Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Bunch of Bombers Blowing By

Next up was one of the attractions of the show.  I think this year's theme was bombers and they had quite a few of them.
 I am not sure how many B-25 Mitchells there were but there were quite a few.  The Mitchell is famous because it was the bomber used for the Tokyo Raid in 1942.  Eighteen B-25's took off from the USS Hornet to launch a bombing mission to attack Tokyo.  The raid itself wasn't much of a tactical success but it was a huge strategic success.  It was the one of the big reasons why Admiral Yamamoto launched the Midway attack.  He realized that he needed to sink the US Carriers and hoped to do so at Midway.  Well, he got his decisive battle but not the one he wanted.
 Next up was the B-29 Superfortress.  The B-29 came out of a request for a heavy bomber in 1939.  It was designed to be a pressurized high altitude bomber but spent the war attacking from low altitude.
 Of course the most famous B-29's were the ones that dropped the atomic bombs.  The plane could carry 20,000 pounds of bombs over 3,000 miles.  It was powered by four Wright Cyclone engines.  The plane was beset by problems early in its development, the biggest was that they would occasionally catch on fire.  They were able to solve that and it became a fairly successful design.
 There were a couple of B-29's that ended up landing in the Soviet Union.  They were taken and used to create the Tu-4 heavy bomber for the Soviet Union.  The designers were told to copy it exactly by Stalin.  Of course this led to the question of should they use red stars or the stars already on it.  The Soviet designers made a leap and used Soviet stars.  I guess they made out.
 Probably the most famous bomber of the war was the B-17 Flying Fortress.  This particular one was painted up to look like the Memphis Belle and used in the movie of the same name.  The Memphis Belle was famous because it was used by the first crew to complete 25 missions and earn the right to come home.  This was kind of a morale boost because the skies over Europe were dangerous for the US bomber crews.
 Another shot of the B-29.  The plane was later used in the Korean War to some effect.  It was eventually replaced with jet bombers.
 Fifi was acquired by the Commemorative Air Force in the 1970's and restored to flying condition.  Currently it is the only flying B-29 in existence but there is a group in Kansas that is working on restoring a second.
 The Avro Lancaster was a heavy bomber that was used by the British during World War II.  I believe it could carry the largest payload in World War II.  Many of these were produced in Canada.
 There were almost 13,000 B-17's produced during the war.  And I believe there are currently 12 that are left flying.
 Another shot of the B-25.  There were several versions of the B-25 that were used during the war.  I think there was even one that was mounted with a cannon and used as a gunship.
 The PB4Y-2 Privateer is a version of the B-24 that was used by the US Navy.  It was mostly used as a patrol craft and was pretty dangerous in hunting down U-boats.
 Another B-25.
 This is the Yankee Warrior which is currently owned by the Yankee Air Force.
 The PV-2 Harpoon was used by the US Navy for patrol missions.  It never really saw much action though.
 The Mosquito was a fighter-bomber used by the British.  It was built out of wood and was one of the faster aircraft in the war.  It was used for a variety of missions, including photo-reconaissance.
 A B-25 wearing British colors.
 Another shot of the Mitchell.
 And the Lancaster.  The most famous mission for the Lancaster was the Dam Buster raids.  The planes carried a skip bomb that was designed by Barnes Wallis.  The bomb would skip across the water and hit the target.  In order to do this, precise altitude control was needed.  To accomplish this, there was a search light mounted at each end of the plane and when the two lights lined up, the plane was at the right altitude.  They also had to be launched from a precise distance from the target.  In order to accomplish this, they used a special viewing device that lined up with the towers of the dam.

The mission itself was lead by Wing Commander Guy Gibson.  Eight aircraft were shot down but two dams were breached and one damaged.  It was a fairly successful attack.
 Another shot of the Harpoon.
 The A-26 Invader was an attack aircraft used for low level missions.  It would last until the Vietnam War in some capacity.
 Another angle of the Privateer.
 When I was growing up, I had a game on my Commodore 64 called "Ace of Aces".  In it, you flew in a Mosquito.  The graphics were pretty rudimentary but it was still pretty cool.  You would either attack a train, submarine pens or something else.  At the end, it would play "Pomp and Circumstance" if you were successful.
 Another shot of the Yankee Warrior.
 The RAF B-25.

 An approaching B-29.
 I like these displays but I can only imagine what it would have been like to be under 100's of these.
 Towards the end of the war, the Lancasters were modified to carry blockbuster bombs.  They were also used in firebombing raids.
 another shot of the B-17.
 The Privateer being chased by a B-25.
 Two for one.
 Another shot of the Harpoon.
 Probably my favorite shot of the Mosquito.

 Two heavy bombers flying overhead.
 The Flying Fortress flying overhead.
 Memphis Belle coming in for a landing.
 The Lancaster   Flies out of the Canadian Warplane Museum in Hamilton, Ontario.  It is named for a Victoria Cross winner.
Fifi coming in for a landing.

No comments: