Post by Wolffan Post by Jonathan
It wasn't detected until it had already passed
since it was coming from the direction of the sun
so it could only be seen during daylight
hours which is pretty much impossible.
It's called a 'glaring hole' in our ability
to detect impacts in time.
It came from the direction of the sun. Those words might sound
chilling to you. And they do, too – perhaps more so – to scientists
who work to detect near-Earth asteroids, in an effort to keep our
I remember that there was a movie about World War II
fighter pilots with the title "12 O'Clock High".
It was bombers, and not just the pilots. Gregory Peck and the 918th (really
the 306th) Bomb Group, US 8th Army Air Force, set in 1942, made in 1949.
Later a tv series, same name.
A favorite WW2 TV series of mine.
The B-17 used in that series is under
restoration and can be seen in this
short video. Piccadilly Lilly II
Perhaps the most famous B-17 of all. The movie and
series was based on the true story of the
306th bomb group.
My dad flew 38 missions for the 307th bomb group
in B-24's in the Pacific theater.
The 306th was called "First Over Germany".
My dad's unit the 307th was called "The Long Rangers"
due to the fact many of their missions involved
very hazardous 8 or 10 hour flights over the
Pacific to reach their targets.
Considering my dad's unit lost 25% of it's squadron
in just...one mission bombing the Yamato, him surviving
41 missions total makes me feel like the luckiest person
alive literally speaking. When I researched his
war record I'm astonished he lived through it.
And his bomber crew obviously felt the same
way if you look at this picture of his unit
I found in his war picture album.
"We were lucky"
Piccadilly Lilly II
Piccadilly Lilly II (s/n 44-83684) was the last active
B-17 Flying Fortress bomber in the United States Air Force,
and retired in 1959 after nine years as a DB-17P drone
director. She is currently part of Edward T. Maloney's
aviation collection and is being restored to flying
condition at the Planes of Fame air museum, Chino,
This aircraft was possibly the last aircraft assigned
to the 8th AF / 447th Bomb Group but perhaps not delivered
This aircraft was used in the Dick Powell Theatre episode
"Squadron," and The Quinn Martin production of
Twelve O'Clock High starring Robert Lansing and Paul Burke.
She was redressed to represent the numerous aircraft which
comprised the mythical 918th Bomb Group. She also appeared
in The Thousand Plane Raid as well as Black Sheep Squadron.
The following is the account of my dad'a first four missions
in combat to give you an idea of the immense casualty rates
of bomber crews back then.
My Dad's First Month in Combat!
General MacArthur, in keeping his famous promise, steadily
advanced from one Pacific Island to another, so the 307th
Bombardment Group, the Long Rangers "Jungle Air Force"
moved along with him.
His base at Wadke Island Aerodrome, just off the coast
of New Guinea, was the last 'island hop' for his group
before the big invasion of the Philippines.
His unit, the 307th, was comprised of 4 B-24 Bomber Squadrons,
the 370th, 371st, 372nd and my dad's unit, the 424th.
His group the 307th was named 'The Long Rangers' due to
the fact most missions involved extremely long flights
over the Pacific. Meaning almost any battle damage would
make returning safely difficult.
307th Bomber Group Homepage
OCT 3 Mission.
The 370th, 371st, 372nd and 424th squadrons attacked
the crucial Balakapapan oil fields. Source of 13% of the entire
Japanese oil and gas supplies, considered the 'Ploesti' of the
Japanese Empire, and one of the most vital targets of the
entire Pacific war. And it was defended by the Japanese
'fanatically' according to the group commander.
370th Squadron mission results;
"It is impossible to rate this mission as only one
of our planes over the target returned to base."
371st Squadron mission results.
"Fifteen minutes before the bomb run, the squadron
was attacked for an hour and a half by numerous relays of
enemy fighters of 40-50 planes in each relay. Some enemy
fighters flew above the formation and dropped several
phosphorus bombs accurately. 2 planes were lost.
A/C #599 Lt Connell, pilot, was attacked by a Zeke
from 2 o'clock high and was hit in the #1 engine which
was seen to smoke and flame. Friendly submarine reported
that it picked up 10 men of the 11-man crew.
"A/C # 955 Lt Kates, pilot, was observed to receive
a direct AA hit just prior to bombs away, and fire broke
out at the left wing root. The plane fell off in flames and
crashes, three men were seen to bail out.
A/C # 568, Lt Kendall, pilot, was attacked by a Zeke over
the target, and hit in #3 engine, the plane fell off to the left
and was immediately attacked by 3 or 4 fighters. The plane
caught fire, and 3 or 4 men were observed to parachute
just before the plane exploded in the air.
A/C # 565, Lt Wright, pilot, was attacked by enemy fighters
and lost #2 engine, just prior to bombs away; the plane
went into a steep right bank and crashed into the water.
One chute was seen to open.
A/C # 6t14, Lt. Rourie, pilot, had #3 engine on fire over
the target, and appeared to have control damage from AA.
Two parachutes were sighted a few minutes later in the
water. A Jap seaplane was also observed to be circling
A/C #101 Lt Rider, pilot, was rammed in the right wing
by an enemy fighter, during the bomb run, part of the
right wing came off, and the Liberator turned on its back
and went into a dive and crashed near the target, no
chutes were seen.
This Kamikaze attack was photographed and published
by the AP nation wide.
B-24 shot down "Over the Philippines"
Lt Wheeler's plane, a 20mm shell exploded in their
cockpit, paralyzing the right leg and arm of the pilot
and the co-pilot was bleeding so badly he became
barely conscious. With one engine out and the help
of the engineer, they managed to keep flying
for the 6 hours it took to get back, and somehow
landed safely. In the words of the group commander...
"Some crews have it, some crews don't.
This crew had it...in large quantities."
"307th gunners shot down 23 aircraft."
"On the Oct 3 raid, 21% of all personal that started out
have not returned. 29% of the airplanes that day
will never fly again. In all 12 planes were lost in
combat, one crashed on take off, and 32 were
In conclusion, the mission report reads...
"Is is doubtful that a more dangerous, grueling and heart-breaking
mission has ever been performed in any theater of war. This report
can by no means adequately reflect the feast of individual heroism
and bravery displayed, which are too numerous to mention."
"A crippling blow was struck against Japan's fuel and lubricating
supplies when the "Long Rangers" left in shambles cracking plants
paraffin plants etc, that, it is estimated will take a year to repair."
"Letters of commendation from General Arnold and General
MacArthur have been received and distributed to the squadrons
participating in the foregoing strikes"
"Awards for September and October, 1944
307th Bombardment Group;"
Air Medals 123
Oak Leaf Clusters 19
Distinguished Flying Cross 1
Purple Hearts 8
Oct Unit Report
OCT 26 Mission:
All 4 squadrons were sent out to search for enemy shipping.
"Just as the 307th formation entered the Sulu Sea, a message
was picked up from "Peggy 2" to intercept a unit of 6 vessels.
26 miles East of the formation.The group leader spotted what
he thought was a flotilla of heavy and light cruisers, so he barged
right in. Major John Neely held course for a few minutes
then "crossed the T" of the enemy task force.
But it turned out to be a fleet of battleships.
The Battleships Yamato, the largest ever built, the Nagato
with her 16 inch guns, and the Battleships Kongo and Haruna
along with several heavy cruisers.
They stumbled into the bulk of the remaining Japanese navy
as they were leaving the Battle of Leyte Gulf after their
defeat. Considered the largest naval battle of WW2
and perhaps ever.
The Yamato used her 18" guns at times for anti aircraft fire
using 'San Shiki' shells.
Oct 26th mission results;
"In as much as this is the first time heavy bombardment
squadrons have taken under attack major units of the
Japanese battle fleet, it is thought of interest to record
in detail and to diagram the actions of the two forces."
"This bombing is rated as excellent. 28 Liberators, 7 each
from the 370th, 371st, 372nd and 424th attacked the flotilla.
AA Fire; Intense, heavy and accurate. It was of the barrage
type and composed of different type bursts, being black,
yellow, orange and gold, as well as white." Major Neely
promptly began a loss of 500' of altitude and a turn to the
left into his bombing run. This proved to be extremely
effective. It is felt that the losses from AA might have been
much heavier then they were."
"The first sections of the group, consisting of the 370th and
372nd took on the Konga Class Battleships, while the
371st and 424nd attacked the Yamato two minutes later.
The Yamato continued in a tight 360 degree turn while
the Konga made a tight "S" turn."
Lt Hicks was hit by flack just as the bomb run began.
It struck midway between the bomb bay and tail, the
plane began to smoke, a few seconds later the tail
of the plane burst into flames and went into a spin.
One man was seen to have jumped out but no
parachute was seen to open.
Lt Jones was hit over the target. However this plane
was reported to drop its bombs on the target.
It later burst into flames and was last seen falling
into the sea enveloped in flames. No men were
seen bailing out.
Lt Sutphin received a burst of AA in the # 3
engine during the bomb run. The pilot was able
to keep the plane in flight for an hour and a half
It was reported this aircraft lost its # 4 engine
at this time. The plane went into a spin and crashed
into the sea. Three men were seen to bail out of
this plane. One man's chute became tangled with
the disabled aircraft, a second became enmeshed
in his chute, and the third man was dragged along
for about 500 yards through the water until the chute
A total of 3 of 7 B-24's from the 424th were lost
1 more crashed on take-off and 14 were damaged by
Oct 26 Group report
On Nov 2nd, his 3rd mission, they searched for the Yamato
flotilla for 15 hours without success. Turns out the Yamato
task force was in Brunei, for supplies. His log book for that
day read...using his grammar.
"Couldn't find battleships, would have been suiscide for us"
On his 4th mission, on Nov 6, he shot down his first fighter!
"Got one for sure" his log book reads.
He was on the right waist gun and flying a formation
of 6 B-24's at 12,500 feet in a modified box formation
with 2 P-47 escorts. And 7 hours from base his squadron
was attacked by 20 Japanese fighters.
The Zeke came in from behind, between 5 and 7 o'clock level.
After the burst, it started to smoke badly, banked right and
went into a steep vertical dive. It was last seen going into
the clouds at 4000 feet trailing thick black smoke. Because
of the cloud cover, it was credited as a 'probable'.
The enemy fighters made 15 or 20 more passes at his plane
all from behind. The P-47 escorts shot down two of them
Nov 6 Mission Report
My dad still had 38 more missions left to go!
Post by Wolffan
So asteroids can, without deliberate intent, employ
a time-honored tactic used in aerial warfare.
you’re being sillier than usual.
This is not surprising, and it is a risk we will have to live with.
Eventually, perhaps we will have space telescopes deployed
at the L4 and L5 points of the Earth-Sun system to aid in
detecting incoming asteroids so as to minimize this issue.
BIG LIE From Wiki - "The German expression was coined by Adolf Hitler
when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, to describe the use of a lie
so *colossal* that no one would believe that someone "could have the
impudence to distort the truth so infamously."