By Gordon Bennett Robertson Jr.
The B-29 bomber was once made to bounce in skinny, chilly air, losing its great bomb load from heights so nice that the crews may possibly by no means see their ambitions throughout the clouds less than. That used to be simply advantageous with Ben Robertson, pilot answerable for one of many great 4 engine bombers hammering Japan to its knees in a nonstop bombing crusade within the Pacific. whilst basic LeMay ordered the B-29s to change strategies from sunlight, high-altitude bombing runs to night, low-level runs, Ben's angle replaced. What was noticeable as easily dangerous--bombing Japan--now appeared a lot extra like suicide.
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Extra resources for Bringing the Thunder: The Missions of a World War II B-29 Pilot in the Pacific
We climbed down to terra firma, and the euphoria of having made it-having done it, having succeeded, having survived-began to sweep over me. I felt somewhat triumphant and a little like a hero. Everyone was eager to hear just what had happened and we smiled as we told them how all Tokyo was burning. Even to us, once back at our home base in broad daylight, the night's escapade didn't seem so bad. It was a little like a nightmare that was already a part of the past and no longer bothered you. I had a short conversation with john about the performance and mechanics of the airplane, and then I made a visual inspection expecting to find a lot of holes in the wings and fuselage, but to my surprise there were none-lots of little dents and scratches made by bits and pieces of shrapnel, but no holes.
Therefore, at the target, single B-29s would be overflying the target area on whatever course and at whatever altitude their individual instruments put them. In other words, there obviously would be some degree of variation from the flight plan so each pilot would "fly it as he saw it" as he arrived at the target. However, this was not a precision bombing mission where everyone would be expected to pinpoint his drop, but a general target area to be saturated, so the plan was expected to work. The low bombing altitude had two objectives: to ensure saturation of the target and, it was hoped, to put us at the extreme range of the smaller anti-aircraft guns but too low for the big anti-aircraft batteries to track us.
I was particularly alert and attuned to every nuance of sound and vibration of the airplane as a result, perhaps, of anxiety, apprehension, and adrenaline. In the first hour or so of the flight, it was not quite dark. There were fleecy cumulus clouds in the sky, the last streaks of the setting sun were fading, and stars were visible above. Sometime later, daylight was gone and darkness had enveloped us. The bombardier had already gone back to the bomb bays to arm the clusters of incendiary bombs we were carrying as the navigator climbed into the astrodome to take one last shot with his sextant before the stars disappeared.