First and foremost, thank you to all who have read my past blog posts and my book, “Homey’s Adventures.”
As promised, I am writing this book as a sequel to the happy ending of my first book. I recently started writing this book, and I have been inspired lately. I decided to share this with you. So, without delay here is Chapter 13 of my third book:
Chapter 13 – Fighter Escorts, Flak, and The Full Monty
My Dad’s 13th mission was a daylight raid over Tokyo:
Iwo Jima played a significant role in two ways for this mission. They had a P51 Mustang fighter escort for the first time over Japan and they were able to land on Iwo Jima to get gas.
The P51 had a range of about 1,600 miles. The flight from Iwo Jima to Tokyo and back was about 1,500 miles. Without Iwo Jima, fighter escort would never have been possible because the flight to Tinian Island was twice as far. The P51 could fly faster and higher than the Japanese Zero. So, this made it a good escort for the B29 bomber groups.
The pilots of the P51s were more concerned about the flight time than the actual fighting over Japan. The P51 is a single seated fighter with little or no room to stretch or move. After 8 or more hours of flight time, the pilots usually needed to be pulled out of the plane by ground crew because the pilot had leg cramps.
Usually in his letters to my mom, my dad was optimistic. I think this mission concerned my dad more than any other mission up to this point in time because of the flak.
General Cutris Lamay started commanding my dad’s bombing group about the same time my dad arrived in Tinian. Before that he commanded B29’s flying from China. He became convinced that high-altitude bombing was ineffective, given the usually cloudy weather over Japan. Furthermore, bombs dropped from the B-29s at high altitude (above 20,000 feet) were often blown off their trajectories by a consistently powerful jet stream over the Japanese home islands. This dramatically reduced the effectiveness of the high-altitude raids. Japanese air defenses made daytime bombing below jet stream-affected altitudes too perilous. LeMay switched to low-altitude nighttime incendiary attacks on Japanese targets in 1945.
Japanese cities were mostly constructed of combustible materials such as wood and paper. Precision high-altitude daylight bombing was ordered to proceed only when weather permitted or when specific critical targets were not vulnerable to area bombing.
I do not think my dad liked low level daytime bombing at all. Knowing my dad, he also wanted to spend more time socializing on Iwo Jima. I can imagine a conversation when they left the coast of Japan heading back to Tinian:
“Hey lieutenant, we need to stop in Iwo Jima for fuel.”
“The flak was rough back there. How about we also get out of the plane and have some pie and maybe go to the beach?”
The lieutenant was from Alabama, and you could hear his southern accent: “No Sarge, y’all will just have to keep your clothes on until we get back to Tinian.”
Based on his smash hit 1997 film, The Full Monty is the story of six Sheffield steel workers who decide to stage a strip show to raise much-needed cash. My dad and his fellow service men relaxed in the Full Monty.
End Of Chapter 13
I recently started drafting this about 3 months ago and I still research to do. I plan to share some of my work as time and resources allows. I am hoping by next Father’s Day, my new book will be completed and published.
I encourage anyone who had a parent or grandparent who flew in the B29’s from Tinian Island in 1945 to contact me. Without these heroes protecting our freedoms, we would not be able to celebrate our country’s founding on Independence Day.
Originally, I started this blog as an eclectic mix of what I was thinking during the week and book reviews. I will do some of that too. So, you do not want to miss what follows. Follow my blog to make sure you receive it.
If you do not want to wait that long and you have not read my first book. I encourage you to go to my website, www.homeysadventures.com. You can read the first two chapters for free, and you can also buy it. Or you can buy it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other fine retailers. Just search for it using the words: Homey’s Adventures by Jim Wish.
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I liken myself to the Vienna Violinist described in chapter 5 of Homey’s Adventures Too. I play (write) for your enjoyment and mine. God bless you all.