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.

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!

Repost: One Minute in Hell

Seventy-five years ago, Fifth Air Force units set out to strike the Japanese stronghold of Rabaul. Artist Steve Ferguson illustrated one moment of that mission below. This print was first shared last year.

A painting of a 38th Bomb Group B-25 over a Japanese ship during WWII

On November 2, 1943, Fifth Air Force launched a massive low-level attack by B-25 strafer-bombers against harbor installations and shipping at the major Japanese fleet anchorage and base at Rabaul, New Britain. In the vanguard of the 71st Squadron’s strike, 1/Lt. James A. Hungerpiller flying SLEEPY TIME GAL and 1/Lt. J. E. Orr can be seen engaging their targets at mast-top heights. In the face of the hundreds of antiaircraft guns, Lt. Hungerpiller opened fire on two destroyers, scoring a direct hit with one of his bombs. Meanwhile, Lt. Orr opened fire on a harbor merchant ship while Lt. Hungerpiller’s aircraft quickly began to lose altitude because of severe AA damage. Recognizing the plight of this aircraft, he made a sharp right turn toward to heavy cruisers anchored just off the western shore of the harbor.

This painting depicts Lt. Hungerpiller’s SLEEPY TIME GAL, trailing a plume of fire and smoke, crossing beyond the bow of the heavy cruiser Haguro. In the foreground, Lt. Orr is opening fire on the Japanese merchant ship. With his left engine on fire and the aircraft severely damaged from a fuel tank explosion, Lt. Hungerpiller soon lost control his aircraft and plunged into the sea.

 

This painting, part of a limited edition series by Steve Ferguson, can be purchased on our website.

The Joker

312th Bomb Group A-20s over Clark Field on Jan 14, 1945On the Philippine island of Luzon, elements of the 312th Bombardment Group, nicknamed the Roarin’ 20’s, sweep across Japanese-occupied Clark Field near Manila on January 14, 1945. The attack was executed in a line abreast formation at 100 feet or less above the airfield complex. First lieutenant Wilbur L. Cleveland of the 387th Bomb Squadron, flying an A-20G sporting a winning poker hand with the face of Batman’s nemesis, “the Joker,” narrowly avoids colliding with the squadron commanding officer, Capt. John C. Alsup, in his fatally damaged A-20. A burst of flak had just exploded in the bomb bay of Alsup’s A-20, causing it to nose up and burst into flames. It then crashed into the target, killing him and his gunner, Cpl. Oscar C. Rush. The third plane was flown by 1/Lt. Ormonde J. Frison of the 386th Squadron. Clark Field was the most important and heavily defended Japanese airfield on Luzon, and the low-level attacks were key to neutralizing Japanese airpower on the island during the critical week of the American amphibious landing at nearby Lingayen Gulf. This artwork is published in our book Rampage of the Roarin’ 20’s. You can also purchase this piece through our website.

 

Also, don’t forget to check out our new ebook, Stories from Fifth Air Force, on Amazon!

New Ebook — Stories from Fifth Air Force

With the growing popularity of our blog, we decided to round up a batch of stories and make them available as a short Kindle ebook called Stories from Fifth Air Force. This ebook comes loaded with 9 exciting stories, including a triple-length story about the Royce Raid, a color profile from our book Rampage of the Roarin’ 20’s, and some extra photos that haven’t previously been published with these blog posts.

Tales include:

  • The 3-part Royce Raid
  • The Ordeal of the Herry Crew
  • Riding out the Storm
  • Dangerous Haystacks
  • Aussies Join the 43rd
  • The End of GREMLIN’S HOLIDAY
  • The Jinx of the 389th
  • Tragedy Above the Bismarck Sea
  • Buzzing the Rivals

Tempest Over Boela: July 14, 1944

Rampage of the Roarin 20s cover

This painting portrays two aircraft from the 386th Bomb Squadron, 312th Bomb Group, during a highly successful attack by 75 A-20s on the Boela oil fields on the northeast coast of the island of Ceram, Netherlands East Indies, on July 14, 1944. The aircraft visible on this image is GLORIA C II, A-20G-25 #43-9114, the Havoc of 1/Lt. Paul F. Teague. On the left, his wingman, 1/Lt. Edgar A. Hambleton, can be seen in his aircraft JE REVIENS, A-20G-30 #43-9458. They are bombing and strafing their way across the target with exploding oil tanks and installations below, and offshore oil derricks and pumps visible in the background. This artwork is published on the cover of our book Rampage of the Roarin’ 20’s and can be purchased on our website as a giclee or canvas print.

Ambush in Bashi Channel

We have a new print for sale!

This image will be featured on the cover of Saga of the Sun Setters Volume II. Prices range from $200 for a standard giclee print to $295 for a canvas print, not including shipping. They are printed and shipped directly from the artist himself. Visit our website for more information or to buy one of these outstanding pieces of art.

ambush in bashi channel print

Hoping to repeat an earlier rescue of the remaining Japanese Army soldiers from Guadalcanal in February 1943, the Japanese planned a similar operation for about 700 airmen trapped on the northern coast of Luzon, near Aparri, codenamed Operation Badorio. Scheduled to begin January 31, 1945, the operation called for a swift dash from Formosa across the Bashi Channel by three IJN destroyers: Ume, Kaede, and Shiokaze, with a scheduled arrival at Aparri in the middle of the night. Unlike the Guadalcanal rescue attempt, this one was well known to Allied intelligence. They put two squadrons of the Sun Setters, the 405th and the 822nd up to strike the three rescue destroyers. Fourteen P-47s from the 39th and 41st Fighter Squadrons of the 35th Fighter Group engaged Zeroes flying top cover duty over the destroyers.

In the picture, 2/Lt. Donald H. Martin’s B-25J passes over Shiokaze, which remarkably remained nearly unscathed in the attack. Ume, seen in the background,was not so lucky. A direct hit from 1/Lt. James P. Wilhem, another 822nd pilot, penetrated to the engine room of the Ume, devastating the ship. The Kaede (not seen here) also received major damage. The two seaworthy destroyers were forced to turn back for Formosa for repairs, dooming the rescue attempt. Although the 405th Squadron lost one of its crews in the battle, the mission was a great success as it had prevented the rescue of critically important Japanese aviation personnel, preventing their further threat to Allied air operations in that theater.

Strafer – Mission to Kaveing

345th Bomb Group B-25s over KaveingMajor Chester Coltharp, commanding officer of the 498th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group is seen sweeping into the Kavieng, New Ireland Japanese seaplane anchorage, which was Fifth Air Force’s target for destruction on February 15, 1944. Major Coltharp’s B-25D, PRINCESS PAT and 1/Lt. G. D. McCall’s NEAR MISS are the embodiment of the legendary Major Paul I. “Pappy” Gunn’s revolutionary gun-toting field conversion of the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber to the devastating tool of destruction that was to become known as the strafer.

For more information or to purchase a copy of this piece by Jack Fellows, please visit our website.