MISSION 20 - PARMA AARs
316th BS (Lead)
FULL HOUSE II, lead flight, lead aircraft
Reached target but bomb load jettisoned in zone 4. Returned with #3 engine, flaps instrumentation, starboard waist heater inoperable, pilot's oxygen system, rudder, starboard tail plane damaged, and superficial holes to the fuselage, starboard wing, nose, pilots', radio, waist, tail compartments. 4 casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 by 2nd Lt. Penny.
The mission was routine until the group reached east of Florence. Here, a trio of FW-190s worked us over pretty good. They knocked out the instruments for the flaps, the starboard waist gunner's heat system, damaged the pilot's oxygen system, the rudder, the starboard tail plane root, wounding TSgt. Moore, Sgts. Fuller and Williams. But the biggest damage was to our #3 engine which began to runaway. After feathering the prop, we were forced to jettison the load. No longer having a bomb load, we remained in formation since we were group lead. Our gunnery was dismal as only Sgt. Williams, the starboard gunner, manage to damage only one of the enemy.
As soon as the e/a left the area, the sky began to explode with flak. The formation had accidentally flown too close to the flak batteries of Florence! Luckily, we suffered no damage.
Approaching the target, a trio of ME-109s attacked which left Lt. McClure, our bombardier, lightly wounded. As one of 109s flew pass, Sgt. Martinelli, the tail gunner, heavily damaged it causing it to break off his attack.
The flak over Parma was light and ineffective.
As we raced for the Rally Point, four ME-109s attacked but we came through without damage while Lt. Penny shot down one, and the Lt. McClure and MSgt. Miller each damaged one. After this attack, Sgt. Williams reported he couldn't feel his toes as a result of losing his suit heater earlier.
After leaving the Parma area, we experienced no further enemy attacks and landed back at base without incident.
Good news: Doc informed me that Sgt. Williams wouldn't loose any toes and he would be back in action in a couple of days.
- Capt. Daniel Tanner, Pilot, Full House II
SATIN DOLL, lead flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with navigator's equipment destroyed, port wing root hit damaged by 20mm shell, superficial damage to nose, pilots', bomb bay, radio room, waist, tail compartments and starboard wing from 13mm & 20mm shells. 2 casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 & 2 ME-109s Sgt. Blankenship (1 ME-109 later confirmed by S-2), 2 FW-190s by Sgt. Wheeler (1 FW-190 later confirmed by S-2), 1 FW-190 each by 1st Lt. Morris & TSgt Johansen & 1 ME-109 SSgt. Turner.
Satin Doll settled into her slot on Full House's right wing in the lead element of the lead group. We had our first of many run-ins with the Krauts crossing into central Italy (zone 3). Four FW-190s from 12 & 6 high, 9 level, and one in a vertical dive came barreling in. The Jug Jockeys took out the ones at 12 & 9, and Swede nailed the one at 6 high. This must have shook up his mate in the vertical dive as his shots were wide and he passed on through the squadron heading for the low group.
Things quieted down for awhile until the group made an unscheduled turn that took us over the outer fringes of the 'Florence Flak Follies'. Thankfully, the leading cast must have been out to lunch, as the rounds sent our way weren't near enough to cause any physical damage. The psychological damage was enough though, and I hope they wash out the SOB that blew it and send him off to cook & baker's school. We were lucky that we didn't have any E/A to contend with but saw several working over Full House pretty well. PJ called in that Tanner dropped his bombs and that his #3 Engine was out.
Nearing the target, we encountered 2 FWs. A P-38 flamed the one at 10:30 level and Blankenship hammered the one at 3 level, sending him to Valhalla. Flak over the target was light and PJ put 30% of the load into the marshalling yards.
Nearing the rally point, we were jumped by four 190s. PJ & Peewee pasted the two from 12 level & 6 high. The one in a vertical dive walked hits along the fuselage causing mainly superficial damage to the Doll and lightly wounding Eddie Duffy and PeeWee. When he swung around to 6 high for another pass, PeeWee, pissed about the shell fragment that grazed his knee, blasted him out of the sky with the tail stingers. The one from 3 high was nicked by Duffy and Turner, missed and flew over top of us heading for Blockbuster. Wall in the port waist called in that he saw Blockbuster's port wing trailing flames, then fold up. As the ship fell out of formation, Blankenship called in that the saw somebody come out up forward and that he had a good chute. PeeWee called in that he didn't see any more chutes as Blockbuster spun in. This was a sobering event for the crew. While they had peppered the Kraut that got Blockbuster they hadn't done enough damage to keep him from getting to one of our own.
We tightened up on Tanner's wing a little and saw no further E/A for awhile.
Midway through central Italy north of Terni, (zone 3), four Me-109s swept in at us. Again, the P-38s took one off us while Blankenship pasted the one at 12 low. Turner flat out creamed the Kraut at 12 high but the one at 12 level scored a few hits on the starboard wing and holed the cockpit a little. On his next pass he hit the port wing root then swung around to 12 level for one last shot. Blankenship was hot and blew him in half just aft of the cockpit.
The rest of the flight home was quiet, and we landed safely back at Sterparone Field.
- Capt. John P. McConnell, Pilot, Satin Doll
BLOCKBUSTER, lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Shot down by enemy fighter after bomb run. 1 chute seen. Claims: 1 ME-109 destroyed.
Just after the bombing run over Parma, 2nd Lt. Metzger's plane, Blockbuster, was attacked by a sole FW-190 approaching from roughly 1:30 o'clock level. The bomber took a hit to the port wing near the outboard fuel tank, and then the wing immediately disintegrated. Only one chute was observed, which seemed to come from the nose area.
- From debriefings of various pilots from the 316th Bomb Squadron
LUCKY PENNY, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 60%. Returned without damage or casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Edmond.
Boy, two milk types runs in a row. Sort of.
No action until east of Florence (zone 4); then four FW-190s came at us at 12, 9, 6 and vertical dive. Fighters drove off one, the tail gunner got another, the other two must have seen their buddy take a hit and missed -- Somehow we flew over a flak area but it was light and only bumpy, no major damage.
Over target we saw enemy fighters but they were driven off by other B-17s, and we managed to do a respectable 60% damage.
On the return trip, again near Florence (zone 4), we saw fighters . . . (almost as if they knew we were coming . . . but that would mean somebody blabbed). Anyway, two 109s flew at us at 10:30 and 12 but the top turret put massive damage (-2) into one that missed and flew off, the other was driven off by the small group of fighters that managed to catch up to us. Rest of trip was quiet.
One note, most members of our crew are starting to get jumpy. They have been up a long time, gone through 19 missions, shot down a lot of enemy fighters but a lot of grumbling among the crew (out of my earshot) about a "fear of the next mission" . . . not sure what to do except keep the guys busy and focus on the task at hand.
- Capt. Paul Griffin, Pilot, Lucky Penny
CLAREMONT EXPRESS, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with light damage with 2 casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Jacobs.
Flight for us was uneventful until after the bomb run. As we left the target zone, we encountered heavy enemy contact. Four FW-190s jumped us, two were driven off, and we were left to deal with the other two. A jerry approached and Sgt. Jacobs, filling in as Flight Engineer blew him out of the sky. While this was happening we also dealt with a German coming right at us, and he blew apart the nose, killing Lt. Burke. Luckily for Giovanni he had gone to check on Lapaglia.
Returning homeward east of Rome (zone 2) we ran into four FW-190s, fighter cover drove off one, two missed thanks in part to the fire laid out by Sgts. Jacobs and Roy. The third got a series of hits on our starboard waist side quickly killing Sgt. Gleason.
The rest of the way home was uneventful, upon approach we popped smoke and the meat wagons took away Burke and Gleason. I will be forwarding a request for award for Sgt. Jacobs for filling in another position and scoring a kill.
- 1st Lt. Ed Harrigan, Pilot, Claremont Express
DARLA'S BITE II, second flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 5%. Returned with the radio knocked, starboard wing root damaged, and many holes to the fuselage. 3 casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 & 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Andrews, 1 FW-190 by SSgt. Breslof and 1 ME-109 by Albers.
Take off and formation was routine. We made it out to about 70 to 60 miles from the target (Zone 4) before we encountered many enemy aircraft. Four FW-190s came in from the front and port side. One was flamed by our escort, and Sgt. Albers flamed another. The last two came in and lightly wounded both Lts. Thorn and Catford. These two returned, both missing their shots. Yet, Sgt. Andrews hit one hard as he passed by our tail and was observed by Sgt. Albers going down.
Over the target (Zone 5) we were attacked by two more FW-190s. These also came from the front. One was identifiable as an ace due to the multiple markings on his tail. He superficially raked the fuselage, with no immediate effects. Sgt. Andrews was on the mark today as he hit the ace on his way past our tail and turned for home.
Flak was light and inaccurate doing no damage to our aircraft. Sergeants Andrews and Albers only place our bombing accuracy at around five percent. I believe the wound to Lt. Thorns head may have played a factor in his performance today as he has been "spot on" in the last four missions.
As we left the target area, we were mauled. Two ME-109s tore into the front of our aircraft, severally injuring 1st Lt. Willford Wilcox and killing Lt. Catford. I was forced to fly the aircraft on my own as the rest of the crew was busy fending off enemy fighters. This is when our radio was knocked out as well. On the return of these two Germans, Albers shot down his second enemy fighter leaving one to damage our starboard wing root. When the last fighter came around for a third try, SSgt. Breslof deterred his attack (FBOA-2) by smoking his engine. This affected his shooting as he miss us completely. Sgt. Andrews didn't miss though; his shot at this ME-109 as he passed the tail finished off what Sgt. Breslof started and he went down uncontrolled. Sgt. Albers verified this in the ball turret. A second wave of two FW-190s made a week attack. With one being driven off by our escort and the other making the mistake of attacking from the front high position. As he met Sgt. Breslof's twin 50s and was seen exploding just past the tail by Sgt. Andrews. Sgt. Andrews made an observation that this fighter's tail also carried many kill markings on its tail, marking him as a possible ace.
The rest of the trip was calm, with a routine landing as SSgt. Breslof helped me land our aircraft.
We saw a total of 15 enemy aircraft, claiming 5 kills and 2 probable.
I am sad to report that 1st Lieutenant Willford Wilcox died of wounds shortly after we landed and Lieutenant Marty Catford was killed outright due to enemy action. Lieutenant Chuck Thorne will recover from his graze to the head, but his return is up to the base doctors.
- 2nd Lt. Don Beckett, Co-pilot, Darla's Bite II
OLD YARD DOG, third flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with both ailerons inoperable. No casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Harris.
Mission was relatively quiet. We did take damage to both ailerons which made landing a bit rough. But our bomb drop brought solid hits I am sure post recon will verify.
My waist gunner shot down a 190 and the navigator probably got a 109 in another pass. We can verify the 190 but the 109 was seen just leaving the area smoking.
The P38s didn't do much for us this mission. We didn't see many P38s and the enemies attacked us on the home bound run much more aggressively than when the P47s had us on the target bound run.
- 1st Lt. Michael Chase, Pilot, Old Yard Dog
RATS REVENGE, third flight, right aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with tail guns inoperable, minor superficial damage to the starboard wing and no casualties. Claims: 2 ME-109s by 2nd Lt. Clark (1 ME-109 was later confirmed by S-2) and 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Parker.
Half way to the target we had a lone 109 come at us from above our engineer was able to put a few rounds on him, but he kept coming. He punched a few holes through our starboard wing, and knocked out our tail guns, and that's all we saw of him.
The minor flak in route to the target was light and missed us by a mile.
As we entered the outskirts of Parma we were hit by a group of four 109s. Our escorts drove one off, but the other three were undeterred. Lt. Clark managed to down one with the chin guns. The other two continued inbound. Only one of them managed to put a few superficial hits on our starboard wing, and when he came back around Lt. Clark downed him too.
Flak over the target missed us, and Lt. Clark put 40% of our bombs on target.
On the way back to base, we only saw one other inbound fighter. A grey camo-painted 109 came at us from below, but our ball gunner easily downed him.
- Capt. Oswald, Pilot, Rats Revenge
MOONSHINE A-BREWIN', third flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Radio inoperable, co-pilot windshield cracked, superficial damage to the nose and waist. 1 casualty.
Take off and form up uneventful. The first wave that attacked us occurred about 5 minutes from IP. A single ME-109 attacked the formation from 12 o’clock high. Sgt. Acton swears he got some good hits with the top turret, but not before the Kraut put a good-sized piece of lead into Sgt. Garcia’s belly. Sgt. Hughes provided aid to him, and almost certainly kept him from bleeding to death.
Just after the IP, another wave of ME-109s struck us. One attacked us from 12 o’clock level, damaging Lt. Brimfield’s side of the windscreen, and cracking the Plexiglas in the nose. Another struck at us from 9 o’clock, but was destroyed by Sgt. Hughes before he had a chance to fire. Sgt. Hughes continued to care for Sgt Garcia and man his guns throughout the entire mission. I will be submitting him for an Air Medal soon.
Flak was light and inaccurate. Lt. Eltman put approx 25%-30% of bombs within the CEP. As we made the turn from target, Sgt. Acton reported a Fort ahead of us spin out of control. He didn’t see any chutes.
Approx 30 miles after target, another wave of ME-109s struck us. One struck the radio room, severing several cables to the radio and putting it out of action. This fighter swung around and attacked us again from 9 o’clock. It put some holes in the waist, but Sgt. Hughes claims a damaged fighter. In any case, it half-rolled and dived out of sight.
The rest of the mission was uneventful. We set down easy and had an ambulance meet us on landing. We’re still not sure Sgt. Garcia will make it, but his war’s over for sure. This is the second waist gunner I’ve lost.
-1st Lt. Casey Morgan, Pilot, Moonshine A-Brewin'
317th BS (HIGH)
DARKWATCH, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with damaged control cables, superficial damage to radio room and no casualties.
Another milk run for the Darkwatch. The odds must be evening out for the tough time we had in our first missions -- I'm only sad a lot of the original guys aren't with us to enjoy it. Scarcely saw bandits the whole trip, and those that got near us were mostly driven away by other ships in formation or some very welcome fly boys in P-38s. A FW-190 did make a run at us over Parma and shot up our control cables, but the Darkwatch is a tough old bird and we were able to fly her just fine.
We hit the target this time, which was a relief.
Flak was no problem. I know a lot of the guys got splashed over Florence but our navigator kept us on the beam and we didn't have any troubles.
Landed without incident. The guys aren't changing their socks while we're on this streak, so it's starting to get kind of rank in the ship, but that's a happy problem to have.
- Capt. Paul O'Connor, Pilot, Darkwatch
MEMPHIS GAL, lead flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with light superficial damage and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 by 2nd Lt. Nimble.
Bomber took flak damage when the group accidentally flew too close to Florence which wounded the Lt. Tonkin, the co-pilot.
The rest of the mission was uneventful save for some choice language issuing from the cockpit, words that most of the men had never heard before . . .
- Capt. Ralph Flynn, Pilot, Memphis Gal
SILVER SPOON, lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with #2 engine
feathered, starboard inner fuel tank holed
and 1 casualty.
and 1 casualty.
They were waiting for us. We caught a packet from fighters on the way out and the way in. I’m too bushed to go into detail, but we lost an engine to a bastard 190 that came in again and again. Thank God for Fielding. The man took them out as fast as they came in. Ice runs in those veins. He saved us. If that wasn’t bad enough, flak holed our fuel tank and we landed on fumes; 20 more miles and we’d have crashed.
- 1st Lt. Milton Forrest, Pilot, Silver Spoon
DIVINE WIND, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with port waist
gunners heating unit and starboard waist gun inoperable. Damage to
navigator's oxygen supply line and tail plane section. Slight damage to
radio room, bomb bay area, and port wing. 1 casualty. Claims: 1 FW-190s by
Sgt. Shimizu (later confirmed by S-2) & 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Sakaue.
Took off from Sterparone Field, Foggia, Italy without any problems or malfunctions.
Fifty (50) miles from Sterparon Field we saw one (1) ME-109 but it was driven off by P-47's from the 325th FG.
One Hundred-Fifty (150) miles away from target we were again jumped by a lone fighter, one (1) FW-190 but the fighter was driven off by machine gun fire from the bomb group before it was able to attack the formation.
One hundred (100) miles away from target another bogie was driven off by fighters from the 325th Fighter group. We also encountered light flak as we were going to the target at this point. The plane was not hit and didn't sustain any damage.
Fifty (50) miles away from target we encountered two (2) ME-109s coming in from 10:30 and 12 level. The one coming in from 10:30 was damaged by 2nd Lt. Nakahiro manning the chin turret, causing the plane to veer off and not return. The one coming in from 12 was shot down by Engineer SSgt. Shimizu manning the top turret.
About ten (10) miles over target we were attacked by three (3) FW-190s coming in from 12 high, 12 low, and 1:30 level. The ones that came in from 12 high and 1:30 level missed the plane and didn't return. The one coming in from 12 low was able to get a walking hit along the plane that ran the length of the plane from the Nose to the tail. The hits to the bomb bay and radio room were superficial in nature while other hits slightly damaged the oxygen supply for the navigator, the starboard waist gun to where it was inoperable, and a tail plane root. The Pilots' compartment was hit with shrapnel causing a slight head wound to Capt. Mark Yoshikawa. The FW-190 returned at 6 high and was severely damaged by the tail gunner, Sgt. Sakaue, but the fighter was still able to hit again with hits to the Pilot and Nose compartments that were only superficial in nature, while the hit the waist knocked out the heating controls for the port waist gunner.
We encountered light flak over the target that missed the plane. 2nd Lt. Nakahiro was able to find the target and put 40% of the bomb load on the target.
On the turn around we were attacked by four (4) ME-109s coming in from 12 high, level, low, and 6 low. The one coming in from 6 low was shot down by the Tail Gunner Sgt. Sakaue. The ones coming in from 12 high and level missed the plane and were driven off. The one coming in from 12 low hit the bomber twice in the port wing and bomb bay but both hits were superficial in nature.
Once leaving the target area we radioed in that we were going to go down to 10,000 feet because of the heating unit being out for the port waist gunner.
Able to land at Sterparone Field without any problems.
- Capt. Mark Yoshikawa, Pilot, Divine Wind
CARDINAL EXPRESS, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with #1 engine and starboard waist gunner’s heat out, rudder and pilot compartment oxygen damage, and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Spritz.
This was a very routine mission until we arrived in the target area. We saw lots of enemy aircraft. A 190 was immediately shot down by our ball gunner. We took some damage from the enemy including the starboard waist gunner’s heat being knocked out. We also took rudder damage and seemed to take a hit to the pilot compartment oxygen. We were surprised to take a hit of flak, which slightly injured our tail gunner. We kept the Express on target, delivering 60% of the bombs within 1,000 feet.
On the trip back, we encountered more fighters, some of whom we were able to fight off by damaging. We also took our fair share of damage. Our #1 engine quit on us, thankfully after the bombs were out. Our rudder took even more damage, but it seemed to continue to function properly.
We had a rough landing. Our inspection of the plane revealed lots of superficial damage, none of which can not be repaired. Our starboard waist gunner did develop frostbite, however, he will be able to recover and fly again.
-1st Lt. Bob Peterson, Pilot, Cardinal Express
399th BS (HIGH)
FRISCO KID II, second flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with port aileron and flap controls out; 1 wing root and control cables damaged; bullet holes all over the fuselage. 3 casualties. Claims: 2 FW-190s by SSgt. McDonough.
A fairly uneventful ride into target. The Checkertails did a good job of keeping the enemy away--although we did see enemy a/c, none attacked us. The bumpiest part of the trip was when some knucklehead in the 97th led us too close to the flak guns around Florence. Fortunately we were not hit.
Over target, we were attacked by 3 Fw-190s, who did some damage, shooting out the port aileron and the flap controls, as well as damaging the port wing root. SSgt. McDonough flamed two of them as they passed out over the tail, and MSgt. Wilson observed hits on another. We took no damage from flak, and hit the target hard.
We were not attacked again until about halfway home (though other planes in the formation were), when three 109s jumped us. One raked the fuselage, wounding Lt. Thevenet and Sgts. Stotsky and McNutt, the first two seriously, as well as inflicting other damage. McDonough hit that one hard too, and he went away.
I set her down as fast as I could so the meat wagons could pick up our wounded. Unfortunately, Stotsky didn't make it--he died before he got to the infirmary. Bob will be okay, but he got his ticket home. The rest of us are okay, despite being on ops so long
- Capt. David Moody, Pilot, Frisco Kid II
PRINCESS LILIKOI, third flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with superficial damage to the right wing & radio room. 1 casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 apiece by Sgts. Franklin & Morris.
I have not much to report today. If it hadn't been for those few 190s over the target, this could have been another "Milk Run" for us. We didn't see any changes in attack pattern or any new unit insignias.
There were a few intense moments over the target when three waves of 190s attacked. My gunners claimed 3 damaged and two 190s KIA.
The flak was light and very inaccurate. Although we got through safely, Lt. Segovia missed the target completely. He has a better record than Lt. Duncan, but when he's off target, my nightmares come back.
Keep an eye out for Sgt Franklin. He is an excellent gunner. He shot down a 190 again this mission. This Kraut attacked from 12 and Sgt Franklin got him when he passed by us.
- Capt. Frank Kingsley, Pilot, Princess Lilikoi
PALOOKAVILLE, third flight, right aircraft
Reached target area but was shortly shot down by enemy fighters. No chutes were seen. Claims: 2 FW-190s & 1 ME-190 damaged.
Mershon and the Palookaville were not bothered by fighters much all the way up to Parma. They fought off a couple of Focke-Wulfes and were dealing with a pair of 109s, giving as good as they got. Sgt. Farnworth reported that the 109 passed over Walls of Fire and bore down on Palookaville from 3 level. Palookaville's bombs must have been hit in the bay as she blew up suddenly. We received superficial damage to the starboard side and were buffeted severely. There was no chance for chutes, or a warning of any sort.
- From Debriefing report of 1st Lt. Michael Raines, Pilot, Walls of Fire
WALLS OF FIRE, third flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with Norden bomb sight, nose gun, radio out and damage to the rudder ball gunner's oxygen system. 2 casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Shern and 1 FW-190 shared by SSgt. Fisher & TSgt. Winters.
Most of the damage took place over the target. Farnworth and Walker were both hit by a single round from a 109 coming in from 3 o'clock, sadly fatal for the latter. The bomb sight took a hit about 60 miles from the target and was rendered useless, but the skipper decided to proceed with the drop. Bombardier Edwards took the place of Walker for the homeward leg.
- 2nd Lt. Moshin Ali, Co-pilot, Walls of Fire
318th BS (Low)
THOR, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with damaged control cables and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 FW-190 & 1 ME-109 by 1st Lt. Tucker, 1 ME-109 by Sgt. LoMelle.
Things started off good for us when two 109s came at us and a shot from Tom took out the cockpit of one of them and Dave Tucker put some shells in the other one. Because of the error en-route we took one hit from flak before we got to the target. The flak nicked our control cables but everything seemed to work okay.
Tom got his 6th KIA when he took the wing off a 190 just as we started the bombing run. We took another flak hit which left our tail gunner, Allen Pulley, with a light wound. We did get lucky and hit the target for 30%.
The flight back, luck for us, was without incident.
- Capt. Joe Smith, Pilot, Thor
LONGHORN LADY, lead flight, right aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with landing gear inoperable, pilots compartment windows shattered, and several superficial damage hits. Pilots made successful belly landing. 2 casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Gumm (Later confirmed by S-2).
We first ran into four 190s, damaging one of the 190s. They knocked out our landing gear and we also took a hit to the pilots' compartment windows. We then took on two more 190s with Sgt. Gumm destroying one of them.
We did not receive any flak hits over the target and we were able to get 20% of our bombs on target.
On the way home we ran into three more 190s receiving only superficial fuselage damage. Then two ME-109s come in on us. Again we only took superficial fuselage damage. I can't believe that the first mission we get our ol' girl back we have to do another belly landing. The landing was as good as you can expect with a belly landing. I just wonder how long the ol' girl will be out of action this time.
- 1st Lt. Landers, Pilot, Longhorn Lady
IRON LADY, lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with the inboard s/board fuel tank, control cables, radio room oxygen system damaged and superficial holes in the pilots' compartment. 3 casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 & 1 FW-190 by SSgt. Foster (ME-109 later confirmed by S-2).
We took off and formed up on Thor's left side with no problems. It became a bit more noticeable; the crew was beginning to work better as a team. The three newest members of the crew, Lts. Franchetti, Gilmore and Sgt. Toye were now on their third mission and it looked as if the extra training we had done was beginning to pay off. I got the feeling that the crew were feeling lucky today (Random Event--Rabbit's Foot) and everybody seemed in good spirits.
We had cleared past Rome and were just southwest of Rimini before we saw any enemy fighters when we were bounced by 2 ME-109s. Our escorts got the first, then Lt. Franchetti sent a stream of fire into the second (FBOA-2) before Sgt. Foster blew it apart as it tried to push home its attack. The group came a bit too near Florence although we were untroubled by the flak guns there.
As we approached the target area we were hit by 3 FW-190s that got through our escorts. Sgt. Foster sent one home smoking (FBOA-2) and the other two missed and broke off.
The flak over the target area was light, which, although it missed us, seemed to be enough to put Lt. Franchetti off his bomb run. Although he hit the target with about 30% of our load, it was still a bit disappointing given the excellent weather conditions over the target.
We turned for home and sorted ourselves out in the formation. As we headed for home we were hit by 4 FW-190s. The top turret, tail guns, and ball turret all took a piece (FBOA-2) from a different fighter. However, two of the four pressed home their attacks. One from 12 high hit the control cables, wounded Sgt. Zimmer (port waist) and hit the inboard s/board fuel tank; fortunately the tank self-sealed. The one from 6 high hit the O2 supply in the radio room and sprayed shells all over the Pilot Compartment. How neither myself nor Herb Johnson were not hit more severely I'll never know (Both used Personal Lucky Charms--That's How!!!!). 6 high dropped away pouring smoke and 12 high got blasted apart by Hank Foster in the top turret as it tried to come from 9 level.
Although we saw more enemy aircraft on the trip home our little friends did a sterling job of watching over us and we didn't have to fire another shot.
We landed back at base with the smoothest landing I've ever done (12 on 2d6 - I've framed them!!) and our casualties, myself included, were taken to the base hospital.
-1st Lt. Joe Di Agostino, Pilot, Iron Lady
GOLDEN SPIKE, second flight, Lead Aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned out-of-formation zone 2 inbound with tail gunner's heater inoperable. No casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 & 1 ME-109 each by Sgt. Archibald & SSgt. Sgt. Pete Townsend; 1 FW-190 by TSgt. McArthy (later confirmed by S-2); 1 ME-109 each by Lts. Thompson & Lawton (Lt. Thompson's ME-109 later confirmed by S-2).
Lots of enemy activity with a total of 12 fighter waves (17 planes) attacking us, but NOT a single hit by the Germans, even after our formation became loose at the Rally Point.
By the time we dropped out of formation to avoid freezing the tail gunner we were almost home and didn't see any more Krauts. The boys were all fired up and we downed a total of 7 planes, but we crapped out over the target and bombed the daylights out of some poor farmer's fields.
- Capt. Todd Wilson, Pilot, Golden Spike
PEARLY's PRIDE, second flight, right aircraft
Bombed target. Shot down by enemy fighters leaving target area. 2 chutes seen.
During the withdrawal battle, my leader and I saw a B-17, #42-11758, from the low squadron of the 88th BG that had been forced to leave its formation. There didn't seem to be too much damage but there was smoke coming out from the tail, possibly a fire of some kind. We went to her aid but there were too many Germans. The Germans then ganged up on the straggler where one of its fighters' shell hits struck the port wing fuel tank. Soon, the entire port wing was aflame, then the wing buckled, and the plane started to spin out of control and started heading down, about four miles southwest of Parma. I saw only two men that escaped, both coming out from the rear of plane.
- From Combat Report of 2nd Lt. P.E. Boggs, 37th Fighter Squadron, 14th Fighter Group
GREEN MAN'S GIRL, second flight, left wingman (TAIL-END CHARLIE)
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with bomb sights, control cables, port wing flaps & ailerons, port cheek gun & fire extinguishers for engines inoperable, rudder, bomb bay area, #2 engine and port wing root damaged. 3 casualties.
Took off and formed up, couldn't have been a nicer day to fly. 'Stoney', our tail gunner, was mumbling about miss placing his lucky charm. We flew down the middle of Italy (zone 3) and we were attacked by 2 FW-190s and an ME-109. One of our P-47s drove off one 190 and the other one missed. 'Stoney' hit the 109 but he also hit us putting a few holes in the rudder, just superficial damage but scaring the hell out of 'Stoney' and making him yell out about his missing charm.
East of Florence (zone 4) as 'Tail-End Charlie', it looked like all the action was up front. We did see some flak (must have been a nav. error) but it was away from us.
Entering the target area we were attacked by a 190 and a 109. The 109 must have been a rookie as he fired wildly all over but never hitting us. The damn 190 was impressive he came in weaving in and out of our tracers and hit us twice. The first hit our #2 engine, saw some fuel leak out but it sealed itself. The second shot went through the glass and all I saw was red. A quick check and I noticed it wasn't me but my friend, co-pilot Mike Hamilton, slumped over the controls. I leaned him back and saw a horrific sight: Thank God it was quick. During all the action I saw four 190s form up and come in. Our guys fought hard and hit 2 out of 4. George hit one and saw chunks coming off it and our tail hit his making it spin out of control. "Maybe I don't need a charm".
Even though the flak was light by the time we came in they had the range. We took 2 hits in the tail section: 1 was superficial but the other seriously wounding 'Stoney' (no Charm). The last one hit our port wing knocking off our aileron. Our radio operator, Sgt. Greene, went to the tail, and found 'Stoney' was alive but wounded in the chest. Greene took over the tail guns. Due to all the action, Joey couldn't hit a barn door with a BB, and our bombs fell off target. I wonder where they landed?
On our way out we were jumped by 2 waves: First wave was 3 ME-109s. The first 2 missed but the last one at 6 high came in and walked our fuselage, like we were target practice, we lost our bomb sights, the extinguishers for engine, bomb bay doors, some holes in the radio room, control cables and our rudder (which now was shaking side to side). So he flew around to 10:30 level and shot out our port cheek gun. Flew past and came in at 10:30 level again like he knew something. This time hitting us in the wing root, he eventually flew off (must have ran out of ammo). The second wave hit us with 5 planes. We did have some P-38s drive one off. Two 190s hit us, wounding the engineer but he stayed at his guns. He also hit us in the control cables (no evasive maneuvering for us). The second 190 hit our wing and put holes in our port side flap.
Southeast of Florence (zone 4) 2 ME-109s came in at 6 high and level. Both the top and tail guns fired claming hits, they both said that it looked like the Germans touched and then flew away with some smoke trailing behind them. The second wave looked like they had trouble forming up for an attack (I don't mind).
During the next 40 minutes (2 zones) we saw no more fighters. William Greene tried to stop the bleeding on 'Stoney' but all he had was a first aid kit.
When we were coming in for a landing our Engineer came up and took over the co-pilot's spot, as we had no port aileron & flaps and more holes in the rudder. We then fired a red flare to tell the Meat Wagons that we had wounded. With George's help, we landed the plane without incident (Ground crews will be busy tonight). Unfortunately, Edward 'Stoney' Wood died from his injuries while Greene never left his side. I hope I'm never 'TEC' again.
- 1st Lt. Patrick O'Halern, Pilot, Green Man's Girl
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