Liberator Pilot: The Cottontails’ Battle for Oil


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The Cottontails, so named for the twin white rudders of their B-25 Liberator bombers, carried the war to the Germans from their base at Manduria, Italy. For the 450th Bomb Group, part of the 15th Air Force’s effort to destroy Nazi war-making capabilities, oil production refineries at such heavily defended targets as Ploesti and Vienna were high on their list of strategic targets. The author, Vincent F. Fagan, flew with the 450th as a first pilot, going against Vienna and Ploesti targets ten times. After his first few missions, Fagan decided that there was simply not enough luck around to get you through a 50-mission combat tour and that something else was needed. He developed a program for combat survival for himself and his crew, which is the basis for this book. His 41 combat missions may indicate the success of his program. Fagan also details the controversial legend of why the Cottontails’ rudders were changed from white to yellow and black.


Liberator Pilot: The Cottontails’ Battle for Oil

by Vincent F. Fagan


130 pages


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