MISSION 92 - BRASOV AARs
316th BS (LEAD)
SATIN DOLL, First flight, Lead aircraft (Group Leader)
Bombed target, 30%. Returned without damage or casualties. Claims: 3 Me-109s by SSgt. Roundtree, 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Eggers and 1 Me-109 shared by TSgt. Davidson and SSgt. Roundtree.
A big mission for the Doll, leading the group on a long run to Romania. Thanks to the excellent coverage of the 31st & 52nd FGs we didn’t have any E/A get close until just after crossing the Romanian border. Our newly assigned bombardier, Lt. Eggers fired a long burst from the nose .50 into a Me-109 sweeping down at us from 12 high. He must have hit something vital because the Kraut disappeared in a burst of flame and smoke. Sgts. Davidson and Rountree each claimed good hits on an FW-190 diving on us from directly above. The combined firepower of the top turret and radio room guns blasted that Wulf into confetti.
About 40 miles from the target, a mixed bag of E/A tried to make a break through the fighter cover. The Mustang Jockeys bagged a Me-110 trying to slip in under us, and an FW-190 at 10:30 high. Lt. Eggers again fired a long burst at another Me-109 at 12 high, this time missing his mark. SSgt. Rountree scored some good hits on the E/A, causing him to break off trailing heavy smoke.
Nearing the IP, the Little Friends knocked another FW-190 out of the fight, while Lt. Eggers and SSgt. Rountree both fired at and missed another Me-109 at 12 high. Fortunately, the enemy pilot didn’t do any better and broke off after a quick, ineffective pass.
Flak over the target area was light as briefed. While the Romanian gunners didn't come close to the Doll, Jeff Dunlop’s Minnesota Minx wasn’t so lucky. They broke from the formation just before the target, trailing flames from the starboard wing. Sgts. Maust and Walker counted ten good chutes. Lt. Eggers put 30% of the load into the middle of the oil refinery complex with good effect, causing multiple secondary explosions.
Rallying off the target a gaggle of Me-109s and an FW-190 tried to split our defenses. The escort swatted the FW-190 and one of the Me-109s out of the sky. Lt. Eggers missed the Me-109 at 12 high, but SSgt. Rountree didn’t. His twin .50s clawed into the fighter, shredding its wings and sending it down spinning crazily. Sgts. Maust and Tibbs scored hits on their Me-109 at 3 level, causing him to break off trailing smoke.
Nearing the border, another trio of Me-109s swung in on us. This time a pair of those Fork-Tailed Angels from the 1st FG dispatched two of them while SSgt. Rountree pasted the Me-109 at 12 high.
Things quieted down again, until we were nearing the Yugoslavian coast. A pair of Me-109s made a run at us from from 6 and 12 high. Just as Sgt. Walker was lining up the Hun at 6 high, a P-38 blasted him from the sky. SSgt. Rountree scored a hat trick by plastering another Me-109 at 12 high.
The rest of the run home was quiet and we brought the Doll back to Pops Hardison and the boys with no damage.
- Capt. William M. Patrick, Pilot, AC# 42-11806, Satin Doll, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
MINNESOTA MINX, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Did not bomb target. Shot down by flak during bomb run 4 miles NE of Brasov; 10 POWs.
AC# 43-8977, Minnesota Minx, was hit by flak on the run in to the target causing the starboard wing to catch fire; ten chutes were observed.
- From debriefing reports from returned crews, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
GINGER SNAP, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 94%. Returned with minor superficial damage and no casualties.
We encountered no enemy fighter opposition the entire route to the target, thanks in large part to the excellent fighter cover.
Flak over the target was very light and inaccurate. Lt. McClain achieved a near perfect bomb drop. Our ball turret gunner estimated that every bomb in our string hit the target.
A few single engine fighters got through the escort screen on the way home. They made rater ineffective passes before being driven off by our gunners.
Landing was routine and uneventful.
- Captain Harold Snakenburg, Pilot, Ginger Snap, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
ICE QUEEN, Second flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned battered but repairable (124 damage points) and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 & 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Holst.
Lots of enemy activity prior to and over the I.P. and target, coming off the bomb run mixed fighter types attacked us again. We were then chased for 100 miles after the bomb run. Our boys destroyed two and damaged four German fighters. USAAF fighters downed an Me-110 and an Fw-190. The Germans killed one of our own. The rest of the trip was uneventful.
- 1st Lt. L. Zurn, Pilot, Ice Queen, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
SLEDGEHAMMER II, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with #2 engine feathered, radio destroyed, superficial damage to the radio compartment and to the tail plane and no casualties. Claims: 1 Bf-109 apiece by SSgt. Parsons and Sgt. Hampton.
Mission #92 started off with the crew in an energetic mood - they really wanted to get the mission done so they could enjoy a 3-day pass in town. Things were quiet for most of the mission, due to the excellent fighter cover, what few enemy fighters appeared were driven off by friendly fighters.
Just short of the target the Sledge II was hit by the "light" flak, which resulted in a very small hole in the tailplane. However, this was enough to throw Gilmour’s aim off, and our bombs appeared to fall wide of the mark.
On the trip hope, several waves of Bf-109s attacked, with one being downed by Cliff Hampton, the temporary guy in the tail gunner position, and another shot down by Alan Parsons in the top turret. This attack, however, resulted in Engine #2 being knocked out along with our radio.
Fortunately, the bombs were already gone, so we were able to stay in formation. A few more halfhearted fighter attacks were driven off by our guns or the escorts. The Germans just didn’t seem to have their heart in the fight this mission.
The landing was a perfect touchdown and the crew felt they had done a good job, despite the poor bombing results.
- 1st Lt. Rick Springfield, Pilot, Sledgehammer II, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
399th BS (MIDDLE)
DIMESTORE GIRL, Third flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with damage to the oxygen system, minor structural damage to the port tail plane and no casualties.
Easy mission. Very few encounters with enemy aircraft, hit target with 60% of bombs. Suffered one hit from flak (one hit to oxygen system) and one hit from formation defensive fire (damage to port tail plane root). No enemy aircraft damaged or shot down, none of DIMESTORE GIRL'S crew injured or killed.
- 1st Lt. Stanford Palmer, Pilot, Dimestore Girl, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
HIT 'N RUN, Third flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with #4 engine feathered, superficial damage to both wings, and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Blong; 1 Me-109 shared by SSgt. McBride and Sgt. Taylor.
First encountered bandits over Yugoslavia, north of Mostar (zone-3). Two 109s were driven off by fighter cover. Engineer Arnold McBride damaged a 109 (FCA-1), and tail gunner Phil Taylor damaged a 109 (FBOA-2). McBride and Taylor combined on a shared kill of a 109 north of Zenua (zone-5). Radio Operator James Glad damaged a 190 (FCA-1) out of a vertical dive just prior to the bomb run.
The flak over the refinery was light, but we sustained superficial damage to both wings (discovered after landing). Black dropped 40% of our bombs on the refinery, then we were immediately jumped by three fighter waves. The first two waves were taken care of by our fighter cover, the third wave broke through. A shell from a 109 took out engine #4. Navigator Blong downed a 109, and tail gunner Taylor damaged another 109 (FCA-1).
No other fighters were seen the rest of the way back to base.
- 2nd Lt. Mike Compton, Pilot, Hit 'N Run, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
317th BS (HIGH)
CARDINAL EXPRESS, First flight, Left aircraft
GROUP SPARE - Took place of Sand Hawk, High Squadron, First Flight, Lead Aircraft during group formation. Bombed target, 20%. Ran out of fuel during inbound journey and ditched off the island of Vis (zone-2). Ten surviving crew members were able to deploy the raft and paddle to the island; 2 lightly wounded crewmen. Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-110 by SSgt. Booth, 1 Me109 shared by SSgt. Booth and SSgt. Spritz, and 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Dauer.
AC#43-8987, First flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with the port flaps inoperable, damage to the control cables, superficial damage to the #1 engine, fuselage, bomb bay, waist and pilots’ compartments and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-110 by 2nd Lt. Ito.
At the Yugoslav/Romania Border (zone-6) - Encountered two (2) waves of fighters. The first wave consisted of two (2) ME-109s and one (1) ME-110. One Me-109 was chased away by fighters from the 31st Fighter Group. The other two both missed the bomber and didn’t return. The second wave consisted of three (3) ME-110s. Again fighters from the 31st Fighter Group were able to chase away two ME-110s coming in before they were able to attack. The lone fighter continued on from 12 o’clock LOW, missed the bomber and didn’t return.
Over Central Romania (zone-7) - Encountered one (1) wave of fighters consisting of two (2) ME-109s and one (1) ME-110. Fighters from the 52nd Fighter Group were able to chase away one ME-109 and the ME-110 before they were able to attack. The top turret manned by SSgt. Honda was able to damage the ME-109 causing it to miss the bomber and not return.
Approaching target (zone-8) - Two (2) waves of fighters attacked the plane. The first consisting of Fw-190 and two (2) ME-109s coming in. One ME-109 coming in from 1:30 level was hit by 2nd Lt. Ito causing it to miss the bomber and it not return. The Fw-190 and the Me-109 came in from 3 o’clock LEVEL were able to hit the plane: the FW-190 hit four times, once in the starboard wing once in the bomb bay, and twice in the waist. The hit to the wing hit the #1 engine but was superficial since there wasn’t any engine failure at that time. The hit to the bomb bay was superficial in nature. The hit to the waist caused minor injury to Sgt. Masumoto but seriously injured Sgt. Isotaka. The ME-109 was able to hit the plane three (3) times: twice in the fuselage causing minor damage and once to the pilots’ compartment. The hit to the pilots’ compartment seriously injured SSgt. Honda. The FW-190 was able to come back at 10:30 LEVEL and the ME-109 was able to come back at 12 o’clock high. Both missed the bomber on there second pass and didn’t return. The second wave consisted of four (4) ME-109s coming in from 12 o’clock high, level and low and 9 o’clock high. The one coming in from 9 o’clock was the only one to hit the plane the other three missed and didn’t return. The ME-109 hit the plane once in the radio room causing damage to the control cables for the bomber. The fighter returned and attacked from 1:30 level but it missed the bomber and didn't return.
OVER TARGET (zone-8) - Encountered light flak but was still hit once in the causing the port wing flap to be inoperable. It also caused us to be off target getting none of the bombs within the target ring.
Leaving target (zone-8) - One (1) ME-110 attacked the bomber doing a Vertical Climb but was driven off by fighters from the 1st Fighter group before it was able to attack.
Over Central Romania (zone-7) - Two (2) ME-110s
attacked the bomber coming in low from ahead. One coming in from 12 o’clock
was shot down by 2nd Lt. Ito before it was able to attack and it caused the
second one to flee and not return.
Southeast of Belgrade, Yugoslavia (zone-5) - Two (2) waves of fighters attack the bomber. The first consisting of two (2) ME-109s coming in from ahead; both were chased away by fighters from the 1st Fighter Group before they were able to attack. The second wave consisted of ME-109 and an ME-110 coming in from; again fighters from the 1st Fighter Group were able to chase away the attackers before they were able to hit the bomber.
Approaching Adriatic coast line over Yugoslavia (zone-3) - Two (2) FW-190s attack the bomber from 10:30 and 3 o’clock; again fighters from the 1st Fighter Group were able to chase them away before they were able to attack.
Able to land without incident.
- 1st Lt. Mickey Akiyama, Pilot, AC#43-8987, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
EAGLE ONE, First flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with the port flaps and tail turret, damage to the tail wheel, to the port waist and tail oxygen systems, structural damage to the starboard wing root, superficial damage to the radio, tail and pilots’ compartments, (81 Peckham Damage points) and 1 light casualty. Claims: 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Rim.
Outbound to the target the we only saw a handful of Jerries who put a couple of holes in our bomber. Our ball gunner did make a 109 pay by sending him home trailing smoke . . . but overall it was pretty quiet on the way out.
As we reached the target zone . . . our gunners really started getting the range on the German fighters who now showed up in a little more force. Sgt. Rim down in the ball turret definitely sent a 110 spiraling down in flames. One of our new guys on the port gun put a hurting on a 190 . . . but nobody saw him go down . . . just a lot a pieces flying off the German fighter.
As the Jerries pulled away as we got closer to the target . . . our briefing about light flak was welcome . . . right up until the time we started taking hits from it. One of them put a large chunk of metal in our Radio Operator’s foot. The others damaged the starboard wing root, took out the tail wheel and port flap, and damaged both tail gunner and port gunner oxygen systems.
About this time we let loose the bombs and estimated a 30% success rate and turned for home.
Here come the fighters again. Sgt. Rim in the ball turret damaged a 110 while Don Parker in the tail shot up another one . . . although nobody saw them go down. They Jerries managed to punch a few more holes in the Eagle and then finally knocked out the tail turret . . . although Parker was alright.
After that . . . it was even quieter on the way home than it was on the way out. Didn’t see a single enemy plane.
Lieutenant Decker made what was probably the best landing he’s made so far . . . it was perfect. Much like a mission when you come up with everybody alive.
- 2nd Lt. Keith Gibson, Co-Pilot, Eagle One, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
CHARLENE, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with superficial damage to the nose, bomb bay and tail compartments, and no casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s by 2nd Lt. Langdon & 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Graff.
Today’s mission is the oil refinery at Brasov, Romania continuing the campaign against the Reich’s oil supply. Take off at 7 AM and form up at 4000 feet went as planned. We then flew at 23,000 feet to San Marcos to rendezvous with the 301st and the 463rd BG.
We encountered no enemy aircraft until we were nearly to the Romanian border. At that point we were attacked by four ME-109s. Two of these planes were driven off by the the 52nd FG. The two remaining planes came at us from 12 o’clock and were driven off by the fine shooting of our top turret and chin gunners.
We continued on thru Romania without incident until we got closer to the target zone. We were then attacked by by two separate waves of fighters. The first wave consisted of two ME-109s. One was driven off by the 325th FG. The other was fired upon by our top turret and chin gunners, both of whom missed. The enemy craft also missed.
The second wave of fighters was made up of five FW-190s. One was driven off by our fighters. One attacked from 9 o’clock high and was hit by our recently returned port waist gunner Sgt. Paulson. This fighter continued his attack by missed with his return fire. An enemy fighter attacking from 12 o’clock high was fired upon by the top turret and chin turret guns, both of whom missed. This fighter also missed. One FW-190 came at us from 1:30 high and was fired upon by the starboard cheek gun which missed. This fighter also missed. The final FW-190 we encountered in this wave came at us from 6 o’clock high. The tail and radio gunners both missed. This fighter hit us with it’s offensive fire and caused superficial damage to our bomb bay and tail. This fighter came at us again from 6 o’clock level and our tail gunner missed him. This fighter then returned fire and missed.
Over the target zone, we were attacked by four ME-109s. One was driven off by fighters, and another attacked from 9 o’clock high. Our gunner and the enemy aircraft both missed. The other two planes attacked from 12 low and 12 high. Our ball gunner, Sgt. Graff, shot down the plane at 12 low. Our top turret and chin gunners attacked the plane at 12 high and both missed. The enemy plane also missed. So far a lot of lead in the sky but little damage.
Flak was light and ineffective. We were on target and estimate 20% of our bombs hit the refinery complex.
As we turned for home, we were greeted by several waves of planes. Friendly fighters drove off an ME-109 attacking from 10:30 high. Our ball gunner damaged an ME-110 coming at us from below. In the next wave, 2nd Lt. Langdon shot down an ME-109 from the chin turret, but another coming at us from 12 low scores two hits after the ball gunner missed him. These two hits caused minor damage to the nose section. This e/a then came at us from 12 level and was shot down by 2nd Lt. Langdon, his second in just a few minutes. Another ME-109 attacking from 9 o’clock high was damaged by port waist gunner Sgt. Paulson and broke off his attack. A fourth ME-109 came at us from 12 o'clock high but both the top turret and the enemy plane missed.
We encountered no more resistance until we were about to cross the Yugoslav border. It was here that two ME-110s met their match courtesy of the P-38s of the 1st Fighter Group.
We continued the flight home without further incident and landed safely at Sterparone Field.
- 1st Lt. Raymond Keller, Pilot, Charlene, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
DOUBLE TROUBLE, Second flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with damage to the tail compartment’s oxygen system, superficial damage to the nose, waist and pilots’ compartments, and 4 casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-109s by SSgt. Courtney.
We all got into our positions and took off with a feeling of uncertainty after missing out on the last flight. We crossed the Adriatic and the coast of Yugoslavia with no problems.
Over central Yugoslavia (zone-4) the sky started to come alive with enemy aircraft but between our fighter cover and the formation none of them got close enough to us to identify.
That all changed north of Belgrade (zone-5) when it looked like we were going to get hit by four 109s but at least our little friends chased one off. While SSgt. Courtney in the top turret claims to have destroyed one and our bombardier, Lt. Shoemaker, claims to have damaged another and in the end the remaining 2 flew past us without hits being scored.
After crossing the Yugoslav/Romanian border (zone-6), 3 more planes had lined up and were heading our way. Little friends drove off a 190 that was coming in at 12 o’clock high but the other 2 kept coming. One of the 109 hit us pretty good wounding our navigator, Lt. McHugh, again as he was just back after being wounded just 5 days ago. But the enemy pilot wasn’t done as he also hit our port waist gunner, Sgt. Jones, for a serious wound. When he came around again it hit us just for superficial damage and the third time around, SSgt. Courtney claims he damaged him which all we know as he didn’t come around again; at least, we all thought for sure, that he had our number.
Midway over Romania (zone-7) was handled by our little friends and we took stock of our position as we headed into the Target Zone.
Good thing we got into a tight formation as it was looking like a lot of enemy fighters were over the target but at the last minute they seemed to pull up and waited for us to drop our bombs. Light flak over the target did some light damage and the only thing of note was 1 hit to the tail gunner’s oxygen supply. Lt. Shoemaker dropped his bombs on target in what we hoped was a 30% drop of bombs on target.
Coming out of the bomb run and heading home those enemy fighters who let us in were in no mood to let us get home after watching the damage we had just done. Five enemy aircraft lined up on us from above and all around the compass. SSgt. Courtney destroyed a 190 before he could hit us and Sgt. Smith, Mark our tail gunner, damaged another. In turn the 190s caused 3 hits of no major damage throughout the plane but SSgt. Courtney took a light wound. The other 2 waves we got through them with the help of everyone around us that keep us in the clear.
Not ’till nearing the coastline (zone-3) did we see anyone (e/a) come close and again our little friends drove one e/a off while the 2 other 190s missed us just as we miss them.
In the end I brought the plane in and hoped for the best for a timely recovery of our wounded and was just glad that Sgt. Jones, Wayne, will live to see home. We started out with a lot of Double names in our crew and in the end I wonder how many of the original crew will be left or did we push our luck naming our ride the way we did.
- 2nd Lt. Paul Schultz Jr., Pilot, B-17G SN#43-8988, Double Trouble, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
INDISCREET, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Fell out-of-formation after bomb run. Returned alone with only 1 engine, rafts destroyed, the nose compartment heating system and auto-pilot inoperable, damage to the rudder, superficial damage to the starboard wing, to the port aileron, to the fuselage, to the nose, radio, tail and pilots’ compartments, and 4 casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-109 by SSgt. O’Shay, 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Roberts, 1 Fw-190 & Me-110 by 2nd Lt. Hardwick, 1 Me-109 & Me-110 by Sgt. Smyth, 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Lewis and 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Fisher.
The first mission for Indiscreet began well. The aircraft avoided attack until we were deep into Yugoslavia. There we were attacked by a group of four FW-190s. Two were driven off by fighter protection. O’Shay and Fisher both fired at the third aircraft, with Fisher getting no hits and O’Shay destroying the a/c. Roberts and Young both fired on the remaining aircraft. Neither made any apparent hits on the enemy, and the enemy scored no hits on our a/c. We experienced no further attacks until we were nearly at the target. Then things began to go sour.
While approaching the target we were twice attacked by enemy fighters. The first attack consisted of two ME-110. Fighter protection drove off one. Although Roberts managed hits on the other ME-110, the enemy pilot pressed his attack. Fortunately, he managed no hits on our a/c. Immediately after that attack, two ME-109s attacked from the front. Our gunners scored no hits. It was at this point our luck began to sour. One of the enemy a/c scored hits in the nose--knocking out the heat at the navigator and bombardier positions--and destroying our #1 engine. The prop was feathered and we were able to maintain our position in the formation. Before conditions up front got too unbearable, Lewis managed to drop our load, scoring a 30% on our run.
As we began our trip home, things went from bad to worse. Derry chose to remain at altitude and in formation for maximum protection. I knew Lewis and Hardwick were having a rough time of it without any heat but they understood what we were up against. They both said they would rather stay with the group and deal with the cold temperatures than risk going it alone out-of-formation. In spite of remaining with the formation and the presence of our fighter cover, the German attacks were extremely aggressive. While in formation we were attacked by four ME-109s. We took several minor hits (the bomb bay that destroyed our rubber rafts; a superficial hit to the cockpit; the rudder took a hit) and a major hit which knocked out our #3 engine. We were unable to feather the prop. At this point we were forced out-of-formation and had to drop our altitude to 10,000 feet.
We were attacked by an ME-109 and a FW-190. Several friendlies provided assistance and drove off the first attack but during their second attack the FW-190 eluded our fighter protection and was destroyed by Hardwick. We were then attacked by 2 ME-110s. One was driven off by fighter protection, Smyth got a hit on the second which continued to attack with no hits on our a/c. The 110s made a second attack. Smyth scored another hit. During this attack we lost our auto-pilot, took another hit to the rudder and a superficial hit to the tail. The 110s came back yet again. This time Smyth destroyed one of the enemy a/c, and Fisher got the other a/c.
The next attack consisted of an ME-109 and an ME-110. Friendlies chased them off before they got close enough to fire on us but they came back for another pass. Fighter protection drove off the 110 but the 109 got through. Young and Roberts both fired at the ME-109 with Roberts getting the kill. The 110 came in for another attack and slipped past our fighter protection and was destroyed by Hardwick.
We were attacked by another ME-110. Fighter protection drove him off once, then he was able to make two passes on us. He scored no hits on us, Smyth managed to get a hit on him.
In addition to attacks by enemy a/c, we had also been drawing flak but the flak gunners hadn't been a serious threat up to this time. But as we neared the Romania/Yugoslavia border we took a minor flak hit. We suffered superficial damage on the port aileron and on the starboard wing. Radio Operator Richard Taylor was hit by shrapnel and killed. At the same time we were also being attacked by four 109s. Fighter protection managed to temporarily tie up one of them but the other three got through, with one scoring hits. One hit got into the controls but did only minimal damage, the other hit came through the cockpit, killing Pilot James Derry. O’Shay moved Derry’s body out of the cockpit; I took over the pilots position and I ordered O’Shay to act as co-pilot but to man the top turret as necessary. The 109s came around for another pass. The crew managed to destroy three of the attackers: Lewis destroyed one, O’Shay another, and Smyth the third. The fourth 109 scored a superficial hit on the cockpit then made yet another pass on us, scoring multiple hits, knocking out the top turret and inflicting a minor injury on O’Shay.
A short time later a lone FW-190 took a run at us. On his first pass he was driven off by our fighter cover, then made two passes at us with no hits. Then three more 190s appeared. Two attacked, scoring no hits on us; the third was destroyed by Roberts.
We ran into three more 190s. The first failed to score any hits on us, the second and third scored only superficial hits.
As we approached the coast of the Adriatic a group of three ME-109s tried to attack us but fortunately our fighter cover drove them off. But our bad luck continued; just as left range of the German anti-aircraft over the Adriatic we lost our #4 engine. Since we were relatively safe from enemy attack I ordered everything overboard that wasn't tied down. We limped back to base on our #3 engine. The landing was difficult but we managed to get down without incident.
- 2nd Lt. Shaun Parker, Co-Pilot, Indiscreet, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
399th BS (HIGH)
LAURALEE II, Third flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with bomb controls and the nose compartment heating system inoperable, superficial damage to nose and waist compartments, and 1 battle casualty and 2 cases of frostbite. Claims: 1 Fw-190 shared by 1st Lt. Hickman and MSgt. Ross
A much easier time of it than the Bucharest mission, thanks to better protection from our Little Friends. The first enemy a/c were sighted over Yugoslavia, but we were not attacked until just before we reached the target area, when two Fw-190s made a run at us from 3 o'clock.
Over target, flak was light, and more enemy a/c attacked us. One coming up on our nose was hit hard by our chin and top turrets, and seen to fall away in flames. As a result of the light flak, we were able to hit the target with about a third of our bombs hitting near the aiming point.
As we turned for home, though, a 190 attacking from the front hit us, seriously wounding Sgt. Newlin, damaging the bomb controls, and knocking the heat out in the nose. I decided to stay with the formation for our safety; this appeared to be the correct decision, as we were not attacked the rest of the way home.
I regret the loss of Sgt. Newlin, and our new man, 2nd Lt. Collins; both men will be invalided home due to injuries. As always, we stand ready for further action.
- Capt. Shaun Hill, Pilot, Lauralee II, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
CROSTOWN BUS, Third flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 10%. Returned with the tail
turret destroyed, the rudder and the starboard tailplane elevator inoperable,
minimal superficial damage to the port wing, waist and tail sections and 2 light
casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Page and 1 Fw-190 by Sgt.
Take off and assembly was completed on time. The P-51s escorting us seemed to keep most of the enemy fighter off our backs. During our passage north of Belgrade (zone-5), our Bombardier, Lt. Page, shot down an Me-109 that broke through the fighter cover. Another flight of four Me-109s came at us. Two were chased off by the Mustangs and two made runs at us with no damage scored.
Going into the target we received light flak and took some superficial damage to the port wing. 2nd Lt. Page was able to hit our target with 20% of our load. Passing out of the target area was more light flak, but no we took no damage.
Shortly after our escorts of Mustangs handed off their duties to some P-38s at the border (zone-6), we got jumped by three Fw-190s. One was driven off by the P-38s and two came at us from 6 o’clock. Sgt. Lawrence shot one down at 6 o’clock level. The second one at 6 o’clock high came after us with a fury scoring hits in the tail section. On its first pass it knocked out starboard tailplane elevator, damaged the rudder and lightly wounded Sgt. Lawrence. It made a second pass at us from 6 o’clock doing more damage to the rudder knocking it out of operation. The tail guns were knocked out as well. The waist section took minor hits.
After crossing back into Yugoslavia (zone-5) an Me-109 came up at us from 3 o’clock low, but it was damaged by Sgt. Garcia. The fighter scored no hits on us. We had no other threats for the rest of the flight home.
Landing at the base was a bit tricky with the rudder out, but we returned fine.
- 2nd Lt. George Fishman, Pilot, Crosstown Bus, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
318th BS (LOW)
SCREWBIRD'S GIFTS, First flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with 1 superficial
damage hit (5 damage points) and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109
apiece by MSgt. Chrisman and SSgt. Owens and 1 Me-110s apiece by 1st Lt. Robbins
and SSgt. Stallard.
Lucky run; only had a few e/a that made it thru the excellent fighter cover. Also the excellent shooting of our crew kept us safe. We hit the target for 30% damage.
RAIDEN MAIDEN, First flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with port flaps and
top turret inoperable, superficial damage to the port wing, fuselage, nose,
waist and pilots’ compartments (38
Peckham Damage) and 1 casualty. Claims: 1
Fw-190 apiece by Sgts. Hooper & Harlan and 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Decker.
We took off through a clear sky and successfully formed on the low squadron behind Ficklin in Screwbird’s Gifts. Everything on plane was in operational order. Headed over the Adriatic headed for Yugoslavia and Romania.
We were attacked by 3 190s from the front of the formation over Yugoslavia. The friendly fighter escort drove 2 off, but the remaining fighter pressed forward, striking the nose but causing no significant damage but was driven off after the pass. A while later, a single 190 made a vertical dive attack but missed. Shortly afterwards, a single 109 and 3 190s attacked the Maiden, with fighters again driving off all but one of the 190s. He made a single pass again hitting the nose but causing no significant damage before he was also driven off. Another flight of 2 109s and 3 190s attacked, with fighter escort driving off all but 3 of the FWs. One attacked from 12 level, one from 10:30 level and the other from 6 low. 2nd Lt. Pyle fired a long burst and appeared to hit the FW at 12, driving him off and Sgt Hooper zeroed in on the FW at 6 and saw his rounds hit the fighter and the pilot bail out without making his attack. The one at 10:30 hit the center of the Maiden, hitting Sgt. Haverty in the left leg, but he was bandaged and stayed at his guns and seemed to shake off the effects. We saw another group of 190s get intercepted by the escort just before the target, and one FW made a single pass, again hitting the waist and Sgt. Haverty for the second time, this time in the arm and Tom was down with some pretty severe bleeding. Sgt. Harlan bandaged him up and returned to his guns.
Flak was very light over the target and we were lucky enough not to be hit, as we entered the bomb run. 2nd Lt. Pyle again dropped over a clear target and we saw the bombs hit near the aim point. As we turned off the target we were again hit with flak, but it was pretty ineffective.
We made the turn toward home and were attacked by a group of 2 109s and another of 4 109s made their attacks on the Maiden, 4 getting run off by the escorts. The 2 others made their passes on our bomber, and Sgt. Decker got hits on the one at 1:30 high, claiming to destroy it before it could make a gun run. The other fighter hit and destroyed the port wing flap, but was run off by friendly escorts before he could make another run.
As we flew towards home, we saw a lot of contact all around us but received no attacks on us.
About 2 hours from home, 3 FWs made a pass from dead ahead, and one got a lucky hit on the top turret, knocking it out. Escorts ran off the fighters and we tried unsuccessfully to repair the top turret.
As we approached the Adriatic, we had 2 separate groups of fighters look over the formation, but the 318th’s tight formation convinced them to leave us alone.
We made landfall and spotted our base easily due to good weather and landed in one piece. Another one down. (38 Peckham Damage).
- 1st Lt. Mark Mathis, Pilot, Raiden Maiden, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
AUSTIN NIGHTS, First flight, Right aircraft
Did not bomb target. Shot down by enemy fighter
5 miles east of Brasov; 10 KIA.
AC# 43-8977, Austin Nights, exploded in mid-air (zone 8 outbound leg) from an attack by an Fw-190. No chutes were seen.
- From debriefing reports from returned crews, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
JOLLIE ROGER, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with superficial
damage to the port wing and no casualties. Claims: 2 Me109s & 1 Fw-190 by
1st Lt. W. Havens; 2 Me-109s by MSgt. Holmes; 1 Fw-190 by 1st Lt. Finch.
Mission completed successfully.
No enemy aircraft came near us until we were near the Yugoslavia/Romania boarder. A schwarm of 109s turned toward with two (2) getting through the fighter screen. Both German fighters were destroyed by the crew.
After that things were calm until we reached the target zone. In a series
of three waves we were attacked by seven (7) enemy aircraft.
Three (3) got past our little friends. Two 190s were shot down and third 190 was seen leaving the area trailing smoke.
While we saw some flak, none came close to us.
Just as we reached the bomb release point we hit an air pocket and dropped about
fifteen feet. This was enough bounce for an accidental
toggle of the bomb release switch. Our bombs landed well before the target.
After our disappointing bomb run we encountered two aircraft, one was shot down and the other was trailing lots of smoke and rapidly loosing altitude.
As we neared the Romanian border we were engaged by a schwarm of 109s. Once again the fighter cover came through and only two (2) 109s made a run at us. Another German aircraft was shot down. The other aircraft took some damage but continued on. Our only damage of the mission came with a couple of holes in the port wing. We can repair this with some sheet metal. The German went around again and made another run at us, he did not hit us and we did not hit him. We lost track of him and never saw him again.
Over Bulgaria we encountered our last enemy aircraft. A couple of 109s came toward us one got through the fighters and was promptly shot down by Lt. Havens, his third kill of the day.
The rest of the mission was quiet and we landed with no issues.
Mission was a mix for us, we clobbered the Luftwaffe but did no damage to the target.
- 1st Lt. Raul Smith, Pilot, Jollie Roger, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
STORM RUNNER, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with bomb bay doors inoperable, the starboard outboard fuel tank holed, superficial damage to the port aileron, to the nose, radio, waist, tail and pilots’ compartments, and 3 casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Sloan.
Compared to our last mission this mission started out as a breeze. We saw a few fighters on our way in but they either were driven off by our escorts or appeared to miss. Our first sign that this wasn’t going to breeze was while we were in Romania (zone-7) when a FW-190 dived on us, hit the Pilots’ compartment and wounded Lt. Mulholland.
The rest of the flight in was uneventful, not even any flak and we dropped our bombs on target. WE turned around and headed back to Italy.
Things were quiet until we were in the middle of Yugoslavia (zone-4). Another FW-190 broke through the escorts and our own guns and walked her hits across the entire plane. Both Sgts. Kohl and Powell both wounded and we received superficial damage to the entire plane, including significant damage to our wings. The FW-190 swung around for another pass, but Sloane destroyed the Jerry before they had a chance to fire again. Our fuel tank had been hit, but we calculated that we had enough to get back home.
We didn’t see any more fighters and landed safely. Lt. Mulholland and Sgt. Kohl were released with only minimal wounds; Powell will make a full recovery, but he’s being sent back to the States.
- 2nd Lt. Paul Stinson, Pilot, Storm Runner, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
LICKITY-SPLIT, Second flight, Left aircraft (TAIL-END CHARLIE)
Unable to bomb target. Ran out of fuel during inbound journey and ditched off the island of Vis (zone-2). Eight surviving crew members were able to deploy the raft and paddle to the island. Claims: 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Gibson.
Sporadic enemy attacks while ingressing across Yugoslavia which the squadron was able to drive off. However, once the squadron began its crossing of Bulgaria into Romania, the attacks intensified and were continuous until the squadron reached the Adriatic on its return trip. At this point Lickity-Split had been heavily damaged with bomb bay doors inoperable (no bomb drop), ball and tail guns damaged, the port wing inboard fuel tank leaking, and numerous superficial damage to the fuselage and wings. In addition, two crew members had been killed in action and six others wounded. Lt. Hernandez and Lt. Romero’s heat had been knocked out while ingressing over Romania. Their decision to stay in formation and at altitude, while eventually suffering the effects of frostbite, was directly responsible for saving the lives of the surviving crew members.
Upon reaching the Adriatic and running out of fuel, the decision to ditch the aircraft rather to bail out near the island of Vis was made by Lt. Hernandez in order to try and save the life of a SSgt. Burns who was severely wounded and unable to bail out. Lickity-Split was successfully ditched and the crew was able to deploy the raft, extract their wounded and paddle their way to the island of Vis. Lt. Hernandez’s frostbite was severe enough to necessitate the amputation of several toes and he will be invalided stateside after a brief recovery. Lt. Romero’s frostbite was not as severe and he will be able to return to active duty. SSgt. Burns’ wounds were not as severe as originally determined. He has been treated and will be fit for active duty. All other wounded personnel have been checked out and they are fit for duty.
Crew reports damage to five enemy fighters and Sgt. Gibson (Ball Gunner) is claiming one enemy kill.
- 2nd Lt. James Smith, Bombardier, Lickity-Split, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
316th: Wentzville Wiz
317th: Sand Hawk
399th: Airborne Lady & Passionate Witch
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