View Full Version : Bomber 31

No comment
25th Jun 2002, 12:37
Just in passing, did anyone else catch the documentary on the story of Bomber 31 that crashlanded on the kamchatska peninsular last night?
Was quite impressed as I had never heard of this story. I am sure there must be other instances of lost aircraft (and more unfortunately, lost crewmembers).

25th Jun 2002, 13:37
Yeah, I watched it and taped it as well; very good, although at the end there was just the flat statement that it had been concluded that all crew perished on site, but it wasn't explained how that conclusion had been reached.

Thought that Tom Rains, who had gone out there to try and find his Dad's remains, was an absolute paragon of dignity under such difficult circumstances. A true gentleman.

astir 8
25th Jun 2002, 13:40
I must admit, the concept of sending a half dozen twin engined aircraft on a long over-water mission in appalling weather to (lightly) bomb an insignificant harbour struck me as an exercise in military futility.

Were the Japanese high command really sufficiently daft to take this as a run-up to an invasion?

But as usual the aircrew must have been amazingly brave men.

Maybe though, being aircrew was better than being a Sherman tank crew faced with a Tiger tank. (cf the programme which preceded "Bomber 31") How come the Western Allies in World War II could build such good aircraft and such lousy tanks?

Iron City
27th Jun 2002, 18:11
Depends on the Sherman. The E8 with the high velocity 75mm could, with multiple rounds, knock a Tiger out of action. Not as spectacularly as a Tiger could do a Sherman, but out is out. Shermans in verious marks and mods were cranked out like "Carter's cranks out pills". Dr. Porsche's Tigers were not. And with close air support the airplanes could kill the Tigers so who needs a direct allied counterpart tank?

The allied side was blessed with a lot of spectacularly poor aircraft at the outset. The only things worse were armored and infantry vehicles. The Nazi's got a lot better a lot quicker on the armor and infantry equipment but did very little that was useful in air and at sea except for U boats. Thank goodness they did not have a balanced military focus that would have put advanced technology aircraft in operational use instead of puttzing around with them in development or trials organizations until it was too late (for them)

astir 8
28th Jun 2002, 09:17
There is a classic statement in a tank book which I have somewhere which goes something like -"because they were produced in such large numbers, losing a Sherman was not a problem - except to the crew"

28th Jun 2002, 12:52
Four years ago in Melbourne, I had the privilege of listening to a talk by Tony Gaze DFC and Two Bars - an Australian pilot with 12 confirmed, who flew with Douglas Bader and Johnny Johnson. He was flying a Spitfire over Germany and spotted two German tanks at a cross-roads. One was a Tiger tank.
In his own words he said that there was no harm in having a go at the tanks as he knew that his 20mm shells would not penetrate the armour but that it might stir things up a bit. He thought in fact that the two tank commanders were having a cosy chat at the time.

He opened fire and to his surprise the Tiger blew up. He thinks that his shells may have entered the open crew hatch and hit the fuel tank or magazine.
When he returned to base he claimed one Tiger tank but his colleagues said bulls..it no way he could get a tank. Fortunately his claim was verified by his wing man who saw the whole show.