A WWII B-24 bomber painted as a Judas Goat.

While my forthcoming novel, Down a Dark Road, isn’t, strictly speaking, part of the When Heroes Flew series, that doesn’t mean it will be devoid of aviation action.

Quite the contrary, besides slogging along with a U.S. infantry platoon through Germany and Austria during the closing days of WWII in Europe, you’re going to encounter Judas Goats (garishly painted B-24s) and German jets (Messerschmitt Me 262s).

A WWII German fighter jet, the Messerschmitt Me-262.

You’re also going to get to know, for better or for worse, a Luftwaffe pilot who doesn’t want to give up his pursuit of an American flyer even after the two have parachuted from their doomed airplanes.

The novel, overall, is based on the true exploits of a young U. S. Army lieutenant from Oregon, Jim Thayer, who, just days prior to the German surrender, leads his platoon into a shadowy forest near Gunskirchen, Austria, in search of an enemy ammo depot. Instead of a depot, they stumble into something entirely different—the living hell of a Nazi death camp, a gruesome spectacle that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

2nd Lt. James B. Thayer, ca 1945.

Jim’s orders prevent him from pursuing the camp commandant, a brutal SS officer, but he gives tacit approval to a unique group of volunteers to give chase. Their pursuit, through the rugged Austrian Alps, ends in violence and a tragedy no one could have foreseen.

Down a Dark Road, May 9, 2023.


  1. Edd Lawhon on September 30, 2022 at 12:48 am

    Buzz, I can hardly wait for this release. We were blessed to meet with you and Barb for breakfast.

  2. Gary L Youngs (CW3 retired) on July 6, 2023 at 5:05 pm

    Just finished the first book of When hero’s flew and have started “The Shangri-La Raiders”. I feel somewhat close to some of the places you write about. My father (U.S. Army) had a large part in the construction of the Casper Air Field, prior to transferring to Kearney Nebraska to be in charge of the construction of the Air Field there. I attended the University of Idaho, spent one summer working on a survey crew for the construction of highway US 12 through the primitive area along the Lochsa river. Had a girl friend from Spokane that went to Whitman (and then we went our separate ways) Had a good friend from Kellog where I spent a few very enjoyable long weekends. Never had to live in North Africa but did spend 12 years in the sticks of Saudi Arabia, so can identify with the flies. Also have enjoyed many a bottle of Schwarze Katz while stationed in Germany. Honeymooned with my German bride for a week along the Moselle River. Like I said, I could really identify with some of the locations.

Leave a Comment