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The heroic dive bombers

For pilots, or for those with an affinity for aviation, Netflix has proven to be a blessing. Almost every week you can find a new show centered around aviation. Granted, most of the shows involve pilots flying during warfare (AKA, dangerous flying), but the visual images are pretty astounding. There is a new Netflix series airing that has episodes tied to WWII. Thankfully, the images have been colorized, which always tends to make what you’re seeing come across as more real compared to black and white, in my personal opinion. With color, you can place yourself in the frame, so to speak, more easily. I watched an episode last night about the Battle of Midway. Simply amazing at what the sailors and pilots, from both sides, faced during that battle. For those of us who have never faced military combat, we are left wondering how we would react if faced with death at any moment. On one hand, we’re probably glad we never were in that situation; on the other hand, the Alpha male in us, or the Alpha female, ruminates over how we would react. How scared would we be under such circumstances with bullets flying at us, shrapnel landing nearby? We wish we could have found out, while on the other hand, we’re glad we were never put in that situation. The striking thing about the Midway show I just watched was a group of pilots who flew the dive bombers. You talk about having some you-know-what. These guys had them up the wazoo. In the Pacific Theater, dive-bomber pilots typically flew either a Helldiver or the Dauntless. At Midway, the Dauntless pulled most of the heavy lifting. All told, the dive bombers tore the Japanese carriers to shreds, after the torpedo bombers had proved ineffective, thus winning the battle that clearly started out in favor of the Japanese navy. If you know nothing about WWII dive bombing, the P-51s were used mainly on the European front, while the Helldiver and the Dauntless fought in the Pacific Theater. They were marvelous machines, built in rugged fashion to withstand a dive from an altitude in the neighborhood of 60 to 80 degrees. You’re the pilot, you drop the nose into a dive, pushing forward hard on the stick because the plane is smart enough to want to level out, working continually to maintain the dive, while Japanese ship artillery is firing rounds at ...

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