Countdown!: 36 Daylight Missions Against Nazi Germany

Fred Koger, Author Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill $18.95 (183p) ISBN 978-0-945575-17-7
The author, when a ``very unsophisticated 20-year-old'' from Texas, flew 35 missions in the European theater as a B-17 bombadier, the worst of them targeting Merseburg in Germany, an oil-refinery complex with heavy anti-aircraft defenses. Koger learned that a B-17 ``can be hit, and hit, and hit, and still fly.'' Half of the book deals with his activities between missions, as he tried to fight off his sense of doom, brought on by the combat loss of several crew mates. Koger fell in love with London, found the English warm and friendly, and spent much of his free time chasing women. He ingenuously reports that he ``tried mightily'' to make out, but ``I always seemed to pick the `nice girl' type.'' His descriptions of his boyish exhilaration after the battered B-17 touched down at Podington airbase in England at the end of the 35th mission is a satisfying ending to a charmingly modest memoir. In a moving coda, Koger recounts his recent visit to the long-abandoned Podington base. Photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
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