The new book has arrived!

We are excited to announce the release of Harvest of the Grim Reapers, Volume I. The books arrived earlier this week and we are now working on shipping out all of the preorders. If you haven’t ordered your copy yet, now is a great time to do it! We hope you enjoy the latest installment in the Eagles Over the Pacific series.

Now shipping: Harvest of the Grim Reapers, Volume I.

We’re taking pre-orders!

We are pleased to announce that we are officially taking pre-orders for our next book. Harvest of the Grim Reapers, Volume I will finish printing in early January and we will be able to ship out books once they arrive in Colorado. This is the last book project Lawrence J. Hickey personally oversaw before his passing, and we believe it will serve as a fitting tribute to his legacy. Head over to our website to place your pre-order and check out the sample pages.

Harvest of the Grim Reapers, Vol. I is at the printer

At long last, we are excited to announce the upcoming publication of Harvest of the Grim Reapers, Volume I. This 528-page unit history will cover the 3rd and 27th Bomb Groups through the end of 1942, and the heroic and tragic events that occurred along the way. As always, this includes a comprehensive list of the aircraft the unit flew during this time period (A-24s, B-25s and A-20s), and a selection of world-class profile art by aviation artist Jack Fellows. The manuscript has been completed in full, and we will start taking pre-orders as soon as we have confirmation of when the physical copies will be in our hands from the printer. This is the last book project Lawrence J. Hickey personally oversaw before his passing, and we believe it will serve as a fitting tribute to his legacy.

To hold you over until the book is in your hands, we gathered up all of our 3rd Bomb Group posts about events from 1942 so you can read a little more about the 3rd right now. We’ll make another announcement when we start taking pre-orders.

Author and founder of IHRA dies

It is with great sadness that we announce that the founder of International Historical Research Associates, Lawrence J. Hickey, died on August 14, 2021. He felt that the best way for him to give back to his country was to write and publish the histories of air units in the Southwest Pacific Theater during World War II. For more than 30 years, Larry relentlessly pursued a goal of presenting a full and accurate history for each Fifth Air Force unit, a goal which was realized in Warpath Across the Pacific (345th Bomb Group), Revenge of the Red Raiders (22nd Bomb Group), Rampage of the Roarin’ 20’s (312th Bomb Group), and two volumes of Ken’s Men Against the Empire (43rd Bomb Group). He will be missed.

Lawrence J. “Larry” Hickey

Announcing the second edition of Ken’s Men Against the Empire, Volume I

After releasing Ken’s Men Against the Empire, Volume II, we quickly shifted to another project that kept us busy in late 2019 and early 2020: revisions to a book that was, we were happy to note, selling faster than we had anticipated. The announcement is a bit late, but here it is:

Thanks to all the interest and support from our readers, we already had to do a reprint of Ken’s Men Against the Empire, Volume I. We still have some first editions available, but new copies of the second edition have already been trickling out of their boxes and into customers’ hands. We think you’ll love the updates. Inside the second edition, you will find that the 8-page sneak peek of Volume II is gone. We filled up those eight pages with some new photos, including a rare image of the famed B-17 #666, co-author Edward Rogers revised and expanded a few of the stories, new material about the Japanese side was added by co-author Osamu Tagaya and we also corrected mistakes that were printed in the first edition. While we also must admit that the print quality wasn’t up to par in the first edition, we’re pleased to say that it was greatly improved with this second printing. Those are the biggest differences between the two editions. 

If you’re still here and haven’t clicked over to the Ken’s Men, Vol. I page yet, we have some other news: we’re making good headway on Harvest of the Grim Reapers, Volume I. This book will cover the history of the 3rd and 27th Bomb Groups from prewar times to the end of 1942. It is shaping up to be our biggest book since Revenge of the Red Raiders (624 pages), with current projections sitting at nearly 400 pages of narrative text. That doesn’t even include the appendices or color section. If you’re trying to plan your bookshelf space, make sure you have a gap for a 500+ page book. At this point, we are still a little ways from having an estimated date of when it will be heading to the printer.  

As we wrote earlier, the new edition of Ken’s Men Against the Empire, Volume I is already shipping. Head over to our website and buy your copy today!

Ken’s Men Against the Empire, Vol. II is now available for preorder!

Cover for Ken’s Men Against the Empire, Vol. IIThe official publishing date will be October 28, 2019. Press proofs have been approved and returned to the printer for publication. Allowing a few days for shipping from the printer, we expect to begin shipping out orders by the first week of November. The primary authors on this volume are Lawrence J. Hickey and Col. James T. Pettus, USAF (Ret). Colonel Pettus was the last commander of the 43rd BG during World War II, and flew B-24s with the unit during almost the entire time the aircraft served with the unit.

Because the 43rd Bomb Group’s history was split into two volumes, we’re also going to offer a limited sale for retail orders only until December 31, 2019 at $10 off when you order both volumes. To be clear, this sale is only for our 43rd Bomb Group books and you must purchase one of each to get the $10 off. Separate orders of either book will be $75 for Volume I (published in 2016) and $80 for Volume II. All orders received after January 1, 2020, will be at the regular price.

As far as we know these combined volumes contain the most comprehensive history of an air unit in combat ever produced. This includes a detailed narrative text, an outstanding collection of black and white and original color photography, extensive maps showing the unit operating areas, bases, missions and losses, and incredible artwork, including 56 aircraft color profiles and seven full color battle scene paintings done by world renowned aviation artist Jack Fellows. Nothing like this has ever been produced before in aviation literature.

All of our books have hardbound full color covers with sewn bindings. High quality enamel coated paper stock is used throughout to hold the best quality imagery for photos.

Here are the specifications for Volume II, which covers the B-24 era of the unit from October 1943 to the end of the war in 1945:
464 pages of new material
32-page color section
32 B-24 color aircraft profiles
4 color combat paintings
677 black and white photos

Between the two volumes, there are:
880 pages
48 color pages
56 B-17 and B-24 aircraft color profiles
7 color combat paintings
1200+ black and white photos

My deepest appreciation for all your support over the many years of this project.

Lawrence J. Hickey

Co-Author and President of
International Historical Research Associates

Looking Back at Our Top Posts of 2016

It’s that time of year again. Time for us to list our most popular posts published this year as determined by the number of views. Did your favorite post make the list?

This year has been our best year yet and it’s all thanks to you, our readers. Thank you for your continued support by subscribing, reading and sharing our work, and buying our books. If there’s anything you’d like to see more of, let us know in the comments. We’ll be back next year with more great content.

 
Marauder at Midway by Jack Fellows1. Marauder at Midway An amazing painting done by Jack Fellows illustrating a B-26 speeding over the deck of the Akagi during the Battle of Midway.

 
THE "STEAK & EGG" SPECIAL's new fuselage2. Building the Steak and Egg Special How a group of 3rd Bomb Group mechanics built their own plane from two scrapped A-20s.

 

IHRA screen shot of work in progress 3 and 4. Behind the Scenes at IHRA and From a Layout to a Book: Behind the Scenes at IHRA We took you backstage for a look at how we compile our research and turn everything into a book.

5. Surprise over Gusap A member of the 38th Bomb Group writes about a terrifying experience on a raid.

Corregidor Island Then and Now6. The Same Places, 70+ Years Apart—Six WWII Bases Then and Now We took some of our photos from the Pacific Theater and compared them with recent satellite images to see what has changed in 70+ years.

Ken's Men Against the Empire, Volume I7. Announcing the release of Ken’s Men Against the Empire Vol. I We were thrilled to tell you the news of the publishing of a new book in March. We have received excellent feedback on our newest addition to the EOP series, the first part of the 43rd Bomb Group’s history.

History Camp Followup

Madison returns with a report on his day at History Camp Colorado. Pictures from the event can be found on The History List’s Instagram page. Enjoy!

You may remember, a couple of weeks ago I wrote a guest post about History Camp, an upcoming event at which I was invited to present. Well, what was once the future is now past–the conference was held last Saturday and it was a resounding success! Now that it’s over, I figured you might like a candid look into what the presenters have to deal with behind the scenes.

Going back to the day before, I spent most of the day writing a script for the event. Truth be told, I probably put too much time into it-it was ten pages long by the end and although I had read it out loud to get a sense of the timing, I wasn’t really able to make it sound extemporaneous. There were also a whole bunch of supplies I had to gather: books, tablet, credit card reader, sharpies, money bag, laptop & usb stick (with my slideshow on it), change, flyers, order forms, probably something I’m forgetting too. It was four boxes in the end, although half of that was just merchandise.

The event was held in the Tivoli Student Union, and I had to get there early to set up my author’s table. This entailed moving the four boxes (probably 70 pounds total?) up to the presentation area on the fourth floor. Fortunately, they had a parking lot right up against the entrance (not free, but worth every penny) and a service elevator to go up, but it was still a big haul. The actual presentation space was unusual. You had the main room, which was kind of this two-story open balcony room a little like a makeshift theater. Then there were three other presentation rooms, but they were in different hallways, and they were all on slightly different elevations so if you wanted to switch rooms you had to make a few turns and climb a few stairs. I couldn’t switch rooms because I had to stay with the author’s table all day.

Speaking of which, getting that set up was easy once I had all the materials inside. It helps that our books really speak for themselves as far as quality goes. I was set up next to an author who had written a book about baseball in Colorado Springs. He had actually worn a vintage Cubs uniform to the event, which was pretty amazing to see. There were probably about 100, 120 people once everyone had filed in, which is pretty impressive for a first-time conference.

Anyway, once the introductions were done the presentations started up. Like I said, I was stuck in the room with the author’s tables so I essentially got a “random sampling” of what the conference had to offer. And I must say, it was really impressive! There was a college professor giving a run-down of her dissertation topic: ads civil war soldiers would place in the paper imploring girls to write them letters. There was an overview of the construction of the sewers of Denver, told by the governmental historian who had to put together a report about them for the Colorado Department of Transportation. There was a discussion of the human impact on the wildlife of Colorado, from the hunting and habitat reduction of the 1800s to the reversal and reintroduction of species in recent years. And then on a more micro scale, I heard the story of a resort hotel–how it was founded, built up, expanded, why it was popular, why it faded away, how it was sold, and what has since replaced it. There was also my presentation, slotted into the mid-afternoon. You can read about the topic here. It went well, except my script ended up being too expansive for the 45-minute time slot and I had to cut a few sections. Fortunately, I realized that was going to happen before I ran out of time so I was able to recover smoothly. Sadly, one of my favorite stories did not get to see the light of day. Maybe next time…

Overall, the event went very smoothly. Everyone was very friendly, too, especially the people putting on the event, which impressed the heck out of me. I would have enjoyed it even if I hadn’t been doing a presentation on behalf of the company. I would highly recommend if someone puts a conference like this together in your area—-go!

Pulling the Thread of History: We’re Heading to History Camp!

As we prepare for History Camp Colorado next month, we wanted to give you some insight into how we chose our topic, the disappearance of General Walker’s aircraft on January 5, 1943. For that, we want to introduce you to our Managing Editor, Madison Jonas, who will be giving the presentation. Take it away, Madison!

You know what I like about studying history? You get to follow the consequences. Living in the present, it’s hard to ascribe a chain of causality through the actions you take and the events around you. But when we study historical events in detail and with focus, the chain can be linked together. And sometimes, you get an event that has outsize influence—small in isolation, but hugely significant to the events that follow.

Such an event occurred on January 5, 1943. There was an air raid conducted by heavy bombers—B-17s from the 43rd Bomb Group and B-24s from the 90th—based in New Guinea against Simpson Harbor, a major Japanese port in the Southwest Pacific. Going purely by the numbers, it was a small affair: 14 planes attacking, three shot down, two crews rescued, one cargo vessel sunk and three more ships damaged. But the consequences would ultimately shift the nature of the war in New Guinea over the next six months.

Unlike prior air raids against Rabaul and Simpson Harbor, the attack on January 5th was a daylight mission. Rabaul was a heavily defended base complex, and beyond the reach of fighter cover, so conventional wisdom had long-range bombers flying small missions at night and doing negligible damage in a token effort to harass the base. General Kenneth Walker, head of V Bomber Command, thought that a massed formation of bombers would be able to defend itself from enemy interception and inflict severe damage on enemy operations. Walker had even flown on the lead plane to assess the battle damage as a proof-of-concept. Tragically, he was lost that day, along with the entire crew of the SAN ANTONIO ROSE. The loss nixed further daylight bombing of Rabaul for the time being. It remained the center of Japanese operations, able to send out reinforcements to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands largely undeterred. Air operations against it saw no major impact until fighter coverage could be brought into range.

An Expensive Mission by Jack Fellows

On January 5, 1943, Brig. Gen. Kenneth N. Walker planned a large daylight raid on Rabaul to disrupt an assembling convoy. Walker was flying as an observer in the lead plane, B-17F-10 SAN ANTONIO ROSE. Over Rabaul, the bomber was hit by flak and then pursued south along the coast of New Britain by a flight of Oscar fighters from 11 Sentai. The location where the B-17 went down is unknown; however, it may have gone down deep in the remote Kol Mountains of New Britain. Two crewmembers, Maj. Jack W. Bleasdale and Capt. Benton H. Daniel, bailed out and survived the shootdown, only to be taken prisoner and executed by the Japanese. General Walker was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Painting by Jack Fellows.

The target of the attack on January 5th had been a convoy carrying over 4000 soldiers for a new ground offensive in the mountains of New Guinea. The convoy was scheduled to depart on the 6th, but by a stroke of luck it had been moved to nearby Jacquinot Bay the night before, dodging the strike. The near-miss, however, was shocking to Japanese higher-ups, who ordered additional fighter coverage on the convoy for the duration of its mission, which led to a fierce air battle over the convoy as it unloaded at New Guinea. Those troops were then sent to capture an outlying Allied mountain airbase called Wau, which led to the next ground engagement of the war in the Southwest Pacific. The U.S. also learned from the attempted convoy interception, developing specialized anti-shipping tactics that would lead to the overwhelming victory of Allied air power in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.

The January 5th raid had significant reverberations, and I think this was partly reflected in the decision for General Walker to receive the Medal of Honor for his bravery in organizing and flying on the lead ship of the mission. The full breadth of the story, however, can only be seen in hindsight, with detailed research to piece together all the elements of the story. This is just a general summary—I’ll be delving into far more detail in my seminar at History Camp Colorado on November 12th. The story in full reaches back several days into December and forward into the present day, where the search for General Walker’s B-17 continues.