12 O'Clock High (1964–1967)
- Summaries (2)
This series chronicles the adventures--in the air and on the ground--of the men of the 918th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Eighth Air Force. First commanded by irascible General Frank Savage--and later by Colonel Joe Gallagher, the son of a Pentagon General--the Group is stationed in England, and flies long-range bombing missions into German-held Europe.
This story is based not-to-loosely upon the real experiences of the crew of Frenesi, captained by William "Pappy" Cely, flying out of Rougham Field, Bury St Andrews. Though the sketch in general is a composite of any B-17's crew at the time, there are unarguable parallels to the Frenesi story, specifically, the mission to Brunswick on 2/11/44. Cely and his crew flew an inordinate number of missions; more certainly than the required 25. Cely flew Frenesi and her crew on this critical mission to bomb a ball bearing factory in Brunswick this day. The formation received heavier than usual flak and suffered gravely. Upon approaching target, dense, but intermittent low fog made dispatch questionable and the SOP would have been let fly and high tail it, but Pappy opted for a go-round, and re-approach to minimize collaterals. There was a school, see. Well Frenesi took a lot of heat; she was very badly damaged, but she was rewarded with a break in the fog to allow her to precisely dispense her load. She rattled back to Rougham, held together by her skin alone; her structure being later deemed "the most heavily damaged bird to safely land". She was a miracle, and Cely a saint.
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