Catch-22 Chapters 12-16 Summary

Chapter twelve takes place before Clevinger is killed. It is about the long wait the men had leading up to the bombing raid on Bologna. The men are very afraid of this particular bombing run because the Italian troops are entrenched around Bologna. The one thing they have on their side is the rain. It is raining either at the base in Pianosa or in Bologna, and they cannot fly if it is raining. To further delay the bombing raid, Yossarian has the cook put laundry detergent in the food to make the men too sick to fly. Yossarian moves the bombing line on the map in the intelligence tent and fools everyone into thinking the city has been captured by the Allies. General Peckem is given an award for the capture of the city even though he had nothing to do with its capture.

In chapter thirteen Major _______de Coverley's duties in the squadron are spelled out. His duties are to play horseshoes, kidnap laborers, and attain apartments for the men. Every time a city was taken, the Major would go to the city and rent two apartments for the men to use for rest and recreation. Major_____de Coverley would also manage to be on hand for the publicity that followed such a victory.

Yossarian had a problem resulting from a bombing run that didn't go according to plan. He and his squadron were supposed to destroy a bridge over the Po River on the first bombing run, but instead it took two runs at the bridge. Colonel Cathcart was upset by this second run and wondered how he would write up a report about it that would not reflect badly on himself. The solution was to give Yossarian a medal for bravery and to promote him to Captain, making it look like a heroic act and not a mistake.

The powers that be eventually discovered Yossarian's deception and decided the bombing run must go on. Because he was convinced the bombing run to Bologna was a suicide run, Yossarian had sabotaged his jack-box intercom system. He then proceeded to tell the pilot, Kid Sampson, that the plane must turn back because he cannot hear directions from the cockpit. They jubilantly turned back to the base. The jubilation was cut short once the plane had landed because the squadron was for all intents and purposes deserted since everyone else was still on the bombing run. The men felt desolate and uneasy at being the only plane to turn back. Yossarian decided to go to the beach and relax. He woke up to the sound of the returning planes, and saw that all of the planes had returned after successfully bombing Bologna. The anticipated flak never materialized.

Yossarian was reprimanded before the whole squadron for having his plane turn back. He was also told he would be in the lead bombardier with McWatt when the squadron returned the next day to bomb the ammunition dumps at Bologna. He found himself surrounded by flak being shot at his plane as they flew straight for the ammunition dump. He was scared and sure they were all going to die. Luckily, McWatt had nerves of steel and flew directly towards the ammunition dump to drop their payload of bombs. This is when the trouble starts. First, the plane is fired upon from all sides. Second, the navigator, Aarfy, decides to become the biggest nuisance possible to Yossarian. As they are desperately trying to avoid the flak a piece of shrapnel tears a whole in the bottom of the plane destroying Aarfy's maps which create a confetti shower around Yossarian and Aarfy. As they watch planes go down, Yossarian is made aware that Orr's plane is missing. It is finally spotted flying on only one engine desperately trying to return to base. After all the other planes make it back, Orr makes a successful crash landing at the base.

After Orr's safe return, Yossarian and his friends go to Rome for some rest. There he meets up with Luciana, a girl who promises to dance and eat with him but not have sex with him at least not until the next morning. He finds her fun and infuriating at the same time, but eventually does allow her to have her way. He also finds out that she had been hurt during a bombing raid on the city which causes him to feel guilty because it was the Americans who bombed the city. He wants to marry her but she refuses saying that he is crazy to want to marry a girl who is not a virgin.

At the apartment in the morning after being with Luciana, Hungry Joe accidently walks in on them, which causes Yossarian to panic. Hungry Joe is always trying to take pictures of women undressed. He used to be a proffessional photographer, but now he is just a man who wants to take pictures of naked women. Yossarian manages to keep Hungry Joe out of the room long enough for Luciana to get dressed. They part on amicable terms but she is realistic and knows he will not see her again. Yossarian is lost without her and tries without success to find her.

Nately, who is also in Rome with Yossarian, is distraught because the woman he loves will only be with him if he pays her. He has run out of money so she refuses to see him until he comes up with more money. In the end Yossarian decides to go back to the squadron but first he leaves as much money as he can for Nately.

These chapters show us what is behind the fa├žade of Yossarian. He is scared to die and will do anything to prevent it. He is kind and benevolent to his fellow soldiers. He is capable of great tenderness when it involves Luciana. Heller reminds us that war is a time for mixed emotions.

Related Links:

The Catch-22 Chapters 17-21 Summary
Catch-22 Chapters 22-26 Summary
Catch-22 Quiz
Catch-22 Summary
Literature Summaries

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