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Publisher's Summary

John Comer kept a journal of the 25 missions he flew in 1943, when the casualty rate on his base was close to 80 percent. His book is handwritten history, recorded within hours after the battles occurred. Comer vividly creates his experiences as top-turret gunner/flight engineer in a B-17 squadron that was thrown against the best pilots the Luftwaffe could offer. In 1943 the army air force had no long-range fighters to protect the B-17s as they flew deep into enemy territory. Immediate, straightforward, and compelling, Combat Crew is a classic of aerial warfare.
©1988 John Comer (P)2015 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

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By Jean on 12-17-15


I enjoy reading biographies of famous World War One and World War Two generals. I also enjoy reading the memoirs of the average soldier from these two Wars. These firsthand accounts by the ordinary soldier are great ways to understand these two Wars better.

Many of these memoirs are weak and fragmented trying to paste together memories from long ago. Therefore, I always am looking for those stores that are taken from a day to day diary. This is such a book; it provides us with the day to day viewpoint of a B-17 turret gunner/mechanic. Comer tells the story of his 25 mission in the early days of the American campaign against the Nazis. Comer tells us about his crew members and ground crews. I had the feeling that I was riding right beside Comer on his missions. Comer did a tour flying mission in Italy for a total of 80 combat missions. Comer died in 2005 in Texas.

I understand that with the help of his son he first self published the book in 1985. It was then bought by the William Morrow publishing company and was published internationally quite successfully. Recently it has been published as an e-book and an audiobook again with great success. Patrick Lawler did a good job narrating the story. The book is of average length of about eleven hours.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

By Daniel on 01-08-16

My favorite WW II book!

Would you listen to Combat Crew again? Why?

Yes, I love the book and the narrator did a fantastic job.

What did you like best about this story?

The story line is gripping from beginning to end.

Any additional comments?

I've read this book twice in book form and was so excited to see it on Audible. This is so well written from the perspective of the perfect position on the crew. The Flight Engineer had his hands in everything on the aircraft and it's nice to get the story from his point of view rather than the usual pilot point of view.

I don't write many reviews but I would highly recommend this book to anyone I know.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By M. A. Burgess on 11-19-16

possibly the best of the genre

A charismatic narration of an engineer/gunner's war. Probably what audio-books were made for. Buy it!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

By D Roberts on 12-23-17

Best Audiobook I've ever heard

What did you like most about Combat Crew?

The perfect storm of a 1st-hand, brilliantly told story, fascinating subject matter, and a masterclass in narration.

What did you like best about this story?


Have you listened to any of Patrick Lawlor’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, but only because the other books don't interest me. In this book he mediates the story such that the characters come alive and the reader forgets there is a narrator at all.. very impressive and skilful!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If I were that way inclined, yes.

Any additional comments?

I was surprised I had never come across this book before, as an avid reader of biographies from all sides of the WW2 air war for thirty years. I'm really glad I did; for me it's right up there with the brilliant 'no moon tonight' by Don Charlwood... and that's saying something.

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Customer Reviews

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By Hamish on 02-16-17

Great story of a B-17 crew.

Fantastic story, very interesting to understand the interactions and story of a B-17 crew in England during WWII

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