MISSION 25 - VERONA AARs
317th BS (LEAD)
SILVER SPOON, Lead flight, Lead aircraft, Group Commander
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with port wing tank leaking and no casualties.
We didnít see a whole helluva lot on the way out. Coming back was tough, though. We fought off a coupla waves until a 109 snuck through and hit us once. In the port tank, sending most of our gas to the Italians below! We managed to coax her back, even if it was on the sniff of an oil rag! Odd goddamn mission.
- Major Neil Amoore, Pilot, Silver Spoon
DIVINE WIND, lead flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with superficial flak damage to the port wing, bomb bay area and no casualties.
Took off from Sterparone Field, Foggia, Italy without any problems or malfunctions.
About fifty (50) miles from the target we spotted bogies coming in from 12 level. The 325th Fighter group repulsed them before they were able to attack out bomber group.
Over the target we encountered light flak of which we took several hits. Two to the port wing and one to the bomb bay area. The hits to the port wing were superficial in nature. The one hit to the bomb bay area was also superficial and didnít cause the bombs to explode.
Over target we area able to line up on the rail yard and put 30% of our bomb load on target.
On the turn around we again spotted boogies, this time coming in from 1:30 level. The fighters from the 14th fighter group were able to repel the enemy fighters before they were able to reach our formation.
Reached Sterparone Field and landed without any problems.
- Capt. Mark Yoshikawa, Pilot, Divine Wind
CARDINAL EXPRESS, lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with minor superficial damage to the bomb bay section and no casualties.
We were fortunate to be in the middle of the formation during this mission. We saw lots of planes. However, most all of them targeted other bombers or became pre-occupied with our little friends. Early on in the mission, we were blind-sided by a 190 coming at us on a straight dive. He lit into to us, spraying through the top of the plane straight into what we believe was the bomb payload. Luckily, no bombs detonated, and the Express survived to fly another day.
The flak was real light and we unloaded an estimated 30% of the bombs within 1,000 feet of the target.
We headed for home and landed back at Steparone without incident.
-1st Lt. Bob Peterson, Pilot, Cardinal Express
DARKWATCH, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with superficial damage to radio room and port wing flap and no casualties.
A lovely flight in. Not a bandit in the sky, not even over the target. The wild blue peace can be deceptive, though. By the time we spotted flak I noticed weíd gotten ragged with our formation flying. Iíll take the blame for that one. Smooth flight, no prop wash, no fighters, no nothing but somehow I fell behind the formation. No excuses.
Flak was no factor, and we finally put some bombs on target (only the second time in our last eight missions that I can make that happy report). A Messerschmidt dove down on us as we turned for home . . . shot up the radio room for some superficial damage, but gave LaGrasta a hell of a fright (he later said he lost his lucky rabbit foot in the confusion, but figures it saved his skin). Put a little hole in our wing, too.
No bandits on the way home, just more empty skies. Another thirty missions like this one and we can call it a war
- Capt. Paul O'Connor, Pilot, Darkwatch
ISLE OF R'LYEH, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 20%. Returned without damage or casualties.
This was out first mission and we were all a bit tense. After a smooth take-off and forming up with our squadron the boys managed to settle down to their jobs.
The fight out was uneventful until we crossed back from the Adriatic to over Italy again. Several waves of enemy fighters began engaging the formation, but our little friends kept them at bay and we merely watched and waited for some to slip through.
As we approached Verona one lone 109 slipped through our fighter escorts and made a run at us. The first warning of it's attack was when Sgt. Lewis in the top turret hollered, "Bandit 1:30 High!". There seemed little hesitation from the men, as Lewis, Winland, and Rondina opened up on the German fighter. Lt. Winland managed to damage the fighter, but the others missed. The German fired and missed us and as it passed to our rear Sgt. Densmore, in the tail, also manage to damage it. It was last seen disengaging and running for home.
Flak over Verona was very light and Lt. Menezes, the bombardier, was able to get a nice view of the target. He reports that his bombs were on target.
As we turned around to headed for home a lone ME-109 made a vertical dive on us. Our gunners were unable to hit him, but luck was with us as he also missed us.
The rest of the flight home was quiet and uneventful.
- 1st Lt. T. Clay, Pilot, Isle of R'lyeh
318th BS (Middle)
GOLDEN SPIKE, second flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with starboard wing flaps and radio inoperable, and damage to the rudder. 1 casualty. Claims: 3 ME-109s by SSgt. Townsend and 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Stolberg.
A pretty routine mission, and were all back safe except for Lt. Lawton with a light calf wound.
We didn't see our first Germans until we were out 200 miles or so. There a single Me 109 was chased on by our escorts.
In the target zone a couple 109s ran into a hail of lead from the little buddies and our replacement engineer who downed a total of 3 Jerries before the mission was over. Light flak and a 30% drop on target completed our trip out.
The return flight was a little busier. Two waves of fighters hit us near Verona and three bandits made it through good fighter cover. We only took three hits, though that's when Lt. Lawton took a light wound. We held our own and soon we were clear of the target. Two more waves made passes over the next 100 miles and we were hit two more times, but for the most part we enjoyed good luck and even better shooting. The landing was uneventful and were almost halfway to the magic 50 missions. This calls for a drink!
- Capt. Todd Wilson, Pilot, Golden Spike
399th BS (HIGH)
FRISCO KID II, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with port cheek gun out, superficial holes in nose and no casualties.
Another quiet mission. The enemy attacked our formation out over the Adriatic, but the combination of our Little Friends and fellow Forts kept most of them away from our a/c. One e/a dived steeply down on us over the target area, but did no damage.
Flak was light, and we hit the target with 20% accuracy.
On the way home, enemy air action intensified -- three 109s came at us, and we hit one hard. One e/a knocked out the port cheek gun and put other holes in our plane.
The rest of the flight home was uneventful -- we were attacked a few more times, without result, and landed safely.
- Capt. David Moody, Pilot, Frisco Kid II, Acting CO of 399th BS
PRINCE OF TUSCANY, lead flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Returned without damage or casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 apiece by TSgt. Duke & Sgt. Tarleton.
Take off and form up for our 5th mission, was smooth. In fact the entire run in to Verona passed without interference from enemy fighters. Only as we approached the final checkpoint for the bomb run did we encounter opposition.
Two ME-109s came in high from 1:30, the wingman broke off to come in head on. From his position in the waist, Sgt. Tarleton claimed a kill on the lead plane (wing detached from body). The wingman missed on his pass and did not make another run. A third 109 came at us in a vertical dive, and Sgt. Duke defended well from his position, scoring a certain kill (parachute seen).
The last kill came just before we entered the flak zone and though light, 2nd Lt. Schneider had a hard time lining up the sight properly and the bombs were all off target.
Exiting the target area, the superb coverage form the 14th FG ran off another flight of ME-109s that tried to close with the Prince. The return flight and landing were mercifully routine.
- 1st Lt. Frank Marion, Pilot, Prince of Tuscany
RAID HOT MAMA, lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with minor flak damage to the radio room, nose compartment and the port wing root. No casualties.
This was a change from the last mission in the Texas Thunder, no enemy fighters seen on the way to the target. The new ship handled well. Prior to the bombs away we were hit by flak and took minor damage to radio room, nose compartment and one hit to the port wing root. The flak hits caused Lt. DeMarco to miss the target, a bad break as we had been hitting Jerry hard until today. We saw some ME-109s on the trip home but our fighter escorts kept them at a distance.
-1st Lt. Arthur DiFilippo, Pilot, Raid Hot Mama
RATS REVENGE, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with #4 engine feathered from unknown mechanical failure, radio shot up, rafts shredded and no casualties.
There are advantages to flying in the middle of a squadron. Today's mission highlighted everyone of them. Not only were all but one of the inbound fighters driven off by fire from other B-17s in the formation, but the one that made it through had a poor approach angle and only managed to take out our radio and rafts.
The trip out and back was largely uneventful; except for the unexpected loss of our #4 engine to due some unforeseen mechanical problem shortly after we turned for home. Our bomb run was on and Lt. Clark estimates that 30% of our load was on target.
- Capt. Oswald, Pilot, Rats Revenge
SANTA'S HENCHMEN, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Retuned with bomb release mechanism, top turret guns inoperable and ball turret power failure and superficial hits. No casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 by SSgt. Hammond.
This was our second mission. The Germans sent only 109s at us. The first fighters attacked 50 miles south of Terni but this wave was driven off by the fighter cover.
We were east of Florence when the next wave showed up. This unit stayed with us all the way to the target. One of the 109s hit and damaged our bomb release mechanism.
Flak was light and Lt. Archer was off the Aim Point and missed the target completely, because of the damage to the bomb bay.
The trip back was quiet, except for a few 109s, but they were not a real threat.
- 1st Lt. Leo Hoffman, Pilot, Santa's Henchmen
MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, second flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with a couple of holes in the port wing and no casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Sawyer.
Outbound flight was safe and uneventful as our position in the middle of the squadron discouraged any attackers. When we approached Verona, a couple of ME-109s closed in to attack. After some very good shooting by our ball gunner, one was ME-109 was destroyed and the other one was heavily damaged, we earned only a couple of holes in the port wing.
Flak was light and we dropped the bombs without problems. After the bomb run, we turned for home. During the this time is when TSgt. Rance damaged one ME-109. The Germans must be very low on fighter planes because we reached base without further incident.
-1st Lt. Paul M. Day, Pilot, Midnight Express
318th BS (High)
LONGHORN LADY, third flight, Lead Aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with an inboard fuel tank holed (self-sealed), superficial damage on the port wing and several fuselage hits. No casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 & FW-190 by Sgt. Stagg and 1 Italian ME-109 by Lt. Bixler (Lt. Bixler's claim later confirmed by S-2).
We didn't run into any enemy fighters until we got over the target area. We had three 190s come in on us. One of the fighters punched a hole in the inboard fuel tank, we also had fuselage hits with no damage to any vital systems. Lucky for us the fuel tank self sealed.
There was light flak over the target and we didn't happen to receive any flak damage. On the bomb run we were able to get 20% of the bombs on target.
On the way out of the target area we ran into four 190s. One of the 190's was shot down by Sgt. Stagg, the rest missed on their attacks and moved on.
Once over the water we were jumped by four 109s. Two of the 109s were damaged and another was destroyed by Lt. Bixler. The other 109 put some superficial hits to the port wing and missed on his second attack. Then four more 109s attacked. We suffered several fuselage hits, but no major damage. Sgt. Stagg was able to shoot down one of the attacking 109s.
We had a smooth landing back at base.
- Capt. Jeff Landers, Pilot, Longhorn Lady
IRON LADY, third flight, right wingman
Runway abort - did not take-off and participate in the mission.
EAT AT JOE'S, third flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with superficial damage to nose, port and starboard wings, and one hit to starboard wing root. 1 casualty. Claims: 2 ME-109s by Lt. Barstow & 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Baldini.
If we'd only hit the target, this would have been a great mission. We saw our first enemy fighters when we were still over the Adriatic; some of our little friends drove off one, and Sergeant Webster drove one off by hosing the area with bullets. I told the guys not to do that too much after last mission, when Sergeant Featherstone jammed his gun; I guess Rollie got a little trigger happy there, but at least it worked.
As we approached the target, the Jerries tried to distract us. We hit the mainland and ran into a single fighter (109) that approached from 1:30 high. Lt. Barstow sent him down in a big fireball. Shortly after, as we approached the target, another Jerry tried the same approach, with the exact same result. Charlie was definitely wielding the hot hand today. Sergeant Linstrom reported that two aircraft were approaching in a second wave. We only saw one of them, another 109. He put some nicks on both wings and the nose, and then Sergeant Baldini took him down when he came at us from 3 Level. Nice shooting all around.
Flak at the target was pretty light, but we took two close bursts. One of them sent a piece of shrapnel into Sergeant Vandermere's right arm, but he was able to continue his duties. Lieutenant Gross missed the target completely, so we have yet to hit a target, I'm sad to say.
The trip home was pretty uneventful. We saw a few 109s being engaged by our boys from the 14th, and we were untroubled by the enemy the rest of the way home. Good news is that Harry looks like he'll be OK, hopefully he'll be ready for the next mission.
-2nd Lt. Joe Delany, Pilot, Eat at Joe's
316th BS (Low)
FULL HOUSE, lead flight, lead aircraft
Return with minor damage to fuselage and bomb bay areas. No casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 by MSgt. Miller.
We encountered no enemy opposition until the target area where Lt. Sears damaged a single attacking ME-109 with the chin turret guns.
Flak was inaccurate and Lt. Sears made a good run on the Verona marshalling yards.
The next and last enemy attack occurred just before the group reached the coastline southeast of Rimini. MSgt. Miller shot down one of the 4 attacking ME-109s. One of the remaining trio of 109s caused the only damage received on the mission, minor superficial damage to the bomb bay area and the fuselage.
Our landing was smooth and routine.
- Major Daniel Tanner, Pilot, Full House II
LUCKY PENNY, lead flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with the port aileron inoperable and no casualties. Claims: 2 ME-109s & 1 FW-190 by SSgt. Allison, 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Edmond, and 1 FW-190 apiece by Sgts. Jenkins and Petrie (1 Italian ME-109 apiece by SSgt. Allison & Sgt. Edmond were later confirmed by S-2).
For all the quite missions we had, this, our group's 25th was quite busy. Right from the start we were tagged by FW-190s. The navigator manning a cheek gun damaged one and both fighters flew off after missing us. Then we had a reprieve (one zone's rest), but then we were hit by two waves of fighters going approaching the target area (zone 4). Again the cheek guns damaged an FW-190 which missed us and friendly fighters managed to drive off the others in the other wave.
Over the target, the flak was too high above us but the fighters came in below the flak. We were hit again with 2 waves but we were ready for them. Our top turret damaged one, and port waist gunner got a kill. We took damage (only one this trip) to our port wing aileron and drove off the remaining fighters.
After dropping our load, we swung for home and were hit by another wave of fighters all around the clock. Three were driven off by the friendly guys but one 190 got through but it killed by the Engineer, SSgt. Allison.
Leaving the target area (zone 4) returning saw massive firepower from our guns as the engineer and ball gunner both got kills while another enemy was seen smoking (-2 dmg). Our top turret gunner hit one coming down on a vertical diver and the rest were either driven off, or ran off on their own. The Engineer also damage one as it flew off. A second wave of fighters decided to hit us but they were also sent packing with kills by the tail gunner from a 6 o'clock low and another fighter was damaged (smoking -2dmg) from fire from the cheek guns.
Finally, a last wave hit us as we were wrapping up the mission (zone 2) but the Engineer managed to kill another 109 and the port waist gunner damaged a 190 on its 2nd pass at us. We had a small scare as the first pass of the 190 hit the pilot compartment area but it just rattled the windows and dusted the floor boards. . .
Landing was smooth and so on the group's 25th (that's a SILVER ANNIVERSARY, right?) mission we are again back, safe and sound with a few more claims of enemy fighters.
- Capt. Paul Griffin, Pilot, Lucky Penny
OLD YARD DOG, lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with damage to the port wing root and superficial damage to both wings, to the pilot & nose compartments. Claims: 1 Italian ME-109 by SSgt. Post (later confirmed by S-2).
We took off easily and formed up well. I think we are getting the hang of this stuff.
Everything was quiet until about 100 miles from the target when we were jumped by 4-109s that got thru the fighter cover. We damaged one and my engineer shot down another. But the remaining planes pounded out hits all over our aircraft. We took a port wing root hit and superficial hits all over both wings. We were worried about fuel fire or damage of course. But everything stayed tight. I (pilot) was hit with a piece of shrapnel in the right foot near the ankle. Nothing serious. My navigator caught a small piece in shoulder right above his flak vest. Nothing serious there either.
Over the target we dropped 60% on target thru light caliber, not very accurate flak. The way home was uneventful thanks to our fighter cover.
Our landing was much harder than expected though as my foot wound was painful when I didn't expect it. But we brought the Old Yard Dog home safely again.
- Capt. Michael Chase, Pilot, Old Yard Dog
SATIN DOLL, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with top turret guns damaged and superficial damage to the Pilot's Compartment. No casualties. Claims: 1 Italian ME-109 by Lt. Henderson and 1 German ME-109 by SSgt. Turner (both claims later confirmed by S-2).
Relatively speaking, this was a milk run. Satin Doll drew the 2nd element lead for the low squadron for Mission 25. We didn't draw any attention from E/A until we neared the coast after crossing the Adriatic. Two ME-109s swept in but got swatted from the sky by a couple of P-47s.
About 75 miles out from the IP, 2 more tried to attack us. Turner got a few good hits on the one at 10:30 high, causing him to break off trailing smoke. His 'kamerade' at 3 level snapped off a quick burst and flew off without causing any damage.
Nearing the target, Swede called in that he was picking up chatter in Italian and German on the radio. He said that it sounded confused and that there was a lot of yelling and swearing in both languages. Just then, 2 more 109s came at us. The one at 1:30 high broke off for the deck leaving the other at 12 high all alone. Turner blasted him with the top turret .50's, sending him down trailing smoke and flames.
The flak was light and ineffective. P.J. put about 20% of the load into the marshalling yards. Blankenship called in from the ball that he just barely missed hitting a train pulling out from a siding, the majority of the bombs straddled it.
The next brush we had with the fighters was again nearing the coast for the short hop across the Adriatic. Three ME-109s came at us from 12 high, 1:30 level, and 3 level. Again Swede reported more gibberish on the radio and again a 109 broke off from the attacking formation. The one at 3 level never saw the P-38 that blew his right wing off. The Kraut at 12 high was a little luckier. Turner missed him with the top turret and just barely missed getting his head blown off when a couple of 20mm rounds wiped out his guns. This guy must have been feeling lucky, and made another pass from 10:30 level. Wally Henderson hammered out a long burst from the port cheek gun and raked the 109 from the cowling back to behind the cockpit. Blankenship called in that the Kraut bailed out just before his plane blew up.
The rest of the flight home was quiet and we landed without further incident.
Observations: As on last mission, E/A marked with white crosses on tail in place of the Swastika. Some E/A marked with Italian fasces on wing in place of German crosses. Enemy fighter attacks appeared uncoordinated, and ineffective. Enemy radio chatter intercepted. Communications seemed confused. Both Italian and German languages used.
- Capt. John P. McConnell, Pilot, Satin Doll
DARLA'S BITE II, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 5%. Returned with light damage to the rudder, a holed port waist fuel tank (self-sealed) and a few superficial hits to the port wing. No casualties.
Our second flight, this week, that went well. As usual, take off and formation was sound. Only problem was a missed the rendezvous with our escorts. We waited as long as possible, but never hooked up with them.
Over the Adriatic we saw a group of 109s lining up, but the boys in Sucker Punch and Satin Doll diverted their attacks.
About 100 miles later (zone 4) our first encounter with the enemy produced nothing on either side. Three of the four ME-109s missed us and went onto other targets. The fourth 109 was convinced to brake off with out shooting us, as TSgt. Richard filled the skies with .50 cal rounds.
As we entered the IP, we were meet by three waves of ME-109s. The first came in from our front. These boys must be replacements, since the three missed us completely. The second wave came from the front as well. The two ME-109s lined up as we found our escort. Two P-47s chased the 109 coming in from 12 o'clock level and Lt. Cannon damaged the one coming in at 10:30 level. The Satin Doll's crew chased one of the ME-109s from the third wave.
Flak was light, but accurate. The Jerries on the ground put a burst way to close to our port wing for our liking. Sgts. Albers and Wakefield reported that the inboard tank was leaking right after that burst. Thankfully it seemed to self-seal it's self without much loss of fuel. The hit to our ship came to close to the drop and Lt. Thorn's aim. Sgt. Andrews reported only about 5% of the drop hit within 1000 feet of the target.
As we left the drop zone, our wing mates again chased off in coming Jerries. Around 120 miles from the target zone we ran into three 109s. Our little friends, having caught up with the formation, proceeded to chase two of the enemy fighters away. The third one missed us outright and moved on to other bombers.
The last of the waves we saw came at us over the Adriatic Sea. There were four ME-109s coming from 9, 3 and from 12 o'clock high. The P-38s took out two 109s and Sgt. Tippit and Sgt. Wakefield both filled the skies with .50 cal rounds that forced the last two German fighters to brake off their attack with out firing.
The rest of the flight home was uneventful. Landing went with out a hitch. We saw a total of 16 enemy aircraft, with no claims. Again, there were no Focke-Wulfs seen on this trip either.
-2nd Lt. Beckett, Pilot, Darla's Bite II, of the 316th BS/88th BG (H)
SUCKER PUNCH, second flight, left aircraft (TAIL-END CHARLIE)
Ten chutes were seen exiting the Sucker Punch in the vicinity of Verona, Italy. Apparently the outboard fuel tank on the starboard wing was hit. Enemy fighters were observed strafing two of the crew members as they were in the air.
- Taken from an AAR of a pilot of the 317th FS, 325th FG.
Return to Sterparone Field