Mount Vesuvius- The US Army Air Force forgotten enemy.

2020-03-18

The last time the Mount Vesuvius erupted in Italy was on March 18 1944. The eruptions and the lava flows lasted for several days.

The villages  of San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, Massa di Somma, and Ottaviano were destroyed, as was  part of San Giorgio a Cremano. 26 died and thousands had to flee their homes.

The US Army Air Force 340th Bombardment Group  was based at Pompeii Airfield at the time, just a few Kilometers away from the volcono. Initially it was thought they didn’t have to evacuate but their luck. quickly changed.

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Sgt. Robert F. McRae. documented the events in his diary.

March 20, 1944

“As I sit in my tent … I can hear at four- to 10-second intervals the loud rumbling of the volcano on the third day of its present eruption. The noise is like that of bowling balls slapping into the pins on a giant bowling alley. To look above the mountain tonight, one would think that the world was on fire. The thickly clouded sky glows like that above a huge forest fire. Glowing brighter as new spouts of flame and lava are spewn from the crater. As the clouds pass from across the top of the mountain, the flame and lava can be seen shooting high into the sky to spill over the sides and run in red streams down the slopes. … Today it is estimated that a path of molten lava 1 mile long, half a mile wide, and 8 feet deep is rolling down the mountain. Towns on the slopes are preparing to evacuate. Our location is, apparently, safe. At any rate no one here, civilian or Army authorities, seems too much worried. Lava has not started to flow down this side of the mountain as yet but is flowing on the other side toward Naples.”

March 21, 1944

“At about 5:30 p.m. small streams of lava began running down our side of the mountain. The first on this side. Soon many swift, fiery streams were flowing in all directions. The rumbling continues — more prolonged now. This evening it would seem that the whole top of the mountain is burning. Fiery patches here and there resemble a log which is just burning out. Heavy explosions occur followed by prolonged rumbling while sparks and molten lava are thrown high into the air to fall like rain on all sides of the cone.”

The next entry was on March 29th.

“almost complete devastation” with “tents torn to ribbons” and “88 B-25 Mitchells — $25 million worth of aircraft … a total loss.”

Estimates ranged from 78 to 88 aircraft destroyed.

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Source

https://www.earthmagazine.org/article/benchmarks-march-17-1944-most-recent-eruption-mount-vesuvius

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robinandrews/2017/02/16/how-vesuvius-upstaged-the-nazi-air-force-during-the-second-world-war/#4f78ecc6597f

Keep going no matter what-The B-17 Bombers that wouldn’t crash

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I have been on many flights were things didn’t go as planned, in fact nearly ever flight bar 1 I have been one had some kind of issue. But I never encountered anything like the flights of these B-17 bombers, then again I never flew during war time.

These B-17 bombers just kept going despite heavy damage and still landed.

B-17 damaged in collision with Fw190 in head-on attack

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Waist gunner killed, ball turret gunner killed, radio operator blown out of the airplane completely, but this B-17 Flying Fort still managed to get home and land without cracking in half.

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This B-17G-75-BO (s/n 43-38071) landed at Brustem Airfield in Belgium on March 17, 1945, after a mid-air collision with another B-17G (s/n 43-38046). Both aircraft were from the 490th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force. This plane took off with its standard crew of 10 but landed with 11 aboard…one dead. The body of radio operator (Sgt. George Devlin) from the other B-17 was somehow thrown into the nose of this aircraft during the collision.

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6th November 44 B17G RackheathClose up view showing the enormous hole from the flak-damaged B17 of the 91st BG that returned safely to Rackheath.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Source

US Air Force

The wooden shoes of Jan Smit-AKA Lt. Claude C. Murray jr.

PhotoDotandDash

Every once in a while you encounter a story which puts you in conflict with yourself. You wonder “can I really tell the story?”

For me this is one of those stories. I am not going to use the word ‘Hate’ because that would be too harsh of a description, but I do really, really,really dislike Jan Smit, He is a Dutch ‘singer’ he would be the Dutch equivalent of Justin Bieber but with even less talent and even more annoying.

Thankfully the Jan Snit in this story is not that Jan Smit, but Lt. Claude C. Murray jr. pilot with the Eight Air Force.

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Claude C. Murray jr  born in Spokane,Washington USA. He graduated in November 1943 at  the Wiliams Field Army Advanced Flying School in Chandler, Arizona. He had enlisted after the Pearl Harbor attacks on December 7, 1941.

During World War II he served with the 8th Air Force, 7th Photo Recon Group as a photo reconnaissance pilot, flying P-38s, assigned to Mount Farm, England.He was a crew member, 2nd Lieutenant,of “Dot & Dash” a well known aircraft within the 7 Photo Reconnaissance Group. This because it was used on the so called ‘shuttle missions’, trips from England, over Berlin, landing in Russia for fuel and back again. This until it was shot down by an Me-262 jet and came down in Lake IJsselmeer (Old Zuyder Sea), in the Netherlands.

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After a night at drift rolling along with the waves,  Claude C. Murray drifted ashore in his small rubber boat on the unmanned fortress island ‘Pampus’. He took a look in the abandoned bunkers and spend the night there, but left next morning in his dinghy again to the nearby mainland. Underway he encountered a small fishing boat with three young men inside: Jan Dobber, Jacob Dobber and Jan Bijl. He was handed over by them to resistance leader Joh. (Johannes) Rozendaal in Muiden. He spend a week there and received false papers with  the name ‘Jan Smit’. A deaf and dumb sales man

PasportClaudeMurrayAKAjanSmit1944

In Naarden he was in hiding at Mrs. Dietz-Kluyver’s for 2 months until 15 December 1944. This was on the Paulus Potterlaan no. 35. Because the front line stabilized on the big rivers in the centre of Holland and could not be passed, the resistance had to hide Murray until liberation, that came on May 5, 1945. The last 5 months of hiding  was  at a farm in village Weesp. This was the farm of Gijs Regtuyt on the Korte Muidenweg C.34, where he wore wooden shoes with his new name on them.

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On the 9th of May 1945, Murray was brought to the villa of medical doctor Kruize in Blaricum. Here he met a group of other airmen in hiding and together they joined up with the Canadian troops. The others were 1Lt. John H. Quinn and 2Lt. Mel O. Simmons of B-24 42-95180 “Satans little Sister” 446 BG, crashed south in the Lake 21 November 1944 and Captain Gene Maddocks of B-24 42-51495 crashed in the Northeast Polder on 24 February 1945, Eddy Kryskov (RAF) and Captain Dick Jones (RCAF).

The irony is although the singer Jan Smit was born decades after this, there is some resemblance between the two!

PasportClaudeMurrayAKAjanSmit1944 (1)

 

PS .Anyone who knows me. knows what a true sacrifice this is for me even to look at Jan Smit’s(the singer) face, as I said I am not a fan to put it mildly.

Claude C. Murray Jr died age 87 May 13, 2009, in Phoenix, Arizona

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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