Box Seat Over Hell: The true story of America’s Liaison Pilots and their light planes in World War Two is the story of courageous men and their romance with the sky… of men who flew in combat armed only with a pistol and attacked the enemy in aircraft made of tubing, wires and fabric. Box Seat Over Hell was written by Alamo Liaison Group founder Hardy Cannon.
Box Seat Over Hell appeals to the flying community at-large, those interested in WWII, commercial and general aviation pilots, military pilots and personnel, aviation historians, and of course aspiring young aviators with an appetite for glory. Well over one hundred thousand readers since its first printing.
The first liaison group formed was the 25th Liaison Squadron, comprised of thirty-two airplanes, enough sergeants to fly them, fifteen officers, one hundred enlisted men to maintain the planes, and assorted necessary pieces of equipment. The only thing the 25th lacked was a description of its mission. They were not artillery spotters and they were not supposed to be aerial ambulances… they were simply “liaison,” a catch-all word in the Army that can mean anything.
Grasshopper pilots not only handled some of the most difficult missions of the war, they also handled some of the most treacherous and hair raising. They flew in every theatre: from the desert when, in the super heated air, it was a real struggle to get airborne; in the arctic, where they fought to stay on course though williwaws and boreal storms, and where if they got lost they were almost guaranteed a frigid death. They flew over jungles with aircraft so overloaded they barely maintained altitude, with engines screaming, to clear the tree tops. These pilots were not the “glory boys” of the Air Corps. They were never given the recognition or the medals of the bomber pilots…. In the process, they succeeded in turning their flimsy crates into one of the most useful tools of the air war.
Alamo Liaison Squadron extends its sincere appreciation to Mrs. Sarah Cannon (widow of Hardy Cannon who passed away in 1993) for graciously granting ALS the rights to this valuable literary work honoring the men who flew these storied aircraft. Box Seat Over Hell is now republished with ISBN 978-0615178974.
This is the true story of America’s World War II Liaison aircraft and the brave men who flew and maintained them. From training bases in the States to combat areas in Europe, Asia and across the Pacific, these L-Bird missions were vital to the war effort. These light, unarmed aircraft were flown under extreme conditions from decks of ships, narrow roads, unprepared fields, wherever and whenever needed. Read about General Patton’s use of an L-Bird, how one of the “Grasshoppers” downed an Me 109, how a Liaison pilot downed a German Storch with his .45 Colt.
The reader is in for some surprises… most of us know the designations of the L-Birds but how many know that Monocoupe built some. The research by author Cannon and his friend Bill Stratton has resulted in a book you will not want to put down until you’ve read it all. This book is long overdue and is guaranteed to bring the respect so well-deserved by everyone involved in the wartime operations of L-Birds. – Gene Chase, Vintage Airplane magazine, January 1987.
The Box Seat Over Hell book is available for any donation of $18 or more (+$5 shipping, continental U.S. only) directly from Alamo Liaison Squadron. For international shipping, please email us.
The Box Seat Over Hell book and L-Bird DVD can be purchased as a set for just $39.95 (+$5 shipping, continental U.S. only) directly from Alamo Liaison Squadron.