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"The Fall of Fortresses" by Elmer Bendiner

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by Smiley 2.0, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

    Dec 2, 2014
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    The Land of the Noble Steed
    Elmer Bendiner was a navigator on a B-17 (named the Tondelayo) during the year of 1943. Although he talks about his service in the skies over Germany, the main focus of his memoirs was the two raids on the ball bearing plants of Schweinfurt, Germany in 1943, both of which he participated in. He does a good job in painting a picture of the carnage and chaos in the skies above Germany and how dangerous it was. What stood the most about this book though was how well it was written. The way in which he wrote his words made me think at times of Erich Maria Remarque's famous war novel "All Quiet on the Western Front." Another thing that caught my eye was that it wasn't just a memoir, it also includes a bit of history as to why Schweinfurt was considered to be a major target and how the raid was part of a new kind of tactic that was envisioned by other aviators in the past such as Billy Mitchell and Giulio Douhet that was called strategic bombing. Despite how well written the memoir is and how well he paints the graphic picture of the air war over Germany, I was surprised as to how Bendiner does not offer much personal insight as to how he felt about the two raids of Schweinfurt. He mentions how the brass felt about it and how limited the effects were of the raid, but he offers little to no personal insight as to how he felt about it. But that is really the only issue that I had with the memoir. I highly recommend it to you all especially if you are into the air war over Europe.

    One thing to note, for those who read "A Higher Call" by Adam Makos, Elmer Bendiner was in the same squadron/group as Charlie Brown, the 379th, and he mentions his good friendship with its leader Mo Preston who is also mentioned in "A Higher Call."
    belasar likes this.

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