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'Down to Earth' Strafing Aces of the Eighth Air Force [Paperback]

William Hess , Chris Davey

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Book Description

April 20 2003 Aircraft of the Aces (Book 51)
'Like The Long Reach, Down to Earth is a message from the battle at its height, told in their own words by the men who fight' - this is how Brig-Gen Francis Griswold, VIII Fighter Command, ends his introduction to this book. His official endorsement reveals just how important a document Down to Earth was to the teaching of tyro fighter pilots heading for action in the ETO. More leading aces were lost to flak whilst ground strafing than to German fighters. In this book William Hess has included biographies of all the pilots that originally contributed to this work back in 1943-44.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (April 20 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184176437X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841764375
  • Product Dimensions: 24.8 x 18.5 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 395 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #999,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

William N Hess is the official historian for the American Fighter Aces Association, and is one of the most highly respected aviation writers of his generation. A B-17 crewman during World War 2, Hess has written over 40 books during his long and distinguished career.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Maj Gen William F. Kepner firmly believed in taking the offensive, but it was to be several months after he took over VIII Fighter Command in August 1943 that he was able to put his principles into practice because of a shortage of aircraft. Read the first page
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Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Daring Deeds of 8th AF Strafer Aces! Dec 1 2005
By Michael OConnor - Published on
During World War II the 8th Air Force was the sole USAAF organization to designate ground kills as being equivalent to air victories, therein creating a unique group of "strafer ace" pilots. Though purists would argue the ace designation was awarded only on the basis of air kills, no one would deny how dangerous strafing missions were over Europe in 1944 and 1945. Such attacks were so costly that in 1944 the command put together "Down to Earth," a how-to manual composed of comments from leading strafer aces, group COs, etc.

As they did with their treatment of the 5th Air Force "Twelve to One" volume, Osprey Publishing and noted author William Hess have resurrected the 8th AF study, added mini-biographies of strafer aces such as John Landers, Jim Goodson and Elwyn Righetti along with dozens of photos and nine pages of color profiles to produce a comprehensive tribute to those pilots.

Years ago the reviewer met Archie Tower, a 339th FG strafer ace with 18 ground kills to his credit. Despite endless cajoling, "Flak" Tower steadfastly declined to talk about his wartime missions. Now, in Osprey's book, the reader can revisit, if only briefly, those daring and deadly missions flown by 8th AF strafer aces against Luftwaffe airfields in the closing years of the war. Recommended!
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good - especially if you enjoy aircraft color and paint schemes. Sept. 27 2014
By Tom's Reviews - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good review of tactics and aircraft used - my only complaint was that the book really lacked what I'd hoped would be a plethora of gun camera shots of actual attacks and the results, and maybe even some plotted tactical maps. If you like side profiles of P-51s and P-47s and their paint schemes, you'll love this book. I did, though, like the personal pilot accounts of the tactics they used.
4.0 out of 5 stars good official information March 17 2013
By Ron Rissler - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Down to Earth provided sound official documentation regarding strafing aces during WWII. It was information I was hoping for and information that will be helpful in a future publication.
5.0 out of 5 stars My Dad's in a book! Dec 28 2012
By Paul D. Cox - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book at the recommendation of a friend. He told me I would be surprised at the detail. I was interested in the Eighth Force as my father flew a P-51 in WWII. My sneaky friend knew I would find the book a good read because on pgs. 51 and 52, is the account of my fathers strafing of several aircraft on the ground and 2 air kills! This made my purchase doubling wonderful!!

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