Shot Down, Steve Snyder

Shot Down, Steve Snyder

The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth

This book looks at the experiences of Howard Snyder and his crew before, during and after their brief operational combat career with the 8th Air Force. It was written by Howard's son, and thus benefits from his access to his father's letters and memories.

The book doesn't just focus on Howard's story. Instead Steve has chosen to follow the experiences of the entire crew, the resistance members who helped them, and to provide relevant background info on the progress of the war.

As a result this is a rather different story to many, including war crimes, the resistance both as helpers and as a member, repatriation and POW stories. Howard himself served with the Maquis after getting tired of waiting for a safe route home. Other members of his crew suffered very different fates, and not all of them survived.

After looking at his father's background, early life and US training, the author examines the poor state of the 8th Air Force after 'Black Week', when it was almost knocked out of the skies. This period demonstrates the limits of German military power - they could temporarily force the 8th Air Force to limit its missions, but they could do nothing to stop it rebuilding, and had zero chance of attacking the production base back in the US.

Howard wasn't very far into his tour when he was shot down, and so the author is able to cover all of his combat missions in some detail. He was also greatly helped by having his father's letters home, and by his father's role in veterans associations after the war, which gave him access to fellow members of the 8th Air Force and the Resistance members.

This is a compelling true story of wartime survival, made especially interesting by the very different fates of the individual crew members. This is also a fitting tribute to the bravery of the 8th Air Force and of their helpers in the Belgian and French resistance.

1 - February 8, 1944
2 - Howard Snyder
3 - Pilot Training
4 - Four Engines
5 - September 27, 1943… Off to England
6 - Newfoundland
7 - Across 'The Pond' … England at Last
8 - The Crew of the Susan Ruth
9 - Thurleigh, England
10 - Home Away from Home
11 - Training… and more Training
12 - Recreation
13 - Flying Combat
14 - Making it Back to Base
15 - 1943 Problems
16 - November 1943… First Mission
17 - Losses
18 - The Americans
19 - Second Mission… And Promotion
20 - December 1943… Third Mission
21 - Wounded… In Basketball!
22 - January 1944… New Year's And Continuing Losses
23 - Rockets and a D-Day Deception
24 - February 1944… Back in Combat
25 - February 8, 1944l… Trouble
26 - Disaster
27 - Belgium
28 - Fate of the Crew
29 - Missing in Action
30 - Chimay… The Resistance
31 - Shelter
32 - A Traitor and Capture
33 - Belgian Helpers
34 - Howard… On the Move
35 - Prison Camp
36 - The Maquis
37 - Liberation
38 - The War Comes to an End
39 - Aftermath
40 - Return, Reunion & Remembrance

Author: Steve Snyder
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 360
Publisher: Sea Breeze Publishing
Year: 2015

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