Veteran B-17 Bomber Pilots Tell What It Was like to Fight Hitler's Me-262 Fighters Jets

Warfare History Network

Key point: The B-17s that flew over Berlin had to endure fighting the much faster Me-262 fighter jets.

“Our mission was Berlin. We flew in that dreaded position—last and lowest in the squadron.”

Archie Mathosian, B-17 Radio Operator, A/C #521 (Skyway Chariot), 100th Bomb Group (H), USAAF

“Last and lowest in the squadron.”These words may not mean much to most readers, but to the crew of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress flying over enemy territory during World War II, they meant almost certain death at 20,000 feet above the ground. Flying in the dreaded “Tail-End Charlie” position meant your bomber was at the end and bottom of the heavy bomber formation and extremely vulnerable to attacks by swift enemy fighters bearing down for a kill.

The German Luftwaffe anticipated when and where strategic bombers would drop explosives and anxiously planned for their arrival. Odds were good that they would destroy at least a few B-17s even though they would also suffer injuries and death.

On Sunday morning, March 18, 1945, under an unusually clear sky, the U.S. Eighth Air Force mounted one of its largest air raids against Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. The target was Berlin, capital of the Nazi regime. More than 1,300 heavy bombers from the Eighth Air Force, escorted by more than 600 fighter planes, departed their bases in East Anglia and flew eastward over the English Channel toward Germany. The payload that morning was more than 650 tons of 1,000-pound bombs.

Major Marvin Bowman commanded the 351sr Bomb Squadron, 100th Bomb Group, on its final mission to Berlin.

Read the original article.

  • One of Trump's favorite pollsters shows his approval plummeting
    Yahoo News

    One of Trump's favorite pollsters shows his approval plummeting

    President Trump's approval rating has plummeted since late February, according to the Rasmussen daily tracking poll, which the president frequently cited during his first three years in office. As of Wednesday, 42 percent of Americans told Rasmussen that they approved of the job Trump was doing as president, while 57 percent disapproved. While 42 percent approval is in line with the overall aggregation of polls tracking Trump's approval rating, it is notable from Rasmussen, which tends to show more favorable numbers for Republicans and the president.

  • Iran Guards warn US after receiving new combat vessels
    AFP

    Iran Guards warn US after receiving new combat vessels

    Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Thursday warned the United States against its naval presence in the Gulf as they received 110 new combat vessels. The vessels included Ashura-class speedboats, Zolfaghar coastal patrol boats and Taregh submarines, state television reported. "We announce today that wherever the Americans are, we are right next to them, and they will feel our presence even more in the near future," the Guards' navy chief Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said during a ceremony in southern Iran.

  • Mexican drug lord pleads poverty in bid to escape arrest
    Associated Press

    Mexican drug lord pleads poverty in bid to escape arrest

    Drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, a notorious underworld figure who is on the FBI's most wanted list for the murder of a federal agent over three decades ago, said in a legal appeal that he has no money, is too old to work and has no pension. The odd plea was filed Tuesday by Caro Quintero's lawyer seeking an injunction against his arrest or extradition to the United States for the kidnapping and murder of DEA Special Agent Enrique Camarena in Mexico in 1985. The court papers state: “The plaintiff argues insolvency, because he says he is more than 60 years old, is neither retired nor has a pension, and given the fact that he is a fugitive from the law, cannot work or perform any activity to ea...

  • The U.S. Might Revoke Hong Kong's 'Special Status.' Here's What That Means For Business in the Global Financial Hub
    Time

    The U.S. Might Revoke Hong Kong's 'Special Status.' Here's What That Means For Business in the Global Financial Hub

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday that Hong Kong was no longer sufficiently autonomous from mainland China — an assessment that could threaten the city's trading relationship with the U.S. and deal a blow to both American and Chinese companies operating there. The news comes following Beijing's decision late last week to draw up a national security law for Hong Kong. The move came after Hong Kong's Legislative Council failed in its obligations to enact such a law since the former British colony was handed back to China in 1997.

  • Moscow's new coronavirus cases fall to lowest in more than a month
    Reuters

    Moscow's new coronavirus cases fall to lowest in more than a month

    The Kremlin on Thursday praised Moscow's authorities after the city reported its lowest daily increase in coronavirus infections since April 23, but some critics raised questions over some of Russia's reported data. Officials say Russia's outbreak is stabilising and President Vladimir Putin this week rescheduled Moscow's postponed May 9 Victory Day military parade for June 24. Moscow will begin easing its lockdown on Monday.

  • British mercenaries 'involved in botched operation' backing rebel leader in Libya, according to secret UN report
    The Telegraph

    British mercenaries 'involved in botched operation' backing rebel leader in Libya, according to secret UN report

    Six British citizens including two former Royal Marine commandos have been accused of taking part in a botched mercenary mission to Libya to fight on behalf of renegade general Khalifa Haftar. The five men and one woman are named in a confidential report by the United Nations panel of experts on Libya into a botched mission that ended with the mercenaries making a remarkable sea-borne escape after falling out with their hosts. The men, including former Royal Marines Sean Callaghan Louw and Andrew Scott Ritchie, were among around 20 mercenaries who travelled to Benghazi in eastern Libya in June 2019 in a contract organised by a UAE based company called Opus, according to the report seen by the Daily Telegraph.

  • UConn student wanted in connection to 2 deaths is captured
    NBC News

    UConn student wanted in connection to 2 deaths is captured

    The University of Connecticut student wanted in connection with two deaths has been captured in Maryland after a nearly weeklong manhunt, officials said Wednesday night. "Peter Manfredonia has been found & is in custody," Connecticut State Police tweeted. Manfredonia was taken into custody without incident at a Pilot truck stop and was not injured, police said.

  • CDC changes its 'confusing' guidelines on coronavirus and surfaces. Here's what we know.
    USA TODAY

    CDC changes its 'confusing' guidelines on coronavirus and surfaces. Here's what we know.

    Though the coronavirus could be transmitted by touching a surface – and then your nose, mouth or eyes – the likelihood of that is lower than person-to-person contact, which is believed to be the primary way the coronavirus is transmitted. "This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads," the CDC's recently updated guidelines say. Dr. Manisha Juthani, an infectious disease doctor and associate professor of medicine at Yale University, told USA TODAY that the newly issued guidelines were "trying to reduce fear and paranoia about methods of transmission."

  • Minneapolis police release a transcript of the 911 call that resulted in the police encounter with George Floyd
    INSIDER

    Minneapolis police release a transcript of the 911 call that resulted in the police encounter with George Floyd

    Screenshot/Fox9 The Minneapolis Police Department released a transcript of the 911 call that led to the arrest of George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes. Floyd's death incited mass protests in several states, some of which have escalated and resulted in a Minneapolis police precinct set ablaze. According to the 911 call, the caller told the operator that Floyd appeared to be inebriated and refused to return his purchase once the caller realized he had used fake bills.

  • Pelosi calls on Trump to 'take responsibility' for coronavirus response
    Yahoo News Video

    Pelosi calls on Trump to 'take responsibility' for coronavirus response

    In a press conference Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on President Trump to “stop making excuses. Take responsibility” for his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Trump's draft executive order targeting social media companies sparks battle inside the White House
    Yahoo News

    Trump's draft executive order targeting social media companies sparks battle inside the White House

    The Trump White House has been embroiled in a vigorous internal debate over whether to issue an executive order aimed at punishing social media companies for perceived political bias, with opposition to the order coming from some of the most conservative parts of the administration. White House sources tell Yahoo News that the office of Vice President Mike Pence, National Economic Council Chairman Larry Kudlow and others are making the argument that it will set a bad precedent to signal that the federal government can go after private companies and seek to penalize them for purely political reasons. “There is pushback from a lot of people” inside the White House, an administration official told Yahoo News, saying there is “a lot of frustration” among advisers who are often some of the president's most loyal backers.

  • Rwanda court sentences ex-mayor to life for role in genocide
    AFP

    Rwanda court sentences ex-mayor to life for role in genocide

    Rwanda's High Court on Thursday sentenced a former mayor to life in prison for his role in the country's 1994 genocide, which included leading attacks that resulted in the deaths of around 25,000 ethnic Tutsis in his town. Ladislas Ntaganzwa was one of the top fugitive suspects, accused of playing a key role in the massacre of some 800,000 mostly Tutsi but also moderate Hutus, when he was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015. A statement from Rwanda's prosecution authority said the court "convicted him for genocide, extermination as crime against humanity and rape as crime against humanity and sentenced him to life imprisonment."

  • Failed Maduro coup leader flew on pro-govt magnate's plane
    Associated Press

    Failed Maduro coup leader flew on pro-govt magnate's plane

    It was mid-January and Jordan Goudreau was itching to get going on a secret plan to raid Venezuela and arrest President Nicolás Maduro when the former special forces commando flew to the city of Barranquilla in Colombia to meet with his would-be partner in arms. To get there, Goudreau and two former Green Beret buddies relied on some unusual help: a chartered flight out of Miami's Opa Locka executive airport on a plane owned by a Venezuelan businessman so close to the government of Hugo Chávez that he spent almost 4 years in a U.S. prison for trying to cover up clandestine cash payments to its allies. The owner of the Venezuela-registered Cessna Citation II with yellow and blue lines, identified with the tail number YV-3231, was Franklin Durán, according to three people familiar with the businessman's movements who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

  • This Neo-Futuristic Home Found Its Inspiration in the British Countryside
    Architectural Digest

    This Neo-Futuristic Home Found Its Inspiration in the British Countryside

    Located in the rolling hills of southeast England, the design was meant to mimic the beer-brewing structures that once dotted the landscape Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

  • Iran outraged by 'honour killing' of 14-year-old girl Romina Ashrafi
    The Telegraph

    Iran outraged by 'honour killing' of 14-year-old girl Romina Ashrafi

    The killing of an Iranian teen by her father after she eloped with an older man sparked outrage on Wednesday, with local media denouncing "institutionalised violence" in "patriarchal" Iran. Iranian media covered the apparent "honour" crime extensively, with Ebtekar newspaper leading its front page with the headline "Unsafe father's house". According to local media, Romina Ashrafi was killed in her sleep on May 21 by her father, who decapitated her in the family home in Talesh in northern Gilan province.

  • City of Moscow revises up its coronavirus death toll for April after criticism
    Reuters

    City of Moscow revises up its coronavirus death toll for April after criticism

    The city of Moscow has issued a revised version of its coronavirus death toll for April after criticism of its initial figures, more than doubling the original tally by using what it said was an alternative counting method. The city initially reported 636 coronavirus-related deaths for April, a figure many times lower than other comparable cities with similar outbreaks. In its revised version, Moscow's Health Department said in a statement that the toll was 1,561 when it included 756 people diagnosed with the coronavirus who died of other causes and 169 people suspected of having the virus despite testing negative.

  • One of the coldest places on Earth is experiencing a record-breaking heat wave
    NBC News

    One of the coldest places on Earth is experiencing a record-breaking heat wave

    One of the coldest regions on earth has been experiencing a record-breaking heat wave in recent weeks amid growing fears about devastating wildfires and melting permafrost. Khatanga, a town in Siberia's Arctic Circle, registered highs of over 80 degrees Fahrenheit this week, according to Accuweather, far above the 59 degrees F historical average, as the whole of western Siberia basked in unseasonable warmth. While locals flocked to popular spots to sunbathe, experts sounded alarms about the possible implications for the region's wildfire season this summer, with some blazes already breaking out in recent months.

  • Elon Musk told NASA astronauts' kids ahead of the SpaceX launch, 'We've done everything we can to make sure your dads come back OK'
    Business Insider

    Elon Musk told NASA astronauts' kids ahead of the SpaceX launch, 'We've done everything we can to make sure your dads come back OK'

    Elon Musk appeared to choke up while discussing his responsibility for the lives of the two NASA astronauts that SpaceX is set to launch into space on Wednesday. Musk said he told the astronauts' families, "We've done everything we can to make sure your dads come back OK." Though the Falcon 9 rocket has undergone thousands of tests, NASA estimates there's a 1-in-276 chance that the flight could kill the astronauts on board.

  • Why India must battle the shame of period stain
    BBC

    Why India must battle the shame of period stain

    Coronavirus sparks a sanitary pad crisis in India Stripped for standing up to 'period-phobic' college Of course, period poverty does not only affect women in India. According to Plan International UK, an international development charity, one in 10 disadvantaged girls below the age of 21 cannot afford sanitary products and uses unhygienic substitutes such as newspaper, toilet paper and socks. From an early age, girls learn to live with the pain and fear and seldom do we see a girl seek help when in physical or mental discomfort due to periods.

  • George Floyd protests erupt across nation: Police clear streets after fires in Minneapolis; violence in Columbus, Louisville
    USA TODAY

    George Floyd protests erupt across nation: Police clear streets after fires in Minneapolis; violence in Columbus, Louisville

    MINNEAPOLIS – After a police precinct was torched Thursday, residents awoke to smoke billowing, fires burning and police lining their streets after another intense night of protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody this week after a white officer pinned him to the ground under his knee. Police largely let protesters light fires and loot buildings into the early hours Friday before advancing through the area and creating a perimeter around the burnt precinct. During the clearing of the streets, a CNN reporter and crew were arrested.

  • Russia slams 'dangerous' US foreign policy moves
    AFP

    Russia slams 'dangerous' US foreign policy moves

    Russia said on Thursday the United States was acting in a dngerous and unpredictable way, after Washington withdrew from a key military treaty and moved to ramp up pressure on Iran. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova made the comments after Washington announced it would end sanctions waivers for nations that remain in a nuclear accord signed with Iran. The remaining parties to the deal include Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

  • Cockpit voice recorder of crashed Pakistani plane recovered
    Associated Press

    Cockpit voice recorder of crashed Pakistani plane recovered

    The cockpit voice recorder of the Pakistani airliner that crashed last week was found on Thursday, six days after the passenger plane went down in a crowded neighborhood near the airport in the city of Karachi, killing 97 people on board. The recorder, recovered from among the plane debris, was subsequently handed over to Airbus experts. Pakistani aviation authorities said this week they are sharing their initial findings with the visiting 11-member team from the European plane maker.

  • Police arrested a Bay Area woman who they say posted racist notes on the homes of Asian Americans
    INSIDER

    Police arrested a Bay Area woman who they say posted racist notes on the homes of Asian Americans

    A 52-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of posting handwritten messages targeting Asian Americans on their homes. Police in San Leandro received reports of notes containing "insensitive messages towards minorities" taped to five homes, according to the Associated Press. A 52-year-old woman in the San Francisco Bay Area was arrested on suspicion of a hate crime after police learned she was posting hateful handwritten messages on the homes of Asian-Americans, according to a statement from San Leandro Police Department.

  • Reuters

    Fourth Iranian tanker docks at Venezuelan port, U.S. slams 'distraction'

    The Venezuelan navy said it escorted a fourth tanker bringing Iranian fuel through its waters on Thursday, while the United States called the shipments to the gasoline-starved country a distraction from problems facing President Nicolas Maduro. The oil industries of Iran and Venezuela are both under U.S. sanctions. Iran is providing its fellow OPEC member up to 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and refining components to help ease an acute shortage, the result of the near-complete breakdown in its refining network as well as the sanctions.

  • Total number of coronavirus cases in Gulf Arab states surpasses 200,000: Reuters tally
    Reuters

    Total number of coronavirus cases in Gulf Arab states surpasses 200,000: Reuters tally

    The number of coronavirus cases in the six Gulf Arab states doubled in less than a month to surpass 200,000 on Wednesday, according to a Reuters' tally, at a time the region's two biggest economies move to resume activity. Coronavirus infections in the energy producing region, which crossed the 100,000 mark on May 11, had initially been linked to travel but then spread among low-income migrant workers in overcrowded quarters, prompting authorities to increase testing. Saudi Arabia, which has the most infections, said restrictions would be lifted in three phases, culminating in a curfew completely ending from June 21, with the exception of the holy city of Mecca.