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'Waiting Time'

By patspeirs  
‘The waiting time’ - all the briefings are completed, targets, routes, weather, communications, flak-hot spots, formation structure, fuel and weapon load - all that remains is the interminable stretch of time to engine start. The pilot, navigator and engineer are on board priming the aircraft for start, the rest of the crew conduct their own private rituals, the tail gunner ‘christens’ the port main wheel (absolutely ensures a safe return!) and no-one mentions the old weather tale referring to ‘ red sky in the morning’. The ground weapons officer arrives to get the bomb load signed off.

Shortly - although it seems like hours - the jeep will pass round the peri-track flying the engine start flag. No radios are used at start-up or take off - as these can be monitored by the Luftwaffe listening posts. It takes up to two hours orbiting East Anglia after take-off for the hundreds of B17s to form up into the structured formation required for mutual defence in daylight raids before setting off for the day’s target area - knowledge of the take-off time, from airfield radio communications, would afford the Luftwaffe plenty of time to plan interception.

Typical of scenes all over East Anglia in 1943 - the image depicts a B17 and crew waiting for mission start. Multiple composite constructed from airshow images and sky-scapes from my archives.

Tags: Digital art Ww2 B17

Voters: luckybry, stephenscott, franken and 20 more

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stephenscott 8 8 2 United Kingdom
19 Nov 2010 11:45AM
Excellent piece of work again Pat,superb write up aswell..


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RonnieAG Plus
8 154 118 Scotland
19 Nov 2010 3:53PM
A very emotive shot: the waiting as dusk gathers must have been the most difficult time for aircrew. A beautifully compiled image, Pat, and as always your commentary sums up the situation so succinctly.
19 Nov 2010 5:50PM
wonderful atmosphere Pat', and great colours in the sky.

John Smile
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
19 Nov 2010 7:55PM
I like it Pat.

20 Nov 2010 6:35AM
yes the b/g really adds to the whole drama love it click
photophantom 10 108 3 Philippines
20 Nov 2010 11:28AM
grand image
22 Nov 2010 9:05PM
Excellent image Pat, beautiful detail and wonderful presentation.
Amazing write up.
viscostatic 11 36 5 United Kingdom
11 Dec 2010 11:48AM
A great atmospheric image Pat.

pauldawn 9 1 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2011 12:17PM
superb again pat. once again the narrative goes along way to selling the image.

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