MISSION 33 - REGENSBURG AARs

317th BS (LEAD)

SILVER SPOON, Lead flight, Lead aircraft, Group Commander

 

Mission Synopsis:

Did not bomb, jettisoned bombs over Alps due to engine damage.  Remained in formation to lead group and returned with #4 engine feathered, tail guns destroyed, starboard wing root damage (2 hits), various holes in #3 engine, nose and pilot compartment and 2 casualties.   Claims: 1 ME-109 by Sgt. MacDonald.
 

Mission Narrative:

We got hit over the Alps for the first time. Thought we’d be comparatively safe there, what with those big-ass chunks of rock reaching up to 10,000 ft.  Two 109s hit us, the better of the two coming around a few times.  His pal hit Yabo in the nose, but he saved the best for us.  He smashed our number 4 engine, and the wing root.  Forrest and I feathered #4, but he came in again and put more rounds into #3.  We crapped ourselves, I can tell you.  Nowhere to go but into a mountain if we’d lost that engine.  Luckily it seemed okay, but we had to jettison the bombs.  I wasn’t going to turn around with Regensburg in sight, and the Group looking at us! Better to stay with the other seventeen's.

 

Flak was light, and we were basically along for the ride.  A couple more 109s came at us, and we lost the tail guns and Forrest got a nick on the arm from flying glass.  MacDonald got one, but then lost his guns.

 

We got chased all the way home, but our fighter boys helped out.

 

- Major Neil Amoore, Pilot, Silver Spoon


MEMPHIS GAL, lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 40%  Returned with auto-pilot & starboard flaps inoperable, structural damage to the starboard wing and port elevator hit, assorted holes in waist, nose and radio room.  2 casualties.  Claims: 2 FW-190s by SSgt. Almeda and 1 ME-109 by Lt. Goldberg.
 

Mission Narrative:

Another two crew members wounded this mission, luckily not too seriously.  I am beginning to think that we are jinxed! There are only four of the original crew left.  I am impressed with the new bombardier Moe Goldberg, who put a good percentage of our bombs on target despite his trouble with the inoperable auto-pilot.  German fighter opposition was far heavier than previously experienced, no doubt because we had penetrated Germany itself.  I only hope there is a swift end to this conflict or there will be very few of us left to celebrate our inevitable victory.

 

- Capt. Ralph Flynn, Pilot, Memphis Gal


CARDINAL EXPRESS, lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with minor damage to the tail plane and no casualties.  Claims: 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Spitz.

 

Mission Narrative:

We saw a few planes early including two 109s who broke thru our stellar air defenses.  The one attacking from 12 o’clock completely missed us.  The one coming in from the side was shot out of the sky by Sgt. Spritz.

 

We cruised over the Alps and made our way for the target.  We were hit by flak, causing minor damage to our tail plane.  We did a poor job of locating the target and our bombs did not come anywhere close to where they needed to be.

 

The trip back was long, but very quiet.  The crew is happy to be back at Steparone.

 

- Capt. Bob Peterson, Pilot, Cardinal Express


BEDAMNED, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 50%.  Returned without damage or casualties.  Claims: 1 FW-109 & 1 ME-109 by 1st Lt. Spratt.

 

Mission Narrative:

Nothing much to write about . . . Went to the target . . . Shot up some Jerries . . . Bombed the target . . . Shot up some more Jerries . . . Got home.

 

What a difference to the last mission.  Spratt really loves his new turret

 

- Capt. Shamus Montague, Pilot, Bedamned


ISLE OF R'LYEH, second flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Aircraft reached target zone but was shot down by enemy fighters and crashed 3 miles south of Regensburg.  8 survivors taken prisoner and 2 others were killed-in-action.


399th BS (HIGH)

RAID HOT MAMA, Lead flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Aborted zone-5 outbound.  Returned alone with Pilots' compartment oxygen system inoperable, radio destroyed, tail guns inoperable, superficial damage to the port wing and to the nose, bomb bay, waist, tail compartments.  1 casualty.  Claims: 1 FW-190 apiece by SSgt. Fargos and Sgt. Goyer.

 

Mission Narrative:

About 75 miles south of the Alps several enemy fighters broke through the group's fighter screen and attacked Raid Hot Mama.  Sgt. Goyer destroyed an FW-190 coming in from 3 o'clock low.  Sgt. Burrows damaged an ME-109 and he failed to press home his attack. SSgt. Fargos damaged an FW-190, but the pilot pressed home his attack.  The German pilot walked hits from the tail to the nose.  In the pilots' compartment, hits to the oxygen system started a fire.  1st Lt. Gibson's quick action extinguished the fire before it got out of control.

 

Hits in the radio compartment knocked out all the radios.  As the fighter came around for a second attack, SSgt. Fargos guns connected again destroying the fighter.  Without oxygen in the pilots' compartment we could not cross the Alps.  Captain DeFilippo decided they had no choice but to abort and there was no way to notify the Group without a radio.  In the waist, Sgt. Blanchard helped Sgt. Burrows who had been wounded in the shoulder.

 

On the way home they managed to use cloud cover to avoid most of the enemy fighters.  The crew suffered one more attack over the Adriatic they were attacked by two ME-109s; both were driven off by SSgt. Fargos.  The remainder of the journey home was uneventful.

 

- Capt. Arthur DeFilippo, Pilot, Raid Hot Mama


LOUISIANA PIRATE, lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned with the #2 engine out from mechanical failure, auto-pilot out, heating systems out for the navigator & tail gunner, navigator's equipment out, minor damage to bomb bay doors, holes all over aircraft, 2 casualties and 1 case of frostbite.  Claims: 1 FW-190 & 1 ME-109 by 2nd Lt. Witten (Witten's ME-109 claim was later confirmed by S-2), 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Silverberg & 1 ME-110 by Sgt. McDonough.
 

Mission Narrative:

Man, it felt like every Kraut in Germany was up there after us.  They started hitting us as soon as we hit the Italian coast and never let up, except over the Alps.  The Checkertails at least kept a lot of the Germans off us, while they were around.  Didn't see any of the 38s though.

 

Anyway, they got Bill Thompson and Tony on the first pass, left us alone over the mountains, and then hit us over target.  We took a lot of hits, but we nailed a couple and managed to hit the target.  Flak wasn't real heavy--we figured the Germans would have more of those 88s around such an important target--but we weren't complaining.

 

They hit us even harder as we turned for home. That was when they shot out McDonough's heat.  Pissed him off--he kept telling us how freakin' cold it was, especially when we climbed over the Alps again. Pretty, them Alps.

 

Also when we climbed over the mountains, the #2 engine quit, which made us all nervous.  We figure maybe one of the Krauts nicked a fuel line or something.  Anyway, they chased us all the way back to the coast, then left us alone the rest of the trip home.

 

Poor Bill Thompson was a goner, and Tony died on the way to the hospital.  They tell us McDonough will be laid up a while. That was bad luck, him just getting back from leave and all.

 

-1st Lt. Rich Stevenson, Pilot, Louisiana Pirate


SNAKE BIT, lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Aborted mission over Adriatic (zone 3)from loss of top turret oxygen system.  Returned alone with top turret oxygen system inoperable, damage to the rudder and 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 ME-109 by 2nd Lt. Thompson.

 

Mission Narrative:

Following the two recent milk runs (and a less than stellar performance there), the first mission over the alps was met with a fair amount of trepidation.  From the get go, there was not an easy feeling aboard.  2nd Lt. Moore commented how loose the formation seemed soon after take off.

 

Over the Adriatic a full flight of ME-109s made an attack.  Our fighter cover took out one and Thompson drew an effective bead on a second, but the two coming in from dead ahead were accurate.  The first plane coming in high did damage to the rudder and put Sgt. Skinner in the hospital and out of the war.  The following plane placed a burst in the pilot compartment, knocking out Gill’s oxygen.  They both came around again, but were ineffective and moved off for other targets.

 

Despite the best efforts of Sgts. Gill & Paul, the oxygen system was not able to be repaired.  The bomb load was dropped over the Adriatic and the mission scrapped (zone 3).

 

The plane landed without incident.

 

- 1st Lt. Jones, Pilot, Snake Bit


MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned without damage or casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

Everybody was nervous about this big mission.  For the first part of mission our escort were provided superb assistance.  We saw some ME-109 and even a couple of FW-190s but they were all chased away.  One FW even tried to attack us from vertical dive but missed.

 

We cleared the Alps and were approaching the target.  There were still no enemy fighters in sight when our own plane turned against us when the engine #4 suddenly stopped.  We started the bomb run trying to keep constant speed and failed to drop the bombs on target (0%).

 

Then the bullets started flying.  Our escort were again superb and chased the Germans away.

 

After we crossed the Alps, FWs appeared again but little friends intercepted then before they become danger to the formation.  After the long flight we landed safely.  Truly amazing fighter escort (and Intel should also note the numerous FW sightings).

 

- 1st Lt. Day, Pilot, Midnight Express


GOODBYE GIRL, second flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with port aileron, substantial damage to both wings, to the nose & tail compartments and no casualties.  Claims: 2 ME-109s by Sgt. Dewolf, 1 FW-190 apiece by Sgts. Kollar & Luft, and 1 ME-109 by Lt. Paxson.

 

Mission Narrative:

The Alps are beautiful this time of year, but if I go the rest of this war without seeing them again it would be fine by me.  Take off and form up went without incident.

 

The trip was largely quiet for us until just before we crossed back over Italy.  Then we were hit by two large groups of fighters.  The first group was 190s.  Our escorts managed to peel them off of us before they could do any damage, but the group of 109s that followed came in hard and fast.  The first put a large number of rounds in our tail and the rest peppered the nose. The crew reported that none of the rounds hit any of our systems.  On the second pass, my boys managed to put a few new holes in a couple of them, and they veered off.

 

Upon entering Germany we were hit by 3 different waves of fighters.  The first was a group of 109s they were on us so fast my boys barely had a chance to get a shot off.  They raked our wings and my port aileron quit responding.  On their second pass they targeted the tail and added the new holes back there, but once again no real damage was done to the tail.

 

The second group, a trio of 190s, made a quick pass at us and left.  The third group, a pair of 109s, was driven off by fire from the other members of our squadron.

 

FLAK over the target was light, as expected, and missed us entirely. Lt. Paxson is disappointed to report that our bomb run was off target, and he believes that we missed the target zone entirely.

 

We had to fight our way back to the Alps, the Luftwaffe threw everything, and the kitchen sink, at us.  A pair of 109s came head on at us. Lt. Paxson downed one, and Lt. Duggins chewed up the second causing him to peel off.  A group of five 190s followed shortly after them.  My waist gunners each downed one of them and the remaining three missed us and left.  A pair of 109s arced in from our starboard.  Sgt. Dewolf hit one square in the fuel tank, and it went down in pieces.  Lt. Duggins peppered the other and it left.

 

As we crossed the Alps a lone 109 raked our tail, and came back around from our 3.  Sgt. Dewolf took his port wing off and it was last seen spiraling down to the snow covered cliffs below.

 

The rest of the trip home was fairly quiet, our escorts kept the rest of the fighters off of us.

 

Landing was quiet and uneventful.

 

- 1st Lt. Gordon, Pilot, Goodbye Girl


316th BS (Low)

FULL HOUSE, lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with radio, navigation equipment & port waist .50 destroyed, starboard flap inoperable, numerous superficial damage holes (23) to the fuselage (12), nose (2), bomb bay (1), radio room (3), waist (1), and tail (1) compartments, and to both wings (3).  3 casualties.  Claims: 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Montgomery, 1 FW-190 shared by MSgt. Miller & TSgt. Moore, and 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Ward.

 

- Major Daniel Tanner, Pilot, Full House II


SATIN DOLL, lead flight, right wingman 

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%. Returned with port wing root damaged by 20mm shell, superficial damage to nose and bomb bay and no casualties.  Claims: 1 FW-190 apiece by MSgt. Turner & Sgt. Jackson (Jackson's claim later confirmed by S-2), 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Wall.

 

Mission Narrative:

A long, cold one for the Satin Doll.  Things were fairly quiet for us until we neared the Italian coast (zone 4).  Three FWs from above, two scratched by the P-38s and the other just fired a quick burst and flew off.

 

We crossed the Alps without incident and started on the run in to the target.  Nearing the IP we were bounced by two separate waves of 190s. The first consisted of five from all around the clock and high. Turner scored on the one at 12 high after PJ fired a burst that missed.  Brad calls in one at 9 high, while Hal is screaming about the one he's got at 3 high.  Both waist gunners missed their targets, but the Kraut at 3 high punched a few holes in the nose, bomb bay, and the port wing root.  Fortunately the rounds in the bomb bay didn't scramble the eggs in there! Pee Wee called in that he had nicked his Wulf at 6 high enough to make him miss.  Wally got a few hits on the one at 1:30 high, causing him to miss also.  The next wave of four FWs went for our starboard side and the nose.  Blankenship spooked the one at 3 level into breaking off, while Hal Jackson plastered his wingman at 3 high.  Both Turner and PJ missed the one at 12 high and he put a couple more ventilation holes in the nose of the Doll.  This guy swung around for another pass at 9 level but was shook off by the combined fire of Blankenship's, Wall's, and Turner's guns.

 

The flak over the target was light and inaccurate, and the clear conditions allowed PJ to get 30% of the load into the middle of the Messerschmitt factory.

 

Rallying off the target, one FW made a quick pass from 10:30 high, but was run off by a Lightning before he got within range.

 

Shortly after crossing the Alps, an ME-109 was setting up a pass from 12 high but met up with a P-38 instead.  Those Fork-Tailed Angels came to our rescue back over the water (zone 4).  A gaggle of four 190's swooped down on us.  Three were dealt with by the escort, and the lone survivor in a vertical dive blew right past us heading for the deck.

 

Still over the drink (zone 3), a batch of four ME-109s came roaring in.  Score two for the Lightnings, one for Wall, and the last one scared off by Turner and Wheeler.  The rest of the flight home was uneventful and we landed safely, albeit a little tired and cold.

 

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


OLD YARD DOG, lead flight, left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Aborted mission zone 3 due to loss of Norden bomb sight.  Returned alone out-of-formation with bombsight inoperable, superficial damage to the port aileron, tail section and 2 casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

We began the mission into Germany with trepidation.  Going into Germany never was easy and this one didn't change that fact.  We took off fine and formed up with the group and took our position.

 

About 100 miles out and we were jumped by several enemy aircraft and suffered only minor damage.  We sent one away damaged at least.  The P47s did good work and kept most of them off us until one sneaky 109 came in from 12 low.  We couldn't get an angle on him and he wounded my navigator in the left arm and blew the Norden off its mount.  My bombardier advised us that he could bomb by sight with the group if necessary but my co-pilot and I decided to abort.  It was a long way to Germany and back only to be gimpy from the get go.

 

So we dropped out and turned back.  We tangled with some more 109s on the way home and they hit the port ailerons and the tail. My tail gunner took a piece of metal in the calf and it bled a lot but nothing serious.

 

We landed uneventfully after that.

 

- Capt. Michael Chase, Pilot, Old Yard Dog


LUCKY NICKEL, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with damage to the rudder, port wing flap, and superficial damage to the nose, pilots', waist & bomb bay compartments and starboard wing. 4 casualties.  Claims: 1 ME-109 apiece by Capt. Hamilton (Hamilton's claim later confirmed by S-2), MSgt. Allison, SSgt. Edmond & TSgt. Dewes.

 

Mission Narrative:

Heaviest enemy concentration of fighters in a very long time.  Over the Adriatic (zone 3) we had 3 FW-190s, two driven off by friendlies and the top turret gunner damaged 1, but that was only the start.

 

Next zone brought 3 ME-109s, two again driven off by fighters, one driven off by the bombardier.

 

Over the Alps no enemy activity but the target area was HOT!  We got hit with 3 waves of fighters.  In the first wave were 4 ME-109s. Tail got one, two missed but the 4th got hits on waist area (wounding both gunners with one burst) and some small damage to the starboard wing area.  This guy came around again but the navigator gave him a full bust and he exploded into pieces.  Wave 2 was driven off by other B-17s.  The last wave came at us at 10:30 but missed and flew off.

 

Flak was minimal and we bombed the target pretty well.  As we turned for home, 3 more ME-109s came at us. The top turret killed one, but the other two scored hits on bomb bay area (empty thank goodness), and nose area wounding the navigator on the left thigh.  Both guys came back at us from almost the same direction hitting the port wing, pilot and waist areas with superficial or no damage and both planes tasted our guns as top turret again scored damage along with the ball gunner.

 

After that, we had close calls as we headed in.  Two 190s were driven off by fighters after clearing the Alps, then 3 more 190s were driven off and a vertical diving fighter flew right past us and missed.

 

Just outside from the base (zone 2), a lone109, again vertical diving on us but the radio operator scored a direct hit shattering the plane all over the tail section of our plane.  In fact, we thought we were on fire until we cleared the area.

 

Landing was fine but we were almost out of ammo in a few of the guns.  Drinks are on me for all my boys tonight. . . a very long day.

 

- Capt. Paul Griffin, Pilot, Lucky Nickel


LUCKY SEVEN, second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with port waist gun destroyed, damage to the port wing root, superficial damage to the fuselage, bomb bay section, starboard wing, and no casualties.  Claims: 2 ME-109 by Sgt. Burroughs, 1 FW-190 by Lt. Radfordson, 2 ME-109s shared between Lt. Grams and SSgt. Rhodes.

 

Mission Narrative:

What a mess, SNAFU to the utmost.  We never got tightly slotted into the formation and could not keep in place.  Sure enough the Krauts noticed this right off the bat, as about 50 miles out they jumped ALL over us.  Thank goodness for our boys making good use of the last four days of bad weather, visiting the firing range.  This coupled with the stellar job of the 'Little Friends' is the only reason we are here to give this report.

 

As stated, we were jumped right away by three ME-109s.  One was shot down by Grams and Rhodes, first of two they paired up on.  Another was severally damaged and the third missed.

 

Around 100 miles out another wave was lining up but McPherson's crew and Folse's crew kept them at bay.

 

After another 50 miles out we saw four more ME-109s screaming in.  Grams and Rhodes teamed up for the second kill of the day.  Two were chased off by the P47s escorting us.  The last 109 got through and peppered the bomb bay, chipping lots of paint off the eggs.  In a hurry to come back the Kraut opened up and gave Burroughs' a clean shot which tore through his wing.

 

Around Aviano (zone 5) we saw the first of the FW-190s, there were four.  Three were driven off by our fighters and the last walked his shot front-to-rear, taking out the port waist gun and chipping more paint of the eggs.  On this enemy fighter's second pass he missed and then headed for home.

 

That was the last we saw of the enemy till the target area.  Then all hell broke loss.  There were three waves making passes from all positions.  First wave came from three FW-190s.  Luckily two missed and the last one was chased away by our little friends.  The second wave came from four ME-109s.  Rhodes hit one hard, throwing off his aim and causing him to miss.  Two more missed and the last one hit us for multiple superficial hits.  On his return attack he missed, taking the opportunity to move on to another ship.

 

Our luck kept holding out as Griffin's crew on the Lucky Nickel deterred the third wave from continuing their attack at us.  Flak
was extremely light and inaccurate.  We didn't get hit at all.

 

We continue to have issues with our bombing runs as Lt. Grams was off again.  We will have to have him do some time in training.

 

Well, as we came off the target I had hoped to tighten up our position in the formation.  But alas it was not to be, and we were
hit by three more waves of enemy fighters.  First wave of enemy never organize enough to make a pass and the second quickly took their spot.  This was three FW-190s from what looked to be the same squadron that hit us on the way in.  One was driven off and another was convinced to leave by our gunners.  The last one hit us doing only superficial damage.  His next two passes only hit our port wing root.

 

Second wave consisted of four ME-109s, of which two missed and two did superficial damage.  Of the two that returned one was destroyed by Burroughs and one missed.

 

Over the Alps (zone 6) inbound saw one wave of three ME-109s.  Thank god for the 'Little Friends' as the took out two and the third ME-109 was scared off by our spray fire.

 

Around Padua (zone 5) two waves, one ME-109 flight and one FW-190 flight, attacked our ship.  Three of four missed us ion the first wave.  The one that made it through caused minor damage to the starboard wing.  He missed on his next pass.  The second wave of 190s had two driven off and Lt. Radfordson shot down the last one.

 

The rest of the trip we saw five to six enemy aircraft, but our fighters kept them away.  We owe them a lot today as total of 43-enemy A/C were seen today.

 

- 1st Lt. Jamie Jameson, Pilot, Lucky Seven


RETURN TO SENDER, second flight, left aircraft 

 

Mission Synopsis:

Reached target area but Return to Sender exploded while being attacked by an ME-110.  No survivors.

 

Mission Narrative:

Return to Sender was destroyed during its bomb run.  An enemy shell apparently detonated its bomb load before it was dropped.
- Pilot from the
1st FG


CABALLERO, third flight, lead aircraft (TAIL-END CHARLIE)

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned with #3 engine, tail guns, starboard waist gun inoperable, damage to the starboard tail plane root and tail gunner's oxygen system, superficial damage to the fuselage (4) and starboard wing (4); 3 casualties.  Claims: 1 ME-109 apiece by SSgt. Simeon and Sgt. Bristoe.

 

Mission Narrative:

We experienced no enemy fighters until we reached Regensburg.  Resistance was light and ineffective and Sgt. Bristoe shot down 1 ME-109 trying to sneak up from behind us.  But just as before entering the flak zone, Return to Sender in front and off to our left suddenly blew up in a tremendous explosion.  We saw no chutes and we doubt the crew even knew what hit them.

 

Flak was unexpected light and ineffective and Lt. Pappas made a good drop.  As squadron made for the rally point, now 2 tons lighter, I could now speed up and filled in the spot left open by Return to Sender.

 

Leaving Regensburg is where the Germans got some revenge for failing to stop us coming in.  In the first wave, Sgt. Raska was seriously wounded and the #3 engine caught on fire but was extinguished after two tries.  In the second wave, Sgt. Bristoe was lightly wounded, his tail guns were knocked out and the starboard tail plane took some damaged while SSgt. Simeon shot one of the ME-109 down.

 

We got a breather coming back over the Alps (zone 6) that allowed Sgts. Jones and Cohen to get Sgt. Raska out from the ball turret.  It was still a long way home and it didn't look good for Sgt. Raska but the others tried to make him as comfortable as the circumstances allowed.

 

Just before we left Northern Italy behind us, a trio of ME-109s attacked us near Padua (zone 5) which lightly wounded our navigator and resident worrier, Lt. Lowenthal.  The way Phil screamed and moaned down there in the nose, Davenport and I was thinking he was going to die!  Turns out it was a just a light wound on his left leg.  Lt. Pappas finally managed to calm him down when he stopped the bleeding.

 

It was almost smooth sailing over the Adriatic but a single ME-109 was lurking in the clouds above us and dove down when the escorts were busy elsewhere.   Luckily, TSgt. Villani spotted him and manage to hit him but the enemy pilot still managed to hit the tail section and damaged Sgt. Bristoe's oxygen system.  The enemy pilot was seen trailing smoke as he dove pass us to lower altitudes.

 

We arrived over Sterparone and we were ones of the first ones down as the red flares were fired for the 'meat wagons' to greet us.  But it was already too late for Raska and he soon died later that night.

 

-2nd Lt. John C. McPherson, Pilot, Caballero


COMPOSITE GROUP - 318th BS (High)

THOR, lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with port aileron, pilots' compartment heating system, navigation equipment inoperable, damage to the oxygen systems in pilots' and tail compartments, 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 FW-190 & 1 ME-109 by Lt. Webster, 1 FW-190 & 1 ME-110 by SSgt. Townsend, and 1 ME-110 by Sgt. Bird.
 

Mission Narrative:

With some fill-in crew members we had a good couple of runs until this one. A  couple of time I thought we had were toast but we got back home safely.  We were visited by four waves of little buddies before we dropped our load.  When they were done the pilots' compartment heat was out and our tail gunner reported his oxygen supply had been hit.  We had also lost out navigation equipment on an earlier encounter.

 

After we dropped our load I reported our condition and passed the high group lead to my #2 man and descended to 10K.  We had five more visits as we made our way home.  I was sure glad for the fighter cover we had it helped some.  Our replacement Flight Engineer, P. Townsend, did a super job with those twin 50s with three KIA and one heavily damaged 109 that may not make it home.  When Steve and I did the post-flight we found about 164 damage points.

 

Glad to be home in one piece.

 

- Major Joe Smith, Pilot, Thor


LONGHORN LADY, lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Fell out-of-formation during the return journey over the Adriatic (zone 4).  Returned with nose compartment heating system out, pilot oxygen inoperable, several fuselage hits, and 3 casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

We didn't run into any enemy fighter until after bombing the target.  Flak over the target was light.  We were off target with our bombs, with 0% in the target area.

 

We didn't run into any Kraut fighters until we got over the water.  First we were jumped by two 109s.  During this attack, Capt. Landers and 2nd Lt. Latham were wounded and we had some superficial damage.  Then we were jumped by four 190s where the nose compartment heat was knocked out, Capt. Landers oxygen was knocked out and several fuselage hits.  We dropped to 10,000 feet and only ran into a single 109 than missed then went looking for other targets.

 

We had a safe and uneventful landing.  I don't know how long the guys will be out of action, as I haven't made it over to talk to the doc yet.

 

-2nd Lt. Beaton, Co-Pilot, Longhorn Lady


EAT AT JOE'S, lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Left formation heading for Switzerland.  Just before reaching the Swiss border, a fire erupted in the outboard port wing fuel tank, necessitating a controlled bailout.  Nine crewmen successfully bailed out and were captured.  Aircraft crashed 4 miles SE of Havensburg.  Enemy aircraft destroyed: 3 ME-109s, 1 FW-190 & 1 ME-110.  Enemy aircraft damaged: 4 ME-190s & 1 FW-190.
 

Mission Narrative:

Witnesses in the 318th Squadron report that Eat At Joe's was in heavy combat throughout the mission.  Just after bombing the target, Eat At Joe's signaled to aircraft behind it in formation using Aldis lamp that it was heading towards Switzerland, whereupon the aircraft dropped out of formation.  It was last seen heading in a west-southwest direction, towards the Swiss border.  From these reports, it can be concluded that the aircraft had lost its radio at some point during the flight, and had either lost heat or oxygen.  As of this report, there is no word from Swiss authorities of this aircraft entering Swiss airspace.


GOLDEN SPIKE, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with radio inoperable, damaged control cables and 2 casualties.  Claims: 1 FW-190 & 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Demuth, and 1 ME-109 apiece by Lt. Thompson and SSgt. Archibald.

 

Mission Narrative:

It was a busy trip today.  We were engaged by four waves of bandits on the way to the target.  Good fighter protection and inexperienced Germans helped us get to Regensburg with only superficial damage.  There we were greeted by only a single wave. We gave as good as we got and only received a few more holes in the plane but nothing serious.  Lt. Thompson was up to his old tricks again after two excellent drops on the milk run missions he missed the target again (The crew sarcastically calls him ace for his uncanny abilities to roll ones!)

 

It was about this time that we saw Eat at Joe's signal with the Aldis lamp and then drop out of formation.  They must have lost their radio and where heading to Switzerland.  With lumps in our throats we watched them slowly move away.  Poor guys.

 

Soon we were consumed with our own self-preservation as we were swarmed by five FW-190s.  Our tail gunner claimed one bandit and another was damaged before they holed the fuselage.  So far, so good.

 

On the homeward side of the Alps we took a beating from two more Jerry waves.  In multiple passes they shot the hell out of us. TSgt. MacArthy and Sgt. Stolberg were hit again and with some extra luck our co-pilot and starboard waist gunner avoided wounds.  With the radio out and injured crew members we cleared the area having downed three German fighters.

 

After that it was smooth sailing until we made it home to Sterparone Field.

 

- Capt. Todd Wilson, Pilot, Golden Spike


DANGEROUS ENCOUNTER, second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 60%.  Left formation heading for Switzerland.  Shot down by enemy fighters 80 miles short of Swiss border about 20 miles west of Munich; 9 crewmen successfully bailed out and were captured.


THE BAWLMER EXPRESS, second flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with tail guns inoperable, rafts shot up, tail oxygen system damaged; superficial damage to the pilot, tail, bomb bay and waist compartments.  2 casualties.  Claims: 1 FW-190 by 2nd Lt. Nestor.

 

Mission Narrative:

After 2 milk runs, the crew of The Bawlmer Express was finally battle-tested on this mission.  We were first jumped outbound over the Adriatic by two waves of enemy fighters.  The first wave was driven off by our escorts, but the 2nd wave of three FW-190s drove through to score hits to our bomb bay and tail areas.  While only the stored rafts were damaged in the bomb bay, we were not so fortunate with our tail.  The 2nd attacker knocked out our tail turret guns, so that we were defenseless from our 6 o’clock position for the rest of the mission.  Talk about feeling naked & vulnerable!  As they swung around to hit us again, bombardier George Heim Jr. damaged one of the FW-190s, while Navigator Harry Nestor blasted another to pieces.

 

We made it over the Alps o.k., but were jumped by two ME-109s as we approached Regensburg.  Their first pass hit our starboard waist and killed Sgt. Ronald Stahl.  Looping around, they wounded our port waist gunner, Sgt. Richard Bianconi and lightly damaged the oxygen supply in our tail.  As they lined up on our 6, we all expected to take a pounding, but both enemy aircraft missed and suddenly dove down and away from us.

 

The flak over the target was light and ineffective, which allowed our bombardier to concentrate on hitting the target.  I estimate that about 30% of our bombs struck the target.

 

As we left Regensburg, we were jumped again, but the enemy’s attacks were disorganized and were beaten off without damage.

 

We again crossed the Alps with no trouble, but we were immediately attacked once we entered Italian airspace again.  After inflicting minor damage to our tail and pilot’s compartment, all subsequent attackers were driven off by our escorts or other B-17s in our formation.

 

We landed at Sterparone without trouble.

 

-1st Lt. Mark Beyer, Pilot, The Bawlmer Express


340th BS/97th BG (Lead)

SWEET SUSAN, lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 40%.  Returned with port aileron inoperable, co-pilot & radio operator's oxygen system damaged, superficial damage to the nose, bomb bay, radio, waist and tail compartments.  Bombardier and port waist gunner were lightly wounded.  Claims: 1 ME-110 destroyed by tail gunner and 1 ME-110 damaged by navigator.


PEA-NUT, lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Ditched in Adriatic (zone 4) from fuel tank leak taken over Regensburg. 10 men rescued by Allied forces.  No casualties. Claims: 2 ME-109s damaged.


MISS CHANCE, lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%  Returned with radio inoperable, superficial damage to the fuselage and nose compartment.  No casualties.  Claims: 1 FW-190 apiece shot down by tail gunner & flight engineer, 1 ME-109 shot down by radio operator & 1 FW-190 damaged.


SIR PRIZE, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%  Returned with port waist gun broken and no casualties.  Claims: 1 ME-109 shot down by starboard waist gunner & 1 ME-110 shot down by ball gunner & 1 ME-109 damaged.


THE MAINE EVENT, second flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Aborted mission zone 5 outbound due to oxygen fire in cockpit.  Returned alone out-of-formation and made belly landing at Amendola Field.  Aircraft repairable.  Bombardier was lightly wounded.  Claims: 2 ME-109s by tail gunner & 1 ME-109 by bombardier; 3 ME-109s & 1 FW-190 damaged.


DADDY'S LITTLE GIRL, second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 50%.  Returned with bombardier's heating system inoperable and control cables damaged.  Flight Engineer lightly wounded and bombardier suffered frostbite.  Claims: 2 ME-109s by flight engineer & 1 ME-110 by tail gunner; 2 ME-109s & 1 ME-110 damaged.


352nd BS/301st BG (Low)

BANSHEE, lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Shot down by flak after taking a direct hit to the port wing.  Navigator, radio operator and tail gunner bailed out and taken prisoner; 7 other crewmembers KIA.  Claims: 2 ME-110s & 1 ME-109 shot down and 2 FW-190s, 1 ME-109 & 1 ME-110 damaged.


HIT & RUN, lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 40%.  Returned with nose and tail compartments heating systems inoperable, tail gunner's O2 out, top & ball turrets inoperable, damaged control cables, and numerous (13) superficial hits.  Flight Engineer was KIA, port waist gunner DOW, and starboard waist gunner was seriously wounded but will recover for further combat duty.  Claims: 1 ME-109 shot down and 4 FW-190s & 2 ME-109s damaged.


BEER BARREL, lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Fell out of formation zone 2 inbound and returned with #2 engine unfeathered, superficial damaged to the fuselage, radio room and starboard wing.  No casualties.  Claims: 1 FW-190 shot down by port waist gunner & 1 ME-110 kill shared by ball and tail gunners and  2 FW-190s & 1 ME-109 damaged.


McNAMARA's BAND, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with tail turret inoperable, superficial damage to the port wing, fuselage, nose, tail, pilots' compartments. Co-pilot was KIA, navigator and flight engineer were both seriously wounded and will be sent home.  Claims: 1 ME-109 shot down.


MISS MANAGE, second flight, right wingman (TAIL-END CHARLIE #2 for composite group)

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Became tail-end Charlie zone 5 outbound.  Returned with bomb sight, ball turret heating system, top turret and right main landing gear inoperable, rafts destroyed, tail plane structural damage, superficial holes to the nose, cockpit, bomb bay and tail areas, starboard wing and aileron (123 damage points).  The co-pilot was KIA, navigator seriously wounded, while the bombardier and pilot were only lightly wounded.  Claims: 1 ME-109 shot down and 1 ME-110 damaged.


HELLCAT, Second flight, left wingman (TAIL-END CHARLIE #1 for composite group)

 

Mission Synopsis:

Shot down by a single enemy fighter (zone 4) 100 miles south of the Alps.  No survivors.


 

Return to Sterparone Field