Thread: Memphis Belle
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Old 6th February 2008, 18:18
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Re: Memphis Belle

Originally Posted by Jim Oxley View Post
So the Belle was in fact the second B-17 to complete 25 missions. But the Belle's crew the first to complete 25 missions

Why would Hells Angels have had three crews? Was that due to deaths on missions? I thought the policy of 8th AF was to allocate a specific crew to a specific bomber.

So given that the Belle was the second B-17 to complete 25 missions (although it's crew the first), which was the next crew/B-17 combo to reach that milestone?
I think Knockout Dropper but I am away from my library.

As for more than two crews for Hell's Angels? I'm not sure (reason just stated) but suspect for example that two crews assigned to it flew perhaps 20-22 missions each plus two or three in another ship - or the primary crew of Hell's Angels went down in another ship. I suspect the latter case was why the Belle Crew finished first!

The a/c assignment policy was generally in accordance with rank and seniority (ditto fighter). What that meant was that the Sr pilot with the same a/c assigned to him and his crew usually flew that ship (and had the privelege to 'name it'.) when the a/c was operational.

Two situations would alter this. First, the a/c was off ops for an engine change, battle damage repair, etc... in this case the Hell's Angels' or Belle's' crew would take another ship. Second, the Belle crew wasn'r on the board for that mission so another crew flew her instead.

When you look at orders of battle for a fighter squadron, particularly in early days when there were far fewer actaul fighters in the inventory relative to pilots, the wingman was often flying a 'borrowed' ship and the senior pilot was on the gound, not scheduled to fly that day.

In most cases, except for mechanical problems, the element and flight leaders would be in their own ships.

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