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Kostucha

Fortress Inspiration

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I've been completely fascinated by the B-17 and the Mighty Eighth since I was knee high to a p**s ant. I can remember watching the TV series "Twelve O'clock High" in black & white, watching enthralled as Robert Lansing brought the Piccadilly Lilly through flack and fighters to drop a load of bad news on Hitler's head. Though my interests have varied through the many years since then, but I've never lost my fascination with WW2 war birds and particularly the B-17 and the 8th. I've never missed an opportunity to see a real, live B-17 if one was anywhere near me.

I had been through a couple of B-17s over the years, and a few years ago the Liberty Belle was at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation, outside Sevierville, TN.. I caught wind of it and bought a ride - some of the best money I've ever spent! I've read literally volumes on the plane and the men who flew her, and even met a few, including the late Col. Robert Morgan, as well as a number of much less famous, but no less heroic men.

Going up in the Liberty Belle was an eye opening experience for me. It is one thing to read about what it was like at 30,000 feet, -30 degrees fahrenheit, cold, scared, tired, with a grim job to do and wanting desperately to live long enough to see your family again. It is something else to have something of a bridge to that time and place.

I'm not saying by any means that taking a ride at 1,500 feet on a warm summer day in peace time skys is even remotely comparable to what I described above. But, when you are in that plane, airborne, lightly dressed, humped over to move from one cramped space to another, you can engage your imagination and in some small way transport yourself there. Going up in the Liberty Belle gave me a chance to do that in a way I don't think you can, at least that I know I can't, reading a book in your living room, or even walking through a parked bird.

I could stand in the Belle and imagine myself at the waist guns, or in the top turret, straining my eyes against the sun to see those menacing black specks that you knew would be coming to try to kill you. I could imagine the freezing cold wind blowing through the fuselage, almost blistering every exposed inch of skin. I could imagine what it would be like watching a Fort with men you knew, some your good friends, fall out of formation, maybe on fire, feeling bad for them but thinking "thank God its them and not us!". I could imagine the sense of aloneness you would have, even with 9 other men in the plane with you, since the noise of the engines, the wind and the guns would mean that all you could hear above the din was the voices in your head phones - assuming the intercom hadn't been shot out. I could imagine fighting through the fear, trying to remember all you needed to remember to stay alive, everything from making sure your oxygen line didn't freeze up from the moisture in your breath to trying to figure the lead on the 109 you were shooting at.

That experience of an all too short few minutes in the Liberty Belle gave me a whole new appreciation for both the B-17 and the men who flew her. When I'm at my bench now the memory of that experience is my inspiration. I keep a print of the Memphis Belle signed by Col. Morgan and two other men who flew in her in my office. When I start to feel a bit over whelmed by things at work, when the stress starts to get to me, I look up at that print and think "what I have to deal with is nothing. If those guys could do that, I can da**ed sure do this!"

That's my Fortress Inspiration.

Bob

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Well said Bob.

If you haven't taken a ride yet in a 17 do it. There's nothing else on earth like it and it may not be available for too much longer.

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Well said Bob.

If you haven't taken a ride yet in a 17 do it. There's nothing else on earth like it and it may not be available for too much longer.

No. 4 on my bucket list!

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God only knows how much longer they will be able to keep these venerable old birds in the air. I'm sure that the day will come when there are no longer any airworthy B-17s left. That will truly be a great loss for future generations who will never have the chance to experience that singular thrill. For anybody who hasn't done it, going up in a B-17 should definitely be on the Bucket List of any WW2, airplane or modeling buff. I have to agree with Bigasshammm, there's nothing else like it. I'm on the lookout for a chance to go again.

Bob

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So just how big a B-17 fan do you guys think you are?

I'm currently looking to get some more tattoo's done, normally i like to design my own art...but today i was haing a creative block so started to look on the web for some inspiration..and i stumbled across these...so how far would you guys go to show some love for ya favourite bomber???

0901_f_tattoos4.jpg

boeing_b17_flying_fortress_airplane_tattoo1_thumb.jpg

0901_f_tattoos3.jpg

0901_f_tattoos2.jpg

I love the B-17....but i'm not this keen...lol

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Being a big fan of tattoes, my jaw dropped looking at some of these... the gal with -17 down her left side (3rd picture) has got her priorities straight! hahahaha.

Great posts.

Cheers,

Mark.

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Could be a cool idea and you got my curiosity peeked but I can't see any of your photos. Says they have been moved or deleted. :bandhead2:

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Just watching WWII Lost Films: The Air War.... there is some stuff I've seen before and other clips are new... But combined with what is being shown, music, and the personal narratives from first hand accounts leaves me saying "my God..."

I watched this too - amazing stuff. Living in Norfolk I'm not far from Thorpe Abbotts where the 100th BG(H) were based but for me I have greater interest in the 452nd BG(H) at Deopham Green as I live just three miles from that old airfield. Sadly, I haven't yet found decals for a 452nd B-17G (square L).

I was looking to buy a 1/48 Fortress but it'll sadly be too late for this group build. But good luck to all you guys!

Cheers

Ian

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