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  • 'Finest' dive bomber dies

    In my local news

    A World War Two veteran, described by historians as Britain's finest dive bomber pilot, has died days after celebrating his 100th birthday.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england...ester-35759398
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

  • #2
    How was that decided?
    Britain's finest dive bomber pilot,
    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

    you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
      How was that decided?
      Why ruin it? Praise his accomplishments.
      My worst jump story:
      My 13th jump was on the 13th day of the month, aircraft number 013.
      As recorded on my DA Form 1307 Individual Jump Log.
      No lie.

      ~
      "Everything looks all right. Have a good jump, eh."
      -2 Commando Jumpmaster

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
        How was that decided?
        https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...VE-Ar-JP7fl8eA
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by MarkV View Post
          In my local news
          'Finest' dive bomber dies
          Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
          How was that decided?
          Originally posted by 101combatvet View Post
          Why ruin it? Praise his accomplishments.
          I have not heard of such a term being handed out before(except maybe to Hans-Ulrich Rudel), so I looked into it a little.

          There was nothing to be found written by an "air historian"(or of any stripe).

          'Very accomplished' or such like certainly.

          "Finest"?
          "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
          "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

          "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
          — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by At ease View Post
            I have not heard of such a term being handed out before(except maybe to Hans-Ulrich Rudel), so I looked into it a little.

            There was nothing to be found written by an "air historian"(or of any stripe).

            'Very accomplished' or such like certainly.

            "Finest"?
            Given the exploits of the squadron he commanded (see the item I posted a link to) you are being churlish at best. Its quite possible that a reporter spoke to an historian when researching the item - they sometimes do talk to people.
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by At ease View Post
              I have not heard of such a term being handed out before(except maybe to Hans-Ulrich Rudel), so I looked into it a little.

              There was nothing to be found written by an "air historian"(or of any stripe).

              'Very accomplished' or such like certainly.

              "Finest"?
              Didn't bother looking very hard then
              See Deadly Diving Accuracy an interview with Arthur Murland Gill - by Peter C Smith in Military History Vol4 no 6 June 1988 Smith wrote a number of books on dive bombers and rated Gill

              BTW "British Dive Bomber" or was Rudel British and no one noticed?
              Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
              Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

              Comment


              • #8

                “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” -- Albert Einstein

                The US Constitution doesn't need to be rewritten it needs to be reread

                Comment


                • #9
                  I heardthe Vengeance was once considered as a Blenheim replacement for UK-based squadrons - thankfully, the Mosquito was chosen instead.
                  Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                    Given the exploits of the squadron he commanded (see the item I posted a link to) you are being churlish at best. Its quite possible that a reporter spoke to an historian when researching the item - they sometimes do talk to people.
                    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                    Didn't bother looking very hard then
                    See Deadly Diving Accuracy an interview with Arthur Murland Gill - by Peter C Smith in Military History Vol4 no 6 June 1988 Smith wrote a number of books on dive bombers and rated Gill

                    BTW "British Dive Bomber" or was Rudel British and no one noticed?
                    No.

                    I'm sorry, but I am not finding ANY reference ANYWHERE that I have been able to obtain access to as Arthur Gill being described as the "finest" British dive bomber pilot.

                    Before I made my first post in this thread(post #5), I read both articles that you had linked to.....and did some "googling".

                    The second link is to a reference in a book by Dr. Ian Gooderson to a journal article.....not the article with text itself.

                    (if anyone has access to, or a hard copy of, the article linked to I would be most grateful if they could post the relevant portions here)

                    I also did a fair bit of extra "googling" that did not lead to the name of ANY historian or journalist ascribing Gill with the term.

                    So I looked further, mainly concentrating on the works of noted air historian Peter C. Smith who coincidentaly and strangely enough is the author of a very well researched book about British battleships that I am actually about 1/3 of the way through reading at this very time:

                    http://www.freebookspot.es/Comments....ment_ID=749759

                    I was able to download a complete almost 200 page book written by him about the Vultee Vengeance and have now read it front to back.

                    http://www.freebookspot.es/Comments....ment_ID=834512

                    In the book, there are numerous first hand quotes from Gill about his time flying the Vengeance in CBI theatre.

                    The pages(from the index) where he is quoted by Smith are:

                    69-70, 105-106, 121-122, 145-146, 153.

                    http://www.freebookspot.es/Comments....ment_ID=834512

                    I also happened to find a very interesting oral interview(no video) conducted by the Imperial War Museum with Gill.

                    http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80008548

                    2 sessions were recorded, each lasting 30 min.

                    It might be noted from the oral interview that during his time with 84 sqn. supporting Wingate Gill was actually flying a Spitfire V as a "pathfinder" on these dive bombing missions to help the larger aircraft penetrate through the very heavy monsoonal clouds.

                    Whilt flying said Spitfire, he also shot down a Japanese "Oscar", with some trepidation, as he acknowledged that he was a bomber pilot not a fighter pilot and was woried that the Japanese pilot may turn the tables on him.



                    Overall, he describes very limited opposition from either fighters or flak, and the quite limited losses to aircrew from same.

                    All together, I have spent quite a bit of time looking into this matter and, in none of the material that I have been able to find is Gill attributed with the term "finest".

                    The subject is not even broached, approached, or alluded to in any way.

                    I am not attempting to put him down in any way, but I am loath to accept(as I believe he himself would be) that such a serving officer would hold himself out to such an extent, especially when the perfectly satisfactory operations of his 84 squadron appear to be no more remarkable or unique to the operations of the other 3(45, 82, 110) RAF squadrons operating the Vultee Vengeance that participated together during early-mid 1944 in supporting Wingate and the Chindits.

                    Subsequent to this 5 month, rather intense, period he was posted to a rearward staff position when his squadron was pulled out of line to be reequipped with Mosquitos.

                    He did not fly dive bombers again.

                    As I said earlier in post #5 above:

                    'Very accomplished' or such like certainly.
                    but there is very little if any evidence making it appropriate to elevate him to the extent suggested by the OP - or by "hack" journalists who seem to slavishly copy a "click bait" headline, rather than do some insightful research themselves.

                    Upon reading or listening to the material that I have done over the past 2 days, I believe those who served with him might agree with me.

                    As I said, there is no intention to denigrate his service, but just wanting to put things in their correct perspective.

                    Arthur Gill's summary of ranks attained and decorations awarded:

                    http://www.unithistories.com/officer...icers_G01.html

                    And it's good to see, MarkV, that you recognised Rudel as being non British.

                    As I alluded to before, HE was the calibre of pilot who I WOULD ascribe the term "finest" in relation to a dive bomber pilot, and by a country mile.

                    This is not due to the supposition that Luftwaffe pilots are a superior breed, but because dive bombing was not really practiced much by the RAF, so the opportunity for an RAF pilot to build up much time flying on such operations was quite limited, as opposed to those flying in an air arm much more strongly wedded to the concept.

                    I'm not trying to be churlish, just accurate - which is, of course, something that should be encouraged on a history forum such as this.

                    This research did allow me to learn a lot of information abot the Vengeance and it's service not only with the RAF but also with the RAAF.

                    I also found out from the oral interview that this was an aircraft that DID have a "zero-incidence wing", and it's beneficial effect on dive bombing accuracy.

                    Are you paying attention Susie?

                    (listen to the taped interview if you are curious)

                    Now, back to British battleships.
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by At ease; 12 Mar 16, 05:19.
                    "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
                    "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

                    "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
                    — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Are you paying attention Susie?
                      Attention? Yes. Respectful attention? Nah.

                      Susie
                      Will no one tell me what she sings?--
                      Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
                      For old, unhappy, far-off things,
                      And battles long ago:
                      -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        When you stop throwing around aeronautical terms that you don't actually know anything about in an attempt to impress, you might earn some respect.

                        Until then, nah.

                        "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
                        "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

                        "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
                        — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Open question.

                          How many ships did he attack and how many did he sink?

                          I'm sure we had some IJ pilots and Americans that topped his record.
                          "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                          Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                          you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            John, ...

                            Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                            Open question.

                            How many ships did he attack and how many did he sink?

                            I'm sure we had some IJ pilots and Americans that topped his record.
                            ... you're beating a dead horse. The British had never been sold on the concept and had opted out of the dedicated practice of "Dive Bombing" long before the US and Japanese entered the war. The RAF parted ways with the small light bomber after the Battle's experience in France, even though the Hawker Henley (a Hurricane derivative, used instead as a towing aircraft) was in the wings, and the FAA Skua, which could and did dive bomb, was never replaced. The Vultee Vengence was acquired for the RAF under Lend Lease largely because like the P-40 and Glenn Martins, it was available, and a solid aircraft. It would serve well in backwaters like SEAC, where 2nd rank aircraft were given a second life, fighter escort wasn't an absolute necessity, and pinpoint bombing of jungle targets proved very worthwhile. Gill commanded Vengence units, I would buy that he was certainly in the running for the title of "Britain's Greatest Dive Bomber", but keep in mind that it was a VERY small workman-like, no fanfare cadre compared to the likes of the Luftwaffe, IJN, USN, and yes, even the rest of the RAF.
                            Last edited by Marmat; 13 Mar 16, 11:20.
                            "I am Groot"
                            - Groot

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Marmat View Post
                              ... you're beating a dead horse. The British had never been sold on the concept and had opted out of the dedicated practice of "Dive Bombing" long before the US and Japanese entered the war. The RAF parted ways with the small light bomber after the Battle's experience in France, even though the Hawker Henley (a Hurricane derivative, used instead as a towing aircraft) was in the wings, and the FAA Skua, which could and did dive bomb, was never replaced. The Vultee Vengence was acquired for the RAF under Lend Lease largely because like the P-40 it was available, and a solid aircraft. It would serve well in backwaters like SEAC, where 2nd rank aircraft were given a second life, fighter escort wasn't an absolute necessity, and pinpoint bombing of jungle targets proved very worthwhile. Gill commanded Vengence units, I would buy that he was certainly in the running for the title of "Britain's Greatest Dive Bomber", but keep in mind that it was a VERY small workman-like, no fanfare cadre compared to the likes of the Luftwaffe, IJN and USN.
                              I'm wondering what the squadron leaders of the other 3 RAF Vengeance units (45, 82, 110)operating together with Gill's 84 Squadron in CBI theatre would have said about this.

                              They flew exactly the same missions, under exactly the same conditions as Gill.

                              From my reading about him, and hearing him speak for an hour in the IWM oral interview that I linked to earlier, I don't believe he would have attempted to hold himself out as the "finest".

                              He gave the impression of being self assured and competent, but just doing his job in a professional but unremarkable way.

                              The number of formal decorations received, and promotions earned, certainly does not suggest someone who was the centre of attention.

                              http://www.unithistories.com/officer...icers_G01.html

                              I realise that India and Burma were hardly seen as glamorous places to fight a war in, but in the oral interview, he relates how he was in regular contact with Wingate(who according to Gill had frequent and free access to Churchill) and Mountbatten(when he was transferred to staff work), but such contact did not result in any undue recognition or advancement which I would have thought natural if someone was noted as being an outstanding officer in some respect.
                              Last edited by At ease; 13 Mar 16, 11:46.
                              "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
                              "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

                              "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
                              — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

                              Comment

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