During World War II, the U.S. Army Air Corps heavy bomber fleets of B-17’s, B-24’s, and B-29’s were examples of some of the most advanced technology of the period. These four-engine aircraft were designed and built to deliver tons of bombs to a target, defend themselves against enemy fighter attacks, and get their 10- or 11-man crews back to base, if possible. According to a postwar study of bombardier training, the first bombardiers in the Air Corps were pilots interested in bombing or enlisted personnel who had shown some interest and skill in bombing. Eighteen men graduated from the first class of bombardier training in February 1941. By September 1945, 47,000 bombardiers had been trained by the Army Air Force Training Command. Continue reading
Today is Pearl Harbor Day. The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History Library has many items in its collections about this fateful day. We included some in our post, Pearl Harbor Day, last year. We'd like to share a few others from the collection this year, as well:
Resurrection: salvaging the battle fleet at Pearl Harbor, Daniel Madsen. [It concerns the enormous task of ship salvage and rebuilding the base.]
Long day's journey into war: December 7, 1941, Stanley Weintraub. [It reports each hour of December 7th in Hawaii and around the world.]
—Chris Cottrill and Elizabeth Periale
Image: Remember Pearl Harbor Lapel Pin, from The Price of Freedom: Americans at War.
After the 7 December 1941 bombing of the military base at Pearl Harbor, Americans rallied around the war effort with the patriotic cry, "Remember Pearl Harbor." Thousands of buttons or lapel pins were distributed to remind Americans of the tragic event and to solidify the war efforts.