quarta-feira, 21 de maio de 2008

laser guided

On entering Michael's small cavern workshop in the basement of Monkton I heard a story on his radio about a Second World War exploit with American bombers, flying over and from British soil. I remarked that it seemed a bit much that there had been a cover up for dubious reasons, Michael replied that it was all a case of laser guided missiles and that I should follow him into the other vaulted store to see more of the story, duly following he said that the story was about early use of TV technology to act as a means for guiding an aircraft without pilots, the pilots were needed solely to get the aircraft air born and at a safe height, after which they would bail out and let the following aircraft do the work using TV as its eyes. The point that he then made was that he has got the full system that was used, early technology you see and thats what he sells. This is not so uncommon with Michael, his interests are so varied that it is often a case of 'o I've got one of those' or ' that’s wrong here take a look at this'.

Joe Kennedy saw his chance to become a hero. He was eager to go, and was a very experienced pilot. The system to be used was to load a B-24 with explosives, using two pilots, and the installation of an arming pin to prevent accidental ignition of the explosives. The target was Mimoyecques, France. A P-38 weather plane reported acceptable conditions, it was a go. Kennedy and his co-pilot Bud Willy took off at 5:55PM. The safety pin had been properly installed in the arming unit. Fourteen other aircraft gathered in formation with the "flying bomb". The lead plane was a B-17. There were two P-38s to accomplish aerial photography over the target. Also included were two Mosquito bombers, one to monitor weather, the other flown by Elliot Roosevelt, the son of the President of the United States. Another B-17 acted as a signal relay over the channel, with six P-51s as escort. The flying bomb was followed by two Lockheed Venturas which are believed to have been the "mother" guidance planes. This armada after hooking up in formation flew from Fersfield to Framingham, England, then to Beccles testing their RC equipment. Final test would be made with the B-24 flying alone on Radio Control. They flew from Beccles to Clacton, then took the final turn to head for the target. Both pilots were scheduled to bail out near Dover after preparing the plane to continue to the launch target guided by the mother plane. The actual flight plan called for a flyover Beccles but went further east than intended and flew over Blytheburgh. Kennedy made final preparations to set the plane on remote control. He removed the safety pin, and signaled O.K. with the code phrase "Stay Flush". These would be his last words as the plane exploded at 6:20PM over Blytheburgh.

Joseph Patrick Kennedy (pictured above) was the elder brother of President John F. Kennedy, and was born on the 28th July 1915. He completed his flight training at Jacksonville U.S.A. in 1942. As a volunteer U.S. Navy pilot he flew Mariner flying boats from Puerto Rico, Central America, before converting to the B24 Liberator and serving in England at Dunkeswell, Devon, with squadron VB110. After completing his normal combat tour of 30 missions, he volunteered for an extra 10 - somehow managing to talk his crew in to flying with him. Just before his last mission Lt Kennedy volunteered for one further final mission which involved low level flying and a parachute jump. This mission was to be Top Secret as part of project Anvil, the target being the German V3 Super gun site at Mimoyecques, France. The details of this mission remained secret until 1966, although the identity of the crew was not released until 1970.

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