Sunday, April 20, 2008

World War II - Bombing of Pearl Harbor

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, it resulted in the United States becoming involved in World War II. President Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 "... a date which will live in infamy." Admiral Yamamoto is rumoured to have said, "I fear that all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant."

From left to right: World War II US Aviators - Flying Tigers (AVG) by Action Unique (2001), B-17 Waist Gunner by Aces (1996), B-17 "Memphis Belle" Bomber Pilot by Aces for GI Joe Collectors' Club (1996), Dragon's P-40 Pilot "Lt George Taylor" (Josh Harnett) and "Ben Cole" of the Flying Tigers (AVG) plus Cotswold's US Army Air Corps Captain. 

The Flying Tigers, also known as Fei Hu, was the nickname of the 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) that operated within the Chinese Air Force in 1941 and 1942. They were led by Claire Chennault (NOT a girl!!) and were one of the most colourful group in World War II. This volunteer group was formed to protect China from Japan, without entering the war. The group first saw combat on 20 December 1941, 12 days after Pearl Harbor.

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was an American four-engine heavy bomber aircraft developed for the U.S. Army Air Corps, best remembered in the film "Memphis Belle" (1990) which starred Matthew Modine, Billy Zane, Eric Stoltz, and introducing Harry Connick Jr. in his screen debut. It is a fictionalisation of the 1944 documentary "Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress" about the 25th and last mission of an American B17 bomber, the "Memphis Belle", which was based in England during World War II. With the exception of the aircraft names and the basic premise (that of the first plane to survive its tour of duty in the air war over Europe), this film is fiction based on fact. The characters are composites, the names are not those of the real crew of the Memphis Belle and the incidents shown are taken from many missions. The final, 25th mission of the real Belle was to Kiel, Germany, but with a substitute crew, before being flown back to the United States.

Also check out BBI's Japanese World War II Zero Pilot "LT Sakae" (link here) and Dragon's P40 pilot "LT George Taylor" (link here)

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