November 17, 2016
This is a small notebook that contains handwritten documentation of rounds expended during test firings and operational missions of 71 Eagle Sqn and then into Sept of ’42 when the 4th was formed. Note the dates, the pilots and how their ranks changed with the transition from the RAF into the U.S. Army.
The P-51 Mustangs of the 4th Fighter Group were the first to escort bombers over Berlin during World War II, the first to escort bombers from England to Russia, and at war’s end ranked first in the number of enemy aircraft destroyed (over 1,000). The Debden Warbirds describes in detail the everyday workings of this record setting fighter group, from their Eagle Squadron beginnings in Hurricanes and Spitfires, to their unprecedented triumphs in Thunderbolts and Mustangs. This authentic account gleaned from the Squadron and Tower Diaries, is enhanced by dozens of combat reports and personal accounts from pilots and crews whose day-to-day encounters are faithfully recorded. Author Frank Speer became an ace within seventeen missions over Germany flying P-51 Mustangs with the 4th FG, having been credited with destroying six enemy aircraft. On a flight over Poland, his aircraft was shot down. He walked nearly 400 miles from the site of his crash landing before he collapsed from exhaustion and was captured by the Germans. He was incarcerated in three different Stalags prior to his escape and repatriation. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters. He lives in Pennsylvania.
Over the course of the war, Disney artists designed more than 1,200 combat insignia for all branches of the US military and for its allies. Besides the famed Flying Tigers insignia, one of the most celebrated designs was made for England’s Royal Air Force. Prior to Pearl Harbor, many American pilots joined England’s Royal Air Force as members of Eagle Squadrons 71, 121, and 133. An entry in a Hearst newspaper insignia stamp album stated, “Walt Disney artists were quick to chronicle the significance of this combat union with an American Eagle ‘on guard.’ Fiercely he advances to contest the fouling tactics of a barbarous and un-sportsmanlike adversary, as he moves into the attack with his English ‘comrade-at-arms.’”
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