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Air War Glossary

B-17 American quad-engine heavy bomber deployed in both the Pacific and Europe during World War II. Produced by Boeing and nicknamed the “Flying Fortress,” the B-17 carrier a ten man crew and was able to deliver a 9,600-pound bomb load. In the Pacific, it was gradually replaced by new Consolidated B-24 “Liberators.”

B-24 American quad-engine heavy bomber deployed in both the Pacific and Europe during World War II. Produced by Consolidated Aircraft and nicknamed the “Liberator,” the B-24 carried a nine man crew and was able to deliver a 8,600-pound bomb load. Its increased range, mobility, and airspeed made it superior to the B-17 for long missions over water.

B-25 American duel-engine medium bomber deployed in both the Pacific and Europe during World War II. Produced by North American and nicknamed the “Mitchell,” the B-25 carried a five-to-six man crew and was able to deliver a 3,000-pound bomb load. It was ineffective as a medium-altitude bomber in the Pacific and was thus converted into a highly successful low-level strafer.

"Betty" Allied code name for the Japanese Navy twin-engine Mitsubishi G4M Type 1 attack bomber.

Bomb Group/Bomb Squadron A base organizational unit of the Army Air Corps that was part of a larger, numerically ordered “Air Force.” Varying numbers of Bomb, Fighter, Reconnaissance and Transport groups comprised each Air Force, and these units only acted together as part of a very broad strategic vision. Each Bomb Group was comprised of four “Squadrons,” each of which contained between ten to fifteen combat aircraft and their associated aircrews, ground crews, service personnel, and headquarters staff. The servicemen most closely associated themselves with their squadron, followed closely by the group.

"Claude" Allied code name for the Japanese Navy single-engine Mitsubishi A5M Type 96 Carrier fighter.

Drop Tank An extra fuel tank attached to escort fighters--most often the P-38 or P-51--to extend their range for long missions. Once the fuel in the tank was spent, the tank would be ejected by the pilot and the aircraft would begin operating on its normal fuel supply.

Fat Cat An aircraft, usually retired from combat, which was used to transport food, clothing, and supplies from supply centers (either military depots or major cities) to forward bases.

Ferret Mission

Flack/Ack-ack Shrapnel from an exploding anti-aircraft, or "ack-ack," shell.

Gibson Girl

"Helen" Allied code name for the Japanese Army twin-engine Nakajima Ki-49 Type 100 bomber.

Mae West Yellow, inflatable life jacket worn during over-water flights.

Milk Run A name given to a mission that faced little or no enemy opposition in the air or from ground positions. Synonymous with "cake walk."

"Nick" Allied code name for the Japanese Army single-engine Kawasaki Ki-45 Type 2 fighter

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"Oscar" Allied code name for the Japanese Army single-engine Nakajima Ki-43 Type 1 fighter.

Parafrag Abbreviation for small fragmentation bombs rigged with parachutes. The parachutes were attached to slow the rate of descent, giving allied aircraft enough time to escape blast zones before the bombs exploded.

P.I.Army abbreviation for the Philippine Islands.

PX Army abbreviation for the Post-Exchanged, a small shop in almost every Army camp where servicemen could purchase non-issue items ranging from cigarettes and candy bars to notebooks and razor blades.

Reco

“Snooper” B-24s equipped with a specially designed radar array for night reconnaissance and bombing mission.

Zero or “Zeke” Allied code name for Japanese Navy single-engine A6M Type 0 Carrier fighter.