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Download Combat Crew: The Story of 25 Combat Missions over Europe from the Daily Journal of a B-17 Gunner Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Combat Crew: The Story of 25 Combat Missions over Europe from the Daily Journal of a B-17 Gunner, by John Comer Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Comer Narrator: Patrick Lawlor Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Combat Crew is one of the best memoirs about the air war over Europe ever written. John Comer kept a journal of the twenty-five missions he flew in 1943 when the casualty rate on his base was close to 80 percent. After each raid Comer gathered the crew together and pieced together the air battle from a 360-degree perspective. His book is handwritten history, recorded within hours after the battles occurred. Comer vividly creates his experiences as top-turret gunner/flight engineer in a B-17 Squadron that was thrown against the best pilots the Luftwaffe could offer.

In 1943 the Germans were more experienced than the Americans and the Army Air Force had no long-range fighters to protect the B-17’s as they flew deep into enemy territory. That Comer survived is a testament to his crew’s skill and his luck; his 533d Squadron (Eighth Air Force, First Division, 381st Group) lost three out of every four men on combat status during the six months Comer flew his first twenty-five missions. Comer’s powerful narrative is devoted to the men who flew the planes, dropped the bombs, and fired the guns. Their everyday life was filled with terror, friendship, and fatigue. Comer recorded it all in his diary. The reader shares the fears of flight crew as they wonder if their heavily loaded bomber can actually lift off the runway. Many planes didn’t make it. Then there are the freezing temperatures in unheated planes—sixty-three degrees below zero with the bomb-bay doors open and 200 mile-per-hour winds blowing through the aircraft. There are missed targets, faulty equipment, red-hot shrapnel from antiaircraft fire, and German fighter pilots staring you right in the eye as they barrel in with cannons blazing. Above all, there is the horror of watching friends being shot down on every bomb run—no matter how “easy” the mission might have been. Immediate, straightforward, compelling, Combat Crew is destined to become a classic of aerial warfare.

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About the Author

John Comer (1910–2005) flew twenty-five combat missions over occupied Europe and Germany in 1943, including the infamous raid on the Schweinfurt ball-bearing plant, referred to as Black Thursday. After completing his tour with the Eighth Air Force, Comer returned to the States and was assigned to train new pilots. He retired in 1974 after a successful career in sales and lived in Dallas, Texas.