The most unappreciated airmen of World War Two.

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by pattle, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. pattle

    pattle Member

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    In Britain we often hear of Bomber Command crewmen being the forgotten heroes of World War Two with Fighter Command taking all the recognition and credit. While I agree that Bomber Command was not given the recognition and credit it deserved I believe this statement to be only partly true as the brave airmen of Bomber Command were only forgotten in the minds of some and I suspect that anyone who reads this forum would like myself have of been aware of the great courage and sacrifices made by the RAF's bomber crews during World War Two from a very early age.
    Looking at America the impression I get is that appreciation seems to be more equally divided between fighter and bomber crews with possibly even the bomber crews being the most respected of the two.
    I think in the minds of at least the British, bombers exist as Lancasters and Mosquitos while fighters exist as Spitfires and Hurricanes, often very little mention is made of other types of fighters and bombers some of which have largely been forgotten about by the general public along with the sacrifices made by the crews who flew these often outdated or ill suited aircraft.
    Outside of the stereotypical duties of bombing and dogfighting both fighters and bombers were adapted into other uses and used by different branches of air forces along with other types of aircraft which we seldom hear about.
    Putting bombers and fighters to one side for a moment, how many people think of the dangers faced by the crews of unglamorous transport or long range weather patrol aircraft. I wonder who are the most forgotten airmen and least appreciated of World War Two
     
  2. Alex .

    Alex . Active Member

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    I'd say for us Britss the Air Transport Auxiliary are up there amongst the most forgotten airmen (women, too)

     
  3. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Imagine flying and landing a Lysander into some clearing in occupied France in the dark of night .....
     
  4. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    The WAC's.
    Those women tested new aircraft, flew them to the front, and never received any recognition.
     
  5. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    I'd rather do that than fly a Fairey Battle against a bridge target in France.

    Anyone who served in the Far East can also, at least from the Brit perspective, be considered unappreciated.
     
  6. model299

    model299 Member

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    Except for hard core aviation history folks like us, hardly anyone knows about the tranport crews that flew The Hump in the Pacific theater.
     
  7. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    +1 for that.
     
  8. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    One group of individuals that you read very little about on any side during the war are the aircraft maintenance personnel. These guys worked continuously day and night on their aircraft, sometimes under fire and bombing attack, in primitive conditions, in extremes of temperature, in some cases, like in the Pacific with the ever present annoyance of mosquitoes and other wildlife to make things awkward for them, and all this often with the barest of necessities to get their vitally important job done. Servicing aircraft is not the most glamorous job, but it needs to be done and we always read of accounts of the pilots, navigators, gunners etc, but never of what the engineers at front line airfields went through.
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Another overlooked air service are the pilots and crews of the seaplanes. Tasked with sub-spotting, recon missions and searching for downed aviators or sinking victims, these crews often flew for long hours over endless waters and on several occasions, disappeared without a trace.
     
  10. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Dutch LM pilots, fought for 5 days very hard, outnumbered 1 to 20 and outgunned, even in a 1 on 1 situation and in obsolete aircraft, they fought hard untill the scarce material ran out. Special mention to the little Fokker C.X and C.V biplanes who kept being a nuicance to the Germans, untill they were forced to surrender by the highcommand. Many of the flyers went into the resistance or fled to the UK to fight another day. Largely forgotten here and almost unknown to the outside world.
     
  11. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    Spoken like a true engineer!
     
  12. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Underpaid, underappreciated and overworked! :)
     
  13. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    We don't hear much about the BOAC crews who kept up a constant service between Britain and Sweden...

    Are you thinking of the ATA - Air Transport Auxiliary? Agreed 100% - The ATA, btw was a civilian organisation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Transport_Auxiliary

    [​IMG]

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  14. silence

    silence Active Member

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    Transport pilots, especially the ones that carried paras through hell to Normandy and the LW men who were flying supplies into the Stalingrad Kessel.
     
  15. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #15 stona, Sep 19, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
    The glider pilots for me. I wouldn't want to "fly" one of those overloaded beasts into hostile air space and land on a defended landing zone. I wouldn't want to fly one, period!
    The motto of the British glider pilot regiment sums it up. "Nihil Impossibilis Est ", nothing is impossible. The same goes for their US counter parts.
    The British pilots were expected to fight too. They were counted amongst the "fighting soldiers" on board the glider.

    Jim Wallwork, one of the first Horsa pilots to land at Pegasus Bridge passed away early this year aged 93. I would argue that landing those gliders so close to their objective was one of the outstanding feats of airmanship of WWII.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  16. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    My father told me that when he volunteered in 1942, the army tried to get him to join up as a glider pilot. He said a firm "no thank you," with the reasoning that "landing" a glider in enemy territory seemed only slightly less nuts than jumping out of a perfectly good airplane into enemy territory.
     
  17. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    I'd hate to be the guy who had to operate this...

    [​IMG]
     
  18. pattle

    pattle Member

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    How about the RASC Air Despatchers that served with the RAF during World War Two. RASC air despatchers were responsible for the packing, loading and despatching of supplies from RAF aircraft over high risk combat areas such as Burma and Arnhem. I believe that during Market Garden the Short Stirlings resupplying the Paratroopers carried four RASC air despatchers and that these air despatchers suffered amongst the highest casualty rates, yet few people are even aware of their existence.
     
  19. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    I'd recommend the crews and pilots of Patrol Wing 10. Attached to the US Asiatic Fleet, they did all that and more, flying bombing missions with PBYs(lack of suitable replacements put them in that role). A lot of guys didn't live to February 1942. Some incredible feats of survival too, stuff that puts Hollywood to shame.
     
  20. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    The training commands. These were the people and the organizations that won the war in the air. It includes EATS but is not limited to them
     
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