1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites): The National Interest: Flying U.S. B-17 Bombers over Nazi Germany Was Nearly a Death Sentence

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Warfare History Network

History, Europe

By US gov - http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Upcoming/Photos/igphoto/2000554589/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3464751

Here are the odds they faced.

In almost daily letters to Gladys, Hardwicke has, with unshakable faith, assured her that, no matter what she may hear, he will return to her as soon as the war is over. 

When the call came that morning, it was not unlike the 25 times previously when they had flown, or all those other times when weather intervened and postponement was ordered.

The door to the Nissen hut bangs open, the dim center-ceiling bulb winks to life, heavy footsteps, a grasp and shake of the shoulder, “OK, sir, mission today, you’re scheduled to go, breakfast at 0500, briefing at 0530.” Hugh Hunter Hardwicke, Jr.’s, leaden eyes open imperceptibly, and to the figure silhouetted against the eerie glow he responds with the traditional, “Go away, just go away, OK.” Nonetheless, he sits up, stretches, scratches, yawns, slides from under his double thickness of wool blankets. He sort of scurries, perhaps shuffles, across the cold, wooden floor, stokes what remains of the fire, barely alive within the cast-iron relic cleverly disguised as a stove, and calls to his co-pilot, “Roll out, Flick, we’re on.”

“OK, Guys, Up, Up … and Away”

Gordon (Flick) Flickema’s first task of this new day is to rouse the other two officers of Hardwicke’s crew, navigator Moody (Jack) Jackson and bombardier Charles (Chick) Papousek, with his usual, dutiful, “OK, guys, up, up … and away.” They share this bleak, corrugated-steel, half-cylinder-shaped home with eight additional officers representing two other 568th Squadron crews, all of whom are grousing at the hour, the cold, the damp, the necessity of yet another mission. It is a little after 0400 when Hardwicke and others plod blurry-eyed to the nearby officers’ latrine and notice just a wisp of fog; not bad for late-November England, but that may change with inexplicable alacrity.

(Originally Published May 30, 2019. This article originally appeared on the Warfare History Network.)

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The National Interest

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites)


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