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Describe Something You Have Learned

Discuss the April Book of the Month Shot Down by Steve Snyder.

Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#1 by hsimone
» 01 Apr 2016, 09:44

While reading Shot Down, there were moments when I learned something new. Sometimes I was shocked and sometimes I was left in a state of awe.

Did this happen to you? What is something you have learned? What is something that left you in a state of awe?
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Re: Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#2 by Lulubelle
» 05 Apr 2016, 07:29

Basically, everything was new to me.
The book inspired me to watch the Memphis Belle documentary on Youtube. It was filmed inside the bomber while on a real mission, and it really made everything he had written in the book come alive. I was sweating watching it.
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Re: Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#3 by hsimone
» 05 Apr 2016, 15:51

I know the feeling!

One thing that stuck out to me was the fact that the men could easily have died in the plane by frostbite, lack of oxygen and/or clogging up their oxygen tubes with frozen spit. In other words, war in it of itself is scary and death could be lurking around the corner, but the journey across was just as dangerous!

I haven't heard about that documentary, but it sounds very interesting and informational. I'll have to check it out. Thank you for sharing!
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Re: Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#4 by rssllue
» 05 Apr 2016, 16:04

We never seem to think about the conditions in those planes back then for some reason. I guess we are used to modern commercial planes and movie portrayals that leave out such problems. It is no wonder so many have likened some of those planes to flying in a tin can with wings.
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Re: Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#5 by hsimone
» 05 Apr 2016, 16:08

Very good point, rssllue. This is probably why it was so shocking to read that at first. I actually read that part twice, making sure I was comprehending the words. Makes the people who fought even braver in my eyes.
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Re: Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#6 by Lulubelle
» 05 Apr 2016, 23:51

Yes, I agree. It was amazing to me that they could get frostbite or die from lack of oxygen inside the plane. Also surprising, from a modern commercial airplane vs. a bomber perspective, was how physically demanding the pilot's job was. In certain passages, it seemed as though he was holding the plane on course through determination and brute force. I guess that is not the case today.
The name of the documentary is Memphis Belle-Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Aircraft. It is well worth watching.
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Re: Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#7 by hsimone
» 06 Apr 2016, 05:55

Lulubelle wrote:In certain passages, it seemed as though he was holding the plane on course through determination and brute force.


That is a very good point. It seemed like it really took a lot of work to keep everyone safe and on track.

I will definitely give the documentary a try. Thank you for suggesting it. :)
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Re: Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#8 by Scott
» 06 Apr 2016, 08:24

I learned something on every page! I knew little to nothing about the bomber planes describes and how they operate.

I agree with the others about being surprised about the conditions of the soldiers in the planes, especially since it seemed at times they would be doing daily missions like that.
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Re: Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#9 by hsimone
» 07 Apr 2016, 03:47

You're right, it was definitely easy to learn something new on every page!

Another thought came to my mind as I perused the book, I never thought about how frightening it must be when a substitute crew member joined another crew. It makes sense that it would be since the original crew would not only know each other well, but would know the ins-and-outs of the plane itself. When a new person steps in, it could really mess up the flow and essentially risk everyone's life.
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Re: Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#10 by kimmyschemy06
» 10 Apr 2016, 09:20

I learned a lot. I realized that every single member of the crew has a very important job to do and whatever that job is keeps everybody safe and alive. I also realized how easily one can die during the war besides being shot. This one is very embarrassing, but I just learned from the book that Nazi means National Socialism :oops:
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Re: Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#11 by LivreAmour217
» 12 Apr 2016, 16:06

kimmyschemy06 wrote:I learned a lot. I realized that every single member of the crew has a very important job to do and whatever that job is keeps everybody safe and alive. I also realized how easily one can die during the war besides being shot. This one is very embarrassing, but I just learned from the book that Nazi means National Socialism :oops:


Don't feel bad, Kimmy! I didn't know that either, and I lived in Germany for three years! It isn't something that came up in conversations with the locals; most Germans are as ashamed of the Nazi Party as Americans are of slavery.

Everything in this book fascinated me, and I learned a whole lot about the early days of Army/Air Force aviation, but the one thing that sticks out in my mind was the "Caterpillar Club," the informal name for the B-17 crew members who parachuted from their planes and lived to tell about it. I guess it helped me realize just how dangerous the situation really was, and I thought it was neat of the airmen to give homage to the humble little insect (remember that the parachute cords were made from silk) that helped save their lives. My son is really into insects, especially caterpillars, and he really appreciated hearing about these little guys' contributions to the war effort!
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Re: Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#12 by hsimone
» 13 Apr 2016, 02:17

LivreAmour217 wrote:
kimmyschemy06 wrote:I learned a lot. I realized that every single member of the crew has a very important job to do and whatever that job is keeps everybody safe and alive. I also realized how easily one can die during the war besides being shot. This one is very embarrassing, but I just learned from the book that Nazi means National Socialism :oops:


Don't feel bad, Kimmy! I didn't know that either, and I lived in Germany for three years! It isn't something that came up in conversations with the locals; most Germans are as ashamed of the Nazi Party as Americans are of slavery.

Everything in this book fascinated me, and I learned a whole lot about the early days of Army/Air Force aviation, but the one thing that sticks out in my mind was the "Caterpillar Club," the informal name for the B-17 crew members who parachuted from their planes and lived to tell about it. I guess it helped me realize just how dangerous the situation really was, and I thought it was neat of the airmen to give homage to the humble little insect (remember that the parachute cords were made from silk) that helped save their lives. My son is really into insects, especially caterpillars, and he really appreciated hearing about these little guys' contributions to the war effort!


Exactly what LivreAmour said Kimmy, don't be embarrassed. Whatever we learn is a plus, no matter when we learn it. The important thing is that we keep on learning!

I had forgotten about the "Caterpillar Club," thank you for bringing it up. I think it's great that you shared this with your son. You're building his knowledge and respect for the people who serve, but in a simple, relatable way.
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Re: Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#13 by MsMartha
» 13 Apr 2016, 08:19

Since my dad and uncle were in WW2, I'm old enough to remember a lot of the general information in this book. One of the things that has impressed me is the research and detail the author used to tell the story, because times are very different now in a lot of respects. I've been curious about how people regarded all this history, especially if it was way before their time. I've really enjoyed these posts.
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Re: Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#14 by LivreAmour217
» 13 Apr 2016, 15:37

hsimone wrote: I had forgotten about the "Caterpillar Club," thank you for bringing it up. I think it's great that you shared this with your son. You're building his knowledge and respect for the people who serve, but in a simple, relatable way.


Thanks, Hsimone! With his father being in the Army, my son is also interested in learning about military history. Hearing about the caterpillars just made it that much more interesting!
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Re: Describe Something You Have Learned

Post Number:#15 by gali
» 14 Apr 2016, 08:37

I knew most of the info, but I didn't know about the bomber planes, how bad the conditions in those planes were, and that so many brave men died in missions.
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)
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