The Memphis Belle Crew

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Register to read the introduction…However, there was just one female to had ever fly in the aircraft. Her name was Stuka, a Scottish terrier purchased in a London pet store. Making up the crew was two pilots, a navigator, radio operator, bombardier, nose gunner, ball turret gunner, two waist gunners, and a tail gunner. All between the ages of 18 and 26, most of them were working normal blue-collar jobs all across the United States before entering into the service. The working day began and ended with the maintenance crew at the airfield. If it were not for the mechanics piecing the aircraft back together between missions, usually in record time, there would not have been aircraft to fly. Belle’s maintenance crew led by Joe Giambron was regarded as one of the best. The longest the bird was out of commission was five days when transportation for delivering a new wing was delayed. Belle’s skin was shot up on nearly every mission; 65 holes were counted after one mission. On every mission, it was likely to have parts shot off, a wing damaged, or an engine fail from enemy fire. The crew never knew if the plane would make it back so they took great pride in their work and did their best because they did not want a mistake to be their…show more content…
They only saw one enemy fighter in the far distance during their first mission on November 7, 1942. They were one of eight out of 14 planes that flew the mission and none of the designated targets were hit because of poor calibrating through cloud cover. Morgan remembered that they had no mission that was a “milk run”. He believed “the secret to a successful B-17 mission was tight formations - so tight that the wings often nearly touched in flight. That way, we were able to put out an amazing amount of firepower”.2 Every time they and any other B-17 bomber flew over enemy territory they were shot at. The most vulnerable time was when the bombardier took over the aircraft to sight the target. At that point, they were dedicated and could no longer maneuver to avoid enemy fire. Part of their motto was to not panic and conserve ammo. With the way the .50cal machine guns heated it, even in the freezing temperatures, it made it easier to do that for fear of melting a barrel. The distance the targets were inland from the coast varied but flying over enemy territory for 2 or 3 hours on any given mission was the
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