Author Question

Discussion in 'WWII Books' started by Robert Porter, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. Robert Porter

    Robert Porter Active Member

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    Does anyone remember the book by Martin Caiden called "Flying Forts" obviously about the B-17? The reason I ask is I seem to remember he was accused of plagiarism over some of his books and I have not seen a book of his outside of used bookstores.

    Has he been so discredited that he is no longer published? I really enjoyed that particular book. Has he been redeemed? Anyone know exactly what happened to him?
     
  2. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Was it plagiarism or just playing fast and loose with the facts? Particularly with that book, which when I read it as a kid I loved, only to find out later that perhaps my favorite parts had been, let's say, exaggerated.
     
  3. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Are you thinking of Stephen Ambrose? I think he was the one tarred with the plagiarism accusations.
     
  4. Robert Porter

    Robert Porter Active Member

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    You could well be correct. I do seem to remember something about Stephen, perhaps both?
     
  5. Robert Porter

    Robert Porter Active Member

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    I believe it was a little of both but primarily plagiarism. I know some of that book was later discredited as well, although he revised the book and was a little more careful about marking sections as unsubstantiated as opposed to factual. The "Wing and a Prayer" story comes to mind.
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Caiden was entertaining but thew a lot of BS into his books
     
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  7. Robert Porter

    Robert Porter Active Member

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    I would tend to agree, reading them from a teenage perspective they were great! But reading later in life a lot of the narrative left me feeling uncomfortable. Somewhat like that one friend that can always top everyones story.
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #8 FLYBOYJ, Sep 16, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
    Old discussion...

    German B-24 infiltrating US B-24 formations?

    "One of the more interesting stories in the MTO was of the phantom P-38, which was causing trouble for many crippled bombers. Beginning on June 4, 1943, a crippled bomber was coming back from a mission against the island of Pantelleria. The crew was considering bailing out of their bomber when they spotted a P-38 coming closer. They immediately relaxed knowing it was coming to their aid. The crew continued to dump extra weight from the aircraft, including the guns and ammunition. Before the crew realized what happened, the P-38 erupted in gunfire and destroyed the B-17. The only survivor was the pilot, Lt. Harold Fisher. Fisher was rescued and was the target of fury from the fighter pilots by suggesting it was a friendly P-38 that shot them down.

    Several weeks before Lt. Fisher's ordeal, a P-38 pilot was low on fuel and was lost. He actually made an emergency landing just outside of Sardinia. The pilot was captured before he was able to destroy his aircraft. Italian pilot, Lt. Guido Rossi came up with the idea of using this P-38 against the American bombers. Rossi's strategy was to wait until the bombers made their attacks. Rossi would then take off and scout around for stragglers. He actually used this technique to shoot down several bombers. Until Lt. Fisher, no other crews survived to tell of the P-38 shooting them down. The American commanders were under the assumption that these missing bombers just did not make it back just as many before them. Nobody thought a friendly aircraft was the cause.

    After Fisher told his story, bombers crews were alerted to look for a lone P-38, which was posing as a friendly. Fisher came up with the idea of using a decoy B-17 to attract Rossi. Fisher's idea was approved and he took off in the experimental YB-40 gunship. This was simply a modified B-17, which had more armor and guns. He flew several missions lagging behind the rest of the formations, but never encountered Rossi. Intelligence was being gathered and the Allies finally learned the identity of the pilot. They also learned that his wife was living in Allied occupied Constantine. An artist actually used a picture of his wife to paint a nose art picture on Fisher's bomber, and included her name, Gina. On August 31, a B-17 raid struck Pisa. Fisher was flying among the bombers, and was actually damaged by enemy fighters. He recovered at a low altitude and had to feather two engines. Before lone, a lone P-38 was approaching and the crew was on high alert. Rossi, using very good English, contacted Fisher, just as he did on previous occasions. Rossi immediately noticed the nose art on the aircraft and spoke with Fisher. Fisher was still uncertain the pilot was Rossi and was chatting with Rossi normally. Fisher decided to bait this pilot to see if it was Rossi or not, and began talking about Gine and her location in Constantine. When Fisher was describing intimate details of their "relationship", Rossi lost his cool. He peeled off and began his attack. Fisher ordered all guns to open up on this P-38, and Rossi had to peel off trailing smoke. Rossi intended to ram the bomber, but began breaking up and could not maintain flight. He was able to ditch in the water and survived. Rossi was later picked up and taken prisoner. Fisher was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross medal for his efforts. Fisher would survive the war, but was killed in a transport accident during the Berlin Airlift. Incidentally, Rossi was one of the mourners at his funeral."

    From Wiki...

    "The YB-40's mission was to provide a heavily gunned escort capable of accompanying bombers all the way to the target and back. Of the initial order of 13, one (43-5732) was lost on the delivery flight from Iceland to UK in May 1943; it force-landed in a peat bog on an offshore Scottish island after running out of fuel. Although removed to Stornoway and repaired, it never flew in combat. The remaining 12 were allocated to the 92d Bombardment Group (Heavy), being assigned to the 327th Bombardment Squadron, stationed at RAF Alconbury (AAF-102) on 8 May 1943."

    RAF Alconbury is about 2000 miles from the island of Pantelleria.
     
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  9. Token

    Token Active Member

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    #9 Token, Sep 18, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  11. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The only captured P-38 ever used by the Italians was one that was captured when the USAAF pilot landed in Italy by mistake during a ferry mission in '43.

    Col. Angelo Tondi did claim a B-17 shot down but the P-38 was eventually grounded and rendered useless by the poor grade of gasoline that the Italians were using. The other P-38 that fell into the Italian's hands (courtesy of 2Lt. Martin Monti who defected to the Axis), was a recon P-38 (F-5E) and it was handed over to the Germans.

    None of the YB-40 gunships were ever used in southern Europe and/or the MTO, all being deployed on missions over France or Germany (and one aborted raid targeting Bergen, Norway).
     
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  12. Token

    Token Active Member

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    Now you are just messing up a good story with fact. Martin Caidens stuff is always well written, and always tells a good story.

    Another "interesting" story told in the book "Fork Tailed Devil" concerns a P-38 that comes back to its home drome with a dead pilot, supposedly witnessed by hundreds of folks and "documented". But so far I have not been able to find that documentation ;)

    T!
     
  13. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Caiden was indeed a great story teller and he, along with Green, created a great many legends!

    Why let facts get in the way of a good story, right? :lol:
     
  14. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Here, here!
     
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