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  #1  
Old 31st March 2007, 17:14
NickM NickM is offline
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Source of some 'apocryphal' 8th AF stories..

Guys:

I recall from reading something as a child (we're talking probably OVER 35 years ago) a couple of unusual events that took place:

A in a badly battered bomb group one of the crewmen was reading a magazine & came across a propaganda ad, showing a smiling, confident air gunner blazing away merrily at a swarm of German fighters with the quote on the ad:
'So, who's afraid of the Big Bad Wulf(as in Focke Wulf, of course)"; he was so upset by this he tore off the ad & took it around his group and EVERY flying member signed a note saying, in big bold capital letters:
"WE ARE!!"
and they sent it back to the magazine company;

Another:

New gunner in a 'heavy'; his first time in combat he see German fighters closing on them & he calls out something like 'fighters coming in fast!'--rather excitedly of course & he forgets to use the 'clock position' giving the direction they're coming from; the pilot asks, "what time?" & the gunner replies "NOW!!"

SO....does anyone know the 'source' of these stories? It's definitely not part of my more modern reading material & I never found it in any of books by Roger Freeman;

TIA

NickM
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Old 1st April 2007, 04:33
fsbofk fsbofk is offline
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Re: Source of some 'apocryphal' 8th AF stories..

Interesting ... I too remember reading that first story back in my school days in the 60s. I checked the books I have from then but couldn't find it any of them. I'll check around some more and let you know what I find ...
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Old 1st April 2007, 08:38
NickM NickM is offline
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Re: Source of some 'apocryphal' 8th AF stories..

Quote:
Originally Posted by fsbofk View Post
Interesting ... I too remember reading that first story back in my school days in the 60s. I checked the books I have from then but couldn't find it any of them. I'll check around some more and let you know what I find ...
Do you think it might be from an author whom I haven't touched in over 30 years: Martin Caidin?

NickM
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Old 1st April 2007, 16:05
fsbofk fsbofk is offline
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Re: Source of some 'apocryphal' 8th AF stories..

Funny, he is one I was going to check - there is an old copy of "Black Thursday" (which I read in high school) at my mom's house that I am going to look at today. I also read a book called "Air War Against Hitler's Germany" back then, and I'm going to check that too.
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Old 1st April 2007, 20:11
John Beaman John Beaman is offline
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Re: Source of some 'apocryphal' 8th AF stories..

Some may have also come from Caidin's book, "Flying Fortress". Although many of us cut our teeth on his early works, he is now pretty thoroughly discredited. Too bad, because as a writer, he was good: just a lousy researcher and placed good stories over truth for the sake of selling books.
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Old 2nd April 2007, 01:12
fsbofk fsbofk is offline
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Re: Source of some 'apocryphal' 8th AF stories..

I wasn't able to see the books today, but plan to next weekend - I'll let you know if I find anything. I read Caidin's Flying Forts about 10 years ago, but I recall the Big Bad Wulf story from my youth; I'll scan through FF to see if he mentioned it there too.
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Old 2nd April 2007, 22:09
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drgondog drgondog is offline
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Re: Source of some 'apocryphal' 8th AF stories..

My first view of the "WHo's afraid of the Focke Wulf" anecdote was in Tex McCRary's "First of the Many" Simon Schuster 1944 - the book I cut my 8th AF teeth on at the age of 7.

To those who haven't read it, do so - it's simply the best capture of 8th AF in the early days when the daylight battle outcome was still 'uncertain'.

It also has the Gale Cleven 100BG story on the first Shuttle Mission with the famous quote to his co-pilot when they were shot to pieces but not on fire - and the co pilot wanted to bail out.. "I'm sticking, see, and you $oB, you're sticking too!" as he was poking him the chest..

So many great stories about the 'Belle", etc and many individual human interest short stories that captured all the gritty details of guys who lived in fear of their last day on eatth - but climbed into that B-17 (and 24) anyway..

Regards,

Bill Marshall
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Old 3rd April 2007, 07:48
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CJE CJE is offline
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Re: Source of some 'apocryphal' 8th AF stories..

True or not these stories are funny and emphasize the atmosphere of the days. After all, they might have happened.
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Old 1st May 2007, 02:44
fsbofk fsbofk is offline
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Re: Source of some 'apocryphal' 8th AF stories..

I was finally able to track down one version of the “Big Bad Wulf” story: Martin Caidin’s Black Thursday, copyright 1960, Ballantine Books paperback edition, (cover painting shows a wounded crewmember being carried away from a B-17 on a stretcher; weird pumpkin-color sky background), no source cited; pp 76 - 77:
“During the height of the period of disastrous missions over the Reich, an American aircraft firm, following the policy that Americans are better than anybody else, sponsored probably the most ill-received advertisement of the war. The advertisement was full page, and it showed a grinning gunner peering through the sights of a .50-caliber machine gun as he poured tracers into a swarm of Focke-Wulf FW-190 fighters. Beneath the heroic painting was the caption: 'Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wulf?'
One pilot who saw the page immediately tore it from the magazine and pinned it to his group’s bulletin board. Beneath the page went a long scroll of paper with a red-ink headline that shouted: “WE ARE!
Every combat officer in the group signed the scroll, and the group commander’s name was at the top of the list. They mailed it to the manufacturer with their blessings.”
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Old 5th May 2007, 08:12
NickM NickM is offline
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Re: Source of some 'apocryphal' 8th AF stories..

Ah...so it WAS Martin Caidin...I'd sworn him off decades ago...no wonder I never saw that quote again!

NickM
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