The fate of the world wasn't uppermost in my concerns just then. Lots of womanizing and drinking and who could blame him when everyday of your military life you could auger in and buy the farm as 30+% of his fellow pots and crews did. Use up arrow (for mozilla firefox browser alt+up arrow) and down arrow (for mozilla firefox browser alt+down arrow) to review and enter to select. The book tells the story of the captain, Robert Morgan, and his adventures in life. If we survived the flak—no small feat, as thousands of American widows and fatherless children could attest—we still had to contend with the furious swarms of attacking fighter planes, which could swell from tiny dots in the distance to giant hulks of bullet-spraying intruders in the space of two or three seconds, then vanish just as suddenly. About a third of them—some 4,750—would be lost in action. About The Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle The riveting firsthand account of World War II pilot Robert Morgan, his crew, and the legendary Memphis Belle—written with Ron Powers, cowriter of the #1 New York Times bestseller Flags of Our Fathers. That pitch of excitement prompted a couple of air transport pioneers to tinker with a bigger, stronger, smoother model than Lindy's rig, one that might carry mail and passengers across the ocean routinely. Half my crew were gunners; top turret, ball-turret, tailgunner, two at the waist, back to back. This memoir portrays the reality of the pilot that nine other men entrusted their lives with to complete bombing missions over Europe. Nor would it ever, if some of the greatest military minds of the era had their way. Our payment security system encrypts your information during transmission. Your group as a whole had lost three planes. And now, on this day, this fifteenth of May 1943—this time of year when the dogwood and the redbud would be out in full force through the Blue Ridge Mountains above Asheville, North Carolina—you and your boys are one workday shy of that goal: the only bomber crew in the Mighty Eighth within reach of finishing their twenty-five and being sent home with their airplane. Auto Suggestions are available once you type at least 3 letters. Twenty-five missions, and your war is over. Free shipping . Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle : Memoir of a WW II … It was too sacred to have a name, so we played poker and drank whiskey instead. But this is after the game, if "game" is the word for what went on up there over Germany and was going to keep going on for God knew how long. And to a certain other belle, one Margaret Polk of Memphis, Tennessee, I was "Jug Head." Lots of background, back story, etc. It was probably the cream of all the American bases in England, to tell the truth about it. Heavy bomber groups, two of them diverted to Africa from the Eighth, played a prominent role in that breakthrough. Yes it is, but not necessarily for the accounts of combat missions flown by Robert Morgan, pilot of the famed Memphis Belle, the first B-17 of the 8th Air Force to successfully complete 25 … Our commander, Col. Stanley Wray, took on the task of scouting out that replacement site, and when he beheld the baronial splendors of Bassingbourn he acted with dazzling dispatch. You can view Barnes & Noble’s Privacy Policy. Maybe war works that way too. You let it wash over you for two, or three, or four, or five minutes. She looks pretty good for an old girl. My family and closest pals back in North Carolina used to call me Bobby, at least until I told them to stop. Vast carpets of exploding flak were calibrated with demonic precision by the Germans four and five miles below us, to burst within yards of our exposed fuselages. After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in. I don't know that anybody has ever invented a word that fits what I'm trying to say. Hell, some of our pilots of the '40s honed their skills by sitting on back porches swiveling broomsticks around between their knees! Our crew sure as hell never tried to describe it. She was a Stradivarius of an airplane, a masterpiece of balance and range and response and survivability in combat. I flew with men whose hearts were the finest kind. It is currently preserved at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. Early in the war she could out-distance her fighter escorts, and so she had to approach enemy territory naked, utterly exposed to fire. "Black Jack" Pershing stoutly declared that the battleship, not the airplane, would remain the great bulwark of national defense. You know you haven't flown one mission yet without taking some kind of hit. One for the ladies seems to be the most apt description. On this afternoon of May 15, 1943, I closed the door to my quarters and stretched out on my bed and began to daydream. The group is under the command of Col. Craig Harriman (David Strathairn), a no-nonsense, stoical leader who has been given the task of keeping the pressure on Nazi targets. I thought about a lot of things. Unable to add item to List. The battle of Midway in May 1942 was decided at the last moment when a gallant squadron of Dauntless dive-bombers closed in on three Japanese carriers and incinerated them, finally turning back the slashing advance of the Rising Sun through the Pacific. Sure enough, by the advent of World War I a decade later, both sides had managed to throw several thousand machinegun-armed monoplanes, biplanes and triplanes, even some multi-engine bombers, into the European skies—German and British planes mostly with some French and Italian planes mixed in, Fokkers going up against Sopwith Camels. Mitchell shocked their sensibilities a little further by daring to sink a couple of former German battleships with a squad of eight biplanes, just to prove it could be done. A Seattle newspaperman, beholding her sleek length for the first time, gave her the nickname that would quickly enter American folklore: "Why," he exclaimed, "it's a flying fortress! The Vietnam War, the "Living-Room War," brought high-tech Delta Daggers and Super Sabres and Stratojet bombers. Something went wrong. Chuck Yeager test-flew his Bell X-1 faster than the speed of sound just two years after that, and my era was ready for the museum crowds. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. Regarding the Memphis Belle, some may have read in Robert Morgan's autobiography that he chaffed under Major Harold C. Smelser's rigorous training in McDill Field and in Walla Walla. Javascript is not enabled in your browser. Three crews, thirty-odd boys you'd had breakfast with and wouldn't see for dinner. As a unit, though—well, that was something different. On the other side of the world most of the southwestern Pacific islands still lay heavily fortified in the hands of their Japanese conquerors, defiantly awaiting the massive Allied—and mostly American—counteroffensive just then gaining momentum under Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Adm. William F. Halsey. Just nine years before this day—at a time when I was tooling around the Great Smokies in my father's Buick, dreaming about nothing more warlike than how fast I could get to my girlfriend's house—the B-17 had not even existed. It means you're still alive. It doesn't matter if it's the first time or the twenty-fourth, which this one was. You take a big deep breath. Your margin of error is down to feet, from the wingtips of the bomber on your left and the bomber on your right. The same was true of all the nearly two and one-half million men and women who wore the uniform of the United States Army Air Corps—as combatants, but also as ground crew and mechanics, clerk-typists, bookkeepers, instructors. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 26, 2013, Great book. Plenty of B-17s went down. That design took shape under peaceful intentions at first—Boeing test-flew a "Monomail" air transport in 1931—but its military contours were always just below the surface, waiting to be recognized. Ratings and Reviews. My husband has been interested in the USAAF mighty 8th for many years. Reviewed in the United States on June 20, 2014, I ordered this book after watching the film about the plane, and the reading experience was even more satisfying than I had expected. Charles Lindbergh didn't harm the cause any when he flew the Atlantic in 1927. "Well, you may get moved out again, too," fumed the General, who then bowed to the realities. Our technology was the very best that America could produce at the time, and besides, nobody has invented a piece of technology yet that's any more advanced than the human heart. But we had this knowledge to help us through—we represented a kind of fighting force that the great armies of the past could never have comprehended. Uncharacteristically, I wanted to be alone. Morgan originally intended to call the B-17, Little One, after his pet name for her, but after Morgan and his copilot, Jim Verinis, saw the movie Lady for a Night, in which the leading character owns a riverboat named the Memphis Belle, he proposed that name to his crew. How come nobody ever told you what real luxury is? One for the ladies seems to be the most apt description. Top subscription boxes – right to your door, © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Dutton Caliber; Illustrated edition (July 5, 2011), Morgan deserves more than a flawed autobiography, Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2016. Well it should have, with its fine mess halls, its comfortable rooms, its workout facilities and ballfields and its comfortable bars for officers and enlisted men. The Memphis Belle signifies the hope and inspriartions of many of the WW2 bomber crews. I have watched the film "Memphis Belle" many times and when I recently read the book it actually explained quite a lot. Bob Morgan? The Man Who Flew the MEMPHIS BELLE PROLOGUE I still go over to Memphis and see her once in a while. Seems like always a few less coming in than went out that morning. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 2, 2013. High-spirited, young Robert Morgan was transformed from a fast-living, privileged playboy who grew up hobnobbing with the Vanderbilts into a steel-nerved pilot forged in the cauldron of World War II’s most dangerous and desperate aerial encounters. Individually we were about as unlikely a gaggle of warriors as you were liable to come across in a week's time—a business-administration student at the University of Connecticut, a chemistry student at Ohio Wesleyan, a stevedore from Wisconsin, a kid who ran a fleet of trucks in Texas, a North Carolina good-time Charlie (me), a Spokane construction worker, an employee in a Yonkers carpet company, a washing-machine repairman from Detroit, a pressman at a rubber company in New Jersey, a chemist for a paint company in Chicago. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. No wonder those bombers became like living extensions of their crews. Memphis Belle then crossed the Atlantic to what became the home base for the 91st Bomb Group, Bassingbourn, England.. One of Belle‘s more notable missions was flown as part of the 91st Bomb Group’s assault on enemy installations at Romilly sur Seine. You know all this. By 1934, when the Army was finally waking up to the need to repel an enemy invasion from overseas—maybe the reports of German throngs parading to the popular Nazi song, "When Blood Flows From Our Knives," had something to do with that—Boeing's fast-maturing prototype earned it a contract. Write a review. The man who flew the Memphis Belle : memoir of a WWII bomber pilot by Morgan, Robert, 1918-; Powers, Ron. They say DiMaggio liked to do that in the Yankee clubhouse before a game, just sit there by himself with his cup of coffee. You let the rest of the crew get out ahead of you. As a unit, in the space of ten months from November 7, 1942 until May 15, 1943, the crew of the Memphis Belle flew about 20,000 miles and dropped some sixty tons of bombs on military and industrial targets in France, Belgium, and Germany. She bristled with guns. But in May of 1943, to tell the truth, I was essentially a serial number, and proud of it. My thoughts were personal, and they clustered around a simple, yet gigantic fact: twenty-four missions down, one more mission to go. "Without the B-17," the General said, "we might have lost the war.". Actually the British had thrown together a base for the 91st, but its runways proved inadequate, and we had to find a suitable replacement. When that failed to budge the tight-lipped Pershing and the others—after all, the damn ships weren't moving!—Mitchell turned himself into a one-man truth squad, railing to anybody who would listen that the U.S. was failing to exploit the most potent new weapon in all of warfare. In the first three months of that great offensive, beginning in November 1942, you've seen a loss rate of more than 80 percent from your Bomb Group, the 91st. Reviewed in the United States on February 11, 2019. The Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle by Ron Powers and Robert Morgan (2002,PB) #am. For our trouble we received sixty-one decorations. Just two days before the Memphis Belle touched down from its twenty-fourth mission, the Allies won a great victory in North Africa, accepting the surrender of 275,000 German and Italian troops and paving the way for an Allied invasion of Sicily. Feels good, that pain. This is obviously the best primary source to select. ", Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 31, 2014. They were everything to the young airmen inside them. Still and all, the surviving airmen of my generation are proud of what we accomplished. The breakthroughs in science and engineering that created the means for long-range strategic bombing and fighter-plane combat in World War II didn't stop with our Allied victories in 1945. A Command pilot in the first time or the twenty-fourth, which this one was still and,. Do you think you 're doing flying a B-17 bomber in the United States February. 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