It had to have made for some harrowing moments, what with having to fly a plane so close to a 2,000-pound bomb that you're freaking touching it. We suspect the reason you don't see more scenes of bomb-tipping in old World War II movies is that the whole thing is kind of sad.
Hey, speaking of pilots being crazy people with no regard for personal safety ...
Robert Klingman Plays Bumper Cars With a Japanese Plane
Robert Klingman was an F4U Corsair pilot in World War II serving in the Pacific. One day his carrier spotted a Japanese recon aircraft, so Klingman and some other pilots were sent to shoot it down. Simple enough. Bing. Bang. Boom.
Except that when the Japanese pilot saw the Americans approaching, he decided to start flying higher and higher, because either he thought his plane could handle the altitude better or he was hoping to eventually reach an asteroid field he could dodge through. By 38,000 feet, only Klingman was left in the dogfight, as all his wingmen had to bug out because, sure enough, the height was killing their engines. The only reason Klingman was able to press on was because he had expended most of his ammunition on the way up to lighten his aircraft.
"Shoot motherfuckers" and "visit space" are on our to-do list as well.
Klingman maneuvered himself to within 50 feet of the enemy aircraft's tail and squeezed the trigger to send them tumbling toward death. One problem: At that altitude, the guns were frozen. Klingman assessed his options and came up with a solution.
The Cartoonish Plan:
Klingman decided the giant spinning propeller on the front of his aircraft was less a tool for keeping his fighter aloft and more a giant spinning death blade to use against his enemy. So, he decided to ram the aircraft and use his propeller to literally chop the enemy plane up, like something out of a Bugs Bunny World War II propaganda cartoon.
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It's basically the Benihana chef of the skies.
Now, the last we checked, two aircraft colliding in midair usually never ends well for either aircraft. But not only did Klingman not fall out of the sky in flames, he managed to get three chops into the enemy aircraft. Each time he shredded away more and more of the Japanese plane. On the third hit, Klingman managed to evaporate the rudder of the (probably confused) enemy, sending him into a spiral of death toward the beckoning ocean.
"Feed me your lesser men!"
You'd think that by this point, Klingman would be plummeting to Earth right behind him. In fact, you're probably thinking that he was actually suicidal all along. You're wrong. After using the one thing that was keeping his aircraft flying as a tail fin shredder, Klingman landed his plane safely ... leaving behind chunks of the propeller.
Xavier Jackson has an email at XavierJacksonCracked@gmail.com and a Facebook page where he likes to pretend to be Cliff Clavin and spits out his useless bits of knowledge at you.
Related Reading: Badass battle plans are one thing- but how about improvised weapons? You'll never look at war the same way again once you've read about the Polish Home Army's tank-killing homemade flamethrowers. And if you think you know what a big cannon looks like, you should check out the $2.7 million pound Gustav gun. Hell, let's follow "Giant" as a theme. Read about the hugest things in the history of war.