Ever wonder how those WWII bomber formations formated?
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Thread: Ever wonder how those WWII bomber formations formated?

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    Ever wonder how those WWII bomber formations formated?

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    The totals of bombers and crews lost rarely differentiate between those due to enemy fire and those that occurred during takeoffs, landings and collisions while forming-up. Years ago, I was heavy into WW2 flight simulators and eventually gained the confidence to try piloting a B-17 on a bombing mission. ...yep......went down in flames while pancaking during my first "assembly". My uncle was a belly turret gunner on a B-17 with the 92nd BG and he'd once commented that the assembly stage of the mission, was often more nerve wracking than the bombing run itself. On larger strikes, there could be more than one assembly stage as bombers from several fields were combined at multiple locations along the route.
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    ^ This is factual information. My father was a P-51 fighter pilot and did numerous bomber escort missions over the channel into Germany. He stated that all the squadrons of fighter escorts hated having to rendezvous with the B-17 form up because "bad things happen when the lotsa' heavies are forming up the combat box." Their preference was to meet the bomber after the form up but before the 109's and 190's came in.

    I am also into WWII Air Combat Simulators. 'Wings of Prey' being my fav and 'War Thunder' (but I don't like having to fly with others I don't know and don't know their tactics.) I've flown 'Rise of Flight' but its a WWI sim and those birds are not the same compared to a P51 or a Spit MkVII. FW190's are fine fighters also. Not into the heavies.
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    This bomber sim was from the early '90s, nothing like the video quality of games now but it was pretty high-tech in its day. It was called "B-17 Flying Fortress", I was mostly into fighter sims but I hadda' try this one. It was awesome but could also be really complex, depending on the settings you chose. Terrain graphics were clunky but everything in the plane was detailed nicely. Going full realistic as the pilot in combat did become rather overwhelming at times but flying the plane was a treat......like goin' from a Miata to an Eldorado. An updated version would be cool and more manageable if you could issue orders by voice, rather than by keys. A yoke and pedals is also a necessity, a joystick and keyboard just doesn't cut it.
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    This is from Wikkipedia....
    "Some aspects that the player has control over are inflight crew management (a crewman might become injured during combat and temporary medical aid inflight given to him whilst another aircrewmen tends another crew position), manning an onboard .50 caliber M2 Browning machine gun against enemy fighters, and releasing the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress's ordnance on the target as well as piloting or copiloting the plane. All ten aircrew positions could be controlled either manually or under AI control, however the main character and captain is the primary pilot. His successes, failures, capture, injury or death affects the direction and conclusion of the campaign.
    The player can pick out his chosen bomber with its particular nose art and was shown target briefing information and briefing films in the simulation before entering on any mission with the crew. A map of the flight path and waypoints were also shown in the simulation. Although a mission is assigned to the crew before every sortie, the player may break formation and roam freely around Europe if desired, looking for and attacking targets of opportunity. Different targets can easily be discerned from the bombsight, whether a factory or a U-boat pen; terrain graphics are minimal. The success of this decision relies on the skill of the crew, particularly if the navigator is skilled enough to navigate Europe on his own and the crew is able to withstand stronger Luftwaffe fighter and ground defense Flak attacks due to being alone. The most difficult but prestigious targets were the Nazi strongholds in and around Berlin.
    If the player's B-17 is severely damaged, the player may drop out of the formation and continue the mission on one's own or attempt to return to England, in which one can land on any Allied runway and be taken back to the home base at Alconbury. The player is unable to damage one's own plane using the onboard guns, however, dropping bombs at a low altitude would destroy the plane. The player is also able to shoot down ally Flying Fortresses, as an act of friendly fire. An ill-timed shooting of a Luftwaffe fighter could cause the enemy to lose control and collide with one's B-17 or others in the formation."
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    I had the pleasure of Deer Hunting West Texas 35 or 40 years ago with an Aviator during WW2, He told me at one point during that time the number of planes claiming engine trouble or whatever they could think of to keep from flying into Germany, Was so bad that the fighter pilots flying to protect the Bombers were ordered to shoot down Planes trying to return to base
    They used colored lights once they were in the air to assemble with there squadrons to keep there formations together
    He was in a Plane that was shot down over German territory and spend several weeks making his way back to allied lines.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kschilk View Post
    The totals of bombers and crews lost rarely differentiate between those due to enemy fire and those that occurred during takeoffs, landings and collisions while forming-up. Years ago, I was heavy into WW2 flight simulators and eventually gained the confidence to try piloting a B-17 on a bombing mission. ...yep......went down in flames while pancaking during my first "assembly". My uncle was a belly turret gunner on a B-17 with the 92nd BG and he'd once commented that the assembly stage of the mission, was often more nerve wracking than the bombing run itself. On larger strikes, there could be more than one assembly stage as bombers from several fields were combined at multiple locations along the route.
    One of my classmates from 1st grade through high school graduation's father had been a tail gunner in a B-17. When my dad ask him why, he said they offered him choice between tail gunner and belly gunner. Something about if a B-17 lost hydraulics, they couldn't lower the landing gear or raise the belly gunner out of the turret ball.
    Last edited by CWB; 06-02-2019 at 10:31 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CWB View Post
    One of my classmates from 1st grade through high school gradiaton's father had been a tail gunner in a B-17. When my dad ask him why, he said they offered him choice between tail gunner and belly gunner. Something about if a B-17 lost hydraulics, they couldn't lower the landing gear or raise the belly gunner out of the turret ball.
    ....also, it was the one position where you couldn't wear a parachute. They had to get out of the turret, then don the parachute before they bailed...........yeah......good luck wi'dat.
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    An hour long adventure -

    We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.- George Bernard Shaw

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    It was a tough job with the 8th and 15th Air Forces.
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    Dad was 8thAF, 352nd Fighter Group out of Bodney. "The Blue-Nosed Bastards of Bodney"
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