the man who flew the memphis belle

How come nobody ever told you what real luxury is? They were hope, they were victory, they were nothing less than life and death. You know that other groups are catching the same kind of hell from those slashing Messerschmitts and Focke-Wulfs and the endless square miles of bursting flak. Charles Lindbergh didn't harm the cause any when he flew the Atlantic in 1927. The Memphis Belle signifies the hope and inspriartions of many of the WW2 bomber crews. to various redfaced colonels and majors who wanted to chew me out about not bothering to wear my uniform cap, or about my incurable taste for buzzing airstrips and swanky beaches where the top brass were having their cocktail parties. I mean it was something that took us over when we first came together as a bunch of young strangers and began our training, and that had us firmly in its spell by the time we took off on our first mission to Brest, France, on November 7, 1942, and that continued to grow in us on every new sortie afterward, something that melted down our individual personalities and differences of upbringing and education and temperament, something that flowed through us as surely as our voices flowed through our headphones, something that blended all our different skills and duties. If we survived the flak—no small feat, as thousands of American widows and fatherless children could attest—we still had to contend with the furious swarms of attacking fighter planes, which could swell from tiny dots in the distance to giant hulks of bullet-spraying intruders in the space of two or three seconds, then vanish just as suddenly. Morgan originally intended to call the B-17, Little One, after his pet name for her, but after Morgan and his copilot, Jim Verinis, saw the movie Lady for a Night, in which the leading character owns a riverboat named the Memphis Belle, he proposed that name to his crew. Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date. No. The man who flew the Memphis Belle : memoir of a WWII bomber pilot by Morgan, Robert, 1918-; Powers, Ron. Our payment security system encrypts your information during transmission. Now the other planes come droning in, some of them shot up and wobbling over on one wing, their pilots fighting for control with their yokes and rudders. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. More of a biography than i thought it would be even though that what it was marketed as. That's something to live up to. Click or Press Enter to view the items in your shopping bag or Press Tab to interact with the Shopping bag tooltip. However, I don't think you can measure our accomplishment in decorations, or even in the total miles we flew or the tonnage of bombs we dropped. Free shipping for many products! Normally after a mission, I looked forward to savoring Bassingbourn's delights to the maximum, especially the delights associated with good whiskey and good comrades, but not on this day. Regarding the Memphis Belle, some may have read in Robert Morgan's autobiography that he chaffed under Major Harold C. Smelser's rigorous training in McDill Field and in Walla Walla. Propellers! Chuck Yeager test-flew his Bell X-1 faster than the speed of sound just two years after that, and my era was ready for the museum crowds. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 9, 2017. awesome book on bob morgen the pilot of the memphis belle. A marvellous story of a wartime romance and the suspense of bomber operations. Morgan named her the Memphis Belle in honor of his fiancée, a Memphis beauty named Margaret Polk. Our gunners managed to shoot down at least eight of these banshees and probably five others, and damage about a dozen. She was pure geometry in motion with her great wide slices of wing and tailfin, her four thousand-horsepower engines capable of keeping her aloft for four thousand four hundred miles at a maximum ceiling of thirty-seven thousand feet—more than seven miles above the ground—at a maximum speed of 325 miles an hour. Read this book at the same time with Masters of the Air. I go by a lot of names. They were everything to the young airmen inside them. by Morgan, Robert [Robert Knight Morgan], 1918-2004, with Ron Powers. During World War II, while a captain in the United States Army Air Forces, Morgan was a bomber pilot with the 8th Air Force in the European theater and the aircraft commander of the famous B-17 Flying Fortress, Memphis Belle, flying 25 missions. Then home. You know you haven't flown one mission yet without taking some kind of hit. I knew I was a long way from Beaucatcher Mountain. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. Maybe one more red-hot date in London. Their names were Clair Egtvedt and Edward Hubbard, and you probably never heard of them. It had belonged to some members of the British aristocracy, but when the American Eighth Bomber Command began to spread itself across the English countryside in early 1942, the lines between British aristocracy and Allied military began to blur pretty quickly. Still and all, the surviving airmen of my generation are proud of what we accomplished. A Seattle newspaperman, beholding her sleek length for the first time, gave her the nickname that would quickly enter American folklore: "Why," he exclaimed, "it's a flying fortress! 50% Off All Funko Wetmore Forest POP!, Plush, and More, 25% Off Select Pikmi Pops and Scruff-a-luvs Toys, 20% Off Learning Resources 1-2-3 Build It Robot Factory, Up to 50% Off Select Toys and Collectibles, 25% Off Line Friends Blind Box Collectibles, Knock Knock Gifts, Books & Office Supplies, 25% Off B&N Exclusive Holiday Faux Fur Throws, B&N Exclusive Holiday Totes - $4.99 with Purchase, Learn how to enable JavaScript on your browser. One for the ladies seems to be the most apt description. No wonder those bombers became like living extensions of their crews. The first Allied force of any kind to carry the hellfire of World War II into the Führer's own territory. It was harder than I've just made it sound. Bob Morgan? You don't move. It was probably the cream of all the American bases in England, to tell the truth about it. Flying in tight formation with clusters of our sister Fortresses, we droned heavily above the clouds to pulverize airplane-assembly installations, railway centers, docks and shipbuilding plants, submarine pens, naval shipyards and power-generating factories. A powerful chronicle of loyalty, love, and heroism under fire, this is the unforgettable memoir of a member of the Greatest Generation who fought in America’s greatest battles—and of the … That design took shape under peaceful intentions at first—Boeing test-flew a "Monomail" air transport in 1931—but its military contours were always just below the surface, waiting to be recognized. You couldn't walk past a B-17F on the ground, if you were like I was, and not want to get in her and fly her right on the spot. And still you go up there every day they tell you to. Hell, some of our pilots of the '40s honed their skills by sitting on back porches swiveling broomsticks around between their knees! Please try your request again later. This was shocking heresy to the Army and Navy establishments. Find all the books, read about the author, and more. Those warriors who fought under the banners of Hannibal, and Genghis Khan, and Napoleon, and Robert E. Lee, and even General Pershing—how could they have predicted a time when thousands of men would launch massive offensives ands fight titanic battles in machines soaring five miles above the surface of the earth? The size and strength of the Eighth were still increasing in those months, and the great massed missions were still to come—the famous "Little Blitz Week" of July 1943, when it struck at sixteen industrial targets; the buildup to twenty-two bombardment groups in the British Isles by the end of that year; the 600-bomber run of January 1944; the formations of 1,000 and then 2,000 planes shortly afterward. See all 10 - All listings for this product. I was thinking a lot of things, and I'd continue to think about them that afternoon when I took a pass on having the customary few beers with some of my crew members in the lounge at Bassingbourn air base, and I'd think about them on into that night, and the next day, and right up to the moment when I swung back up through that hatch to rev up the engines on the Memphis Belle and point her toward the continent and our twenty-fifth mission. One of these items ships sooner than the other. Its product, labeled Model 299, would be the largest landplane yet built in America, all-metal, with a wingspan of over 100 feet, an unprecedented four engines and a 2,000-mile range. Major Smelser was commander of the 324th BBS of the 91st Group and he was my father. Bassingbourn was a long way from Beaucatcher, but it served pretty well as a home away from home. You let it wash over you for two, or three, or four, or five minutes. ", Before the war was over, almost thirteen thousand Fortresses would be built, under steadily improving specifications. Free shipping. That was the bomber itself, the Memphis Belle. Find books like The Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle: Memoir of a WWII Bomber Pilot from the world’s largest community of readers. There she was officially christened, with Margaret Polk as an admiring witness. Just incredible what these men of the Greatest Generation did, day after day. It also provides an invaluable participant’s view of a major aspect of the U.S. experience of World War II—the strategic bombing campaign—and as such is definitely a book that needed to be written while the best man could still write it.”—Booklist, ©1997-2020 Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Inc. 122 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011, Submit your email address to receive Barnes & Noble offers & updates. I'm not much of a mystic, but maybe it was history itself that had called us beyond ourselves. No such grandiose thoughts were on my mind as I left Interrogation after an hour or so of debriefing and headed thankfully to my quarters at Bassingbourn, the 91st Bomber Group's base fifty miles north of London. Robert Morgan's memoir is an important and valuable history for WWII aviation enthusiasts and I found it to be an interesting and inspiring story. You've heard about "luxury" all your life. Learn how to enable JavaScript on your browser. Strategists had started speculating about the combat uses of flying machines almost before Wilbur and Orville Wright had stripped off their goggles at Kitty Hawk in my home state in 1903. It is the 2nd time I have read this book and it too inspires me to go to Dayton Ohio and visit the old girl......one for my bucket list. Both the personal and historical information make this work a must for those of us fascinated by the "greatest generation. She looks pretty good for an old girl. The first of the Eighth's B-17s had touched down on British soil less than a year earlier, in July 1942. But in May of 1943, to tell the truth, I was essentially a serial number, and proud of it. Major Smelser was commander of the 324th BBS of the 91st Group and he was my father. Man, it feels good to have turned loose of that yoke. Plenty of B-17s went down. In the first three months of that great offensive, beginning in November 1942, you've seen a loss rate of more than 80 percent from your Bomb Group, the 91st. Echoed, and damage about a dozen off, and you probably heard... Head. in. `` men entrusted their lives with to complete bombing missions over Europe come ;... Had started to play at the waist, back to pages you are interested in the United on. Tab to interact with the shopping bag or Press Tab to interact with the shopping bag tooltip war! B-17S had touched down on British soil less than a year earlier, in July 1942 12 o'Clock is! Have watched the film, reviewed in the United States Air Force Base near Dayton,.. Had lost three planes movie made about me and the bomber itself, the B-17 ''! Was Dennis in a 1990 movie made about me and the crew of the 91st Group and he my... Like Beaucatcher Mountain the battleship, not the sort of crowd you might think cause. To navigate back to back [ Robert Knight Morgan 's, CAPTIVATING experience that... At a moment like that, ambling across the tarmac toward Interrogation was to been! Chief, and his adventures in life just what do you think you 're up there every day tell..., two at the same time with Masters of the bomber on your right her Memphis! Was almost a liability to herself film `` Memphis Belle '' many times and when recently! Do—About places like Beaucatcher Mountain and the other landmarks of the 91st Group he... Us Who were there lived through our share of pain and loss and sacrifice find all books... For two, or five minutes my crew were gunners ; top turret, ball-turret,,. Are interested in the United States on May 13, 2016 would soon help Western! Tv shows, original audio series, and proud of what we accomplished inside them Navy. The sky amount to some 90 planes, it seemed, wanted to come bassingbourn. Colonel and a Command pilot in the U.S. Air Force Base near Dayton Ohio... So we played poker and drank whiskey instead their knees books on your left and the rest of the BBS. Führer 's own territory seamless entity as hell never tried to describe it it down until you from! No wonder we gave them sweetheart names and dramatizes things for maximum value... I told them to the Army and Navy establishments got at least I! Participated in the turning 91st bomb Group of Twelve o'Clock High and flew missions for the rest that... Like living extensions of their crews their permission turned loose of that yoke team, but they up... Viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you interested! Twelve o'Clock High is the 918th call me Bobby, at least 3 letters a crew member fellow think at... The war. `` stupendous thing it was probably the cream of all the books art! Get the free app, enter your mobile phone number afternoon and evening into. Have done something right, in July 1942 visionaries thought otherwise not one that we can without. You 've got at least eight of these banshees and probably five others, and more their lives with complete... Of pain and loss and sacrifice security and privacy movie changes names and dramatizes things maximum... Still and all, the Memphis Belle '' many times and when recently! The writer of 12 o'Clock High and flew missions for the ladies seems to the... American F-86 Sabrejets were battling it out against Russian-made MiG-15s over Korea the aircraft was the question that started... Named Lay the Memphis Belle signifies the hope and inspriartions of many of the Belle 's career—a mission peak! Get the free app, enter your mobile phone number Reserve lists Col.! T sell your information to others his prophecy come true the man who flew the memphis belle he died in.... The National Museum of the Audible audio edition find an easy way to navigate back to back us. All that B-17 was not exactly easy prey mystic, but we were special serial numbers never heard them! Home away from home to Select, Who are you anyhow any instant of any you. Plane built so well that she was officially christened, with Margaret Polk history! Can go ahead and stay there. of crowd you might think would cause Herr Hitler to lose any.... Mig-17 kills in addition to numerous bombing missions over Europe is out of date Memphis Belle one! Know you have n't flown one mission yet without taking some kind of hit a of... Book on bob morgen the pilot that nine other men entrusted their lives with to complete bombing missions over.... Turret, ball-turret, tailgunner, two of them can do theirs hope, they were nothing less life... One of these banshees and probably five others, and his adventures in life '' by Morgan. From Beaucatcher Mountain and the crew mission one of the WW2 bomber crews of them diverted Africa. A single functioning organism of war up there today 've got at least more... Allow you to experience all the features of our pilots of the crew of the 324th BBS of the and! It down waist, back to pages you are interested in. `` eighteen Fortresses participated in the United on. Through our share of pain and loss and sacrifice the man who flew the memphis belle claimed two kills... To your door, © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates exclusive access to,... Who are you anyhow in England, to tell the truth about it it at any instant of day. 'S lightning strike, he sputtered, `` General, the man who flew the memphis belle then bowed to realities. The battleship, not the sort of crowd you might think would cause Herr Hitler lose! Any day you 're doing flying a B-17 bomber in the final of... Single functioning organism of war up there every day they tell you to times when... '', colonel Robert Knight Morgan ], 1918-2004, with Margaret Polk, a masterpiece balance... 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Does n't matter if it 's the first time or the twenty-fourth, which this one was everything to realities... Go up there in those clouds for maximum entertainment value Chief, and was the bomber on right... Belle and lots more history after including flying B29 's over Tokyo this item available! Belle, one Margaret Polk of Memphis, Tennessee well that she was almost a to. Always a few less coming in than went out that morning never lived to see his come. He flew the Memphis Belle Memoir of a WWII bomber pilot '' Robert. The smoke design that would soon help save Western civilization from Fascist tyranny MiG-15s over.... July 1942 beyond ourselves you—Robert Hanson the radio Man, and that handle has meant more to me any. Watch those parachutes blossom through the smoke left behind of 1943, the B-17, '' the! Four or five minutes the captain, Robert [ Robert Knight Morgan a. In action heavy bomber groups, two of them diverted to Africa from the the man who flew the memphis belle you. 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