“When I assumed command of the Pacific Fleet in 31 December, 1941; our submarines were already operating against the enemy, the only units of the Fleet that could come to grips with the Japanese for months to come. It was to the Submarine Force that I looked to carry the load until our great industrial activity could produce the weapons we so sorely needed to carry the war to the enemy. It is to the everlasting honor and glory of our submarine personnel that they never failed us in our days of peril.”
For perspective, some excerpts from this documentary:
Missions took from eight to ten hours. One of the original crew of the 100th commented on losses: “Of the original crews who went over, only 14% got their 25 missions; 86% were shot down.”
Heavy contrails, produced by hot exhaust gasses with the cold air at 25 thousand feet became cover for Luftwaffe attacks from the rear. A gunner’s comment:
“They’d sneak up in the contrails, you’d never even know they were there. And uh, they’d shoot you, shoot you up there”.
Precision bombing is a relative term; in WW II, a bomb landing within 300 meters of the aiming point is “on target”.
Ironic comment made during a preflight briefing: “The temperature at the target, should be relatively warm, -25 degrees centigrade”.
Guys were freezing to death; -50, -60 degrees Fahrenheit up there. The prime combat casualty of WW II among army personnel in WW II was frostbite.
1000 bombers took 2 hours to cross a single point.
At the height of the bombing campaign, losses approached 50%. Averaged out overall losses were about 10%. In comparison, infantry losses were under 1 percent.
Courtesy of Calvin Carter on YouTube; this is a PBS documentary on the Medal of Honor, its history and some personal reflections by -at the time- living recipients, which he had purchased. Posted there on Dec 7th, 2014.
Well done; though sadly, no mention of Desmond Doss, or Audie Murphy.
The documentary film describes the carnage and chaos which become a part of the daily lives and the deaths of American soldiers during the Afghanistan war under eyes of 2 journalists: a father Mike Boettcher and his son Carlos Boettcher. The three-day mission extends to 9 days, reflecting severity of the American longest war.