In December 1943 the newly formed 359th Fighter Group flew its first mission in the European Theater of Operations. Twenty-two months later World War II ended, and in November 1945 the 359th was inactivated, with 346 combat missions and 13,455 sorties to its credit. This collection of bar stories, mission reports, POW internments, and post-war reflections provides a first-hand account of life on base, in the air, and going on leave in war-time England, as recounted by the 359th’s pilots, officers, and enlisted men.
A fascinating insight into life as a fighter pilot during World War Two. Highly recommended.
This superb book looks at the ups and downs – pardon the pun – of life in the 359th Fighter Group during World War Two. Put together from wartime records, journals and reports from the time, it is a glimpse into a different world, a world at war where a young pilot never knew if this day would be his last.
There’s a lot going for this tiny bit of military history. For a start, it’s not just from the POV (point of view), of the author, but the POV of lots of ‘authors’; the authors being the men who battled in the sky over England, France and Germany. It’s not overly technical, and often the narrative is overly simple. But, of course, this reflects the men’s different writing ability.
I very much enjoyed the diversity of the book. The pilots were all very different with a different story to tell. Personally, I enjoyed the story of the pilot who escaped capture by sleeping under an apple tree. I also chuckled when I read a Major’s thoughts on East Anglia: When God created England He must have had a bad day when it came to East Anglia…a more desolate, barren, cold and damp, flat and uninviting terrain could never be devised.
All in all, this is a captivating read. It’s always fun to go back in time and to try to understand what it was like to live back then. A book of this nature helps you to do this. Sentimental, yes. Sad in parts, yes. As I’m guessing 99% of the authors of this book have now left us. I would thoroughly recommend this book to anybody interested in military history, in particular World War Two and the role of the fighter pilot.