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Gregory Fremont-Barnes examines the lives of the American Bomber Crewmen of the Eighth Air Force, "The Mighty Eighth", who crewed, maintained and repaired the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses and the B-24 Liberators that flew from the airfields of Norfolk and Suffolk and other counties of England during World War II (1939-1945). He highlights the physical and psychological strain placed on these brave men. Long bombing missions called for brute strength to control the aircraft and extraordinary endurance to fly for hours at 20,000 feet at temperatures below freezing in unheated, unpressurized cabins. Then there were Luftwaffe fighters and anti-aircraft fire to contend with and it required incredible skill and some luck to return from a mission unscathed. This book is a fitting tribute to these often uncelebrated heroes who took the war deep into the Third Reich, as well as a fascinating historical account of the experiences they went through.
The prototypical 'Roman Legionnaire' often seen on television and in movies is actually the product of nearly a millennium of military development. Far back in the Bronze Age, before the city of Rome existed, a loose collection of independent hamlets eventually formed into a village. From this base, the earliest Roman warriors launched cattle raids and ambushes against their enemies. At some point during this time, the Romans began a period of expansion, conquering land and absorbing peoples. Soon, they had adopted classical Greek fighting methods with militia forming in phalanxes. This book covers the evolution of the earliest Roman warriors and their development into an army that would eventually conquer the known world.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Between AD 69 and 161 the composition of the Roman legions was transformed. Italians were almost entirely replaced by provincial recruits, men for whom Latin was at best a second language, and yet the 'Roman-ness' of these Germans, Pannonians, Spaniards, Africans and Syrians, fostered in isolated fortresses on the frontiers, was incredibly strong. Like the Italian yeomen who had battled Pyrrhus and Hannibal centuries before, the provincial legionaries were imbued with the traditional ethos of the Roman army. They were highly competitive, jealous of their honour, and driven by the need to maintain and enhance their reputations for virtus, that is manly courage and excellence. The warfare of the period, from the huge legion versus legion confrontations in the Civil War of AD 69, through the campaigns of conquest in Germany, Dacia and Britain, to the defence of the frontiers of Africa and Cappadocia and the savage quelling of internal revolts, gave ample opportunity for virtus-enhancing activity. Despite a radical change in the makeup of the legions, the period AD 69-161 was characterised by continuity and revival. The classic battle formation that had baffled Pyrrhus and conquered Hannibal was revived. Heroic centurions continued to lead from the front, and common legionaries vied with them in displays of valour. The legions of the era may have been provincial but they were definitely Roman in organisation and ethos.
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