The WASP program Women Airforce Service Pilots did jobs like ferrying military planes between bases, trained the men entering the airforce and tested both new and repaired planes before they were shipped back overseas, all without the protection of military status. While the book does have a fair bit of romance, the Easy 5 Stars.
While the book does have a fair bit of romance, the most compelling relationships were the ones Audrey grew with the other women in her program. The portrayal of these women was so well rounded, each one we met had a distinct personality. I loved that the author showed all types of women in the book: ones that were "feminine", ones that were "tomboys", mean girls, engaged girls, and women who never want to be married.
A woman who spent hours on her hair and makeup could still fly circles around the men, and a woman who never wanted kids wasn't suddenly swayed from her choice by a pretty face. Overall this was an excellent debut and I can't wait to see what comes next!
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Sep 01, DeAnn rated it really liked it Shelves: The story centers around Audrey, a Texas woman who has been flying since she was a young girl. She ends up training pilots for WWII and then ferrying airplanes across the country. Of course, they were not always treated the best by men around them, but they had great flying skil 4. Of course, they were not always treated the best by men around them, but they had great flying skills! This one is more character driven with sweeping romances and great friendships forged by these women. These women pilots bonded as they roomed together and shared the risks of their war efforts.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one and found it fascinating to learn more about another part of the WWII effort. I have found this makes the reading experience even richer for me. View all 8 comments. Jul 11, Jenna Bookish rated it liked it. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher.
I read a lot of rave reviews and went in with super high hopes, ready for a WWII story with a lot of substance and a strong, interesting female protagonist. What I got felt more… fluffy romance set against a dark backdrop. I think this really gets at the heart of my issue with Audrey: that her love of flight really felt like her singular defining character trait. She never starting feeling like a person to me. Another reviewer on Goodreads also pointed out some anachronisms in the novel. The romance, while it took up a bigger part of the story than I would have liked, was fine.
I liked that Audrey found someone who shared her passion and there seemed to be a huge amount of respect between the two of them, especially considering the normal power dynamics of a relationship in the time period. The Flight Girls is a story with a lot of potential that, while it missed the mark for me personally, seems to be a huge hit with a lot of readers. You can read all of my reviews on my blog, Jenna Bookish! Facebook Instagram Tumblr Jul 06, Karren Sandercock rated it really liked it Shelves: edelweiss-above-the-tree-line.
When the US military advertises it's need for experienced pilots to train young male pilots in Hawaii, Audrey's Coltrane's father encourages her to apply and soon she's working in beautiful Hawaii. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her new friends, swimming, going to beach parties, drinking cocktails and she loves living on the beautiful island. Audrey has always wanted to teach others to fly, her plan is to one day own her own air field and her experience working in Hawaii teaching When the US military advertises it's need for experienced pilots to train young male pilots in Hawaii, Audrey's Coltrane's father encourages her to apply and soon she's working in beautiful Hawaii.
Audrey has always wanted to teach others to fly, her plan is to one day own her own air field and her experience working in Hawaii teaching flying might help her achieve her dream? On the 7th of December Pearl Harbor is attacked and bombed by the Japanese forces. Audrey at the time is giving a young pilot a flying lesson, she manages to land the plane while under enemy fire and they escape unhurt. Nothing can prepare Audrey for what happens after she lands her plane, what once was paradise has been destroyed, damaged or on fire.
During this time a fellow pilot Lieutenant James Hart comes to her aid, he provides her with somewhere to live and they try to find out what happened to her friends? In the past, both Audrey and James have avoided romantic relationships, despite the obvious attraction between them they decide to be good friends. Audrey leaves Hawaii, she returns to Texas, she promises to keep in touch with James and they start writing letters to each other.
Audrey returns home, after a few months she grows restless, she want's to help her country and America is now involved in WW II. Audrey decides to join the WASP, women pilots are needed to transport planes to and from different military bases around the US, they also test new planes before there sent to England and used in combat. The women who join the WASP, start a rigorous training program, they need be physically fit, pass written exams, and while in training they discover how dangerous their job will be!
I really enjoyed reading about Audrey and her friends experiences during training and the strong bond formed between the women. Once she graduates Audrey is sent to Fort Sam Huston, here she again experiences prejudice from men as they assume a woman can't fly a big plane and she's working in very a dangerous conditions. Audrey continues to write to James, but she's very concerned by his letters, the war has changed him and in his last letter it's almost like he's saying goodbye to her? Will she ever see or hear from James again, she starts to really think about their relationship and are they just friends?
The first Americans to fight the Nazis included taxi driver and make-up artist
Audrey and her fellow pilots work long hours, the war takes it's toll, both physically and mentally. I shed quite a few tears, when one of Audrey's friend's is involved in a tragic flying accident and it's breaks your heart. I gave The Flight Girls four stars and look forward to reading her next book. View all 4 comments. May 23, Jacqueline Simonds rated it did not like it. I picked up an ARC of this book at my job in a bookstore. After pages, I declared a book divorce.
Yes, it's that bad. First, let's talk about the fact this book is so poorly edited, it made me, a former editor, nearly cry. No, I didn't find piles of typos. I found piles of anachronisms for a book about - They barely had seats back t I picked up an ARC of this book at my job in a bookstore. They barely had seats back then, let alone headrests.
This is lazy, poorly researched, poorly executed "historical fiction" that does the writer no favors, nor the entire genre of "women's fiction. Do I sound angry? I read a lot of independent authors' work that runs rings around this book that the indies can't even get anyone to look at. And then dreck like this gets put out. It makes me tired. View all 5 comments. Tollie Lancaster I agree with all of this!
I only finished because I was listening to the audiobook, and the narration was very soothing, and honestly, addicting. Oct 03, AM. Jackie Thanks for the heads up. I was quite intrigued by the story line, but poor editing and lazy research like you describe drives me crazy. I will avoid a Thanks for the heads up. I will avoid aggravation and skip this book. May 09, Janet rated it it was amazing Shelves: worldread , ng-when-i-read , readitatbookclub , k-e-k.
The bonds she forms with her fellow pilots reignite a spark of hope in the face war, and—especially when James goes missing in action—give Audrey the strength to cross the front lines and fight for everything she holds dear. As the niece of two fighter pilots who lost their lives in war, I hade zero ideas that there were female pilots in WWII but then again, we do not study much, if any, American history in Canada. We have enough to learn about our history, but less "theirs".
This was an amazing read for me - history, compelling characters and a well-written plot and a dash of romance that enthralled me from page one to end. This is a fabulous book - I look forward to reading more of Miss Salazar's work: if this book is any indication, her works are stellar! This is also a perfect book club pick as one could discuss women's roles then and now and compare the two. Jul 27, Sarah Booth rated it it was amazing. Our heroine Audrey was flying since she was She starts out as a flight instructor at Pearl Harbor my grandfather was there for the bombing as well and later joins the Women Airforce Service Pilots program.
Though singular in her desire not to be involved with the opposite sex, she falls for another pilot who she works to be just friends with but fails at miserably. Granted the tears were a way to show how supportive her other female pilots and friends were , but there seemed excessive to the story and to work against her being a strong woman with their frequency and intensity. You did end up pulling for the romance eventually, but I thought the fact they were flyers was the real draw.
I mean, WOW; you were flying army planes in WWII when most people thought that women were incapable of such things and not only could they do them but do them better than some men when everything was working against them. They had to make do, lord only knows how. These women had serious guts! They worked their butts off for little or no reward or recognition often with the resentment of men. Jun 09, Sara Sjthroughthelookingglass rated it it was amazing Shelves: The Flight Girls is an epic love story that follows the amazing courageous journey of fictional pilot Audrey Coltrane, starting with her fateful days at Pearl Harbor through training with fellow WASP women.
The fast friendships, dedication, courage, personalities and backgrounds of these women was we'll rounded and lively. I loved taking jumpseat for this adventure! This book captured my heart and mind from the very first chapter, never letting go or letting me down. Apr 14, Sara rated it it was amazing. I ordered this book when I first heard about it, then I won a drawing for an Advance Reader's Edition! What a treat! At times I couldn't put the book down, at other times I needed to take a break after getting too wrapped up in it.
Audrey is a character I cared about, I rooted for, I even got a bit annoyed with at one point - her friendships and hardships will draw you to her. It's hard to believe this is Noelle's first novel. I want to share my copy of this book, but I'm afraid I won't get it b I ordered this book when I first heard about it, then I won a drawing for an Advance Reader's Edition!
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I want to share my copy of this book, but I'm afraid I won't get it back! Aug 11, Abby Cavenaugh rated it it was amazing. This is a brilliant, though fictional story of amazingly strong women, who were ahead of their time. There are so many feels in this story— tears of sorrow and of joy, laughter, reverence, love, the power of friendship Probably my new favorite book. Jul 23, Megan Collins rated it it was amazing.
I adored witnessing Audrey risk everything to follow her heart and serve her country by doing the one thing she loves more than anything else—flying. Unfortunately, the fates would not be kind to McGovern, who suffered from mental illness for most of his life. Following his career, he was perpetually institutionalized and passed away in from medical causes unrelated to his boxing career.
An immensely popular and successful Mexican boxer, during his career, he held the WBC and WBA versions of both the bantamweight and featherweight world championships during his career. Ranked the 12th greatest puncher of all time by Ring Magazine, an astounding He began his career with 22 straight KO wins. Soon thereafter, and still undefeated , he embarked on a fight streak that saw him win every fight by KO or opponent's disqualification and landed two bantamweight titles in the process. Then his golden years began, and he fought against top-flight opposition for the remainder of his career until his retirement at age As the years wore on, he continued to win against quality guys but started to lose with more frequency.
He retired in , beloved by his countrymen, and was considered Mexico's undisputed greatest fighter of all time before Julio Cesar Chavez arrived on the scene. Lanky and strong, Saddler was one of the hardest hitters ever—ranked fifth on Ring Magazine's Greatest Punchers list. He was the only person the great Willie Pep couldn't outbox. Saddler won three out of four fights against Pep, including Pep's first knockout loss in his th career fight. He twice held the featherweight championship and also won the junior lightweight crown.
Forced into early retirement due to injuries from a car accident at age 30, Saddler later became a trainer and even helped train George Foreman. At first glance, his record isn't out-of-this-world extraordinary. However, he fought many of the sport's greatest fighters and also suffered a few losses due to hand injuries. The fights he did win, though, are very impressive. McLarnin was wise with his money and his career and after retirement became a successful businessman, actor and speaker.
The most controversial figure in boxing today, Mayweather will probably be one of the most controversial selections on this list too. It raises a significant question in compiling all-time greats lists: How do you rank an undefeated fighter in the all-time rankings? In Mayweather's case, it's not difficult to see that he belongs near the top.
Say what you will about the advantages Mayweather held during those matches, but the fact is that he beat some of boxing's best in fights that they agreed to. A smooth, speedy, technically brilliant boxer with exceptional defensive and counterpunching skills, Mayweather is a force to be reckoned with.
However, his reputation these days is mostly as someone ducking a major fight with Manny Pacquiao, and if he isn't careful, that could be his legacy. Nonetheless, Mayweather has had an exceptional career, and hopefully this isn't the last we've seen of the chronically inactive fighter. Known as "The Golden Rooster," Eder Jofre was a superb Brazilian bantamweight and featherweight who won 72 fights and lost to only one opponent—Fighting Harada, on two occasions.
Considering his tremendous accomplishments—a three-time bantamweight titlist including a five-year reign who also won the featherweight title—his career was really quite under the radar. While he ranked No. However, for those who do know Eder Jofre, all respect him. He possessed power in both hands and a durable chin and was nearly infallible during an extraordinary year career.
Universally regarded as one of the finest welterweights of all time, Griffith was a three-time titlist in the division and became the first fighter from the U. Virgin Islands to win a world title. In addition to his accomplishments at welterweight, he was also a two-time middleweight champion and is sometimes recognized as also holding an early version of the junior middleweight title. Best known for his wins over Dick Tiger, Nino Benvenuti and Luis Manuel Rodriguez, Griffith was not a particularly powerful puncher but had his way with opponents through his masterful strategy.
It was enough to make him a headliner at Madison Square Garden on several occasions and to win him the Fighter of the Year award and a spot in boxing's hall of fame. Jose "Mantequilla" Napoles is a Cuban-Mexican former welterweight champion who held four titles in that division over a six year span.
A solid all-around fighter with good knockout power and a tremendous heart, Napoles had an unusual beginning to his career. He won his first 18 fights against mostly unknown competition in his native Cuba, but Fidel Castro banned boxing in Napoles fled Cuba and found asylum in Mexico, where he made his comeback in and had the finest performances of his career.
He was elected to the boxing hall of fame and immortalized as an all-time great champion in former world champion Curtis Cokes' Complete Book of Boxing. Pac-Man is the most popular boxer in the world today and is suspected to have recently and undeservedly won a fourth Ring magazine Fighter of the Year award. Though Sergio Martinez clearly deserved the award this year, Pacquiao deserved it in , and and is probably the greatest fighter since and among the greatest of all time.
He has climbed weights better than anyone else in history, and looked good doing it. Much like Mayweather, there are questions about his advantages in some of his wins: He often fights at catchweights and has faced numerous criticisms including mine of his choice of opponents. But the bottom line is that you can't overstate Pacquiao's boxing skill, especially under Freddie Roach, and his accomplishments speak for themselves given the Filipino star's reluctance to trash talk, that's probably a good thing.
He is the biggest thing in boxing right now, and for good reason—he consistently defeats top-flight opposition and invariably makes them look old and tired. His fight against Sugar Shane Mosley won't gain him any new admirers, but as long as he keeps winning, his legacy will continue to grow. A major showdown with Mayweather, a top middleweight like Sergio Martinez or Juan Manuel Marquez seems like the only way for Pacquiao to really enhance his credibility.
A win against Mayweather or Martinez could move him into the top 15 on this list. Unquestionably the greatest French boxer of all time, Cerdan possessed one of the most brilliant, and tragic, careers in the sport's long and storied history. French by birth, but born and raised in French Algeria, it took Cerdan many years to develop a large enough reputation to fight for a world title. Undefeated in his first 45 matches, it wasn't until Cerdan was and 33 years old that he finally got, and won, his first world title bout against the legendary Tony Zale. After three defenses of his title, he lost his title to Jake LaMotta in a fight where he was winning through three rounds but suffered a major shoulder injury early in the fight.
Before Cerdan could step into the ring with LaMotta for a rematch, he was part of a tragic plane crash that not only killed the high-society Frenchman Cerdan, but also the other 47 on board. Marvelous Marvin Hagler, who spent his entire career at middleweight, has accomplishments in that division that probably earn him the mantle of "greatest middleweight ever.
That is closely followed by his controversial and career-ending loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in a fight that many thought Hagler should have won. Though never quite given the respect he deserved, Hagler was a two-time Ring fighter of the year in and and had a nearly unprecedented seven-year reign as undisputed middleweight champion of the world. At 5'9. He left us with many of the greatest middleweight fights in the history of boxing. One of the hardest punchers ever, George Foreman was ranked the ninth greatest puncher of all time by Ring Magazine.
Foreman recorded 68 knockouts in his 76 career wins, among them two wins against Joe Frazier and a 10th-round KO against Michael Moorer at age 45 to make him the oldest champion ever. Also an Olympic gold medalist, Foreman's legacy is unfortunately hampered by his loss to Muhammad Ali in the "Rumble in the Jungle," in which Ali introduced his now-famous "Rope-a-Dope" strategy to take all of the undefeated Foreman's best punches and then knock him out with a legendary eighth-round flurry. Foreman has found success out of the ring, becoming an ordained Christian minister.
In , Foreman and Hulk Hogan were presented with the opportunity to sponsor a grill, and Hogan didn't answer in time, so Foreman became the name behind the now-famous George Foreman Grill, and Hogan was left with a blender called the "Hulk Hogan Thunder Mixer. When evaluating the career of the "Cincinnati Cobra," it really needs to be done in two parts.
The first part involves a fighter who went to start his career, winning over former champions in three weight divisions, including Archie Moore, Joe Louis and Jersey Joe Walcott. But slightly before that stretch ended, Charles faced a young opponent named Sam Baroudi, who later died due to injuries sustained in his loss to Charles. Charles was deeply affected by this, and in later matches, including a stretch to end his career, he backed off when he had his opponents threatened. Declining in skill and will, Ezzard had to keep fighting for financial reasons, and in perhaps his most famous bout, he broke the nose of undefeated Rocky Marciano.
However, Charles and Marciano were good friends, and many observers think Charles feared doing to Marciano what he had done to Baroudi, and Marciano ended up winning an eighth-round KO victory. Nonetheless, Charles is remembered as one of the greatest fighters ever in the higher weight divisions and was memorialized on a postage stamp and with a spot in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Not only a great boxing champion who became one of the first ever three-division champions, Barney Ross was also a great advocate for Jewish-Americans during the period that saw the rise of Adolf Hitler's regime in Europe.
He was also part of some of the largest early bouts in boxing history, with his wins over Jimmy McLarnin and Tony Canzoneri both drawing crowds of about 50, He won titles in the lightweight, light welterweight and welterweight divisions. Ross later would struggle with addiction to morphine but would recover and give lectures to children about the dangers of drugs. Ross went on to have a successful life as a promotional consultant and was once again in the public eye as a friend of Jack Ruby during the investigation of the Kennedy assassination.
All in all, he would hold six titles, including joining Ross and Henry Armstrong as the only three boxers to ever hold two undisputed world titles simultaneously. Canzoneri never had a huge winning streak but always was a formidable fighter who obviously had a great deal of success throughout his career.
Though he fought fewer than eight years before his tragic murder, Ketchel won the welterweight and middleweight world titles. Despite being 5'9" and only lbs. Ring historians ranked Ketchel sixth all-time on their "Greatest Punchers" list, and he was ranked the 19th greatest boxer of all time by both ESPN and Bert Sugar on their respective lists. We can only wonder what else Ketchel could have done. His accomplishments by age 24 already rank him among the all-time greats.
Almost universally recognized as the greatest flyweight ever, Jimmy "The Mighty Atom" Wilde had an astounding carer that saw him win bouts and lose just four in a year span. Born in Pentwyn Deintyr in Wales, Wilde's skill eventually allowed him to fight his way out of the UK, and finally, in his st bout, with a record of , he won the world flyweight title. He would go between that point and his retirement in , but none of those losses were in sanctioned title fights, so he retired as champion. Three years later, he returned out of a sense of obligation to defend his title against rapidly rising Filipino flyweight Pancho Villa 66th on this list and after losing to Villa announced his final retirement in During his retirement, he invested in several unsuccessful businesses, and he passed away in Ring Magazine ranked him the third greatest puncher of all time, and he was part of the inaugural class of the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Ring Magazine's fourth greatest puncher of all time, Archie Moore had a record reign as world light heavyweight champion, holding the title for 10 consecutive years between and He could have held the title for longer had he not abandoned the title to move up to heavyweight for his final five fights.
Despite his many successes at light heavyweight, perhaps his two most famous bouts were at heavyweight. In his second last fight, he faced Cassius Clay, who predicted he would "drop Moore in four" and proceeded to do so. However, in , Moore was Rocky Marciano's final opponent and gave the undefeated Italian-American one of the fights of his life.
Moore became only the second person ever to knock down Marciano and was close on all scorecards before Marciano KO'd him in the ninth. However, Moore should be best remembered for his extraordinary accomplishments at light heavyweight, beating Yvon Durelle, Joey Maxim and Bobo Olson. Walker was the only welterweight champion in history to become a credible contender at heavyweight, and many believed he could have become heavyweight champion.
Ring Magazine's Fighter of the Year had a lengthy reign as welterweight champion before moving up to middleweight and winning a title in that division. He defended his middleweight title twice before moving up to light heavyweight. Some feel he was unjustly robbed of a light heavyweight title reign. However, Walker quickly moved up to heavyweight and stunned observers by beating several top contenders, including Bearcat Wright, who stood a foot taller and pounds heavier than the still-light Walker.
He lost a disputed draw to Jack Sharkey, who next became heavyweight champion after beating Max Schmeling. Many people thought Walker could beat Sharkey in a title fight, but before that could happen, Schmeling won back his title, and in Walker's only heavyweight title fight, Schmeling's overwhelming size and strength advantages overwhelmed Walker. Walker returned to light heavyweight but again lost a title bout, but he punctuated his career with a win over Maxie Rosenbloom before retiring.
He became an accomplished golfer and artist and was an inaugural inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in The greatest Mexican fighter of all time, Julio Cesar Chavez had some of the most magical moments and impressive streaks in boxing history. Chavez—virtually unknown for most of his early career—was a six-time titlist in three divisions and beat some of the finest opposition of his day.
Chavez began his career with 87 straight wins before his draw with Pernell Whitaker, and it wasn't until his 90th career fight that he finally tasted defeat against fringe contender Frankie Randall. Aside from his six titles, Chavez was also 's Ring Fighter of the Year and elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame as part of this year's class.
The quintessential Mexican fighter, Chavez never possessed great speed but was a hard puncher and had an amazing chin, indomitable heart and an overwhelming will to win. His wins are almost unheard-of in the modern-day boxing environment. Chavez is now a successful businessman and has two undefeated sons—Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Ring Magazine's Fighter of the s despite fighting only 12 fights that decade, Sugar Ray Leonard's accomplishments and contributions to boxing are hard to describe in a few short paragraphs, so I'll just briefly list them here. He avenged this loss twice, including the famous "No Mas" fight.
There is a large subset of boxing fans albeit mostly Italian-Americans who will tell you Rocky Marciano is the greatest boxing champion ever. Most boxing experts wouldn't say that about "The Rock from Brockton," but he certainly deserves a spot among the greatest ever. A three-time Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year, Marciano held the world heavyweight title for four years before retiring and knocked out 88 percent of his opponents.
He is the only heavyweight champion to retire undefeated and the greatest undefeated fighter in boxing history. His wins over Archie Moore, Ezzard Charles twice and Jersey Joe Walcott twice established his credibility as a champion, although some questioned how much these opponents had left when he faced them. Nonetheless, the partial inspiration for Sylvester Stallone's Rocky had an extraordinary run and knew when to call it quits.
Blessed with an iron chin, unconventional style and amazing heart and power, he wasn't the greatest ever but certainly has a well-admired place in history. Intelligent, handsome, dedicated, determined, self-made and an ex-Marine, Gene Tunney has long been viewed as one of the greatest boxers ever. He won two divisions' world titles in a time when there were only eight weight classes and lost only one time in his career. His one loss was to a fighter he beat four times: Harry Greb, who will also be appearing on this list. Always moving, with an extraordinary left jab, Tunney approached boxing as more of a chess match than a pit fight.
However, in some of his earlier bouts, such as those against Greb, he used an effective arsenal of combinations and body punching to nullify Greb's attack. Tunney was in many ways a precursor to the low-hands, fast-feet style used by many talented boxers today. He was recognized by the U. Though Rocky Marciano is regarded as the only undefeated heavyweight champion, Tunney was also undefeated at heavyweight.
His only loss was as a light heavyweight, and he successfully defended his heavyweight title for two years before his retirement. A Baltimore-born fighter described by Nat Fleischer as the greatest lightweight ever, Joe Gans a newspaper typo that caught on—his real name was Joe Gant was the first ever African-American boxing champion, and an impressive one at that. He held the world lightweight title for seven straight years, from to While often overlooked because of his skin color, perhaps a good assessment of his impact would be the number of boxers named after him in subsequent years.
Gans passed away in from tuberculosis. Amassing one of the most impressive records in history in just a year career, Harry "The Pittsburgh Windmill" Greb was a stocky, powerful fighter who performed well against everyone—even fighters who outweighed him by 30 or 40 pounds. Unfortunately, since he fought in an era with minimal video coverage and few officially sanctioned boxing rules, it is impossible to statistically measure Greb's prowess.
However, by all accounts he was an extraordinary fighter. Widely ranked as one of the two or three greatest middleweights ever, he held that division's championship between and his retirement, earning the first Ring Fighter of the Year award in and following it up with a repeat in He also held the United States Light Heavyweight title and is frequently mentioned as a top 20 heavyweight despite never weighing more than pounds. Though he died in from an improperly administered anesthetic, if newspaper decisions are counted, Greb had more wins than any boxer in history, including Willie Pep.
Originally from Canada, but billed as being from Boston, Sam Langford was perhaps the most unfortunate recipient of the racism that characterized American athletics in the early s. Despite being one of the most dominant fighters of all time , he never had the opportunity to fight for a title—ostensibly for other reasons, but clearly due to racism.
This racism also earned him the most notorious nickname in boxing history, " The Boston Tar Baby. Despite being only 5'6" and a maximum of pounds, Langford was chosen by Nat Fleischer as one of the greatest heavyweights ever. He was famously ducked by Jack Johnson. Forced to retire in due to bad eyesight, Langford languished in poverty and blindness until a article about his plight prompted people to raise enough money to pay for successful eye surgery. Heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey who appears soon on this list said it best when he said, "The hell I feared no man.
There was one man I wouldn't fight because I knew he would flatten me. I was afraid of Sam Langford. Though George Dixon was the first black world champion, and Joe Gans was the first African-American champion, Jack Johnson was the first to win boxing's biggest prize—the undisputed world heavyweight champion.
For this reason, Jack Johnson was perhaps the most significant African-American athlete of his day. He was a defensive, cautious but powerful fighter. For this, he was called "cowardly" and "devious" by the press, but regarded by Gentleman Jim Corbett as "the cleverest man in boxing. Jeffries refused to face black fighters, and it wasn't until , after two years of taunting the new world champion—Canadian Tommy Burns—that he got to fight for the heavyweight title. In , Jeffries came out of retirement to win the title back "for the white race," but Johnson defeated him in "The Fight of the Century" pictured , one of the most important fights ever.
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Johnson, an early "celebrity athlete," spent several years in prison on spurious charges, but during that span he developed a famous invention he later patented. He was an amazing groundbreaker and an American legend and is remembered as such today. Other than Joe Louis' year title reign, Dempsey's reign as heavyweight titleholder is the longest ever. Dempsey was 's Ring Fighter of the Year and also appeared on the cover of Time that year. In a rematch with Tunney later known as "The Long Count Fight," Dempsey knocked down Tunney for 14 seconds, but the ref took a long time to start his count, and Tunney would come back and win the fight on a much more expedient KO count.
Despite this, Dempsey was more aggressive and far more popular than Tunney and arguably deserved to win their second match. These facts, combined with his longer title reign and career, tend to land Dempsey higher than Tunney on most all-time lists, including ESPN's, Ring 's, Bert Sugar's and this one. A six-time champion across four weight classes—lightweight, welterweight, light middleweight and middleweight—Roberto "Hands of Stone" Duran is one of the most feared fighters in history, but who unfortunately will be remembered as much for his famous losses as any of his wins.
However, there's only one reason those losses were so famous—because for many years, nobody could beat Duran. An obscure fighter from Panama, he won his first 31 fights 30 by KO and a world title before he experienced his first loss. He then went on one of boxing's greatest winning streaks, winning his next 41 fights 31 by KO , culminating with a unanimous decision welterweight title win over Sugar Ray Leonard. It was the first and only loss Leonard experienced in his prime.
His next match with Leonard would be his most famous, when he quit in the eighth round, saying, "I don't want to fight with this clown. After that, Duran would win titles at light middleweight and middleweight but was a bit more ordinary and lost some bigger bouts to famous opposition. When he had come down to about three hundred feet he tried to escape by flying in a zig-zag course during which, as is well known, it is difficult for an observer to shoot.
That was my most favorable moment. I followed him at an altitude of from two hundred and fifty feet to one hundred and fifty feet, firing all the time. The Englishman could not help falling. But the jamming of my gun nearly robbed me of my success. My opponent fell, shot through the head, one hundred and fifty feet behind our line.
Despite the German's early lead in combat tactics and their 'Dicta Boelcke', the Allies were not slow to adapt and develop their own tactics. The Royal Flying Corps' Albert Ball was one of a band of pilots who liked to fly solo and he developed 'stalking' tactics for going after enemy two-seaters. He even used his Lewis gun in its top wing adjustable Foster mounting to fire upwards into the underside of unsuspecting enemy aircraft. Mannock expressed this in a list of aerial combat rules that were similar to Boelcke's.
During , aerial reconnaissance patrols had most often been unaccompanied as there had been little if any aerial disputes, between the belligerents. However, just as the Sinai and Palestine Campaign ground war on the Gaza to Beersheba line came to resemble trench warfare on the western front, so too did the air war over southern Palestine come to resemble that being fought over France. The need to know about these fuelled "intense rivalry in the air. However the technically superior German aircraft shot down numbers of EEF aircraft during dog fights.
By the end of the war, the underpowered machines from just ten years prior had been transformed into fairly powerful, swift, and heavily armed fighter planes, and the basic tactics for dogfighting had been laid down. At the beginning of the war, new tactics were developed, most notably in the Luftwaffe Condor Legion. He advised that pairs of aircraft approaching a fight should increase the distance between them instead of holding tight formations, a precursor to the combat spread maneuver.
He also started the practice of training pilots to fly at night, and with instruments only. During the s two different streams of thought about air-to-air combat began to emerge, resulting in two different streams of monoplane fighter development. In Japan and Italy especially, [ citation needed ] there continued to be a strong belief that lightly armed, highly maneuverable single seat fighters would still play a primary role in air-to-air combat. Good maneuverability was not a primary objective. It was widely believed that strategic bombing alone was synonymous with air power ; a fallacy that would not be fully understood until Vietnam.
The need to stop bombers from reaching their targets, or to protect them on their missions, was the primary purpose for most dogfights of the era. Dogfighting was very prominent in the skies over Europe. The air force in France , while a major force during World War I, was inadequate and poorly organized, and quickly fell to the German onslaught. General Wolfram von Richthofen noted that these guns were equally destructive when used for ground fire.
Adolph Malan compiled a list of aerial combat rules that were widely taught to RAF pilots. The German Bf and the British Spitfire were some of the most common fighters used in the European theater. Pulling up into his blind spot I watched his plane grow larger and larger in my sight. But this German pilot was not content to fly straight and level. Before I could open fire his plane slewed to the right, and seeing me on his tail, he jerked back on the stick into the only defensive maneuver his plane could make.
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I banked my 47 over to the right and pulled back on the stick, striving to get him once more into my ring sight. Fighting every second to overcome this blackness about me, I pulled back on the stick, further and further, so that the enemy would just show at the bottom of my ring sight to allow for the correct deflection. We were both flying in a tight circle. Pressing the [trigger] I waited expectantly for the to explode. A section two-feet long broke loose from the right wing as the machine gun cut like a machete through it.
Too low, a little more rudder and the bullets will find his cockpit. I could see occasional strikes further up the wing, but it was too late. The , sensing that I was inside him on the turn, slunk into a nearby cloud. Straightening my plane, I climbed over the top of the bank, and poised on the other side, waiting for him to appear. But the did not appear, and not wishing to tempt the gods of fate further, I pushed my stick forward, entered the protective cover of the clouds, and headed home.
With great desperation, the Soviets fought in dogfights over Leningrad , Moscow , and the Ukraine for more than a year. Fireteam , a triple of aircraft "troika" , has been the main tactical unit used in battles since the beginning of World War II. The analysis and synthesis of fighting experience resulted in a conclusion that group tactics should have been rejected and replaced by action pairs. His famous motto sounded as "Height, speed, maneuver, fire! It became popular in the air armies and was adopted by pilots.
Struggling with morale problems, the Soviets slowly and methodically began to regain air supremacy after the Battle of Stalingrad in The Japanese used the Mitsubishi A6M Zero , an extremely lightweight fighter known for its exceptional range and maneuverability. A pilot who realized that new tactics had to be devised was Lieutenant Commander John S.
He read the early reports coming out of China and wrestled with the problem of his Grumman F4F Wildcats being relatively slower and much less maneuverable than the Japanese planes. Using matchsticks on his kitchen table, he devised a defensive maneuver he called "beam defense position", but commonly called the " Thach Weave. Thach made a diagram of the idea and showed it to other pilots, but in trial-runs people like Butch O'Hare found it difficult to make the shot while, at the same time, evading the two friendly planes coming at him head on.
Although outnumbered, he found that a Zero would lock onto the tail of one of the fighters. In response, the two planes would turn toward each other, with one plane's path crossing in front of the other. More importantly, the pursuer would have to follow that path to maintain pursuit, also crossing in front of the American plane's sights. Thus, when the Zero followed its original target through the turn it would come into a position to be fired on by the target's wingman, and the predator would become the prey. His tactic proved to be effective and was soon adopted by other squadrons. The Thach Weave helped make up for the inferiority of the US planes in maneuverability and numbers, until new aircraft could be brought into service.
This tactic later morphed into the more fluid and versatile "loose-deuce maneuvering" that was to prove useful in the Vietnam war. Another effective maneuver used by the U. Technology advanced extremely fast during World War II in ways that would change dogfighting forever.
THE CRUSADES TO THE HOLY LAND
Jet propulsion had been demonstrated long before the war, by German engineer Hans von Ohain in , and by British engineer Frank Whittle in The British were testing a jet that same year, the Gloster Meteor , which would later see action in the Korean War. Although U. Other prime inventions of the era include radar and air-to-air missiles. Enemy pilots were construed as weak and evil. This was especially true for the U. Air Force. The Chinese began supplying North Korea with troops and provisions, and the war quickly resumed.
The U. Used mainly in the close air support role, Mustangs were more vulnerable to being shot down and many were lost due to anti-aircraft fire.
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