To The Survivors

To The Survivors

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by Henry Maxfield
     
 

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Survivors is partially true – a combination of fact and fiction. I have created new characters as members of the crew of the Devils Lady which is not the name of the ship in which I flew.
I experienced the fear common to all of us and realized, almost from the beginning, that we were committing suicide every time we flew, in rigid formation, bombing

Overview

Survivors is partially true – a combination of fact and fiction. I have created new characters as members of the crew of the Devils Lady which is not the name of the ship in which I flew.
I experienced the fear common to all of us and realized, almost from the beginning, that we were committing suicide every time we flew, in rigid formation, bombing missions over Germany.
Our first encounter was the Battle of Buncher Six – our radio beacon.
On overcast days – almost every day - in England – we had to climb thousands of feet through impenetrable fog with only the altimeter, throttle and prescribed angle of climb for the pilots’ guidance. The names of those who were killed in the inevitable collisions appeared on the shield which hung above the bar in the officers’ and non-coms’ clubs..
We were required to fly in rigid formation - in the beginning - without adequate air cover and with .30 caliber machine guns. We converted to .50 caliber, and in some bombers added a lower ball turret against fighters attacking from below. The gunner was in a sitting the fetal position, and with legs open presented his gonads to the enemy fighters.
In the event of an emergency he could not be cranked back up, if there was no one alive to do it, and on a belly landing the extended ball would be crushed and the gunner killed.
I took gunner training in that lower ball turret in a B-17 flown by a bored pilot who managed to do wingovers which made me dizzy and disoriented. I had earned my gunners’ wings which provided additional incentive to become a navigator and not ever fly in that contraption. When I was flying missions, the B-24 lower ball turret had been removed. I had particular empathy for those gunners who had been assigned to that position, but we were now vulnerable to attack from below.
This rigid formation prevented any evasive action. On the bomb run we flew directly into the heavy Junkers 88 flak barrages set to explode at various altitudes – an air-born island with black puffs filled with jagged steel fragments that could tear our bombers apart and explode which is what happened to my bomber and the loss of six of our ten man crew including our pilot who was pitched forked to death upon landing by parachute.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012086532
Publisher:
Southwick House
Publication date:
10/26/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
308
File size:
242 KB

Meet the Author

Henry S. Maxfield, navigator in a B-24 Liberator Bomber flying missions over Germany in WW II, was shot down over Gelsenkirchen. One of four survivors of a crew of ten, he was captured and made a prisoner of war. He was recruited for the Central Intelligence Agency during the Korean War and served in the clandestine section for three years. He is married and lives in Wolfeboro, NH where he established and operated Henry S. Maxfield Real Estate inc., now owned and operated by his son, Henry S. Maxfield Jr, "Chip".
Maxfield has returned to writing full time and has completed a novel about our legal system and its failure to realize that the deliverance of justice is its sole raison d'etre.

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To the Survivors 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a modestly entertaining work, but adds little or nothing to the legion of other WWII aviation pieces. It is poorly written, apparently not edited at all (sentence fragments and even paragraphs repeat a page or so later than originally introduced), makes large chronological leaps without explanation, and then just stops - there is no conclusion.