WWII bomber jacket art


12 Responses to “WWII bomber jacket art”

  1. Sam Ley says:

    Those were interesting times, to be sure. My grandfather flew 44 combat missions as the pilot for the “Ten Fighting Cocks”, a B-24H in the 450th Heavy Bombardment Group out of Italy – the plane made it through the war so there are a number of pictures of it out there. Has quite the jaunty rooster firing a machine gun on it, and the pictures of the crew show them as rakish and handsome gents.

    Of course, after the war he came home, spoke of it as little as possible, and drank himself to an early death. Not a lot of thought was given to what happens to people when you put them in a 60,000 lb flying coffin bristling with .50 cal machine guns and loaded with 4 tons of incendiary bombs, and send them out to kill who-knows-how-many people.

    One of the only stories I have about it is when my father was a kid he saw a picture of the plane and asked his mother, “What is a COCK?” She floundered and blushed, and said, “Oh, a cock is a kind of rooster” while his dad and his buddies cracked up in the other room. He rightly suspected that something was more than it appeared, but it took a few years to learn the REAL meaning.

    • 44 missions. Your grandfather was one of the ones who signed up for a second combat tour. The US Army Air Corp gave bomber  crew members the option of being rotated out of combat after 25 or 26 missions. Most took that option after what they had been through.

      This worked out well in the long run for the US as crewmembers who had left combat trained new air crews, so new crews were reasonably competent. The RAF had a similar program, but you had to fly 29 missions. The Germans thought more in the short term and had a “fly till you die” policy. They had some excellent pilots, but found it hard to train new ones.

      • Sam Ley says:

        Yep, ole’ Edmund Ley was a career man – he stayed on to test fly jets after the war until he died around ’65.

        I had heard that the original number of missions to be rotated out was 50, but that since it was nearly impossible to make 50 missions alive, they shortened it to 25. Still kept the nickname “50 Mission Crush” though.

  2. Bevatron Repairman says:

    Thanks for sharing that.  A terrible business.  


  3. Itsumishi says:

    A very interesting read. The photos portray a real sense of history and the article knocks a few sad and scary truths home.

  4. Giannis says:

    Really nice jacket :)

  5. gwailo_joe says:

    Interesting link…great history.

    I was hoping to see more ‘sexy ladies’ but Hitler’s face on a skunks body is definitely worth the price of admission: Shifless Skonk mos def.

    I just read a good book about a WWII airman who competed as a distance runner in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, served as a B-24 bomber navigator…crashed on a rescue mission…survived on a raft for -months- in the Pacific…eventually was found by the Japanese and held in a pretty pathetic POW camp until wars end.  ‘Unbroken’ is the books name, written by Laura Hillenbrand (of ‘Seabiscuit’ fame).

    One fact sticks in my mind: during WWII 35,933 American Air Force planes were lost in combat and accidents. Yet (according to the book) “In the air corps, 35,946 personnel died in non-battle situations, the vast majority in accidental crashes”

    I can’t find the combat death numbers right now…but can anyone doubt the massive loss of life that must have taken place?  Truly horrific…on all sides.

    Let the lads paint whatever they want, wherever…

    It has been argued that no wars are ‘good’: but one of the best things America has ever done; between winning the Civil War against itself and inventing the iPad…was beating down the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese.

    Horrible as it must have been; the blood of those boys fertilized the tree of global prosperity heretofore unimagined. But it is always more desirable to pluck the fruit than to shovel the manure. Or is it?

  6. Mister44 says:

    re: Disney and Looney Toon characters


    Here is a silkscreen print for my grandpas ship, the USS Aultman. It was a Navy ship under Coast Guard command that transported troops and supplies from Europe to the Pacific.  As you can see you have sailor Donald rowing GI Pluto to Tokyo.

    They made hundreds of these things for various ships, army battalions, fighter wings, etc There is a really good book out there about these prints if you want to learn more.

  7. Nadreck says:

    On the British Empire side a lot of the aircrew training went on on the prairies of the Dominion Of Canada.  I saw an incredible National Film Board documentary on this program.  There was, deliberately, a rather high casualty rate amongst the trainees.  Being more careful with them would have kept more of them alive but the Cold Equations were that doing so would slow up the pipeline of rookie pilots and that would cost more, mostly civilian, lives elsewhere.

    • nachoproblem says:

       A true war of attrition, that was. Just about the most messed up thing the human soul could ever have to absorb, yet it keeps happening and somehow people outlast it.

  8. Ryan Lenethen says:

    My favorite:

    “The Hump Pilots in the Air Transport Command flew supplies over the Himalayas, where the weather was their worst enemy. The camels indicate missions flown, while the camel facing reverse marks a turnaround due to engine trouble.”

    It was the first thing that caught my eye. “Why is one of the camels backwards?” Clever.

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