MISSION 16 - KLAGENFURT AARs

316th BS (LEAD)

FULL HOUSE, Lead flight, Lead aircraft, Group Commander

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Fell out-of-formation after Rally Point (zone 4 inbound) after oxygen fire in waist.  Returned alone with port landing gear brakes inoperable, control cables damaged, superficial damage to radio, tail & bomb bay sections.  2 casualties.  Claims: 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Montgomery.

 

Mission Narrative:

We were immediately jumped by 3 FW-190s and 1 ME-109 after the formation entered the Adriatic.  We suffered minor superficial damage to the radio room while Sgt. Montgomery managed to shot down 1 FW-190 as it passed by.

 

Over Yugoslavia, a formation of 3 ME-109s came at us and hit the port wing under the #2 engine.  No noticeable damage at the time but later it was discovered the brakes on the port landing gear were damaged.

 

Approaching the target, a lone ME-109 dove down from above by it missed.  During the bomb run, flak seriously wounded Lt. Sears, the bombardier, and Sgt. Montgomery.  Without Lt. Sears our bombs fell harmlessly outside the target circle.

 

At the Rally Point, an ME-110 scored multiple hits to the bomb bay, waist and tail sections.  The only damage were to the control cables and a serious oxygen fire in the waist.  Sgt. Williams, one of the gunners, managed to extinguish the fire in quick order.  Unable to remain in formation, lead was passed and we descended to 10,000 ft.

 

Over Yugoslavia, a pair of ME-109s attacked but they scored no hits while we sent one of them away smoking.  We experienced no further enemy attacks as we made our way home across the Adriatic.

 

During the landing is when the brakes were discovered to be inoperable but no further problems resulted.  The ambulances meet us and took away our wounded.  The good news is that both men are expected to recover after an extended stay in the hospital.

 

- Captain Daniel Tanner, Pilot, Full House


SATIN DOLL, lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned with superficial damage to nose compartment from 13mm shells and flak  No casualties.  Claims: 2 ME-109s by SSgt. Turner.

 

Mission Narrative:

Satin Doll came through the Klagenfurt run with relatively minor damage.  We encountered our first E/A in Zone 4 outbound.  An FW-190 and 3 ME-109s came at us from the front.  The P-47s took out the FW at 12 low and 2 of the 109s.  Douglas peppered the ME at 12 high, but not with minor effect.  The Kraut paid Steve back by punching a hole in the nose right above his bombsight.  When he pulled up to set up another run, a Jug drilled the pilot right in his seat.

 

Nearing the target, 2 more ME-109s showed up, again attacking from ahead.  One of the P-38s plastered the one heading straight for our nose.  Turner hammered the one at 1:30 high with his top turret guns, sending him down trailing smoke and flames.

 

Flak over the factory area was as thick as I've ever seen it.  Fortunately for the Doll, we only picked up one fragment in the nose from a near miss.  Despite having another chunk of Nazi flak zing past him, Douglas managed to put 20% of the load on target.

 

Right after the rally point, we saw Full House getting worked over pretty good.  As we neared the Yugoslav border, Tanner called for Griff to take over, as he had to drop out of formation.  The Krauts must have been listening in on the command channel 'cause no sooner had Dan peeled off, 4 ME-109s came barreling in at our nose.  The P-38 boys jumped into the mix quickly, and dispatched 3 of them before they could get off a shot.  The one that slipped through at 12 high met up with Turners top turret guns and met the same fate as his 'kameraden'.  Griff slid into Tanner's slot and we tucked in tight under his right wing.

 

Just off the coast, a lone ME-109 was setting up a run from 12 high, but it was cut short by a pair of Lightnings.

 

After that, the rest of the flight home was quiet, and we landed without a hitch.

 

-Capt. J.P. McConnell, Pilot, Satin Doll


DARLA's BITE II, first flight, left wingman 

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with rafts destroyed, starboard gun shot up, starboard wing tank holed, starboard wing root damaged, the starboard aileron shot up but functioning, and many superficial holes in the tail, and both wings.  1 casualty.  Claims: 1 FW-190 shared by 2nd Lt. Catford & Sgt. Wakefield.

 

Mission Narrative:

Take of and form up went with out event.  About 110 miles out we saw some FW-190s but our little friend chased them away.  We did see a few get through to the Full House didn't look as if she was too bad.  Sgt. Alber's saw her crew shoot down one FW 190.  

 

The rest of the ride to the target zone was uneventful.  As we lined up for our run to the target we saw a lone 190, but he didn't seem to want face our P38s as he turned away from our Battle Group.  After I handed over the controls of Darla to 2nd Lt. Thorn, we were bracketed by flak.  Two burst came close, yet most damage was light.  Though once again we take one to the starboard wing fuel tank.  Sgt. Goldie confirmed we were leaking fuel.  We kept a close watch on the gages and felt we could make it back.  One burst was farther off and only popped a few holes behind Sgt. Andrews in the tail.

 

Lt. Thorn wasn't shaken a bit as he places around 30% of our eggs in the target area.  Sgts. Goldie and Andrews both witnessed the impacts. 

 

As we turned for home we noticed the Full House taking it hard from an ME-110 swooping in on her.  She was smoking from the waist pretty good as she left the formation.  We heard her call to the Lucky Penny to take over the lead.  We were then attacked in turn by a lone FW-190.  He was hit hard by Lt. Thorn and Sgt. Wakefield, and was seen smoking as he broke-off his attack (FBOA -2).  We were untouched for the next 75 miles when three FW-190s jumped us (zone 3 inbound).  The first 190 came in from 12 o'clock high.  Lt. Thorn and SSgt. Breslof drew a bead on him, nicking his wing and putting of his aim.  The Kraut placed a few round into the bomb bay, taking out the rafts as we found out when we landed.  The second Focke-Wulf lined up from 10:30 high, but was bounced by a P-38.  You got to love those little friends.  The last one came in from 1:30 high hoping to bring us down.  Too bad he couldn't shoot.  He missed and continued on through to the next BG.  The first FW-190 swung around for a second poke at us making his presence felt.  He placed a volley of rounds across both our wings, finishing up by popping the tail.  Luckily, our poor wings only gathered a few more holes with no major damage.  He did nail the tail plane root though.  This persistent Jerry just wouldn't give it up and returned for a third try at us.  He had taken a liking for our wing, maybe he saw the fuel leaking out and hoped to set it a light?  Once again Darla's port wing took several more rounds, only doing superficial damage again.  Our new found buddy decided to go home and left us for mother earth.

 

The rest of the trip we only saw fighters form a distance.  The only two that tried to organize a run at us got bounced by Miss Fortune. Weather over the field was clear facilitating a good landing.  The hole in the starboard wing tank wasn't that bad.  We still had enough fuel for a few hundred miles.

 

- 1st Lt. W. Wilcox, Pilot, Darla's Bite II


LUCKY PENNY, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 97%.  Returned with Engineer's oxygen supply and starboard tail plane wing root damaged.  1 casualty.

 

Mission Narrative:

Although this was one of the longest missions yet, the diversionary flight seemed to have kept fighters to a minimum.  No fighters were encountered until crossing over into Yugoslavia (zone 4).  Then, the friendly fighters kept most of the attackers away from us.  Only a vertical diver (one of 2 on this trip) got through, shooting into the engineer's area causing slight damage to the O2 unit.  The 190 was then driven off by fighters.

 

Over target, the enemy fighters we did see were driven off by the B-17s around us.  Flak was VERY HEAVY as we took 4 hits: 2 hits on the waist caused a light wound to our starboard gunner, and 2 hits to the tail dinged our wing root in the tail section.

 

Bombing was as good as you are going to see; Bombardier said afterwards the flak hits on the tail pushed the plane over the target . . . (not sure about that) but we got it right down the middle.

 

As we headed for home, the second vertical diver got a hit on the starboard wing but just superficial damage to the skin.  This fighter stuck around and came at us again at 1:30 level but everybody missed and he flew off.

 

Over Yugoslavia (zone 4) Full House is again forced to drop out of formation, with seemingly massive hits by a 110.  No chutes were seen, and the plane was still flying level but there was much smoke.  Our tail gunner watched him for as long as he could but lost him in the clouds as he was flying slow.

 

Returning over the Adriatic (zones 3 & 2), enemy fighters were again driven off by friendlies.  Landing was smooth.  Guys were surprised at the lack of Enemy fighters and the amount of left over ammo, as they had secretly loaded up on extra ammo belts . . . (now that explains the extra drag on takeoff . . .).  Seems we'll need to have a talk to a few of the men about the relationship between fuel & extra weight . . .

 

We hung around the plane awhile looking for Full House, but did not spot it before having to submit this report.

 

- Capt. Paul Griffin, Pilot, Lucky Penny


SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY, second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Aircraft shot down over target area as a result of enemy flak.  No chutes.

 

Mission Narrative:

I was flying escort for the 316th squadron of the 88th Bomb Group during their bombing run over Klagenfurt.  I observed the aircraft flying in the squadron's number 5 position take a flak hit to the port wing near the outboard fuel tank.  Shortly thereafter, the ship started to stray from the formation.  I believe the aircraft number was 754.

 

The ship completed its bomb run and started to leave the target area when I observed flames near the spot on the port wing where it was hit by flak.  The next thing I knew, there was an explosion.  The wing separated from the aircraft, and the remainder of the aircraft started to spiral toward the ground. I did not observe any chutes.

 

- From the debriefing of an 82nd Fighter Group pilot


CLAREMONT EXPRESS, second flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with radio out, wing root damage to both wings, superficial damage to the port wing, and 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Lapaglia (Claim was later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

Flight for us was uneventful until we entered the Adriatic (zone 3).  There we ran into two (2) ME-109s out hunting.  Our fighter friends tried, but were unsuccessful in driving them off.  SSgt. Lavalette and 2nd Lt. Hawkins fired & missed, and we took three (3) hits.  Two (2) of the hits were superficial in the port wing area, but we did sustain a wing root hit.  The bastard returned and fortunately for us missed, and surprisingly, left.

 

Upon entry into Yugoslavia (zone 4), we got another chance to duel with the 109s.  Fighter jocks helped scare off three (3) but one (1) lucky Jerry got thru to us.  Our ball gunner, Sgt. Jacobs, took a crack at him and missed.  Unfortunately for the Kraut, our tail gunner, Sgt. Lapaglia knocked his goose-stepping ass out of the sky.

 

As we approached Klagenfurt, we ran headlong into three (3) FW-190s, two (2) were driven off by the fighter boys, and we were left to deal with the remaining one (1).  SSgt. Lavalette and Sgt. Roy fired at the FW, but missed.  The Kraut got lucky and hit us three (3) times.  We took a wing root hit in the starboard wing, and a hit in our radio room which knocked out our commo.  Damage to the craft is bad enough, but we also had Sgt. Gleason take a hit.  It wasn't until we got home that I found out it was a light wound and he would be okay.  Well, after those three (3) hits, the bastard came back for more, SSgt. Lavalette fired from his top position and missed.  For whatever reason the FW left the scene.

 

Over the factory, we took two (2) flak hits.  Very heavy!  Took a superficial hit to the port wing, and another to the starboard waist.  This latter hit caused a small electrical fire which Sgt. Roy extinguished.  We stayed the course, dropped our ordnance, 2nd Lt. Hawkins, our bombardier, estimates a 30% success rate with our mission.

 

The trip home was quiet (thanks to no radio) until we rolled thru the Adriatic (zone 3).  There we had to deal with two (2) ME-109s out prowling.  2nd Lt. Hawkins took a crack at them and missed.  SSgt. Lavalette fired, reported smoke from one (1) of the German planes, and both left us.  The rest of the way was quiet, and all are safely resting in quarters.

 

This being my first combat mission I want to thank you again for entrusting me with a great crew and bird.  My only regret is not bringing the crew and craft back without significant damage.

 

- 1st Lt. Ed Harrigan, Pilot, Claremont Express


OLD YARD DOG, Group Spare

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with superficial damage to the pilots' compartment.

 

Mission Narrative:

Flying as the spare seemed easy enough.  As long as all the guys fly, we don't.  Sounded like a plan.  But of course, we got a report of a plane falling back from the 414th so we pulled up into a slot with the 316th to make sure at least something in the Kraut homeland was bombed.  We made the formation right in between Claremont Express and Sentimental Journey.

 

The Germans took notice of us right before the target area but friendlies kept them at bay.  Once over the target area 3 ME-109s screamed in from straight ahead and scared the hell out of me with bullets flying all thru the flight deck.  Nothing major was hit but Armstrong and I will have to change our underwear after the debriefing.  Our navigator got a piece of one of the attackers but it was only damaged at best.

 

Flak over the target was large caliber, heavy, and accurate.  We took a solid shot in the port wing with a big chunk of metal and the waist was holed by an explosion nearby.  Even though we could see the target, we couldn't hit it because of being bounced around so much from the flak.  I don't think we hit anything major but again, bombing the Kraut homeland has its own appeal.

 

We turned for home and didn't see a single enemy aircraft until near the base.  An ME-109 must have been shadowing the formation and snuck in from 6 high.  I think it surprised all my gunners because we got off only a few rounds before he whizzed by us and down to the deck and heading for home.  Luckily he hit nothing serious either.  Landing was smooth and uneventful.

 

- 1st Lt. M. Chase, Pilot, Old Yard Dog


317th BS (High)

SILVER SPOON, lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with port aileron inoperable and damaged rudder.  No casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

We were pretty lucky this time out, I think.  We saw plenty of Jerries even though the first wave must have attracted most of them.  This lot didnít seem too interested in us, it must be said, but it gives me the jitters seeing so many of those little bastards.

 

Flak was another story.  We could have stepped outside and walked over that carpet of crap they threw up.  We took a couple hits, mostly pin-holes, but we lost the port aileron and the rudder doesnít look too pretty.  The new bomb-jockey was shaken by all that flak, I think, cos he didnít get anywhere near the target.

 

- Capt. Neil Amoore, Pilot, Silver Spoon


MEMPHIS GAL, lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with superficial damage from flak and no casualties.  Claims: 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Baker, 1 ME-109 by SSgt. Almeda.

 

Mission Narrative:

We again had little fighter opposition for the duration of the mission.  The flak over target was heavy, we were hit a few times but fortunately nothing serious was damaged and the crew came through unscathed.  Due to the effects of the flak our aim was off and we missed the target.  While our bombing efficiency suffered this mission the crew notched up an yet another combat mission and we are one step closer to completing our tour.

 

- Capt. Ralph Flynn, Pilot, Memphis Gal


DARKWATCH, lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with superficial damage to waist, port wing aileron, bomb bay doors, and the starboard wing.  1 casualty.  Claims: 1 ME-109 by SSgt. Poulous (Later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

A smooth mission but for getting shot over the target and having our bomb run spoiled . . . it might almost have been a nice flight, with nary a bandit to be seen the whole way in to Austria.  Traded shots with some FW's over the target, but the bandits bugged out in a hurry when we flew into a wall of flak . . . which miraculously failed to explode anywhere near us.  Unfortunately, Abernathy was a little off his game having twice been hit by those FWs, and to tell you the truth, I have no clear idea where our eggs fell.

 

Poulous polished off a 109 that got too close to our tail as we turned for home, and then that was that -- the flight home was as quiet as the ride to the target.  Abernathy was joking about his wounds by the time we got on the ground, but I suspect the docs are going to keep him out for a mission or two.

 

Disappointed to have failed in our mission, but any mission you return from is a success on some level.

 

- Capt. Paul O'Connor, Pilot, Darkwatch


BEWITCHED, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Fell out-of-formation after bomb run.  Returned alone with the radio shot up, Engineer & Pilot Oxygen systems out, the navigator's, radio room & pilots' compartment heating systems out, the port elevator inoperable, and the starboard inboard tank leaking.  1 Casualty.  Claims: 2 ME-109s & 1 FW-190 by SSgt. Simons, 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Miller, 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Levine, 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Brown and 1 shared FW-190 by Sgts. Levine & Brown. (ME-109 claims by SSgt. Simons & Sgt. Miller were later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

We took off into clear blue skies on a sunny day.  Didnít see a sign of the enemy until we were over the Adriatic (zone 3) when Four ME-109s came at us from the front.  We missed them on their pass and they missed us.  Suddenly Levine was shouting on the intercom that heíd tagged one into a ball of flame.  Miller confirmed the flaming bits falling to ground.  Simons reckoned it was a lucky shot but hey, itís one less for someone to worry about.

 

After crossing into Yugoslavia (zone 4) was interesting as 2 waves of 109 Schwarme hit us.  Both groups coming from the front.  Only one hit us in the first wave but Simons got him when he came around for another pass.  Poor Marconi crapped himself as the radio came apart in front of his face.  Does underwear count as a casualty of war?  The second wave didnít get a single shot near us.  Must have been rookies.

 

And then we hit the target zone.  The first fighter wave was a 109 and a 110.  Was surprising to see a flying barn door in the air but finally our little friends put in an appearance and they drove them off.  The second wave was half occupied by our friends and the two ME-109s that got through had one miss and the other put some holes punched into our airframe.  One of them bugged out and the other got nailed by Miller.

 

The flak was heavy but we didnít get too much into the same place we were.  Punched some more holes into our plane and took out the navigatorís heat.  Our egg-layer got on target again and the drop looked pretty good.

 

We got tagged as we were turning for home and dropping down to 10,000 ft.  Two waves of 190s came at us.  Simons got one out of the 1st wave and the others missed.  The second wave of 3 FW-190s came from the front.  Simons got one probable and Richards the other.  The 3rd hit Simonsís oxygen and mine.  Miller clipped him as he came around again and he scrammed without touching us.  Good thing we were on our way down.

 

Encountered some light flak over Yugoslavia (in zone 4) but nothing really worth worrying about.  The 4 FW-190s and a solo 109 were something else.  Pratt clipped a 190 which then put some holes into our port wing in return.  He then came round again and drilled our starboard inner fuel tank.  Luckily it didnít catch fire but then it also didnít self-seal.  Simons reckoned we had just enough to get home if we were lucky.  The Kraut made another pass but didnít hit us and scrammed.  One of them came in from 12 level, missed on his first pass and got his engine rattled by Brown in the port waist.  He fluffed his attack, probably couldnít see us with the flames coming out his cowling.  Miller in the ball seriously hurt a 190 coming in from 3 low but he still managed to take out our port elevator and Marconiís heat in the radio room before he broke off.  Brown lightly damaged a 190 at 9 high before the kraut came in again from 6 high where Levine in the tail finished him off.  They both agreed to half a kill each.  That left the solo 109 from the 12 which Simons nailed pretty good and caused him to break off.

 

We got bounced again just before hitting home by 3 FW-190s and a lone 109.  Miller lightly damaged a 190 and Simons the 109.  One of the 190s put some holes in Marconiís section of the plane and came round from the 9 high where Brown must have got a lucky shot in because the pilot slumped and just went down in a death spiral.  A 190 that came in from 130 level missed and his second pass hit the Co-pilot in the chest with some fragments and took out the pilots' compartment heat.  His third pass missed and he blew for home.  Simons managed to finish off the 109 heíd hit when he tried to come around again.  The 190 that Miller had hit made 2 more passes where he really made sure that the radio was dead and had Marconi swearing something terrible about how they all seemed to be trying kill just him out of the crew.  Miller managed to hit him again and he broke off.

 

We came into the field with our engines blipping from fuel starvation and we just landed when they cut completely.  We had to be towed off the runway.

 

We were lucky to get home.

 

- Capt. Shamus Montague, Pilot, Bewitched


DIVINE WIND, second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with #4 engine feathered, starboard landing gear brakes, tail turret guns, the Norden bombsight,  starboard waist heating system and bomb release mechanism inoperable, damage to the pilots' compartment windows, control cables, tail section oxygen system, port wing root, and superficial damage to the fuselage, port wing and nose, radio and bomb bay sections.  3 casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 and 1 ME-109 by 2nd Lt. Nakano and 1 ME-109 by SSgt. Shimizu (Lt. Nakano's ME-109 was later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

Took off from Sterparone Field, Foggia, Italy without any problems or malfunctions.

 

About one hundred fifty (150) miles away from target we encountered four (4) ME-109s.  The one that came in from 12 level was shot down by 2nd Lt. Nakano manning the chin turret.  The one coming in from 10:30 high missed the plane and was driven off by fire from the squadron.  The ones coming in from 12 and 1:30 high were able to hit the plane causing superficial damage to the port wing and hitting the fuselage without causing any major damage.  They returned with the one coming in from 1:30 level missing the plane and didnít return.  The one coming in from 10:30 level was able to hit the plane and again did superficial damage to the fuselage.  It returned at 12 high, missed the plane, and left.

 

At seventy-five (75) miles from target we were jumped by four (4) FW-190s.  One was driven off by fighters of the 325 Fighter Group and two others missed and were driven off by machine gun fire.  The one coming in from 6 high was able to hit the length of the plane causing extensive damage as it seriously wounded Sgt. Shintani in the waist, damaged the tail gun and radio, making them both inoperable, and glancing off the window in the pilotís compartment.  This plane returned at 12 level and was shot down my 2nd Lt. Nakano.

 

Fifty (50) miles from target we were attacked by four (4) ME-109s.  Three were driven off by the 14th Fighter Group.  The other one attacked from 12 level and missed and was driven off by the 82nd Fighter Group.

 

Just before we reached the target we were again attacked by enemy fighters, this time by three (3) FW-190s.  Two were driven off by the 1st Fighter Group.  One attacked from 1:30 high damaged the Norden bombsight, killed Sgt. Sasaki, and caused minor damage to the #4 engine.  The plane was driven off by fighters of the 1st Fighter Group before he was able to reach the plane.

 

Over target we received heavy flak which hit the plane at least seven (7) times causing the following damage: caused the #4 engine to runaway (was able to feather the prop before we went out of control), damaging the starboard side hydraulic lines for the brakes causing them to be inoperable, damaged the port wing root, shot up some more the radio (which was already damaged), and injuring both Sgt. Shintani and Sgt. Yano.

 

Because the Norden bombsight was damaged before we were able to reach the target we were not able to get any of the bombs near the target.

 

On the turn around, we were again attacked by fighters, this time by two (2) ME-109s.  One came was driven off by fighters before the pair reached the plane.  The other one from 1:30 high missed the plane and was driven off by machine gun fire from the bomb group.

 

About one hundred (100) miles away from the target we encountered four (4) FW-190s.  One was driven off by fighters of the 14th Fighter Group.  Another one from 9 high missed and was driven off.  The one from 3 high was able to hit the plane five (5) times and the one coming in from 12 high twice (2) which caused the following damage: control cables for the release of the bombs; damaging the heating system for the starboard waist gunner; nicking the control cables; damaging the tail section oxygen lines; and superficial damage to the nose and radio room section.  Both planes returned coming in from 9 level and 12 high.  The one at 9 level was shot down Sgt. Shintani before it was able to hit the plane, while the other missed the plane and didnít return.

 

About one hundred (100) miles from base we spotted boggies but fighters from the 82nd Fighter Group were able to drive them off before they were able to reach the group.

 

Even with all the damage received on the plane we were able to land at Sterparone Field without any problems.

 

- Capt. Mark Yoshikawa, Pilot, Divine WInd


CARDINAL EXPRESS, second flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Fell out-of-formation after bomb run after oxygen fire in pilots' compartment.  Returned alone with minor damage and 1 casualty.

 

Mission Narrative:

This started out as a quiet mission until we arrived in the target area.  We were attacked by several planes who were able to land a few hits against the Express, causing only minor damage.  We were able to heavily damage to a 109 who took a bad angle at us and left himself totally exposed.

 

Our plane was then jarred by flak.  But again we only came away with minor damage.  Our bomb run was way off, unfortunately, resulting in none of the bombs landing in the target area.

 

As we turned home, we were immediately jumped by a couple of waves of fighters who were able to land some more hits.  Our radio operator, J.R. Rondo, was killed during this engagement.  A fire also broke out in the pilot compartment, which was quickly extinguished. This did cause the pilot compartment to lose oxygen, forcing us out of formation.

 

We were initially attacked pretty aggressively by the enemy.  Being out of formation can be a lonely feeling.  Luckily for us we picked up an escort who gave us some cover.  That combined with a little bit of luck made the final miles of our mission a lot easier from 10,000 feet.

 

The crew is happy to be back but they could really use a lift since we lost a buddy on a mission where we were so far off target.

 

-1st Lt. Bob Peterson, Pilot, Cardinal Express


318th BS (LOW)

THOR, lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with navigator's equipment and the bomb release mechanism inoperable.  1 casualty.  Claims: 1 FW-190 by SSgt. D. Tucker.

 

Mission Narrative:

Take off and form-up went without a hitch.

 

Just after form-up a pack of 190s jumped us.  Only one did any damage and he did enough.  He took out our Nav equipment and damaged our Bomb release mechanism.

 

We thought that was bad enough until we got hit twice by the flak and that ensured an off target run and sent our starboard waist gunner home to recover.

 

On our return, Dave Tucker got a 190 when he passed just a little too close.

 

- Capt. Joe Smith, Pilot, Gold Dragon


IRON LADY, lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Reached target but bombs jettisoned before bomb run.  Returned out-of-formation on two engines, top and ball turrets inoperable,

port wing aileron, flaps and elevator inoperable, nose and tail compartment heating system inoperable, damaged rudder, one wing tank holed, and 3 casualties.  Claims: 1 ME-109 & 1 ME-110 by Sgt. Endleman, 2 ME-109s by SSgt. Foster and 1 ME-109 by Sgt. McNichol.

 

Mission Narrative:

Took off from base and formed up with rest of the squadron without any problems.

 

We crossed the coast and flew up the Adriatic and didn't see any enemy aircraft until just prior to approaching the Yugoslavian coast. The excellent defensive fire from our squadron colleagues prevented any of them getting through to us.  As we flew west of Zagreb we were bounced by 4 ME-109s, two of which were intercepted by our fighter escort and a third destroyed by Sgt. Endleman in the ball turret.

 

We then started our approach for our bomb run.  We were hit by 5 FW-190s, one of which knocked out engine no. 2 although we managed to feather the prop.  I was contacting group to say we were continuing on mission when the same fighter came for a second pass and this time blew engine no. 3 to hell.  I immediately ordered Lt. O'Donnell to jettison our bomb load and as we struggled to feather the prop on engine 3 we dropped out of formation and turned for home.

 

After that we were fighting for our lives just to get home.  We were hit by 5 ME-109s and Lt. O'Donnell managed to knock chunks off one(FBA-2) as it came in.  All the hits from this wave seemed to be superficial and we headed slowly homeward.  We were just clear off that wave when an FW-190 and a ME-110 caught us.  SSgt. Foster hit the 190 (FBA-2) and Sgt. Endleman in the ball destroyed the 110.  Again the enemy peppered us with holes and the Lady kept on going.  A third wave of 109s came in and Hank Foster killed one, then the tail gunner sent one away smoking (FBA-2) and Foster did the same with a third.  It was during this spell that we took serious hits in the nose area and Lt. O'Donnell was killed and Lt. Smith was badly injured.  To make matters worse, the ball turret was hit and was made inoperable with Sgt. Endleman stuck in it.  We were low enough that flak was bothering us as well.

 

As we headed back over Yugoslavia again we were attacked by large numbers of fighters again.  Sgt. Roberts (starboard waist gunner) was seriously wounded and Sgt. Foster destroyed another 109 before his turret was also put out of action.  P-38s finally turned up and killed two from the next wave . The suit heater for the tail gunner was knocked out and the nose comp heat was useless.  By this time we were almost defenseless with only the tail, radio room and port waist guns either manned or working.  The tail gunner killed a ME-109 from the next wave and fighters got another.

 

We struggled over the Adriatic with all of the port control surfaces being knocked out and we also took a shell through one of the fuel tanks although it sealed itself up.  I almost breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the Italian coastline crawl into view.  I got the crew to ditch anything that we didn't need and finally managed to scrape onto the base with my worst ever landing.  MSgt. Brewster ain't gonna be happy.

 

Pete Smith and Paul Roberts are both going home; but at least they're alive.  I'll need to write Phil O'Donnell's mother.  I hate this crappy war!

 

- 1st Lt. Joe Di Agostino, Pilot, Iron Lady


THE ANT'S HILL, lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Shot down by flak over target.  10 POWs taken.  Claims: 1 FW-190 shot down.

 

Mission Narrative:

Upon reaching the Austrian Border, this aircraft was attacked by 4 FW-190's.  The B-17 destroyed one and drove off one, and we drove off the others.

 

Approaching Klagenfurt, the aircraft was hit by flak in the area of the inboard starboard fuel tank and immediately began to burn.  After jettisoning their bombs, all of the crew successfully exited the plane. The ten chutes were last seen drifting down into Austria and the crew are presumed to have been captured.

 

- Report from escorting P-38 pilot


GOLDEN SPIKE, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with tail wheel and 2 wing roots damaged.  2 casualties.  Claims: 1 FW-190 by 2nd Lt. Evans.

 

Mission Narrative:

Flying in the low squadron we were expecting stiff enemy attention.  About 150 miles out a single FW-190 was chased off by friendlies, and 50 miles later another FW-190 hit our wing root from a vertical dive but on the second pass he too retreated from friendly cover.

 

Over the target we saw the first ME-110s since we've being in Italy, but they too ran away from our escorts.  Our feelings of confidence didn't last long as we took five hits from flak, damaging the tail wheel and wing root, seriously wounding our ace engineer, and a piece of flak just missed Sgt. MacArthy's head [used up his lucky charm to avoid a KIA].

 

After dropping about a third of our payload on the target we gathered at the Rally Point and were swarmed by five FW-190s.  Sgt. Stolberg left his waist gun to take over the top turret and for the next few minutes we were short on fire power.  Even so, our replacement navigator, Lt. Evans, destroyed one 190 with his single cheek gun (no small task) and we damaged two more before they attacked.  Faced with such accurate fire the Germans missed us clear.  It was quiet for the next 100 miles when three FW-190s charged our plane.  Our escort fighters took care of one, but one of the remaining bandits stitched us three times before leaving us alone.  No worse for wear though, we hurried home to get treatment for Sgt. Garbutt.  After a smooth landing, the ambulance took off with our wounded ace.  I understand he'll be able to return to duty some time, but we'll have to do without him for the next few missions.

 

- Capt. Todd Wilson, Pilot, Golden Spike


PEARLY'S PRIDE, second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with bombsight, radio, starboard elevator out; damage to the rudder, tail plane root, and pilot compartment window; superficial damage to port wing, tail, waist, pilot compartment, and bomb bay (2).  1 casualty.  Claims: 1 FW-190 each by Sgt. Taft and Sgt. Tyler; 1 FW-190 shared by Sgts. Shea and Hatcher (Sgt. Tyler's and the shared kill by Sgts. Shea and Hatcher were later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

The Germans were on us from nearly the beginning.  Our fighter cover early in the mission left something to be desired.  Fortunately, my crew was sure of shot today.  Four FW-190s jumped us over the Adriatic.  Only one of them returned home.  Sgt. Taft dropped one at 9 high immediately, while Shea and Hatcher both claimed a 190 from 3 low.  Meanwhile, Lt. Watson missed a fighter that came straight in, but Sgt. Tyler caught him as he passed the tail.  Nice, tricky shooting.  Maybe the last German got the jitters seeing his fellows plummeting to the sea, as he made a half-hearted attempt on us from 1:30.  Lieutenant Rushmore, who was very busy this flight, couldn't line him up, but three out of four is pretty good!

 

We didn't have any trouble until we got over the target zone, where we saw numerous Germans.  Here, at least, our fighters got the best of them, sending some down and engaging the rest so that we were able to approach the target in peace.  The flak was extremely heavy, but we only had one burst close by us, which did no damage.  Despite this, Lt. Watson missed the target completely.  He offered no excuses; perhaps it was the smoke from the 99th.

 

As we left the target, we had a 190 come at us in a vertical dive.  Taft definitely damaged him, but he came on anyway and managed to shoot up the radio.  Marcus was livid over that!  Over Yugoslavia, Lt. Harrison (a fine copilot, by the way) and I got quite startled by a round that ricocheted off our window, and Marcus got even more upset when another round hit what was left of his beloved radio -- it just wasn't his day, and it got even worse . . .

 

Over the Adriatic again, we saw a total of eight 190s.  They used the same attack pattern as the ones earlier in the flight: 12 level, 1:30 level, 3 low and 9 high.  Ham, uh, Lt. Rushmore, drove one off trailing smoke.  Sgts. Hatcher and Tomlinson were spraying fire indiscriminately; it worked for Sgt. Hatcher, but not for Tomlinson, whose gun jammed.  One of the Wulfe's came around again from 6 high.  Despite taking hits from Sgt. Tyler he came on and walked hits down the fuselage, wounding Marcus.  He cursed a blue streak pretty much the rest of the way home. "This is supposed to be a safe part of the plane!" he kept yelling.  I guess no one told him that there is no safe part of the plane.

 

-1st Lt. August West, Pilot, Pearly's Pride


A/C # 42-11828, second flight, left wingman (TAIL-END CHARLIE)

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 50%.  Returned with top turret and tail guns inoperable, and superficial flak damage.  3 casualties.  Claims: 1 ME-109 apiece by SSgt. Gladson, TSgt. Maley, Sgts. Asher & Gumm.

 

Mission Narrative:

The first Enemy A/C we encountered was a 109, but Sgt. Gumm was able to destroy him.  We were next attacked by two more 109s.  One of the 109s missed while the other knocked out the tail guns (he missed on his second pass).  Jumped by 3 more 109s, two missed and the other was destroyed by TSgt. Maley.  Then 5 more 109s came in, one was destroyed by SSgt. Gladson and one by Sgt. Asher.  Sgt. Tebbs was wounded in his right calf during the attack (light wound).

 

We only received superficial damage from flak.  I don't know how we received such light flak damage since the flak was heavy over the target.  We were able to get 50% of the bombs on target.

 

We were attacked by 4 more 109s leaving the target.  During this attack, TSgt. Maley was KIA, the top turret guns were knocked out and Sgt. Asher received a serious wound to his left knee.

 

The rest of the way home we ran into a few more 109s but they either missed, were driven off by our little friends or were driven off by other B-17s.  I could go the rest of my life without seeing another 109 and be very happy.  The landing was uneventful.

 

- 1st Lt. Jeff Landers, Pilot, A/C # 42-11828


399th BS (HIGH) Flying with composite group as part of Wing Formation 'ABLE'

 

PRINCESS LILIKOI, Lead flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 10%.  Returned with Norden bombsight and port tail plane root damaged by flak.  1 casualties.  Claims: 1 ME-109 apiece by 2nd Lts. Segovia and Wright; 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Franklin.

 

Mission Narrative:

After a quiet flight over the Adriatic, the first fighter attacked SE of Pola.  A bunch of 190s attacked in two waves.  Some of these could have been from the rumored JG-700.  We had fighters attacking all the way to the target and on the way to the Rally Point, but most of them were driven off by our fighter cover.

 

The flak was light and inaccurate, but hit us and damaged the bomb sight so Lt. Segovia missed, although Sgt. Powers reported that at least 10 percent hit within 1000 ft.

 

Good shooting by Sgt. Franklin again.  This is his second mission and he kills another one. This time a 190.

 

- Capt. Frank Kingsley, Pilot, Princess Lilikoi


RATS REVENGE, lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 60%.  Returned without damage or casualties.  Claims: 1 FW-190 & ME-109 each by Sgt. Parker, 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Pender & 1 ME-109 by Lt. Clark.  (Parker's FW-190 claim was later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

What few inbound fighters we did see while in route to the target were quickly driven off by our escorts.  The flak never came close to our plane.  Lt. Clark did an outstanding job on his first mission, he put an estimated 60% of our bombs on target.

 

On the way home the Germans came at us, but the crews were obviously green because my boys downed four of them quite easily, those that did get through missed us by a mile.  For the first time ever I am glad to report, my aircraft sustained absolutely no damage this mission.  Kudos to the boys back in the states, these new G's are great!  The chin turret is a great improvement over the old nose gun.

 

- Capt. Todd Oswald, Pilot, Rats Revenge


WALLS OF FIRE, lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 5%.  Returned with various superficial hits and 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 ME-109 by Sgt. O'Malloy  (claim was later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

No enemy planes sighted on the outward leg, attacked over target by two or three FW-190s, all appeared to be experienced pilots, Flight Engineer Bates was killed by one of the a 190's fire, coming in from 1:30.

 

Despite ideal conditions (no flak sighted), Bombardier Edwards once again hesitated releasing the load (later reprimanded).

 

On the return journey a solitary 109 attacked, but accurate shooting by tail gunner O'Malloy put paid to his war effort.  No other enemy aircraft were encountered after this.  Another poor result for the crew given the ideal circumstances.  Condolences have been passed on to Bates family.

 

- 1st Lt. Michael Raines, Pilot, Walls of Fire


FRISCO KID II, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Fell out-of-formation after bomb run.  Returned alone with wind milling engine, nose compartment heat out, starboard and port ailerons out, elevator controls shot away and numerous holes in the wings.  1 case of frostbite.  Claims: 1 ME-109 by TSgt. Wilson, 1 ME-109 by 2nd Lt. Myers, 1 FW-190 and 1 ME-109 each shot down by Sgt. McDonough.

 

Mission Narrative:

Our first mission to the Reich was more than a bit exciting.  We saw no enemy a/c until we got to Yugoslavia, them we were attacked by a large number of enemy fighters.  The Checkertails did fairly well protecting us, but a few did get through, though none hit us.

 

Over target, fighter cover from the 38s was even better than that from the Jugs, but a couple 190s came after us.  One hit the #2 engine, knocking it out.  The prop wouldn't feather, though -- it kept wind milling.   We made our run as fast as we could (probably why we missed the target) then turned for home.  Soon we were all alone.

 

Jerry came for us, sending three waves of enemy a/c to try and knock us down.  Sgt. McDonough knocked one down, Wilson got another, and we got hits on some of the others, but the survivors came back again and again.  They didn't do a lot of damage, surprisingly -- shot out the elevator controls, got the heat in the nose, knocked out one of the ailerons.  They did put lots of holes in the wings.

 

Then they left us alone until we crossed the coast.  We picked up a couple 38s as company, but they weren't enough to drive off the four 109s that came after us.  McDonough flamed one coming up behind us, and Myers got another one before they gave up and broke off.  They did get the other aileron before they left, though.

 

After that it was smooth sailing.  Two Jugs took us home, where we landed safely.  The men are tired -- four missions in four days, and we limped home out of formation from two of them -- but in relatively good spirits.

 

- Capt. David R. Moody, Pilot, Frisco Kid II


TEXAS THUNDER, second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Left formation zone 2 inbound and returned out-of-formation with starboard wing inboard tank hit holed, starboard aileron inoperable, two port wing root hits, radio room oxygen system knocked out, superficial damage to the nose, bomb bay, radio room, waist, tail and wings.  3 casualties.  Claims: 4 FW-190s & 1 ME-109 by SSgt. Fargo, 1 FW-190 & 2 ME-109s by Sgt. Goyer, 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Blanchard, 1 FW-190 shared by SSgt. Fargo & Sgt. Goyer.
 

Mission Narrative:

The crew were in high sprits as we formed up.  SSgt. Fargo keep on insisting that he was feeling 'lucky' today.  We first encountered enemy fighters over Yugoslavia (zone 4).  Three FW-190s attacked with one being drive off by our fighter cover.  On the first pass SSgt. Fargo was lightly wounded by one of the FW-190s but he destroyed the other FW-190 as it attacked from 12 o'clock high.  He continued to slug it out with the remaining 190 and on its third pass it was destroyed by both SSgt. Fargo and Sgt. Goyer as it came in from 3 o'clock level.
 

Enemy fighters were driven off by other B-17s in the formations prior to entering the target zone (zone 5), light flak was encountered over the target.  We were able to place our bomb with 30% accuracy.

 

Leaving the target area, two ME-109s slipped past our fighter coverage and they were both destroyed by SSgt. Fargo and Sgt. Goyer (1 each).
 

Reentering Yugoslavia (zone 4), 4 FW-190s attacked and one was driven off by our fighter cover.  In the first pass Sgt. Goyer destroyed one FW-190 coming in at 12 o'clock.  The other two shot up our left wing scoring two wing root hits.  On their second pass SSgt. Fargo hit another FW-190 in the fuel tank and it disappeared in a blinding flash.  We were hit in out bomb bay by the remaining German.  Boy, was I glad we had gotten rid of our bomb load.   On his third pass he was forced to abort his attack by SSgt. Fargo coming in from 10:30 high.

 

So much for the easy part of the mission, over the Adriatic we were mauled by two waves of fighters.  Our fighter escort intercepted one FW-190 leaving us with three FW-190s and three ME-109s to fight off.  One FW-190 was stopped by SSgt. Fargo on the first pass, the other two were both damaged but continues to press home their attacks.  One stuck the nose compartment seriously injuring Lt. Jacobs and lightly wounding Lt. DeMarco.  The other walked his shell directly across our aircraft's wing from starting on the port side; it's a miracle nothing vital was hit.  Sgt. Blanchard destroyed an ME-109 and Sgt. Bartoldus drove another off.  On their second pass SSgt. Fargo drove off another FW-190 and Sgt. Goyer destroyed an ME-109.  Both the radio room oxygen system was knocked out and our starboard aileron and inboard fuel tank were hit.  Sgt. Blanchard reported that the inboard tank was leaking fuel.  The last FW-190 was destroyed by SSgt. Fargo before he could line up for his third attack.
 

Descended to 10,000 ft due to the radio room oxygen system getting damaged.  As we kept getting closer to base (zone 2), fighter coverage was good we only had to worry the fuel we were loosing but we made a safe landing upon return to Sterparone Field.

 

- 1st Lt. Art DeFlippo, Pilot, Texas Thunder


PALOOKAVILLE, second flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with bombardier's heater system out, superficial damage to tail and radio room.  1 casualty.

 

Mission Narrative:

A light mission as far as enemy aircraft went.  We saw one ME-109 soon after we crossed into Austria, but the escort took care of him almost immediately.  On the way out we saw other planes but we were safely nestled in the formation.

 

We were, however pummeled by the flak.  A bit unusual, considering that most of the other planes reported light flak over the target.  We were hit by back-to-back bursts causing mostly superficial damage.  It was at this time that that 2nd Lt. Mullalay was hit by shrapnel as was immediately KIA.  As a testament to the ferocity of the flak 2nd Lt. Loveringís seat had a 4 inch chunk of metal lodged in the back.  2nd Lt. Lovering is of the opinion that had he not been retrieving his compass that had fallen to the deck, he would have been killed (Used Lucky Charm).  While we were able to make the bomb run, it was ineffective and off target.

 

We did see a pair of Focke-Wulfes near the end of the Adriatic leg, but one was driven off by fighter cover.  The other, while we were unable to bring weapons to bear accurately only made a quick pass before moving on.

 

Landing was without incident.

 

-1st Lt. Henry Mershon, Pilot, Palookaville


419th BS/301st BG (Lead) Flying with composite group as part of Wing Formation 'Able'

ANGEL BABE, first flight, lead aircraft (Composite group leader)

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 10%.  Returned with bombardier's heating system, radio & autopilot system inoperable.  Control Cables damaged and

superficial damage to bomb bay doors, port wing, waist, tail & Pilots' compartments.  1 serious wound (Flt. Eng - going home) and 1 case of frostbite (bombardier - recovered).  Claims: 2 FW-190s damaged.

 

- Capt. Mitchell McDowell, Pilot, Angel Babe


LIBERTY BELLE, first flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with # 3 engine out and minor flak damage to nose and both wings.  1 casualty (Bombardier, LW).  Claims: 1 ME-109 destroyed by Flt. Eng and 1 ME-109 damaged by Ball Gunner.
 

- Capt. Domenic Carlucci, Pilot, Liberty Belle


MISS FORTUNE, lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned and made successful belly landing. Damage: Port wing main landing gear inoperable, instrument damage for ailerons, bombardier heating system out, numerous superficial damage to the fuselage, starboard wing, pilots' compartment, bomb bays, radio room, waist and tail sections.  1 casualty (Bombardier, LW).  Claims 1 FW-190 & 1 ME-109 by tail gunner.  Also 2 ME-109s & 1 ME-110 as damaged.


BLONDIE, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 50%.  Returned with port cheek gun destroyed, starboard wing root damaged, and minor superficial damage in the nose compartment.  1 casualty (Co-pilot LW).  Claims: 1 ME-109 damaged.


MONA LISA, second flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

 


DOGPATCH, second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

 


414th BS/97th BG (Low) Flying with composite group as part of Wing Formation 'Able'

 

THE JOLLY ROGER, lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Left formation outbound over Adriatic (zone 3) and did not bomb target.  The Jolly Roger was last seen with #2 and #3 engines out.  It left the formation on the outbound leg over the Adriatic 50 miles south of Pola and turned for home swarmed by enemy fighters.  No word was heard.  The plane is MIA with all 10 crewmembers presumed KIA.


BETTY BOOP, lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with bomb bay door inoperable (after bomb run), damage to the port wing root and superficial damage to the starboard wing and tail section.  No casualties.  Claims: 3 ME-109s (2 by Bombardier & 1 by Navigator), 1 FW-190 by Radio Operator, and 2 ME-109s damaged by Navigator & Ball Gunner.


SAD SACK, lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

 


NAUGHTY NANETTE, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned and made successful belly landing.  Damage: #3 engine feathered, instruments damage for elevators and landing gear, both waist guns destroyed, ball turret inoperable, port wing root damage, numerous superficial damage to the fuselage, port wing, and to the #1 & #3 engines. 5 casualties: 2 KIA & 3 LWs.  Claims: 2 ME-109s & 1 FW-190 as damaged.


8-BALL, second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 40%.  Returned without damage or casualties.  Claims: None.


SKY CHIEF, second flight, left wingman (TAIL-END CHARLIE)

 

Mission Synopsis:

Reached target but did not bomb target due to inoperable bomb bay doors.  Returned with nose compartment heat, starboard flaps and bomb bay doors inoperable.  No casualties.  Claims: 2 ME-109s by Port Waist  Gunner, 1 FW-190 each by Navigator & Ball Gunner, and 1 ME-109 each by Bombardier and Tail Gunner.  4 FW-109s & 5 ME-109s also claimed as damaged.


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