Item description for A MIGHTY FORTRESS: Lead Bomber Over Europe by Charles Alling & Elizabeth Alling Hildt...
A Mighty Fortress is the personal account of the Captain and crew of a lead bomber in the enormous formation raids made by the 8th Airforce during the last few months of the Second World War.
It is an extraordinary tale of heroism and bravery on the part of the entire crew of just one B17 amongst hundreds - but the one B17 that meant most to them.
Flying a total of 27 missions before the war came to an end in May 1945, Alling tells, with great restraint, the story of what it was like to be there, over the skies of enemy territory, constantly on the look out for German fighters; of the enormity of some of the raids they were part of and the consequences for those on the ground; of the planes around them that fell out of the sky under enemy attack, the horror and the determination to succeed. The book gives a unique insight into the lives of one crew of one plane as the War neared its end.
Charles B. Alling received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters during the Second World War. He graduated from Yale University in 1947. In 1988, he retired and studied Ethics at Oxford University Graduate School in England. In 1989, he founded the Alling Institute for Ethics. The institute is affiliated with The Foundation for Leadership and Ethics in New York City of which Alling is Chairman Emeritus. Alling serves on the Board of Visitors of the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, an appointment by former Secretary of Defense, Bill Cohen. He lives in Kennebunk, Maine.
"In a fascinating way, Chuck Alling recalls his days as a pilot flying B-17's over Germany. He is truly a member of 'The Greatest Generation' and from his book, written from the heart, people can learn a lot about the laughs and the tears of World War II." - Former President George H. W. Bush
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Reviews - What do customers think about A MIGHTY FORTRESS: Lead Bomber Over Europe?
Very Realistic & Accurate Apr 12, 2008
Having served as a Lead B-17 Radar Navigator/Bombardier (Pathfinder) in the same outfit as Captain Alling, it brought back many memories of my tour in the 34th Bomb Group. I too served in the 4th Squadron on the Knockout Dropper, piloted by Jim Sain who was mentioned in this book. Many of the experiences of the author were similar to mine and I participated in several of the same missions. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in getting an exciting description of serving in a lead plane on many missions.
Great book on the Mighty Eighth Jul 5, 2007
A matter of fact account of U.S. airraids over Germany in WWII. Not told with bravado or hyperbole, but just plain gripping accounts of hair-raising, almost suicidal bombing runs. You get a feel for conditions in the B-17, and the fear and trepidation the pilot (book's author) and his crew experienced, with the flight back to the States at the end of the European theatre one of the most nerve-wracking. I highly recommend this account, which is just one of several devoted to this part of the war.
27 Missions, How Could They Stand It Feb 2, 2007
A couple of days ago while I was in the middle of this book I mentioned I was reading it to a fellow across the table from me. He said: 'I flew in B-17's during the war.' He went on to say that he had been the radioman/dorsal gunner. I said something about the guys in this book flying 27 missions. He said that he had only flown seven.
I couldn't help but think that this was kind of puny compared to what these guys did. But then he went on.
On his seventh mission, somewhere over occupied France they were attacked and he was hit. Back in England he was hospitalized and told that it would be unlikely that he would ever walk again. He was still in the hospital when the plane went out on its 9th mission and didn't return.
I said that this sounded pretty rough.
'Everybody had it pretty rough in those days.'
This kind of 'aw shucks' attitude, from my lunch mate to the author of this book is why they are called 'The Greatest Generation.' Even though they would never admit it.
This is the story of one plane, one crew. It's told in a matter of fact way. Perhaps this is the only way that such a story can be told. Mr. Alling waited a lot of years to tell the story. Perhaps that too is the only way. Perhaps the time and the distance are necessary to get a realistic view. Thank you Mr. Alling for sharing the story.
Probably the most inspirational book about WW2 ever written Jul 8, 2005
Captain Chuck Alling masterfully recounts his experiences as pilot of the 34th Bomb Group's lead B17G bomber during the last two years of WW2. "A Mighty Fortress" should be required reading for every military officer and is a "must read" for anyone interested in the Mighty Eighth Army Air Force's operations against the Third Reich. As a retired officer and military historian myself, I believe "A Mighty Fortress" is most probably the most inspirational book about WW2 ever written.
Puts you in the cockpit and in their minds Jan 8, 2004
Having been reading various WWII books this fall and winter, I rate this as one of the best. If you have any interest in what it was like to fight (and luckily survive) the US air war bombing offensive, grab this book today. You will not be disappointed.