MISSION 98 - BUDAPEST AARs
399th BS (LEAD)
LAURALEE II, First flight, Lead aircraft (Group Lead)
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with damage port main landing gear inoperable, structural damage to the starboard wing root, superficial damage to the tail compartment and no casualties.
On 14 July 1944 I led the 88th Bomb Group to bomb the oil refinery at Budapest, Hungary, as part of a larger formation of three B-17 groups. Takeoff and form up were uneventful. I must commend the 31st Fighter Group, who provided us excellent fighter cover all the way to target. While we did see enemy aircraft, we were not attacked until after we had turned around and begun the trip to base. Poor weather over northern Yugoslavia also helped to limit Luftwaffe activity, I am sure.
Flak over target was briefed as light; we were hit anyway, in the port wing. Despite the flak, Captain Pipes was able to get our bombs on target. As we started on our homeward leg, four Fw-190s attacked us. One was hit, and was trailing smoke; he did damage to our starboard wing before breaking off. No other hits were reported.
The P-38s of 1st FG took over where the 31st left off, and provided us excellent cover all the way back to base. It was at that point I discovered that flak had rendered our port main landing gear inoperable. Nonetheless, Captain Hill and I were able to land the plane safely.
Lauralee II was a good ship, who took us safely to targets all over southern Europe. I fear this may be our last mission in her.
- Major Bill Hearn, CO, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
NO FEAR, First flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with superficial damage to nose compartment and 1 casualty.
Flight to target was smooth with no enemy fighters encountered and flak not a
problem. As we neared the target a high FW-190
and two Me-109s attacked. Our fighter cover chased off two, but a 109 managed to lightly wound our bombardier. He was then driven off.
The bomb run went well, hitting 30% of the target.
As we headed for base an Me-109 dove on us with the top gunner getting hits, the damage sending him heading for home. The fighter cover worked over time taking care of two more Me109s.
The rest of the flight home was quiet and without incident.
- 1st Lt. Sam Whitehead, Pilot, No Fear, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
HIT 'N RUN, First flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with damage to the rudder, superficial damage to starboard wing and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Sheeron.
No enemy fighters seen till we approached the target. A 190 on a vertical climb hit the tail and starboard wing.
Bomb run was on target, but dropped only about 20% of the bombs on the refinery.
John Sheeron shot down an ME-110 on the way back to base.
- 2nd Lt. Al Papai, Pilot, Hit 'N Run, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
DIMESTORE GIRL, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Fell out-of-formation after bomb run due to loss of oxygen system. Returned to base alone with pilot's oxygen and heating systems inoperable, tail guns destroyed, superficial damage to the radio room and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Fischer.
We were hit by a bunch of 109s over Yugoslavia (zone-3). No sign of escort. Sgt. Habeinski, our radioman, was seriously hit, seems his right foot is badly hit. We left his boot on and put on a tourniquet to slow down the bleeding and doped him up with morphine. Nothing else we can do. Krauts did no damage to DIMESTORE GIRL other than putting a bunch of holes in her.
Approaching the target (zone-6), we saw several FWs, but the escort quickly chased them away.
Over Budapest, we got hit by flak, rendering tail guns inoperable and destroying my oxygen. I don’t know if it was me gasping for a breath or sharing oxygen with Lt. Thomas (co-pilot) or if it was Lt. Looney’s (bombardier) fault for missing target, but we managed to miss the target. 0%! Damn. Looney has yet to hit a target in three missions! Clear skies as we turned for Italy.
Dropping to 9000' altitude, no problems until reaching the coast (zone-3) . . . a mixed flight of FWs and a 109 came at us. Looney put some 50’s into the 109 that was coming at us head-on, then the P-38s came down to help us, sending the FWs on their way, but not until DIMESTORE GIRL got a few more holes in her and they hit the heat for the pilot compartment.
Landed with no problems. Ground crew will have minor damages repaired within next 24 hours. Brief report from the doctor; Habeinski will not be flying again and may lose his right foot.
- 1st Lt. Palmer Stanford, Pilot, Dimestore Girl, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
316th BS (MIDDLE)
FOUR-OF-A-KIND, Second flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with structural damage to the starboard tailplane, superficial damage to the tail compartment (2 hits) and 1 light casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Sauer.
ICE QUEEN, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with numerous superficial damage (58 damage points) and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Nissen; 1 Me-110 shared by Sgts. Nissen & Holst; 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Pumphrey.
This mission had a bit more action as we were attacked 150 miles out of the IP. Fw-190s followed us from there to the target harassing us till the flak started. Sergeant Badger and Lieutenant Nissen were both wounded just prior to bombs away. The bomb run was good as flak was light and inaccurate again. We estimate around 60% of the bombs went on target. It sure is good having Lieutenant Conrad back in the ship, on many points. Though neither one of us can make a true connection with the rookies.
At the rally point for the return trip we encountered one wave of FW-190s but the fighters drove most of them off and TSgt. Underwood drove one off.
The remaining fighter hit us for no damage of any concern. Our fighter cover then dispatched him quickly after this attack. The rest of the trip was quiet.
- 1st Lt. Loren Zurn, Ice Queen, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
SATIN DOLL, Third flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with starboard waist MG destroyed, radio shot up, superficial damage to the nose, bomb bay, radio, tail and pilots’ compartments and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Charles.
Relatively quiet run for The Doll. Didn’t have any E/A get close until just before the target. A gaggle of 5 FW-190s swept in from around the clock. The Mustangs of the 31st FG tore into the Wulfs, clearing three off us at 12 high, 1030 level, and 9 level. Don Charles hammered away at the one at 6 high with the top turret guns, sawing off a wing and sending him down and out of the fight. The remaining FW screamed down in a vertical dive, raking The Doll from nose to tail with lead. The hits to the nose, cockpit, bomb bay and tail gunners compartment amounted to no more than extra ventilation. Sgt. Cooper called in that the radio sets had been shot to pieces and Gene Tibbs reported that his starboard waist gun had been blasted off its mount by a 20 mm shell. Fortunately, Gene didn’t suffer even a scratch. While the Kraut was swinging around for another pass, one of the Mustang jockeys cancelled his pilot’s license.
Flak over the target area was light and not very accurate allowing a fairly smooth bomb run. Lt. Douglas put 40% of the load into the refinery's tank farm, sending smoke and flames towering skyward.
Between the tight formation and close escort, we didn’t have any E/A get near us the rest of the way home.
Landed safely without incident.
- 1st Lt. Michael P. Davis, Pilot, Satin Doll, AC# 42-11806, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
NO WORRIES, Third flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with damage to the rudder, superficial damage to the nose, bomb bay and radio compartments and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Varley.
Our third mission to Budapest turned out to be almost a milk run thanks to the outstanding work done by our fighters. In all but a couple of cases whenever an enemy fighter showed up they chased them away. They did slip up on the run in on the target where two 109s got thorough, we knocked down one with the top turret while the other one riddled our rudder before being chased away.
The flak over the target was minimal and we suffered no hits dropping on target as briefed. It was not until we were almost home that three FW-190s got through, two of them missed and the third one despite taking hits from the port waist put some additional ventilation in the radio room, bomb bay and nose without doing any serious damage. That FW got chased away as well.
Landing was without incident.
- 2nd Lt. George Parker, Pilot, No Worries, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
318th BS (HIGH)
RAIDEN MAIDEN, First flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with the Norden bombsight destroyed, structural damage to the starboard wing root, superficial damage to the nose compartment and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by 1st Lt. Robbins and MSgt. Chisman; 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Stallard.
Pretty uneventful overall. Saw a few bandits but they made a single pass and it appeared no damage on either side. About halfway to the target we were jumped by one 110; SSgt. Stallard took care of him.
Just before we encountered the flak we were hit by three 109s; Splashed one the other two made two passes before leaving us alone and they destroyed the Norden bombsight and one hit in the starboard wing root. Totally missed the target.
Return flight yielded no bandit sightings.
- Major Mick Mikula, CO, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
RAIDEN MAIDEN, First flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with mechanical (non-combat) failure to the rudder and no casualties.
Great weather allowed us to take off and easily form up on Screwbird who was leading the high squadron. Everything on plane was in operational order. Headed over the Adriatic headed for Budapest on the Danube in Hungary .
Great fighter cover over the Adriatic, including a lone P-51 which stayed just off our port wing all the way to the target. Not sure why he did this, but as it turned out we didn't need the extra coverage. He may have had some kind of mechanical failure or something, but since we could never raise him on the radio, we simply made hand signals with him through the flight all the way to the target.
Weather turned bad over Yugoslavia and then cleared before the target. As we made the turn at the IP, the friendly fighter broke off and chased away a lone 109 that tried to line up at 1:30 high. After running off the fighter, neither the lone P-51 nor the 109 came back. As I turned over the controls to the bombardier for the bomb run, Sgt. Hooper in the tail said he heard a low 'POP' in the tail section. 2nd Lt. Pyle reported that he was having difficulty keeping the Maiden on course and she was drifting under the Norden control. Since we had no enemy contact, I am thinking a control cable or surface in the tail failed. Need to have the Crew Chief check it out.
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 but because of the control issue, none of the bombs landed on target. As we turned off the target we received light flak, but we were not hit.
We flew all the way back over the Adriatic and not a single gunner had fired their guns.
We made landfall and spotted our base easily due to good weather and landed though on decent I did notice the tail wanting to slew to port and the 'feel' of the rudder was not right. Check another mission in the books. (0 Peckham Damage).
- 1st Lt. Mark Mathis, Pilot, Raiden Maiden, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
LUCKY BUCK, First flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with structural damage to the port wing root, minor superficial damage to the port wing and no casualties.
We did not have any attacks by enemy fighters on the way to the target.
Flak over the target was light and we did not receive any damage. The bomb run was on target with 20% in the target area.
We were attacked by a 190 and took damage to the port wing (wing root hit and superficial damage). Sgt. Bolling did damage the 190 on its pass and it broke off its attack.
Landing back at the base was uneventful.
- 2nd Lt. Stanley Clemons, Pilot, Lucky Buck, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
JOLLIE ROGER, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with tail turret inoperable, structural damage to the rudder (1 hit), superficial damage to the fuselage (3 hits), port wing (1 hit) and bomb bay compartment (1 hit) (60 damage points) and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-109 by 1st Lt. Olsen.
Take off was uneventful and travel into Yugoslavia was quiet.
As we were about to cross into Hungary, three 109s came out of the heavy cloud cover and made for us. A P-51 flying off our wing chased one away but the other two continued in. Sgt. Holmes heavily damaged one and it turned away smoking. The other made it through and somehow damaged the tail guns. This last 109 circled back at us and exchanged lead with us to no avail on either side. We last saw him disappearing into a cloud.
Turning towards the target for the bomb run we were approached by a very eclectic group of aircraft. There were some 190s in front, a 109 to the side and a 110 to the rear. The escorting P-51s chased two of the Jerries off but the other two came on. The 109 missed us on his pass and we never saw him again. The 110 coming in on our tail took a chunk out of the rudder and then put some minor holes in other places. The most frustrated person on that attack was Sgt. Havens who had to sit there watching the 110 come on without being able to fire. Man was he pissed.
Saw a lot of flak over the target but nothing came close to us.
Bombs were dropped on target.
Leaving Hungary we saw another 110 turn towards us but it was quickly driven off by a couple of Lightnings.
A final visit by the Germans was over Yugoslavia. A 109 popped out of the clouds right next to us and did some minor damage to our belly. He swung around for another go but was hit hard by Lt. Olsen on the nose guns and the last we saw was a flaming hulk disappear into the clouds. I think Lt. Olsen likes his guns to much. If he had a choice he would forget the bombing altogether and just play with his guns.
Rest of the trip was quiet and we landed on time.
Jollie Roger will be ready to go for the next mission.
- Capt. Jeff Dodge, Pilot, Jollie Roger, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
SILVER GHOST, Second flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned without damage or casualties.
Took off at 0800, the group formed up at 4000 feet. Major Hearn of the 399th then led the group to 23000 feet to rendezvous with the 301st and 463rd. The 88th was the high group for this mission.
SILVER GHOST encountered no enemy fighters while ingressing to the target. Our fighter escorts left us as we neared the target zone. Turns out they went in before us to sweep the area. Looked like they did their job as we had no enemy fighters bother us from the IP in. Flak was light, low and ineffective.
Our bomb run was clean, Lt. Smith estimates 30% coverage of the target zone.
The route back to base was uneventful. The P-38s picked us up at the rally point. The only action home we saw was right after the rally point. A few German pilots made a run on the formation, but withdrew after a few passes when the squadron showed we still had some teeth. After that it was clean flying all the way home. No sign of enemy fighters.
Landed safely and stowed our gear. We got lucky today.
- 2nd Lt. Mark Romero, Pilot, Silver Ghost, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
STORM RUNNER, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned without damage or casualties.
Wow . . . compared to our last flown mission or lack of mission (Mission 96, Abort z-3) this one was a cakewalk. A nice change that our crew really needed. Our escorts really made this run for us; without them it would have been much more difficult. Only one fighter (Outbound z-6) broke through them and, but Lt. White damaged the FW-190 and the Jerry didn’t hit us.
We were fortunate that no flak hit us and we were on target.
Returning to base was much like our out-flight, easy thanks to our fighter escort.
- 2nd Lt. Paul Stinson, Pilot, Storm Runner, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
316th BS (HIGH)
GINGER SNAP, Third flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with damage to the rudder and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 By 1st Lt. McClain
German fighters were active the entire outbound leg of the mission, but they were unable to penetrate the escort screen. Each time the Messerschmitts and Focke-Wulfs tried to assemble in the distance, they would be scattered by our P-51s.
As we began our bomb run, a pair of 109s made a firing pass from dead ahead. Lt. McClain shot down one; the pilot was seen to bail out of his burning plane. Sgt. Sikorsky appeared to damage the other, which half rolled and dove away from our formation. The tail gunner reported minor damage to the rudder following this action.
Flak was light, but we did receive some additional damage to the rudder from a close burst. This may have thrown off Lt. McClain’s aim, as our bomb load did not appear to strike very close to the target.
A few bogeys were spotted milling about in the distance as we turned away from Budapest, but the P-38s soon chased them off.
No more enemy fighters were seen the rest of the way home, and we landed without incident.
- Captain Harold Snakenburg, Pilot, Ginger Snap, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
SLEDGEHAMMER II, Third flight, Left aircraft
Did no bomb target, 0%. Aborted mission (zone-4) and returned to base alone. Safely landed with #3 engine feathered, superficial damage to the nose and radio compartments and 1 casualty.
Mission #98 started off with the crew in a confident mood. However, things quickly went horribly wrong. Perhaps it was the anticipation of heavy fighter escort and a short mission (six zones) which made the crew optimistic. However, after reaching Yugoslavia, the plane was hit by two Bf-109s. Our "little friends" were nowhere to be seen, probably due to the poor weather, and our bombardier received a machinegun bullet in his chest, rendering him unable to perform his duties. Bullets were also heard pinging off the bombs by the radioman, which caused a bit of terror for a moment. Lt. Springfield was determined to press on to the target anyways, but another Bf-109 took out the #3 engine at this time. At that point, Lt. Springfield ordered the bombs jettisoned and turned SLEDGEHAMMER around, aborting the mission.
Without a qualified bombardier, and having to fly over 300 miles out-of-formation (6 zones), made this decision easy.
The rest of the return trip home was extremely quiet, and the landing was perfect.
- 2nd Lt. Dave Matthews, Co-Pilot, Sledgehammer II, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
OLD YARD DOG, Third flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with structural damage to the starboard wing root, superficial damage to the port wing and no casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 Sgt. A. Walker.
317th BS (LOW)
AC# 43-8947, First flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned without damage or casualties.
West of Split, Yugoslavia (zone-3) - One ME-109 from 1:30 high attacked the bomber and it was shot down by Lt. Ishida before it was able to attack.
East of Zagreb, Yugoslavia (zone-4) - Bogies were spotted at 3 o’clock level but didn’t attack the formation.
Entering Hungary (zone-5) - Two waves approached the bomber. The first wave consisted of three (3) ME-109s coming in from head-on and all three were driven back by the 31st Fighter Group before they were able to attack. The second wave didn’t attack the formation.
Approaching the target area (zone-6) - One (1) wave consisting of three
(3) ME-109s were seen forming to make a head-on attack. Again all three
were driven back by the 31st Fighter Group before they were able to attack.
Over the target - Encountered some flak over the target but didn’t get hit. We were able to hit the target any put 30% of the load on the oil refinery.
Leaving the target area (zone-6) - Encountered three (3) waves of fighters. The first wave consisted of three (3) fighters from head-on. Two were chased away by fighters from the 1st Fighter Group. The last one attacked from 12 o’clock low and missed the bomber and didn’t return. The second wave consisted three (3) ME-109s and all three were driven off by fighters from the 1st Fighter Group before they were able to attack. The last wave consisted of two ME-109s and both were chased away by fighters from the 1st Fighter Group before they were able to attack.
Landed at airfield without any problem.
- 1st Lt. Mickey AKiyama, Pilot, AC# 43-8987, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
INDISCREET, First flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with a few cockpit windows shattered, tail turret guns inoperable and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 shared by 2nd Lt. Lewis and Sgt. Roberts.
Took off from Sterparone Field, Foggia, Italy. Joined formation and headed out over the Adriatic. Continued over the Adriatic and over the coast into Yugoslavia, then as we began to head into the heart of Yugoslavia we began to encounter enemy fighters. We were attacked by a pair of 109s. Young got a hit on one. Roberts and Lewis missed theirs and the result was a hit in the pilots’ compartment that really messed up the windscreen. Fortunately, the damage was minimal and did not force us to turn back, although our crew chief will undoubtedly have a few choice words for us.
Deeper into Yugoslavia we attacked by three more 109s. Fighter cover managed to chase two of them away. Roberts and Lewis managed to do better this time, both getting hits on the remaining fighter and destroy it. They will split the credit for that kill.
Crossing into Hungary, we were set upon by four 190s. That could have been a disaster; once again fighter cover drove off most of them, leaving only one for us to deal with. He managed to hit us in the tail and knocked out the tail gun.
We arrived at the check-point near Gyor and made our turn to the southeast, headed for the target. As we began our run a couple of 109s showed some interest in us. Fighter cover again chased one of the German attackers off. The remaining 109 must not have been too experienced as he didn't come close to hitting us with his guns.
Flak over the target was light and didn’t give us any problem. We were on target with our ordinance and scored a solid 30% on our run.
We turned and began heading for home the quickest way possible while avoiding as many hot-spots as possible. Apparently the Krauts threw most of what they had at us on the way in because there wasn’t much enemy fighter activity in the area after the bomb run. We didn’t run into any more German fighters until we were nearly to the Hungarian/Yugoslav border. Once again, friendly fighter cover drove off several of the would-be attackers. Mann got a hit on the remaining attacker; apparently that was enough to discourage him as the enemy made a single, quick pass then left.
The remainder of the trip home was uneventful for Indiscreet, although we did see enemy activity in the area; several 109s attempted to attack us but were driven off by friendly fighters, and one German who looked like he was lining up to take a pass on us was chased off by the gunners of Eagle One and The Brazen Hussy. Thanks for the help, fellas.
- 2nd Lt. Shaun Parker, Pilot, Indiscreet, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
EAGLE ONE, First flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with autopilot, ball turret, port landing gear brakes, starboard wing flaps and ailerons inoperable, moderate structural damage to the starboard wing root (2 hits), light damage to the rudder (1 hit), superficial damage to both wings, to the bomb bay, waist and pilots’ compartments (135 total damage points) and 2 light casualties. Claims: 2 Fw-190s by SSgt. Hobbs.
This mission was uneventful all the way through the bomb run. Between our fighter escorts and other bombers . . . not a single enemy plane got anywhere near the Eagle . . . and this included seeing very little and highly inaccurate anti-aircraft fire. However, for some reason we estimate we only dropped about 20% of our iron on target.
After clearing the target zone . . . things heated up quickly as we were swarmed by enemy fighters which caused a couple of the guys to get dinged . . . assorted systems and airframe damage . . . and a bunch of holes in the aircraft. But the gunners did a nice job anyway as our Engineer Joe Hobbs definitely knocked one down and sent two more away trailing thick black smoke. Both of our waist guys got in on the action . . . each of them heavily damaging one Jerry each. But it ended just as quickly as it started. As everybody was gathering their wits we all looked up to see no more enemy aircraft. From that point on . . . it was clear and uneventful flying . . . all the way to a perfect touchdown by Lt. Decker.
- TSgt. Jim Stahl, Radio Operator, Eagle One, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
THE BRAZEN HUSSEY, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with with tail compartment heating system inoperable, superficial damage to the nose (2), tail (1) and pilots’ (1) compartments and 1 case of serious frostbite.
FARMER'S DAUGHTER, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with light damage to the rudder (1 hit), superficial damage to bomb bay (1 hit), and waist (1 hit) compartments and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Herrick and 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Fjerstad.
We mounted up at 7 AM and started up our engines at 7:30. Take off at 8 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. 317th is to be the low squadron.
We encountered no resistance until we were over the target. Three ME-109s attacked us and two were quickly driven off by friendly fighters. The third came at us from 12 o’clock level and was fired on by the top turret and chin turret gunners, both of whom missed. The e/a also missed, and he broke off his attack.
Flak was light and ineffective and we managed to get thru it unscathed. We dropped our bombs and estimate that 30% hit the target.
As we turned to head for home, we encountered two waves of enemy aircraft. The first wave of attackers were driven off by other B-17s. The second wave, consisting of five ME-109s, came at us from all directions. Two from 3 o’clock high and 1:30 high were driven off by friendly fighters. One from 6 o’clock high was hit by our tail gunner but he continued his attack. The radio room gun also fired at him but missed. The enemy fighter also missed. An ME-109 from 12 level was fired on by the top turret which missed, and by the chin turret which hit him. The fighter returned fire but missed and he broke off his attack. A final ME-109 in a vertical dive hit our craft and caused superficial damage to the bomb bay. He was then driven off by friendly fighters
As we continued across Hungary, we were attacked by two ME-110s. One was driven off by fighters. The other came at us from 6 o’clock level and was shot down by the tail gunner.
Upon entering Yugoslavia, we fought off one more ME-109. The Hun attacked from 3 o’clock low and was fired on by the ball and starboard waist gunners. Both missed. Return fire from the enemy caused superficial damage to the waist and a rudder hit. This aircraft then came at us from 12 o’clock high and was shot down by the top turret gunner.
As we continued across Yugoslavia, we encountered yet two more ME-109s. The first came at us from 1:30 low. The ball turret got a good bead on him and shot him up pretty good, although we did not see him go down. Offensive fire from the fighter missed us completely. The second 109 attacked from 12 o’clock level. The chin turret missed, but the top turret hit him and he was also sent limping for home after an ineffective return shot.
The remainder of the mission was uneventful and we landed at Sterparone Field without incident.
- 1st Lt. Eugene Larsen, Pilot, Farmer's Daughter, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
316th: Wentzville Wiz
Return to Sterparone Field