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Old 12-24-2012, 12:09 AM   #1
Judah Ben-Hur
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An early Christmas present was delivered today ...

......









..... to Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich. A high pressure front cleared the skies over Western Europe to allow the 8th Air Force to launch its largest single mission of World War II. Over 2,000 four engine bombers were launched for a maximum effort against targets in Germany. Sadly, 37 airmen were killed in action, 49 were wounded, and 114 were missing in action for all the groups participating. My father's group, the 453rd BG, set a record this day for all groups by only having two of the groups sixty-four B-24 Liberators aborting the mission due to mechanical difficulties. Their target this Christmas Eve day was the railroad choke point in the town of Mayen. The Liberators little friends escorting them to target were P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs. The mission was 6 hours and 24 minutes and the plane they flew this day was Balls O'Fire. This plane seen the most action on his mission list among the ten other planes. Some of the others only have serial numbers so I will have to search some more.

The details from his notes are: 12/24/44 Hillesheim (Mayen), 12-250# bombs, large Chistmas Eve raid made by 8th Air Force. Seen alot of planes that day. Moderate flak - Very accurate - Several hits in the nose. Big hole in my nose-turrent. My worst mission. Hits also in bomb bay. No one hurt.

Miss you Mom & Dad and have a Merry Christmas!
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Old 12-24-2012, 12:30 AM   #2
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Good stuff, thanks for sharing!
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:21 AM   #3
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Cool. RIP to your parents.
Congrats for having a kickass ol' man.

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Old 12-24-2012, 04:46 AM   #4
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Good stuff. Really cool to read. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:00 AM   #5
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+1 Thank you for sharing that, Merry Christmas.
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:07 AM   #6
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Thanks guys n' gals.

It was a little early when I posted and I left out a very important message. Just wanted you all to think of the servicemen and women that are out there in harm's way "enjoying" their Christmas. Stay safe out there so you can enjoy it with your family and friends.



Balls O' Fire
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:42 AM   #7
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i need to find the scene but did you know "balls of fire" was in the movie 12 o'clock high?

merry christmas man... very cool story
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:45 AM   #8
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Amazing heritage, happy Christmas man.
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:02 AM   #9
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i need to find the episode but did you know "balls of fire" was in the show 12 o'clock high?

merry christmas man... very cool story
I only have the movie that starred Gregory Peck. My brother told me he used to go ape over the tv shows but that was before my time. They were using the B-17 Flying Fortress. That was a bad set of words with my Dad and the rest of the Liberator crews.

I see they have a dvd set out. You peeked my curiosity and it will be a must have. Edit: .... a little pricey!

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Amazing heritage, happy Christmas man.
Thanks! There is so much out there but sadly the guys are pretty much gone. I just wish the internet was around a little sooner. I could have used my Dad for some real power surfing. Funny thing was him watching tv and saying to me about some "www" thing. It was new to all of us and he never touched a computer at all.
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:09 AM   #10
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Balls of Fire, otherwise known as DB-17P 44-83525, at Santa Maria during the filming of the movie


There is some nice air-to-air formation work showing 44-83525 and 44-83684, shot from the tail of the B-25. On the B-17-O-Meter film scale, this rates a six out of ten


44-83525 "in the blue California skies near Santa Maria with Jim Appleby and Frank Tallman at the controls during the air-to-air filming that appeared in the completed movie. This airplane, as of two weeks earlier, was being pulled from USAF storage at Davis-Monthan AFB.



they changed the plane from a 24 to a 17 since there werent many 24s available but from what i understand Balls of Fire was a pretty damn high profile bird... right up there w/ Memphis Belle in fact... but they couldnt use the actual B-24 Balls of Fire since she went down March 6 1944 after an electrical failure in number 2 engine

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B-24J-105-CO-42-109796 "BALLS OF FIRE" of the 445th BG piloted by 1st LT Norman Serklund, suffered an electrical failure in Number 2 engine and was forced to drop away from the main formation and turn from home. It was jumped by fighters and went down 10mi northeast of Furstenau. Three of the crew were killed and the rest taken prisoner.
quoted from the book "B-24 Liberator Units of The Eighth Air Force" by Robert Dorr


EDIT: 17 and 24 crews werent the best of mates from what i heard from my grandpa
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:23 AM   #11
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http://www.flyingmule.com/products/CG-AA34002

im sure you can find it on ebay or a different collector site... its not the original....its Balls of Fire III but still
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:24 AM   #12
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Thanks for sharing
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InkedR1Pilot View Post

Balls of Fire, otherwise known as DB-17P 44-83525, at Santa Maria during the filming of the movie


There is some nice air-to-air formation work showing 44-83525 and 44-83684, shot from the tail of the B-25. On the B-17-O-Meter film scale, this rates a six out of ten


44-83525 "in the blue California skies near Santa Maria with Jim Appleby and Frank Tallman at the controls during the air-to-air filming that appeared in the completed movie. This airplane, as of two weeks earlier, was being pulled from USAF storage at Davis-Monthan AFB.



they changed the plane from a 24 to a 17 since there werent many 24s available but from what i understand Balls of Fire was a pretty damn high profile bird... right up there w/ Memphis Belle in fact... but they couldnt use the actual B-24 Balls of Fire since she went down March 6 1944 after an electrical failure in number 2 engine


quoted from the book "B-24 Liberator Units of The Eighth Air Force" by Robert Dorr


EDIT: 17 and 24 crews werent the best of mates from what i heard from my grandpa
Damn it, you're gonna make me buy that dvd set.

Not many B-24's are surviving today. They made the most of them than any other plane on our side. I would have bought them all before they hit the salvage yards.

My Dad's bird was serial number 42-50317 with a E- on the tail. His outfits planes had a black tail with a white diagonal stripe going through it. He had seven missions out of that plane on targets of Kassel, Gelsenkirchen, Paderborn, Bebra, Bingen, Mayen, and Koblenz.
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:38 AM   #14
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your pops had balls of STEEL... that plane flew visual lead for the squadron from may '43-august '44

i would bet thats your pops in that picture even though you cant see the pilot... thats from oct 25 '43 takeoff to Kassel
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:43 AM   #15
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:01 AM   #16
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My grandpa was a navigator and a nose gunner on b-17. He did his 25 missions. He was stationed in England at kimbolton. 8th af. I was stationed at bentwaters afb. I got to go with my mom and spread some of his ashes on the runway where they took off from. Merry Christmas to my mom n grandpa. Rip.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:05 AM   #17
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Quote:
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http://www.flyingmule.com/products/CG-AA34002

im sure you can find it on ebay or a different collector site... its not the original....its Balls of Fire III but still
I just bought a 1/48 scale Monogram B-24J Liberator two days ago at the local hobby store. Like their full size counterparts, Liberators are scarce. A lot of B17 kits out there. I had one (B24) many years ago and had it all painted up on the inside but never finished it. It is still up in the attic and who knows if the pieces are still there. There is no reason in this day n' age to not finish them up. Everybody does stickers so it wouldn't be too hard. Now what plane to to make: Balls O'Fire, Lucky Penny II, Silent Yokum, Hollywood and Vine, Sky Chief, Crow's Nest, The Little Gramper Junior, Sweet Sue, Body and Soul, or my favorite name - The Hustlin' Hussy. That last one was an mechanical abort and they had to make an emergency landing in the U.K.

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Thanks for sharing




Quote:
Originally Posted by InkedR1Pilot View Post


your pops had balls of STEEL... that plane flew visual lead for the squadron from may '43-august '44

i would bet thats your pops in that picture even though you cant see the pilot... thats from oct 25 '43 takeoff to Kassel
Same plane but earlier time frame. His first mission was September 25, 1944. He did have three mission early on against Kassel. Two of them were back to back days. All told, the targets for those missions were the Henschel & Sohn GmbH Tiger Tank plants and the Altenbaune Aero Engine Works.

His notes:

09/27/44 Kassel, 6-1000# bombs, Intense flak, Two hits (that plane was lost a month later over Cologne)

09/28/44 Kassel, 6-1000# bombs, Intense flak, Two hits-one on top turrent other in leading edge of wing.

10/07/44 (Kassel), 6-1000# bombs, Very intense flak, two hits-top turrent and wing.

My notes: stay out of top turrent going to Kassel. Those missions were in Lucky Penny II, Balls O'Fire, and Hollywood & Vine.


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My grandpa was a navigator and a nose gunner on b-17. He did his 25 missions. He was stationed in England at kimbolton. 8th af. I was stationed at bentwaters afb. I got to go with my mom and spread some of his ashes on the runway where they took off from. Merry Christmas to my mom n grandpa. Rip.
That brought some tears to my eyes. That would be a tough one to do spreading his ashes. I'm glad you and your Mom got to do it. I never will forget at my father's funeral service. Just before the service was about to end, my Mother nudged me and pointed up. A lone military jet was flying overhead. It wasn't by our doings but just a chance encounter. She told me your Dad would have liked that. I think to this day that Dad was hitching a ride.

These crews join up in the states, fly together, then come back home and basically depart from one another. In the end, they are flying high again! I get emotional with these types of things. I was losing it this past summer walking through a Liberator. I didn't get to fly but it was quite an amazing experience.

If you haven't done so already, search on his group. There are some really good B17 group web pages out there. A lot of my Dad's records that were stored by the Government were lost in a St. Louis fire from Vietnam protesters back in the day. It has led to some major road blocks in my searches. Lucky he saved about every scrap of paper, picture, token, medals, etc that was given to him or it would all be gone. He even saved saved a two inch blood soaked piece of glass all wrapped up in gauze that was embedded into his stomach. My Mom told me he had it in there for a month but didn't tell anyone so he would not miss out on any flying time. Finally the pain it caused at altitude made him wise up and get it out of there. The things these guys did astounds me. It still happens to this day with all military people by not wanting to be left out.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:18 AM   #18
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Thanks for sharing This! An Awesome bunch of guys!
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:36 AM   #19
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that was a helluva time in history... mans man times
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Old 12-24-2012, 12:33 PM   #20
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, love it!! bugs to the rescue!
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