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“Bombers Down!” by Colcord Heurlin

Link - Posted by David on October 28, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a cover by the great Colcord Heurlin! He provided covers throughout the 1920’s and early 30’s for various pulp magazines—most frequently for your Adventure type magazines. Here we present his cover for the March 1931 issue of Flying Aces—a dynamic cover that once again has a story to tell.

Bombers Down!

th_FA_3103NOT all the danger attending the life of a bombardment pilot was crammed into the few mad minutes he spent over his objective, dodging enemy anti-aircraft fire, intercepting aircraft or the betraying beams of searchlights while his observer pulled the toggles that released the grim eggs. There was the dangerous take-off with a loaded plane. There was the wild flight across the line through the barrage of steel that vomited up from anti-aircraft batteries, and then, above all, there was the flight back.

To carry high explosive was no cinch at the best of times, and many a pilot lost pounds in weight or added years to his age as he sat in the ship carrying the dangerous missiles. Once over the objective, they could get rid of the stuff and heave a sigh of relief. But—suppose the bomb rack jammed and left the bombs hanging by a lone loop. Suppose the observer yanked and pulled on the toggles in an effort to get it off, anyway and anywhere at all, with no success.

This has happened on several occasions, and generally speaking, the airmen are in a tight position. They cannot land with the bomb hanging in that manner. With the nose portion clear of the rack, as is shown in this month’s illustration, the wind vane has been released and the percussion pin has been wound into concussion position. All it requires is a slight jounce, and the 500-pound shell of T.N.T. is touched off. There is nothing to do but try and get the shell off somehow. Many an observer today is wearing a ribbon on his old flying tunic for getting out and releasing a bomb from a rack that has jammed. Sometimes it is easy. Sometimes the observer has had to get down on the landing gear and actually file the release pin off, or even shoot it away with an automatic.

There were times when it was done successfully. There were many when they were unable to release it before their gas supply ran out.

The Story Behind The Cover
“Bombers Down!”
Flying Aces, March 1931 by Colcord Heurlin