Fighter Group: The 352nd "Blue-Nosed Bastards" in World War II

Discussion in 'Non-fiction' started by jayastout, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. jayastout

    jayastout Member

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    Gents,

    This is the book I was working on when we had a spirited discussion a year or so ago about whether Luftwaffe aircrew--late in the war--were authorized to preemptively abandon their aircraft in order to save themselves (a pilot being more valuable than an aircraft).

    Anyway, Stackpole Books officially released it yesterday: 420+ pages, bibliography, end notes and two separate photo sections. It's really like no other air combat book I've seen. Covers the group from its formation in late 1942, its movement to England during the summer of 1943, and then combat operations out of Bodney and continental Europe through the end of the war. It not only outlines the group's actions as a whole but follows several pilots through their combat careers. The book is full of personal reflections, discussions of tactics and equipment, and combat encounters. It also includes a discussion on the practice of shooting airmen in their parachutes.

    Barrett Tillman, author of Whirlwiind and Enterprise wrote: "Fighter Group reminds us there is still much to be recorded about the Second World War, and Stout has established a level of expertise that will be hard to match."

    Fighter Group: The 352nd "Blue-Nosed Bastards" in World War II: LtCol (Ret) Jay A. Stout: 9780811705776: Amazon.com: Books

    Anyway, I hope you might find it of interest.

    Regards,
    Jay A. Stout
     
  2. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations Jay! Be interested to read that some time.
     
  3. jayastout

    jayastout Member

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    Thanks A4K. One of the rarely-covered topics I dug into a bit after some discussion on various forums was the practice of shooting airmen of downed aircraft as they descended in their parachutes. To paraphrase...lots of "arguing about who shot who." What I found was that it was fairly uncommon although something that all sides did (in fact, it is mentioned in one of the 352nd's mission summary reports). Ultimately, it came to Eisenhower's attention and he specifically forbid it on the eve of D-Day.

    A4K--do you have experience with that aircraft? I flew the TA-4J in training. Loved it. The USMC would have done well to have passed on the Harrier and soldiered on with updated A-4s. Still a great aircraft.

    Regards,
    Jay
     
  4. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Sounds like a good book Jay - think I'll be ordering a copy. I think young Harrison (B-17 Engineer) will be interested too - I know he's been in touch with some 352nd veterans himself.
     
  5. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    G'day Jay!

    I don't have much experience with her as such, unfortunately. Am ex-RNZAF, defence cuts putting an end to my training (as A/C mech), so never got to service them as I'd hoped (the main reason I joined up!)
    Luckily got to see them almost every day though while on base, and could tell you every detail about them at that time! (1991).

    Remains my favourite aircraft of course...:)

    Evan
     
  6. jayastout

    jayastout Member

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    She's a masterpiece. I still believe that, updated, it'd be very capable in its original role.

    RNZAF...a fantastic, out-sized aviation legacy well beyond the size of the country...and now it's all but gone. Kind of sad even to me and I've never been there.

    All best,
    Jay
     
  7. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Any idea when the book will be available in the UK Jay?
     
  8. jayastout

    jayastout Member

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    Hmmm...I'm not sure. Previous books have been available via Amazon in the UK about a month after the U.S. release. Too, the U.S. publisher (Stackpole) has a business relationship with Casemate which has a U.K. arm. So I think it'll be available through them soon.

    Regards,
    Jay
     
  9. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Thanks Jay, I'll keep checking Amazon and Casemate.
     
  10. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Jay we have talked about this before but it was an unwritten order in some 8th AF fg's to pop Me 262 pilots in their chutes.............for obvious reasons
     
  11. jayastout

    jayastout Member

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    Erich,

    Yes, that might be so despite Eisenhower's order forbidding it, although I personally have no concrete evidence that it was an unwritten order. The belief (erroneous) in the USAAF was that the Me-262 required extraordinary pilot skills and training to be flown. Killing the pilots would make cold, logical sense. The 352nd shot an Me-262 pilot in the chute on 1 (or 2?) November 1944.

    Regards,
    Jay
     
  12. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    actually Jay the date you speak of the 2nd was a Nowotny squadron 262 shot down by W. Groce of the 56th fg, Gerbe probably helped but Groces gun cam provides the ,50 gusto on finishing off the jet. Groce lived north of me in my state.

    yes it was an unwritten order the pilots did as they saw fit, will not give names or US 8th AF fg's since the pilots are still living.....
     
  13. jayastout

    jayastout Member

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    Yes, Erich--that was the specific encounter I was referencing. I called it out because it's one of the few instances where an official document (the 352nd's Mission Summary Report for that day) described shooting an enemy pilot in his parachute.

    Regards,
    Jay
     
  14. FalkeEins

    FalkeEins Member

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    #14 FalkeEins, Oct 19, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
    ..I could never find an affordable copy of "Blue -nosed Bastards..." ("Punchy" Powell once found me a copy at $ 250 ..), but did manage to get 'Bluenoser Tales', so I'm very much looking forward to getting this one.. still no sign of it in the UK yet..
     
  15. jayastout

    jayastout Member

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    Yes, I visited Punchy at his place in Atlanta during January 2011. What a great gentleman he is! And he's done so much to preserve the 352nd's history. He had helped me a bit with the previous book, The Men Who Killed the Luftwaffe, and was eager to assist with a book entirely focused on the 352nd. He was unstinting in his support and subsequent to my visit he sent me boxes and boxes of resource material to include his working copy of Blue-Nosed Bastards of Bodney. Sending it back put a little tear in my eye.

    And because there's a great woman behind every great man, I dedicated Fighter Group to Punchy's wife, Betty. Having been married a good long while myself, I understand that Punchy couldn't have done what he's done without her help.

    All best,
    Jay
     
  16. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    I will keep a look out for the book.
    Not so sure about the USMC being better off sticking with the A4 in preference to the AV8 though.
    Both great little planes - but I respect your opinion even though mine differs.
     
  17. jayastout

    jayastout Member

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    Regarding the AV-8...I got myself into quite a bit of trouble while I was in the service. I wrote publicly about the reasons why it was such a bad idea. Naturally, Marine Corps officialdom took a dim view of my activities although I was never officially brought to task. There was no way for them to do so when I maintained my integrity by telling the truth.

    Ah...but I'd better stop now or I'll end up wasting too much time denigrating an aircraft that was just a plain poor fit for my service.
     
  18. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    I admire your integrity - many people would not have had the balls to speak out - especially whilst still in service.
    The only time that A4's came up against Sea Harriers , they did not do so well. 8 A4's lost by ht Argentinian Airforce to zero Sea Harriers lost.
    They also had some fans in the Gulf Wars - Stormin Norman rated them quite highly.
    McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  19. jayastout

    jayastout Member

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    Yes, you're certainly correct. However, I'd offer that the loss rate had little to do with the performance characteristics of the actual aircraft (airspeed, turn rate, radius, acceleration, etc). The Argentine A-4s were loaded with bombs in many instances and had poor air-to-air armament whereas the Harriers carried all-aspect AIM-9L Sidewinders (a huge advantage). Moreover, the A-4s were operating at the extremes of their range and had little fuel for "play time." Too, the Harriers had the advantage of operating within an air defense network. And had onboard radar. And then there was pilot training.

    The Harriers did a great job in that instance. Nevertheless, I'd opine that had the Royal Navy pilots been flying A-4s with AIM-9L missiles under the same set of conditions against Argentines flying AV-8s without AIM-9L (assuming they had the range to reach the Falklands)...the results would have been similar.

    Best regards,
    Jay
     
  20. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    I would have to agree with you as far as reversing roles of the two AC - the Aim9 had a lot to do with it.
    The Argentinian pilots were certainly brave enough - just look at the RN losses of ships hit by them.
    I do believe that RAF pilots are up there with the best as far as training goes.
    Regards. Vin
     
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