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Anybody read "Burning Japan"?

 
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Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/19/2015 8:39:25 PM   
AW1Steve


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I 'm about half way through and I'm finding it fascinating and informative. It's shocked me a little bit about XX AF , and XXI AF , and the bomber campaign in general.

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/19/2015 9:58:48 PM   
rustysi


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No, but now its on my list. You guys have got to stop this stuff. My list keeps growing instead of getting smaller.

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/19/2015 10:18:41 PM   
Jorge_Stanbury


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I don't
but I have read "Downfall: the end of the Imperial Japanese Empire".. and although it is about a different topic: the last days of Japan's empire, it has a few very detailed chapters on Curtis LeMay and the fire bombing of Japan

How long is the book? would you highly recommend it?

< Message edited by Jorge_Stanbury -- 7/19/2015 11:19:43 PM >

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/20/2015 1:34:00 AM   
AW1Steve


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Yeah, I'd recommend it. It has a lot of insight to issues we've discussed on the forum. For one thing there is a good explanation on the RADAR bombing question that we had here last year.

And I agree on Downfall. I read it when it 1st came out and it was very well done.

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/20/2015 2:38:03 PM   
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"Retribution"by Max Hastings is a very good book on the subject.

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/20/2015 4:34:11 PM   
AW1Steve


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quote:

ORIGINAL: barkhorn45

"Retribution"by Max Hastings is a very good book on the subject.

True , but Hastings is a journalist/historian. Burning Japan's author (Schwabe) is a aeronautical engineer. A VERY different point of view. Hastings writes from the suffering of those on the ground and the aircrew's point of view. Schwabe's doing a "How it was done" point of view , and the technical and political point of view. The Political point of view (no "terror bombing" but instead "precision bombing") went away real quick once they realized 1) precision bombing didn't work in Japan. 2) the only way to destroy Japan's industry WAS carpet bombing.

< Message edited by AW1Steve -- 7/20/2015 5:35:29 PM >


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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/20/2015 7:27:23 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve

Yeah, I'd recommend it. It has a lot of insight to issues we've discussed on the forum. For one thing there is a good explanation on the RADAR bombing question that we had here last year.



Interesting. Are you in a position to summarize and extrapolate relative to the game?

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/20/2015 8:06:45 PM   
AW1Steve


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chickenboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve

Yeah, I'd recommend it. It has a lot of insight to issues we've discussed on the forum. For one thing there is a good explanation on the RADAR bombing question that we had here last year.



Interesting. Are you in a position to summarize and extrapolate relative to the game?



No.



But if you recall the RADAR bombing debate? The answer as to WHY the USAAF B-29's were so terrible at night bombing is simple , and to me horrifying. When Lemay took over 20th AF he couldn't understand why B-29s, with a MUCH better bombing system that he'd had in Europe got such poor results compared to Europe. He sent for a expert on the system and asked the question. The expert had no idea, as he had no problem with it. So they set up a training exercise with one squadron and "bombed" by RADAR a well known and easily recognized point on Saipan. The expert came back and said NONE of these people had received effective training. Basically , when the crews were formed , they grabbed an extra gunner and said "poof! Your a RADAR operator! Now teach yourself!".

So where the operators SHOULD have had months of training back in the states , they had virtually none. The attitude seemed to be..."oh , your going to do daylight bombing". Lemay was furious , but except for trying to train his own crews in house , there wasn't much he could do. One thing he did do was make his new RADAR operators officers. The book doesn't say why , but I'd imagine 3 things. 1) credibility with pilots, bombardiers and navigators. 2) Cross training with bombardiers and navigators (I'm guessing he took extras and made them RADAR officers). 3) and he probably went looking for college graduates (or former students) in scientific fields to facilitate comprehension.



I find it inconceivable that they'd install expensive , state of the art equipment and not train someone to use it properly but....it DOES explain a few things. As I said last year , it's not that hard to accurately bomb stuff with RADAR. BUT you DO need to be taught how to do it.

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/20/2015 9:09:40 PM   
Chickenboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve

I find it inconceivable that they'd install expensive , state of the art equipment and not train someone to use it properly


Dude? This seriously isn't the first time you've brushed up against this administrative incompetence in the history of our armed forces, is it? Examples of waste like this are replete both before, during and after the Second World War.

Back to the point-how long did Lemay feel until the training began to be effective? 4-6 months?

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/20/2015 9:44:33 PM   
AW1Steve


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chickenboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve

I find it inconceivable that they'd install expensive , state of the art equipment and not train someone to use it properly


Dude? This seriously isn't the first time you've brushed up against this administrative incompetence in the history of our armed forces, is it? Examples of waste like this are replete both before, during and after the Second World War.

Back to the point-how long did Lemay feel until the training began to be effective? 4-6 months?



I haven't read any comments on that issue. I'm planning on re-reading "Mission with Lemay" as soon as I'm done. Maybe he comments on it there. I suspect a couple of months to produce usable results , 6 months to produce excellent results. (That's my own experience talking). But Lemay must have had two big problems 1) no instructors 2) starting with "nuggets" when he should have been doing "post grad". And Lemay was not getting the kind of support you would have thought. DC would demand incendiary raids , then not send him incendiaries.


And no Andre , I have never encountered personally such incompetency , even in the late 1970's. What I've read? Well, I always take what I read with a grain of salt , based upon who writes it. Consider this 1) the B-29 project cost more than the A-bomb. 2) it was the 1st time a weapon was controlled DIRECTLY from the joint chiefs. 3) it was assumed to be the only hope Arnold had of guaranteeing a separate air force. Under that kind of pressure, yeah I would have expected them to get it right.


As for my experiences ,I had already gone through several months of schooling , had about 100 hours flight time , then got lucky enough to wind up in the hands of a couple of WW2-Korea-Vietnam-Cuban crisis vets. It wasn't part of ANY syllabus or official training , just a couple of old timers saying "you might need this someday...besides , it's FUN!". 3or4 flights I was making successful runs on bridges and such , and practicing with buildings , fields and finding USCG buoys in Boston harbor and thereabouts. But the key is the instructors.

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/21/2015 1:11:44 AM   
wdolson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve

And no Andre , I have never encountered personally such incompetency , even in the late 1970's. What I've read? Well, I always take what I read with a grain of salt , based upon who writes it. Consider this 1) the B-29 project cost more than the A-bomb. 2) it was the 1st time a weapon was controlled DIRECTLY from the joint chiefs. 3) it was assumed to be the only hope Arnold had of guaranteeing a separate air force. Under that kind of pressure, yeah I would have expected them to get it right.


Of course the B-29 project was much larger than the Manhattan Project too. For the B-29 project one plant in Seattle had to be retooled for the plane and two brand new facilities (Wichita and the Bell plant in Georgia) had to be built from scratch. And that's just final assembly, that doesn't include the subcontractors making all the component parts as well as the effort at Wright to develop and build a brand new engine (the R-3350).

Contrast that with the Manhattan Project which did have several facilities, but was essentially a pure R&D project until after Trinity, then it just became a prototype project. The two bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima were essentially prototype/pre-production bombs.

Not to denigrate either project, both were the epitome of Allied R&D efforts. The B-29 was probably one of the most complex aircraft used in the war and certainly the most complex major production aircraft used. It was loaded with new technology that was not widely used (or used at all) before that plane was built.

Nuclear weapons are one of the most horrific weapons humans have ever come up with, but from a pure science and technology aspect they are a major achievement.

Bill

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/21/2015 2:12:58 AM   
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Did everyone see that Lockeed Martin is buying Sikorsky? Boeing better snap up Bell.

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/21/2015 2:44:20 AM   
wdolson

 

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They almost did in 1995.

When Boeing and McDonnell Douglas merged there was talk of what the merged company would be called. A friend of mine named Doug quit Boeing to go back to school just before the merger happened. I made a quip that I guess Boeing wanted to be Doug-less.

Bill

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/21/2015 2:57:23 AM   
treespider


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quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve


quote:

ORIGINAL: Chickenboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve

Yeah, I'd recommend it. It has a lot of insight to issues we've discussed on the forum. For one thing there is a good explanation on the RADAR bombing question that we had here last year.



Interesting. Are you in a position to summarize and extrapolate relative to the game?



No.



But if you recall the RADAR bombing debate? The answer as to WHY the USAAF B-29's were so terrible at night bombing is simple , and to me horrifying. When Lemay took over 20th AF he couldn't understand why B-29s, with a MUCH better bombing system that he'd had in Europe got such poor results compared to Europe. He sent for a expert on the system and asked the question. The expert had no idea, as he had no problem with it. So they set up a training exercise with one squadron and "bombed" by RADAR a well known and easily recognized point on Saipan. The expert came back and said NONE of these people had received effective training. Basically , when the crews were formed , they grabbed an extra gunner and said "poof! Your a RADAR operator! Now teach yourself!".

So where the operators SHOULD have had months of training back in the states , they had virtually none. The attitude seemed to be..."oh , your going to do daylight bombing". Lemay was furious , but except for trying to train his own crews in house , there wasn't much he could do. One thing he did do was make his new RADAR operators officers. The book doesn't say why , but I'd imagine 3 things. 1) credibility with pilots, bombardiers and navigators. 2) Cross training with bombardiers and navigators (I'm guessing he took extras and made them RADAR officers). 3) and he probably went looking for college graduates (or former students) in scientific fields to facilitate comprehension.



I find it inconceivable that they'd install expensive , state of the art equipment and not train someone to use it properly but....it DOES explain a few things. As I said last year , it's not that hard to accurately bomb stuff with RADAR. BUT you DO need to be taught how to do it.


Blankets of Fire, Kenneth P. Werrell, Smithsonian Institute Press, 1996

p112
"Radar operators, too, were quickly selected and poorly trained. As Lemay put it, somewhat undiplomatically, most ex-gunners were 'low men on the totem pole. The idea about a gunner was that he couldn't absorb enough training to become a radio operator or an engineer; so frankly, many of the gunnersweren't very good, and their [radar] training was pretty sorry as well...consisting mainly of "This is a radar set. This is the way you turn it on"' (71)
The 'quoted' part from p345 of Mission with Lemay

p123
"The 73rd also had problems with radar. The bulk of the wings operators had been trained on 'sea search' radar, which is quite different from the APQ-13."
"It was not until July ('44) that there were enough radar-equipped aircraft to begin serious training, but even then few of the instructors were qualified to carry it out. In addition, the Kansas plains were ill suited for radar training."


Hello all...



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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/21/2015 3:19:10 AM   
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Most likely the reason the newly selected radar operators were officers was because of the criteria to become an officer. Except for field promotions, anyone who went to officer candidate school had to have at least a 120 IQ and for most of the war they had to have two years of college. Between their education level and higher IQ scores, these people were more likely to pick up the skills needed to work the radar than kids who may have dropped out of high school.

Now there have been a lot of criticism of IQ scores and correlation with success in the real world. However, there is a correlation between IQ scores and success in school as well as the speed with which someone learns. If you want to get a bunch of people trained up with a complex skill quickly, you will probably have more success picking the people who likely have higher IQ scores and more education than people who don't. Though there will always be exceptions of course. Whenever you deal with any population of people, rarely is anything 100% predictable from any measured criteria.

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/21/2015 1:28:07 PM   
Mundy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: treespider

Hello all...



Hey TS! Welcome back!

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/21/2015 3:19:52 PM   
treespider


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Hello Mundy...

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/21/2015 10:44:14 PM   
wdolson

 

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First Terminus and then Treespider returns. Are we putting the band back together?

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/21/2015 10:49:02 PM   
AW1Steve


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wdolson

First Terminus and then Treespider returns. Are we putting the band back together?



Well, Terminus popped in a week ago for 3 posts. We will see if he stays. I hope so. It's great to have Tree back. Maybe Speedy and Mogami next?

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/21/2015 10:56:47 PM   
AW1Steve


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wdolson

Most likely the reason the newly selected radar operators were officers was because of the criteria to become an officer. Except for field promotions, anyone who went to officer candidate school had to have at least a 120 IQ and for most of the war they had to have two years of college. Between their education level and higher IQ scores, these people were more likely to pick up the skills needed to work the radar than kids who may have dropped out of high school.

Now there have been a lot of criticism of IQ scores and correlation with success in the real world. However, there is a correlation between IQ scores and success in school as well as the speed with which someone learns. If you want to get a bunch of people trained up with a complex skill quickly, you will probably have more success picking the people who likely have higher IQ scores and more education than people who don't. Though there will always be exceptions of course. Whenever you deal with any population of people, rarely is anything 100% predictable from any measured criteria.

Bill


I'm not sure I entirely agree Bill. I suspect it had more to do with Arnold's dreams and politics to a degree. The Navy took high school grads and made them Sonar and RADAR techs with no problems. Heck till 1943 they had a pretty good pool of enlisted pilots. And of course in the aircrew world , the Navy didn't have ANY flying officers till the 1960's when they introduced the Naval Flight Officer program. Bombardier? The enlisted ordanceman (who loaded them). Navigator? The off duty pilot or a trained enlisted guy. (The USMC STILL trains enlisted navigators). RADAR operator in the back seat of a night fighter? Once again , a RADAR operator (usually a 1st class PO or a CPO). I see it more a "prestige issue" then technical ability. Most enlisted men in these jobs were high school graduates. So were most USAAF officers. When Arnold wanted to make all pilots college grads he was politely informed that if the Army conscripted every young college grad in the USA they still would not have enough.

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/21/2015 11:36:25 PM   
treespider


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wdolson

First Terminus and then Treespider returns. Are we putting the band back together?


After two years I've finally settled my life into a manageable routine in the DC area, and have rediscovered some of my paper and cardboard true loves...

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/21/2015 11:53:14 PM   
spence

 

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quote:

The Political point of view (no "terror bombing" but instead "precision bombing") went away real quick once they realized 1) precision bombing didn't work in Japan. 2) the only way to destroy Japan's industry WAS carpet bombing.


The political point of view was always: WIN THE DAMN WAR!!!!!...if a bunch of ENEMY died that was too damn bad.

The American peace at any cost movement died on 12/08/1941. Figuratively we're talking about one person here too.


< Message edited by spence -- 7/22/2015 1:04:10 AM >

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/22/2015 12:18:09 AM   
wdolson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve

I'm not sure I entirely agree Bill. I suspect it had more to do with Arnold's dreams and politics to a degree. The Navy took high school grads and made them Sonar and RADAR techs with no problems. Heck till 1943 they had a pretty good pool of enlisted pilots. And of course in the aircrew world , the Navy didn't have ANY flying officers till the 1960's when they introduced the Naval Flight Officer program. Bombardier? The enlisted ordanceman (who loaded them). Navigator? The off duty pilot or a trained enlisted guy. (The USMC STILL trains enlisted navigators). RADAR operator in the back seat of a night fighter? Once again , a RADAR operator (usually a 1st class PO or a CPO). I see it more a "prestige issue" then technical ability. Most enlisted men in these jobs were high school graduates. So were most USAAF officers. When Arnold wanted to make all pilots college grads he was politely informed that if the Army conscripted every young college grad in the USA they still would not have enough.


There are plenty of people who weren't officers who could have made top notch radar operators, but the 20th AF had to train up as many people as possible in the field using a limited population of who was already on Saipan and Tinian. The more formal training programs draw from the entire service, have formal training facilities, have instructors who are known qualified on the equipment, and they have a screening process to select the candidates best suited to the job.

Initially they were throwing gunners already in theater at the radar and letting them try and figure it out. Gunners were not usually known for their intellectual ability. Many times they were volunteers for air service who didn't qualify for training with any particular technology.

We're talking about an emergency program to train up operators in the field. They didn't have the resources the state side training facilities had. They had to pull together a pool of people who were most likely going to figure out the technology and get them up to speed as quickly as possible. If taking a shotgun approach like that, your best bet is to select people who have gone through officer candidate school rather than gunners who in many cases failed to make the cut for radio operators, navigators, or bombardiers.

Many people who didn't qualify for OCS were quite capable of learning many things. My SO's father didn't have any formal training past 8th grade, but he became a forensic engine technician and under the GI bill he got into college with no high school and did quite well. He had to drop out due to life stuff. He later had an offer from Boeing that included them paying for his engineering degree, but my SO's mother hated Seattle so he didn't take the job.

Bill

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/22/2015 12:38:04 AM   
treespider


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quote:

ORIGINAL: spence

quote:

The Political point of view (no "terror bombing" but instead "precision bombing") went away real quick once they realized 1) precision bombing didn't work in Japan. 2) the only way to destroy Japan's industry WAS carpet bombing.


The political point of view was always: WIN THE DAMN WAR!!!!!...if a bunch of ENEMY died that was too damn bad.

The American peace at any cost movement died on 12/08/1941. Figuratively we're talking about one person here too.




Horse Puckey. Indiscriminate "Area Bombing" certainly did have 'political' ramifications.

"On 14 March during the initial fire raids, the Twentieth Air Force sent a message to Lemay stating that US 'editorial comment is beginning to wonder about blanket incendiary attacks upon cities therefore [we] urge you [to] continue hard hitting your present line that this destruction is necessary to eliminate home industries and that it is strategic bombing.' To drive home the point, the message concluded, 'Guard against anyone stating this is area bombing'"
Blankets of Fire, p157

< Message edited by treespider -- 7/22/2015 1:39:59 AM >


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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/22/2015 12:39:21 AM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: wdolson

First Terminus and then Treespider returns. Are we putting the band back together?


I'll re-join. But you've got to get Mr. Fabulous.*



*= A Blues Brothers reference.

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/22/2015 12:41:22 AM   
treespider


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We're on a mission from God.


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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/22/2015 12:52:16 AM   
wdolson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: treespider

We're on a mission from God.



Or a mission from Glod.*


Bill


*Terry Pratchett reference

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/22/2015 1:02:29 AM   
AW1Steve


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quote:

ORIGINAL: BlackhorseToo


quote:

ORIGINAL: wdolson

First Terminus and then Treespider returns. Are we putting the band back together?


I'll re-join. But you've got to get Mr. Fabulous.*



*= A Blues Brothers reference.

What happened to your previous sign in? Your post count? Your Black Horse Avatar? All Gone?

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/22/2015 1:02:59 AM   
AW1Steve


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wdolson


quote:

ORIGINAL: treespider

We're on a mission from God.



Or a mission from Glod.*


Bill


*Terry Pratchett reference


Or dog.

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RE: Anybody read "Burning Japan"? - 7/22/2015 1:34:00 AM   
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Welcome back, we need more of the old guard to come back.

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