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Lib or Fort -
Which Was Best?

The debate is as strong,
 now just as before,
as to which bomber was best,
 the -17 or -24.

Some guys said the -17,
 was certainly a queen,
and she was the best bomber,
 that they had ever seen.

But other crews stood their ground,
 and some actually swore,
that their bomber was better,
 the immortal - 24.

The -17 was a good plane,
 it’s easy to say.
She was first into battle,
 and fought on day after day.

But the -24 fought,
 in every theater of war,
and could fly higher and faster,
 so that evened the score.

“So which one is better?”
 the question seems to arise,
from all the “old timers”,
 who flew unfriendly skies.

Well, there’s a story that’s survived,
 above all the rest,
of how a -24 crew,
 proved their bomber was best.

It seems one day,
 as the war raged on,
that some -17’s were flying,
 across the big pond.

Unknown to them,
 above and behind,
flew a lone -24,
 of the “H” model kind.

When the -24 pilot,
 saw the -17’s below,
a thought came to mind,
 that just made his face glow.

“Hold on boys” he said,
 as he pushed on the yoke.
“Those -17’s don’t see us
 so we’re playin’ a joke.”

He pushed the nose over,
   into a shallow dive,
‘til the airspeed read,
three hundred twenty five.

She shuddered and shook,
 and the clouds flew by,
and the crew wondered
 “Are we all going to die?”

Soon they saw what was happening,
 and figured it all out,
got on the intercom,
 and started to shout.

“Give her all she’s got”,
 everyone did say.
“Let’s show those Forts
 who’s the best this day!”

The airspeed built up,
 the altimeter wound down.
And the engines were screaming.
Man what a sound.

As the pilot drew closer,
 to the Forts just below,
he had an idea,
 that his crew didn’t know.

Ever so carefully,
he pulled on the wheel,
to maintain the airspeed,
he did it by feel.

Then his hand moved to the throttles,
as a hundred times before,
and he pulled back on engines,
number one and number four.

He turned to his copilot,
 to yell over the din,
“Feather the props,”
he said with a grin.

The Lib slid past,
 all those Forts with great ease,
on just two engines and airspeed,
 as slick as you please.

The Fort crews were stunned,
you could see it in their eyes.
While from every window and turret,
 the Lib crew waved their goodbyes.

For weeks and months,
 in England it was said,
a squadron of -17 crews,
 walked around with bowed heads.

So the story was told,
 and the legend grew,
about the B-24,
 and its fearless crew.

It’s never been seen,
 or heard since that day,
when it blew by those Forts,
 and some people still say,

That the pilot who flew it,
was our own Creator.
He liked it so much,
 He flew His own Liberator!

by Jim Jones

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