David Knights' Weblog

April 5, 2013

Book Review: Bomber Pilot, A Memoir of World War II

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:45 pm
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Book Review: Bomber Pilot, A Memoir of World War II
By Philip Ardery
Review by D.M. Knights, IPMS/USA 17656, IPMS/Canada C6091

World War II produced numerous memoirs, from those of famous leaders and generals such as Churchill and Patton, to memoirs of the most common soldier.  The quality of these varies from great to nearly unreadable.  In the former category is this title, Bomber Pilot, by Philip Ardery.

Lt. Col. Ardery’s story has particular interest to me for two reasons.  First, Ardery, who passed away a few years ago, was a lawyer from Kentucky who practiced in Louisville for most of his post-WWII career.  Second, he was a participant in Operation Tidal Wave, the low level raid on the Ploesti refinery complex on August 1st, 1943.

Philip Ardery was an Army reserve infantry officer prior to World War II.  A particularly miserable experience on pre-war maneuvers combined with a fascination with flying convinced the author to transfer to the Army Air Corps to try his hand at flying.  The first part of the book describes Philip Ardery’s experiences in flight training in the period just before the outbreak of World War II.  We think of the American involvement in World War II as coming suddenly as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.  However, as this book makes clear, the war clouds were on the horizon, and the only question was when, not if, the US would enter WWII.

Ardery completed his pilot training during 1940 and 1941 and in an twist of fate, was married on Dec. 6th, 1941.  He and his new bride heard the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor in Dallas, Texas as the author was taking his new bride back to Paris, Kentucky to meet his family.  Despite the attack, the couple was able to complete their honeymoon and Mr. Ardery spent most of 1942 acting as an instructor teaching other pilots to fly the new B-24 four-engined bomber.

Finally assigned to a combat Bomb Group, the author was promoted to squadron leader.  After arriving in England the Bomb Group was shipped to Africa to participate in the end of the African campaign.  After only a few missions, the Group was assigned to the Ploesti mission.  It is amazing that the squadrons in the group had only a few missions under their belt when they participated in what was one of the most difficult bombing missions of World War II.

The rest of the book describes the author’s experiences thru late 1944 when he was finally rotated home after having flown more than the required number of missions..  While I was most personally interested in the chapter on the Ploesti mission, the rest of the book is fascinating in its own right. I highly recommend this book.

March 24, 2013

The 2013 modeling project (entry 13)

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 10:34 pm
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Date: 3/23/2013

Time:  7:40 p.m.-10:15 p.m.

Session time: 2 hours (actual building time.)

Total time for the Year: 17 hours 23 minutes.

Yes, after an almost two month drought, I’ve modeled.  The bad news is I started something new.  There were a number or reasons for that.  The bottom line is that I now have a Hasegawa B-24 in the pipeline.

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