The second attack on the Schweinfurt ball-bearing plants was effective; the bombers hit the target with remarkable precision. Germany’s minister of armaments, Albert Speer, estimated that 67 percent of the complex’s production capacity was ruined. He was fearful of what follow-on raids would do to the Reich’s ball-bearing manufacturing capacity even as work got under way to repair the damage and disperse the production nodes. One or two more raids might totally destroy the Schweinfurt plants.
He needn’t have been so anxious. The Eighth Air Force was so badly mauled that it didn’t return to Schweinfurt until the following February. Of the attacking force of 291 B-17s, sixty were shot down. An additional seven were so badly damaged that they were scrapped after recovering in England. Of the remaining bombers, more than half were damaged and needed repair. In contrast, the Luftwaffe lose approximately forty fighters.
The trust was that the Eighth did not have the capacity to mount a sizeable raid until nearly a week after Schweinfurt when 282 bombers were sent to Düren on October 20. In practical terms, the one-in-five loss rate at Schweinfurt was terrifying not just to the crews, but also the USAAF’s leadership. The mission finally and irrevocably drove home the fact that the heavy bombers could not defend themselves against the Luftwaffe. Even the most ardent bomber advocates gave up the notion of the self-defending bomber.
(L to R) Neil Armstrong, Milt Thompson, Bruce Peterson, Jack McKay, Stan Butchart, Bill Dana, and Joe Walker
Pilots of the North American X-15 hypersonic/high-altitude research aircraft (with the exception of Butchart, who carried out the launch procedures and actions aboard the B-52 mothership), Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, 1962.
So about a bazillion years ago (1996) I entered the United States Air Force. I was in Basic Training for all of January & most of February.
Now, you might be thinking: ‘Wow, I bet that sucked. I bet you didn’t get to eat any junk food or sweets!’
You would indeed be right, I didn’t.
Except for that time when pretty much EVERYONE halfway though Basic goes to this HUGE class & they teach you about Military Bearing. They give you all sorts of candy & soda.
But that is not this story.
No, this story is about a dorm full of girls, none of whom have had chocolate in what feels like forever
Now there are vending machines outside. But you can’t just go to them. Like you have to have permission.
But it’s nighttime (before lights out) & our Male TI has gone home for the day. And we’re bold as fuck…so everyone digs out change & gives it to the two girls who are brave enough to sneak out & risk getting caught (NOT ME). They must have five pounds of loose change & a million requests scribbled on a piece of paper.
Okay. Not a million, but there was at least twenty of us in that dorm.
So they sneak out. And they’re gone for what feels like FOREVER. Looking back, I would estimate it was maybe ten minuets, tops.
They return amid much squealing & excitement, only to find out all they got was one Snickers Bar.
One. Snickers. Bar.
For twenty girls.
They chickened out. They thought they heard someone coming. They managed to get the one candy bar before hightailing it back to the dorm.
I hated Snickers Bars, because I didn’t like peanuts. I had requested a 3 Musketeers Bar (my favorite).
But that Snickers Bar got dived up amongst quite a few girls, & somehow I got a small piece. I was not about to pass up some quality contraband, so I ate it.