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Book Questions

Q .... The slang for Germans, I have only seen the spelling as Jerrys.   You use the spelling Jerries.

A: In the UK, both spellings were common. Jerrie/Jerry was first used by the British in World War One as a nickname for the Germans.  


Q: Do you know how the name "Jerrie" developed?

    While in the UK, I was told by some British antique enthusiasts,  that in the early 1900s, the British called chamber pots "Jerries," and WWI German Trench helmets resembled them. 


Note photos: Helmet & chalk writing on shot-down Messerschmitt Bf-109


Not a book question but I will answer this anyway ....

Q - In your video on the P-51 research page, your touch-down was mid-runway. Is it that hard to slow down or were you having trouble?


A: The Mustang stalls after an almost imperceptable stick buffeting at 3 knots above. This being my first solo landing in a P-51, I was cautious and did not want to lose this machine on my first P-51 landing.

     In the video you can hear the first ominous question: "Is Joe landing?" A spectator thought I was making a gear down fly-by as you can see I was coming in a little hot.

     Earlier on this flight, I took the ship up and performed various manuvers at altitude and probably worried a couple of people. However, the P-51 was easier to fly than a military jet.

Q - You say that four bullets hit Tom's P-38 and the two that hit his engine shot it down? That seems highly UN-likely for a military aircraft to fail that easily.


A: First, the two rounds that struck the engine were 13mm. So, let's say a car is started and a 50 caliber sniper rifle round is shot into the engine. How do you think that will work out? 

(see D-Day Air Battle )

Q: Why did the Focke-Wulf NOT finish off Tom's P-38? I would have just shot him down.


A: First, Tom is over enemy territory. Next, don't waste ammunition. There are more Allied bandits to deal with and bombers enroute. A good fighter pilot does not simply whack everything in sight. He must consider the extent of the battle and over-all combat needs to win the encounter.











Q: On Chapter 20, a mechanic is replacing a part on a BRAND-NEW P-51. That makes no sense.


A: Just because something is new does not mean it will not break. Further, varying from model to model, a P-51 has some 600 components, each component with individual parts. In aviation, there is a common statement that an airplane is merely a collection of parts traveling in the same direction at the same time, and preferably clustered together at the same altitude.

Art by Hans Janssen

Q: How did the inflatable life vest come by the name Mae West ?


A:   RAF aircrews originally called life jackets "Mae Wests" because they “bulged in all the right places when inflated.” The Americans quickly picked up the term.

     Here is the blunt and saucy actress, Mae West with another actor and a B4 inflatable life vest in 1943.

Q: I cannot find any ponytails in 1940s. How did you determine ponytails existed in 1945?


A:  Ponytails are a simple style (?) and not something the fashion media observes. However see Audrey Hepburn in a set photo during the 1948 filming of "Dutch in Seven Lessons."

Q: Did you based Major Tom MacMillan on a surviving version of Major George Preddy?
A:  Not intentionally.  I am aware that George Preddy was the ranking P-51 ace of the ETO and was killed by friendly fire under orders stemming from mis-information.                                       For a complete bio on Major George Preddy click on airplane icon

Q: What is a Malcolm Hood?


A:  When the Mustang II was delivered to England, the RAF decided that the hinged cockpit canopy offered poor visability.

A modification was made in which the original multi-frame hinged hood was replaced by a bulged, frameless canopy that slid to the rear on rails.

This blown plastic canopy gave the pilot much more room and the huge goldfish bowl afforded an excellent view almost straight down or directly to the rear.

It was developed and manufactured by the British corporation R. Malcolm & Co, and became familiar as the Malcolm Hood. The hood was fitted to most RAF Mustang IIs and many USAAF Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51B/C fighters received the modification as well.

Q: In Chapter Seventeen, how would a B-17 bomber like Awesome Amy be recovered?
Would they fix it and fly it out?

Air groups had salvage recovery crews to bring back downed aircraft.

Rich Carrick's diorama: Inglorious End depicts this well. Mouse over and click on the picture below for all photos of this extraordinary diorama.

Q:  The Nazis attacked bombers head-on to break up the group and  then attack bombers individually. Your first chapter tells differently. 

     In head-on attacks, Luftwaffe fighters would approach the B-17s slightly higher and begin with a slight dive and then coming up and raking across the underbelly of the airplane and repeating this maneuver against the bomber trail. This tactic greatly lowered the effectiveness of the upper turret, waist and tail guns. 

     Because of this tactic, the G model B-17 was introduced in 1943. The Nazis tried many tactics, including "Rounding Attacks," but the G model had many design changes that greatly improved its defensive capabilities, including the "chin gun" turret.  Note turret below bombardier.



     Another major change was the installation of the Cheyenne tail turret. The gun had a larger field of fire and the ring-and-bead site was replaced with a reflector sight.

     Also, the waist gunner windows were staggered so the gunners wouldn't get in each other's way and last, the radio operator's gun was eliminated because of its poor vantage point.

             Above: Improved B-17G tail-gun position
Left: Older B-17E tail-gun position
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