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Bill’s blog archive: Daily Posts

Joseph H Reus Wwii

Shot Down Twice

People who visit ancient battlefields or ruins of ancient cities will see evidence of great dramas played out, but they may be left with many more questions than answers. Who were the actual men who fought in the wars? What were their experiences? Their thoughts? Their fears? Who were their families and their friends? Sadly, the answers to most questions like this are lost in the distant past. Fortunately for me, I am an historian who researches the American flyers of the 8th Air Force,...
PVT Perry Franklin-POW-Funeral-by-Germans

His last thoughts

The article in the Torrance Herald of Thursday, January 25, 1945, was brief: Next to his photo, it read: “MISSING IN ACTION…Sgt. Perry Franklin, 22, son of Mr. and Mrs. Victor Gossiaux, 1640 W. 219th Street, has been declared missing in action since December 24. With a tank destroyer company, he has been in action in France, Germany, and Belgium since ‘D’ day….” Private (not Sergeant) Franklin was serving with C Company, 807th Tank Destroyer Battalion, when his unit was...
Heaven's Above B-24 WWII
Heaven's Above B-24 WWII
Heaven's Above B-24 WWII
Heaven's Above B-24 WWII
Heaven's Above B-24 WWII

Five From the 464th Bomb Group

The 15th Army Air Force, based in Italy, sent hundreds of B-24 Liberators against the Romanian oil fields at Ploesti on June 6, 1944. This mission cost one of their units, the 464th Bomb Group, five crews. It was one of the worst days of the war for the 464th. B-24 tail #42-52449, nicknamed “Hard Hearted Hannah,” left the formation for reasons that could not be determined by observers. A top turret gunner in another plane in the formation testified that “…there was no smoke,...