19 December, 2012

Profile 74: "Francie" as flown by Lt. Harold Snow

To my regular readers:  I'm still here.

54 days ago, I took on a weighty project of writing and publishing the bio of Hank Snow.  It was a surprise, really - I never expected to do it, even though I've done a number of the man's combat aircraft.

Circumstances being what they've been, I've had to move quickly and focus on a lot of artwork, a lot of writing, a lot of research...and somewhere in there, I had Thanksgiving and now, Christmas.

Suffice it to state, Hank's book is coming along nicely, it should be done shortly and I've done a bunch of artwork for it too.  It'll be first published for Apple iPad, then Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook.  I might do a traditional printing but only for PR gifts as it seems the best way to tell Hank's story is through the digital platform.  This is all well and good provided the power doesn't go out.  (Joke).

I hope it's all worth everyone's time - gawd knows a whole lot of people have invested so much into this story and it's up to me to tell it right.

Anyway, have a look at Francie!

Would you believe this is the SECOND time I've done this aircraft?  The first was nearly ten years ago and looking back, it was highly inaccurate.  Even this one has a dubious note or two - namely the serial number - but all in all, this one is the best.

Now, have a look at the photo below.  It may look like a frame from a gun camera still but it's not.  The photo is actually from a Recon P-51 called an F-6 and it shows the results of an attack by a flight of 528th Mustangs (of which Hank was one).

What you're seeing is in all likelihood the aftermath of the destruction of a Japanese locomotive atop a bridge that spanned a series of rice paddies.   The importance of Japanese rail lines in China can't be overstated.  Considering the expanse of China itself, getting items from Point A to Point B was always a primary issue for any kind of movement.  So, it made sense that one of the sought-out targets was a train.

I asked Hank about this a few years ago and he explained to me that the Japanese held China from the center of a rail line to 25' out either side.  After that, it was wild country controlled by Communist rebels, National military and a bewildering number of feudal-type war lords that controlled chunks of turf.

The 528th's daily record for train "kills" was 18.   In talking with other squadron members, 9, 11 and 14 were also hit on other days.  Can you imagine the benefit of eliminating 40 or so vital supply lines to the enemy?!

We're talkin' that the Dragon Flys (the 528th's mascot) reduced hundreds, if not more, train cars of supplies and troops from the Japanese!  I can't prove it but the raw impact of the 528th on the Japanese Army's ability to make war had to be strong.

Anyway, there's so much more to come, I can't come close to even hinting.  So, bear with me, and gear up to learn about a fantastic military career.