helldiver is absolutely right. I don't think any war has winners or losers. War is just a stupid conflict which could have been avoided when we had been as intelligent as we humans often pretend to be.

    Any logical human being would agree. The quote of General Robert E. Lee clarifies the point: "It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it" The problem is as always there are those despots and tinhorns around the globe small and large who in the past, present, and future who will lead a path of destruction and human misery. We must always be prepared to deal with such threats or at some point we may end up with them in our own back yards again as history has so sadly shown us. Nearly every instance of a horrific conflict in modern history was brought on by being in a position of weakness thus tempting an aggressor. Colonel Arthur "Bull" Simons memorial at Fort Bragg, NC has a quote on the side of it stating: "History teaches that when you become indifferent and lose the will to fight, someone who has the will to fight will take over"... In the case of WW2, there was no amount of negotiating, appeasing, or anything else that was going to prevent the likes of Hitler or Tojo from carrying out all that they did. The world was still in the midsts of a lingering great depression at the time and military spending was low and the Axis leaders new it. That is one of the prime reasons me maintain the large military structure we have nowadays as a deterance as much as possible. But it isn't worth anything unless there is a true will to use it if the need arises. That is the key.

    I want to say with kind regards to Helldiver a great thankyou for sharing your thoughts with us. Many of my own family served in WW2 and wars prior and since. What you guys accomplished was great and not a day goes by that I go without thinking of it. Same of our allies, ALL OF THEM! The victory that was achived was one that brought an end to a horrible conflict restoring peace and freedom to many souls. Our goal in these times should be one of never forgetting the past and those who lived and gave great sacrifice during those dark moments in history and to do all we can to prevent it from happening again.

    "Soon to be Expat"

  11. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by PRB View Post
    Oh goody, a "food fight!"

    B-17F / B-17G

    Of the 8000 B-17Gs produced, how many didn’t serve in WW-II? I’d be surprised if the number is greater than 0. So that’s, once again, more than twice the number of B-17Es and Fs combined. So how on Earth can 3000 B-17Fs have flown more missions than 8000 B-17Gs?

    I'd have to slightly disagree with you there... towards the end of the war, planes of all types were rolling off assembly lines and never saw any action of any kind... As a matter of fact, there is not a single B-17G flying that saw any combat in Europe or elsewhere... Same can be said about many flying warbirds today.

    And I would have to agree with Bomber for the most part... I think as a culture we tend to pay more attention to what is more 'sexy'.... For myself the B-17 is by far and wide the better looking of the bombers... but I am also a bit biased................

    Membership Coordinator for The Liberty Foundation, & Champaign Lady Volunteer.

  12. #37
    Even though I'm gonna stir things up around here...

    Apart from all the unnecessary, ashaming, shocking, stupid and pointless atrocities that happened "behind" the scenes and the idiots who were in charge, I wouldn't have minded if we had won the war.

    But then again, I think it's better that things turned out how they turned out.
    Lots of lessons were learned from WW2 which benefited humanity one way or another.

    P.S: A good plane doesn't automatically make a good pilot. See finnish Buffalo aces. Bad plane, excellent pilots.

  13. #38
    Senior Administrator PRB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wittpilot View Post
    I'd have to slightly disagree with you there... towards the end of the war, planes of all types were rolling off assembly lines and never saw any action of any kind... As a matter of fact, there is not a single B-17G flying that saw any combat in Europe or elsewhere... Same can be said about many flying warbirds today. ...
    Good point, Witt! Interesting!
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  14. #39
    Nothing implied, just up to mischief. :mixedsmi: It was a level of co-operation that won the thing in the end. Something we would do well to emulate today.

  15. #40
    Time for my spin on this post, speaking from the perspective of an aviation enthusiast and historian.

    A review of whats available for WWII aircraft for Flight Simulators shows a war upside down.

    For instance, all you see is B-17Gs. Not so. Most of the war it was the B-17Fs without that useless and ugly chin gun. The B-17G was an overweight pig.

    The B-17G chin turret was designed to combat a problem that was being encountered during the early phase of the U.S. daylight bombing campaign against Germany. There was little in the way of protection in the nose of the B-17 as originally designed. The Germans quickly discovered this and began making head on attacks. Most B-17's in the field were modified to add one or two forward facing machine guns. Boeing tackled this problem with technology, the electrically driven Bendix turret. It was a solution, albeit an ungainly and expensive one, but that's what Boeing did to address the problem.

    The reason we see the B-17G represented in flight sims is because that's what we see as airworthy Flying Fortresses. The majority of B-17G's flying today saw no combat, but were the last ones off the production line and the war in Europe ended before they could be deployed. So that's what we see in the air today and odds are that's what most flight simmers will want to have on their computer.

    The SBD is featured when it was the SB2C that won the war. The SBD only lasted for the first 18 months of the war. The SBD was too slow, couldn't fold it's wings, took up too much space, had lousy defensive power and couldn't carry enough bombs. Easy target for the Zeros.

    The Douglas SBD served until VJ day with the USMC and last saw combat with the USN in June of 1944 during the Battle of the Phillippine Sea, far more than 18 months into the U.S. war effort. The SB2C was intended to replace the SBD, but had many developmental problems that delayed its production. The SB2C did not see combat until November 1943, giving it a total of 22 months of combat duty.

    Everyone flies the P-51 and yet the P-47 out flew and out gunned the 51 and it had a better survivability. The same number of P-51s were built as there were P-47s. Vastly greater damage was done to the enemy by the P-47.. In most cases the 51s would come back without firing their guns. The P-47 always came back with their guns empty.

    Once again, there are simply far more restored P-51's than P-47's in the air today. The P-47 was an outstanding fighter at high altitude and also excelled at ground attack, but after the war it was the P-51 that was used in air racing and the Air Force wanted sexy, fast fighters for its image.

    The popular belief is it was the F4-U Corsair flown by US Marines won the war in the Pacific. No so. Most of the enemy planes destroyed was by F6-F's flown by the US Navy.

    The Marines were a very small contingent flying out of the islands in the South Pacific, notably Guadalcanal. I blame “Baa Baa Black Sheep” for this fallacy.

    Initially, the F4U proved less than suitable for carrier duty, so it was given to the USMC to replace their outdated F4F's. The USN used the F6F to very good effect and it had better forward visibility on the deck and when flying the landing pattern. It was also more docile at slow speeds and was generally better for carrier landings. Late in 1944, the USN found itself with plenty of F6F's, but short of pilots, so they ordered six USMC Corsair squadrons to be deployed aboard carriers. These USMC Corsair units performed quite well in the skies over Japan and the Corsair performed at least as well as the F6F.

    As for the tv show, anyone that believes that version of "history" has never opened a real history book. I expect those who watched that show and enjoyed the flying scenes ended up doing a little reading and discovered the real story of VMF-214 and the war in the Solomon Islands.

    The B-24 has been lost in history and yet there were more of them than the B-17. They carried a much bigger bomb load. It was faster that the B-17 and had a much greater range. Too many movies about the 8th air force I guess.

    The B-17, being a more rugged aircraft, outlasted the B-24 and after the war there was little need for civilian owned B-24's. The B-24 was a great bomber, but the B-17 had more potential for civilian uses. I also think the B-17 is a bit easier to fly, likely due to is larger wing area.

    The B-29s finished the war. But it was the “Blue Airplanes” that the Japanese feared. It was the Navy planes that would come and strafe the streets. They would cheer the B-29s since they told they were returning Japanese aircraft.

    I'll have to take your word on this, I've not had the opportunity to talk to any Japanese who were there. I know that B-29's blasted and burned away many cities in Japan.

    So you young kids can have the war any way you want to. You will call out references written by guys that weren't even born when the war was going on and have there own agendas. The worse is Wikipedia.

    I don't know what to say. Anyone can choose what to believe
    , but official combat records are pretty irrefutable.

    All I can say, I was there and it the best that an 80+ year old memory can do.[/quote]

    All I can say, I wasn't there, I'm just a 43 year old lifetime aviation and history nut.

  16. #41


    Quote Originally Posted by stansdds View Post
    Once again, there are simply far more restored P-51's than P-47's in the air today.
    This is because most P-47s were gutted after WW-II and because USAF decided to use the P-51 for Korea (which they would later regret due to it's terrible vulnerability to ground fire) rather than the P-47.

  17. #42
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    Well STANSDDS, That the very stuff that I was trying to dispel. You believe everything that's written with no regards for fact.
    I merely related what I knew and what I saw from my own personal experience. So you go on and study all you want. Have a good time.
    I was trying to set the facts straight while I was still able. You may study it - but I lived it.
    Would you like to ride in my big green tractor?.

  18. #43
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    I thought I read opinions not facts....? One thing I've learned after years of speaking to WWII vets is all their facts are diffrent; i.e. tainted by personal experiences. That still doesn't make their personal opinions any less important. I'd have to feel a bit proud if anyone devoted half the time to my historical experiences in the military than they did with studying WWII.
    If government was the answer, it was a stupid question!

  19. #44
    Facts are facts, opinions are opinions, I said what I said and I refuse to go further into a discussion which is looking more and more like a bladder relieving contest.

  20. #45
    Well Guys, like all wars I guess this one too will come to an end soon. Yet I fear no victor will stand up and be counted. I see from the outside looking in. Valid points all round I grant you, but I plead we not get into a deep and heated debate because some of us were there and some of us were not. History has taken care of the facts, and history will no doubt take care of our veterans of the period a little while longer. With this in mind, let us finally find peace with this thread, while we all still share the same air...and breathe easy once again.


  21. #46
    I think one issue is that history and historians often try to assemble a broad overview of a given event, or series of events. Based on a broad range of information and sources, the historian may try to create a careful forensic, based on 20/20 hindsight, and a comfortably safe post-event environment. This will often be in deferance to what was experienced by individuals who never had the info, the power, or the safety to really figure out where they were in the big picture, or what was really happening beyond their immediate environment. They were there, moving through the moment, trying to do their job and stay alive.

    Earlier I wrote about the recollections of a LC skipper in the USN during WW2. His experiences related to moving combat troops and equipment from ships at sea to the beach, mostly under intense fire.
    He never had the time and/or desire to learn all the various Japanese aircraft in the complexities of his duties and daily survival. It didn't matter if it was a Zero, Zeke, or Judy that was trying to Kamikaze onto his boat.

    He was economical about it. If it had big red balls on the wings, shoot at it if ya got'em, or hit the deck.

    His personal experience seemed broad, all encompassing, and certainly traumatic relavant to the individual. But to the overviewing historian, Leo would have mislabeled aircraft that could not have been operating in a certain place during a certain period, would have the wrong island's names for where the USN was combating at a certain time, etc, etc, etc.

    But what he saw, or experienced, and how he relates the story, brings a huge amount of agmentation to the dry documentation of the historians. The man was there, his POV is massively relevant and practical. He was, and is, the human element. Perfect or not.

    What he witnessed and experienced was what is was in regard to him and the people around him, as far as he could see.

    It doesn't dissagree with this history book or that. It augments an unbelievably vast story that affected millions of individuals all at one moment in time.

    Perhaps the words by Helldiver posted above doesn't exactly jive with our current historical forensics of the second world war. His words do however jive with what he was able to see, as far as he could see, and how it's remembered by him today.

    It was a massive war spread out over a massive territory, and manifested itself in a manner so totally different ranging from country to country, region to region. It was so complex, we will never totally come to understand it. It was the second WORLD WAR.

    With that, any words expressed by those who were actually there....are to Increasingly rare, and of merit.

  22. #47
    there is one thing that some may know about that i would like confirmation of ( sorry if it's a stupid question LOL ) . i have read long time ago that the gunners of the liberators shot down more enemy aircrafts than any other allied type during WWII , even more than P-51s or thunderbolts . can anyone confirm or say if it's BS ?
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  23. #48
    Retired SOH Administrator Henry's Avatar
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    Ya mean there were other aircraft than the mossie?
    live an learn :costumes::costumes:
    Actually i had a friend who flew P38's
    then P47's im just glad
    that i had no choice and was born later.
    whatever the plane or position one had
    its still scary to me
    and Honorable to those that flew and crewed
    in all aircraft

  24. #49
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    As usual, Henry puts it exceedingly well.

    Usually young guys like myself always yell about how tough we could've been, and how much we would like to have been in it. I would've said the same crap a couple years ago. Now, if I could go back in time and be an invulnerable and invisible observer to WWII, I would simply love to see the a wild history of my race. I would not take pleasure in the death and destruction, but seeing it like those who saw it.

    I try to remind myself of exactly what you said, 'Enry. I'm glad I was born later, because it surely was hell (as war tends to be :-|).

    I do like to listen to every bit of history from those who were there, as that's what it would've felt like. My late grandfather was in the CBI, and had some great stories to tell. However, he passed when I was 10, and I'm sure he would've loved to tell me great stories.

    I always love one hearing one of the things he used to say. If someone was really whining or freakin' out over something silly, he'd raise his voice and say "You ever been shot at!?!?". The whole room adopted a quick silence on the couple of occassions he put that out there. :d :-|

    Thanks to all of those who were willing, able, and ready to fight for their time, and the future.
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  25. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by strega13 View Post
    i have read long time ago that the gunners of the liberators shot down more enemy aircrafts than any other allied type during WWII , even more than P-51s or thunderbolts . can anyone confirm or say if it's BS ?

    No doubt gunners got their fair share of aerial kills, but since there was always a whole bunch of them firing at a target and thus claiming credit for it plus a, I would say more lax approach at confirming victories in the allied airforces, numbers of enemy losses were always too high.
    The statistics couldn't be corrected until after the war though, when both sides' records were open for comparisons.

    I rather trust claims made by a fighter jock about his number of victories than those of a tailgunner; regardless of side.

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