B-17 Gunner

Charles M. Eyer, Survivor of 59 Combat Missions and a Year in Nazi Captivity


In stock

SKU: 9781476683294 Categories: , , , Tags: ,

About the Book

For three years, Staff Sergeant Charles M. Eyer served as a B-17 ball turret gunner over Europe during World War II. Based in part on a secret journal he kept as a prisoner of war, this book records Eyer’s firsthand account of his harrowing 59 combat missions (B-17 crewmen could not expect to survive 10), his escape from a burning B-17 deep inside Germany, the horrors of confinement in a Nazi POW camp, and his survival of an 80-day forced march during the brutal winter of 1944–45.

About the Author(s)

Craig A. Kleinsmith is a retired United States Army Master Sergeant, and is also retired from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Craig A. Kleinsmith
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 225
Bibliographic Info: 15 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8329-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4115-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
1. Pre-War Life 9
2. The Making of a Gunner 12
3. North Africa 31
4. New Crew and New Adventures 61
5. Return to Hell 70
6. Day of Days—May 12, 1944 87
7. Stalag Luft IV 109
8. The March 140
9. Liberation 175
10. Postwar 183
Epilogue 189
A. POW Journal 193
B. POW Postcards 199
C. Letter to Mother 202
D. Liberation Journal 203
Chapter Notes 207
Bibliography 213
Index 215

Book Reviews & Awards

“Kleinsmith’s abilities as a writer shine in this book as he’s chosen words and placed scenes such that the reader is very much in the moment. … Kleinsmith got to know Eyer in 1973 while serving in the local Army National Guard as Eyer was the maintenance repair man at the armory. The two worked closely for a dozen years ‘resulting in a close and enduring friendship.’ Over time Kleinsmith learned Charlie Eyer’s story. Then, coupled with his own research as is detailed in the appendices, chapter end notes, and bibliography, he was able to share Eyer’s experiences with the help and approval of Charlie Eyer’s son and daughter. Once you start reading B-17 Gunner, you’ll not be able to put it down until you’ve reached the last page. The story will linger with you long after.”—Speed Readers