MISSION 38 - PADUA AARs
399th BS (LEAD)
LOUISIANA PIRATE, Lead flight, Lead aircraft, Group Commander
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with minor damage to radio room area and starboard wing, and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 ME-109 by Sgt. McDonough.
Our first mission leading the whole d--d group, so we wanted to do well. Out over the Adriatic, we discovered the fringe benefit of being lead bomber when four krauts came barreling in from the front. Fortunately, none of them hit us, nor did we hit any or them.
We were not attacked again until we got to the target area, when more enemy a/c came at us from all sides. Bill in the tail stinger nailed one, and we scored hits on another, but one put some holes in the wing and radio room, hitting Johnny and wounding him. Fortunately they didn't do more.
Flak was light, weather good, so, since the rest of the group was following us in, Drew made sure to do a real good job and plaster the target good.
On the way out a 110 and another 109 made a pass at us, with no hits to either us or the Krauts. After that it was quiet until we were nearly back to base, when four more of the bastards stacked up on us from the front. Again, they missed and so did we, though Bill shot one up as it passed out over the tail. He was sore he didn't get him. Anyway, we landed safely and the docs tell us Johnny isn't hurt real bad. Maybe we'll get to lead another mission.
- Capt. Richard Stevenson, Pilot, Louisiana Pirate
GOODBYE GIRL II, lead flight, right aircraft
Bombed target, 60%. Fell out-of-formation after bombing target due to oxygen system damage. Returned with tail O2 system out, minor superficial damage to the radio room and no casualties. Claims: FW-190 by MSgt. Tracey and 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Fishback.
The outbound leg of the mission was quiet. We never saw an inbound fighter until just before we entered Padua. Our escorts chased off 2 of the three 190s and MSgt. Tracey easily downed the third.
Flak over the target was light, but we still took a hit that knocked out the oxygen in the tail. The bomb run was on target and Lt. Paxson estimates 60% on our load hit the target.
As we dropped from formation, and turned for home we had five 190s and 109s target us, but our escorts did an outstanding job; they drove all five away from us.
Half way back to base a lone 109 surprised us by dropping out of the clouds from our 12. He put a few rounds into the radio room, but didn't do any real damage. He came back around for another pass from our 6 but Sgt. Fishback tore his port wing off and he bailed out.
The rest of the inbound leg was quiet, and the landing uneventful.
- 1st Lt. Herman Gordon, Pilot, Goodbye Girl
MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned without a rudder and no casualties.
Surprisingly, it was a lazy milk-run. Flak was almost nonexistent and the target was bombed accurately (30% estimated).
Only one enemy fighter approached. We would laugh from all this, but he DID manage to completely blow off our rudder, only hinges were left.
The trip back to base was safe and the landing was a little rough.
- 1st Lt. Paul M. Day, Pilot, Midnight Express
RAID HOT MAMA, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Retuned with superficial damage to the waist compartment and no casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 & 1 ME-110 by Sgt. Goyer (Sgt. Goyer's ME-109 claim was later confirmed by S-2).
This mission was almost a milk run, the 325 FG did a great job keeping the enemy fighters away. The only enemy fighters we encountered were on the way in and out of the target area. Two were knocked down by Sgt. Goyer and another was damaged by SSgt Fargo. The only damage we suffered was superficial hits in the waist compartment.
The flak over the target was light and Sgt. Goyer reported that we hit the target with nearly half of our bomb load. We encountered no aircraft after leaving the target area.
Our landing was uneventful.
- Capt. Art DeFilippo, 399th Bomb Squadron, Pilot, Raid Hot Mama
CAROLINA LADY, second flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with damage to the control cables, port wing root, and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Karwoski.
Take-off and form up with the squadron and group went well. We got hit by FW-190s over the Adriatic. Our Little Friends drove them off-all except one FW pilot who came down almost vertically and was gone before we could shoot back. He put a cannon shell into the pilots' compartment and almost skewered the control cables.
In the target area we were hit hard by more FWs, but we managed to damage 1 and the rest didn't get close. The flak was ineffective, and we bombed the yards as briefed.
After the turn for home we got hit by a head-on attack by ME-109s. These guys closed on us and shot up the port wing root, and hit Lt. Rice real bad. Sgt. Wright managed to stop his bleeding enough to save his life. Sgt. Karwoski in the tail let them have it as they went by. The first ME-109 took a hit in the cockpit and dropped straight down and the second had chunks fly off it--he never came back.
We shot off the red flares on approach and the medics met us at the hardstand-The group surgeon says Lt. Rice will live and gets a ticket home.
- 2nd Lt. Patrick Fletcher, co-pilot, Carolina Lady
SANTA's HENCHMEN, second flight, right aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned without damage or casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 & 1 ME-109 by 2nd Lt. Hartwell.
The first bandits attacked south of Rimini. The fighter cover chased two off, and two 109s went for us. Lt. Hartwell shot down one. The other fired, but missed and Sgt. Svenson reported that this Kraut was hit by a P-47 after he left our squadron.
There were weak defenses over the target. Those few fighters that appeared were driven off by the 325th and the gunners in the 317th. Flak was very light and Lt. Hartwell had no trouble hitting the target.
After the IP, over Ferrara, five 190s came out of the sun but 3 were driven off. Sgts. Lawson and Jacobson fired at the 190 attacking from 6 high. Sgt. Lawson's tracers severely damaged this fighter so that he went into a spin. We don't know what happened to him, if he crashed or not.
Back again over Rimini, two 190s attacked. Two P-47s managed to down one of them and the other exploded after Lt. Hartwell hit him. It was a clean kill.
No new units or insignias to report. The four 190s over Rimini were from the same unit as those over Ferrara.
- 1st Lt. Leo Hoffman, Pilot, Santa's Henchmen
318th BS (High)
THOR, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned without damage or casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 by SSgt. J. Tucker.
This was an easy mission. We hit the target for 30% and saw only a couple of enemy fighters. We got one and damaged the other.
- Major Joe Smith, Pilot, Thor
GOLDEN SPIKE, lead flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Returned out of formation due to an un-feathered engine after target zone. Landed with #1 engine un-feathered, radio out, damage to a wing root, a few holes to the nose and pilot's compartments, and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 by Lt. Thompson.
The Germans left us alone until we neared Padua. Five FW-190s pounced from all directions and we didn't see any friendly fighters. We lost our radio and it was only with supernatural luck that the navigator and pilot avoided wounds (used up one lucky charm each). It would have been a lot worse but we damaged three bandits enough that they soon left us alone. The second wave was quickly chased away by escort fighters.
As expected the flak was light, but an unlucky hit knocked out our #1 engine and again the damn thing wouldn't feather. This was the second time in two flights, and in the same engine. Cursing our flight mechanics we remembered with terror that slow plodding flight back to Sterparone. Needless to say we missed the target completely.
Turning for home we used the lamps to signal the rest of the formation as the drag from #1 engine began to slow us immediately. To our surprise it seemed that friendly fighter cover was abundant (rolled aggressive little friends on the random events table) and no bandits managed to close with us until 150 miles from base. A couple ME-109s charged us from 12 o'clock level. Lt. Thompson downed one with his heavy nose guns and the other fellow caused only superficial damage before our little friends chased him off too.
As per normal, it felt great to touch down at Sterparone.
- Capt. Todd Wilson, Pilot, Golden Spike
THE BAWLMER EXPRESS, lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with top turret inoperable, medium damage to the control cables, tail plane and tail compartment oxygen system, superficial damage to the nose and bomb bay compartments. No casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Bianconi.
We were jumped early on from all quarters by four FW-190 fighters, who ended up taking it on the chin. Two were damaged and one was shot down, while we took no damage.
The rest of the run to the target was quiet, with no fighters making it through our escort screen. The flak was light and missed us completely. This allowed us to hit the target with 40% of our bomb load.
As we left Padua, we were attacked by four ME-109s. Three of the attackers were driven off easily, one with significant damage. The fourth was more determined and managed to score a series of walking hits on us from the 1:30 high position. Most of the damage was superficial, but the top turret guns were knocked out by one of the hits. Fortunately, this attacker was unable to repeat his success when he came back at us again and he broke and ran.
Over the water, we fought off two more waves of FW-190s (damaging our third) with the help of the other ships in our formation and our returning escorts.
We managed to land with no problems and everyone was very grateful that we had escaped without any crew casualties this time.
-1st Lt. Mark Beyer, Pilot, The Bawlmer Express
LONGHORN LADY, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 50%. Returned with tail turret inoperable and several superficial hits to the fuselage, and no casualties.
We ran into four 109s but neither side was able to hit anything.
Flak over the target was light and we didn't receive any damage allowing us to get 50% of the bombs on target.
Then we ran into three 190s. One of the 190s was driven off by our fighter escort and the others missed on their attacks. We were then jumped by four 190s; two were driven off by the fighter escort, and one of the 190s did get thru and put some superficial fuselage hits and knocked out the tail turret. On his next pass he was driven off by the fighter escort. The other 190 was damaged.
The landing was uneventful.
- Capt. Jeff Landers, Pilot, Longhorn Lady
BOULDER DASH, second flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with rubber rafts destroyed; intercom & ball turret guns and mechanism inoperable, superficial damage to the Nose and Pilot's compartments, no casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Pope.
We saw numerous enemy planes but none got through the fighter screens or really took any runs at us until we were over the target area; perhaps we were in an exceptionally well-protected part of the formation. Our first real 'trouble' occurred approaching the target, when 2 FW-190s came at us from 12 and 3 high. Pope drove off the 3 high by spraying fire everywhere; I think maybe he panicked a bit, but it did work. The other guy missed and was seen heading towards the low squadron.
Flak was light and didn't come close to us. Tommy dropped the eggs nicely, we estimated 60% on target.
On the turnaround, we saw that our fighters were really busy fending off the Germans. Sgt. Bridges swears he poured enough lead into a 109 to bring it down, but the guy stayed in the air and took a pass at us. We thought once we got over the water, that the Germans would leave us alone, but they kept coming at us, even within about 75 miles of the base. They may have an airfield or two somewhere in Yugoslavia nearby or something.
We were almost home (zone 2) when a group of 190s came barreling down at us from 12, 3, 6, and 9 high. Sgt. Pope destroyed one, and Sgt. Allen hit his, causing the German to veer and miss us. The 190 from the tail came down and raked us from nose-to-tail, causing mostly minor damage, though we soon discovered that the intercom was out. Fortunately, we weren't far from home, and after another quick pass, we didn't see any fighters the rest of the way in to the field.
As we approached the field, we discovered that the 190 had also damaged the ball turret mechanisms, leaving Sgt. Richardson stuck in there for the landing. He must have gotten a heck of a view of the airstrip when we landed! Our first mission in the books, and it was overall a good one.
- 2nd Lt. James Dash, Pilot, Boulder Dash
APPLE TREE, second flight, right aircraft
Bombed target, 5%. Returned with superficial damage to the waist compartment and 1 casualty.
No dust, no sun, just rain, welcome to the swamp, and with that I find myself standing outside a tent wondering why I hadn't joined the Navy!! Our first flight was a milk run, we saw one ME-109 which broke through our cover and grazed our port waist gunner, nicking his arm. Less said of our bombing though, easy in, easy out, maybe I have joined the right service!!
-1st Lt. Pete Shevlin, Pilot, Apple Tree
316th BS (High)
LUCKY NICKEL, third flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with the #1 engine knocked out and feathered, rubber rafts destroyed, damage to the starboard wing flap, and no casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 by SSgt. Edmond, 1 ME-109 apiece by Capt. Hamilton, MSgt. Allison & SSgt. Jenkins.
Met enemy fighters in almost every zone but they were poor shots. With a combination of friendly fighters and other B-17s we did not encounter serious fire until the target zone.
Flak took out our #1 engine but we were able to feather prop and put some holes in those cures rubber rafts. We got our first 2 fighters with kills by the navigator and the ball turret gunner coming in and the flight engineer coming out.
No other serious opposition until almost home when 4 fighters attacked us at the 4 compass points. Two were driven off but the tail gunner got one and the port waist gunner winged one so he missed.
We made it home again in one piece, or almost in one piece.
- Capt. Paul Griffin, Pilot, Lucky Nickel
SATIN DOLL, third flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 50%. Returned with #1 engine leaking oil, port wing root damaged by flak, nose gun inoperable, superficial damage to bomb bay doors, to the nose and radio room compartments, 3 casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 by TSgt Johansen & 1 ME-109 by Capt. Morris.
Satin Doll got a little roughed up on her return to Padua. Over the Adriatic, a 109 making a run on our 6 got dusted off by the Jug Jockeys.
Nearing the Italian coast, a gaggle of three 109s swept in. The escort took care of two and PJ drilled the one dead ahead.
As we neared the IP, a lone 190 bore down on us in a vertical dive. Swede hammered him with the radio room gun, sending him down flaming.
Right after that, the flak started busting. We took a couple of bursts right below us. One zinged a fragment off the port wing root, and the other sent hot shrapnel through the radio room floor, on chunk clipping Swede in the right calf. Lance Murphy left his waist gun to patch up Swede, and called in that he wasn't too bad. With all the bouncing around, PJ still got about 50% of the load onto the target.
Shortly after the rally point, three FWs came at us. Two met up with a pair of Jugs, and were last seen heading for the deck smoking. George got a few rounds into the one at 12 high, fouling up his aim. He fired a quick burst at us and tore off trailing light smoke.
Nearing the Adriatic again, a lone 109 in a vertical dive made a fast pass at us. He missed, we missed, and he tore off for the deck.
As we neared the Italian coast once more, another gaggle of three 109s tore into us. The one at 12 level put some ventilation in the nose, and his buddy at 12 high knocked out PJ's gun and added some more ventilation. The one from 1:30 level zinged a couple of rounds into the nose wounding PJ in the right arm and Wally in the right calf. Another round added a new window to the radio room. On their second pass, Murphy and Blankenship put a few rounds into the one at 9 level, fouling up his aim. The one at 12 level missed high and broke away. The greedy bastard that got Wally & PJ on his first pass came back from 12 high and put a few more rounds into the nose and bomb bay. Poor PJ & Wally got hit again, and the bomb doors look like Swiss cheese. Not satisfied, the SOB made another run from 12 level. George got a few rounds into his engine and he started trailing black smoke and flames. Despite his condition, he pressed his attack and put a round into #1 engine's oil tank, and a few more into the nose, fortunately causing no further damage.
The rest of the trip home was spent patching up our wounded and nursing #1 to keep it running. Nearing the field George fired off the red flares to let the medics know that we had wounded aboard, and we landed without incident.
- Capt. John P. McConnell, Pilot, Satin Doll
LUCKY SEVEN, third flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with damaged
control cables, starboard waist gun jammed, radio compartment heating system
need to be repaired, holes to the radio room, waist section and fuselage (29
pts Peckham chart) and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 ME-110 by Sgt. Fidone.
Our mission didn't start well as I missed the assembly by a few minutes and never achieved a tight formation. That being said, it was about 200 miles out till we encountered enemy aircraft, three FW 190's, two from 3 o'clock and one from 12 o'clock. The 190 from 12 o'clock was chased off by the P-47s. The one from 3 o'clock high missed us completely, and even though Sgt. Fidone damaged the one from 3 o'clock level he still hit us pretty good, damaging our control cable in the waist section and wounding both Joe and Ed. This is the second mission in a row that Ed has taken a round to his calf. Luckily both men were only lightly wounded and should be good for the next mission. This fighter also knocked out TSgt. Dykstra's heat, yet Jack was able to fix it well enough to make it home (used lucky charm). On the successive attack Grams damage him again convincing him to leave without any further damage done to the ship.
In the target zone we were spooked by two 190s shooting through the squadron, but they were moving so fast they didn't land any hits. There was one ME-110 climbing through the lower squadron and took aim at us. Sgt. Fidone had good aim and waxed him before he could take a shot.
Flak was medium and ineffective, missing us entirely. Our bomb run was normal with Grams placing 20% on target. This was confirmed by Sgts. Fidone and Burroughs.
Coming off target three waves of Jerries lined up to make a run at us, but our little friends came to our rescue. Between the P-47s and other B-17s, we had no other encounters with Jerry.
Landing went better that take off and the B-17 should be fixed quickly for the next mission.
-1st Lt. James Jameson, Pilot, Lucky Seven
317th BS (Low)
SILVER SPOON, lead flight, lead aircraft
Aborted zone-3 from fire to the wing. Returned out of formation alone with fire damage to the starboard wing, a leaking fuel inner fuel tank on the starboard wing, superficial damage to the bomb bay area and radio room; no casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 & 1 ME-109 by Capt. Blackmore.
Once again we donít return in formation! Weíd barely formed up and headed for Padua when the little bastards hit us. A 190 and 109 came from head-on and directly behind us, and hit us in the bomb bay, radio room and starboard wing. I saw when we landed that he must have hit the bombs. Thank God they didnít go off. He did hit our starboard inner tank, though, and we had to dive to put out the fire he started. By the time weíd done that and leveled off, we were out of formation and there wasnít enough fuel to get there and back. I radioed to Capt Montague to take over and we headed home.
- Major Neil Amoore, Pilot, Silver Spoon
CARDINAL EXPRESS, lead flight, left wingman
Runway abort, did not take-off and participate in the mission.
BEDAMNED, second flight, right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Fell out of formation zone 3 inbound due to wing tank fire. Returned with engine fire extinguishers out, port outer fuel tank damaged from fire, damage to the rudder, various other superficial damage, and 3 casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 & 1 ME-109 by SSgt. Simons, 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Fields, 1 ME-109 by 1st Lt. Spratt.
The flight into the target was fairly uneventful except for having to take lead again (in zone 4). We never saw a fighter until we entered the target zone. Two 190s, a 109 and 110 came through the fighter screen and tried to beat us up. Simons got a 190, Fields a 190 and Miller dinged the 110. The 109 and 110 missed and vanished.
The bomb run was pretty good and we egressed PDQ. The trip back was pretty quiet with our fighter boys earning a steak dinner. That is until we were almost home (zone 3). ME-109s came at us from everywhere. Spratt killed one and winged another 2. Pratt winged a couple and Simons added another to his tally. Pratt, Simons and Marconi all collected a little parting gift from Herr Hitlerís cronies but they were scratches more than anything else. Our rudder took a hit, the engine extinguisher controls got shredded and our port outer decided it was a little chilly and needed to warm things up. Luckily it didnít explode and I managed to kill it by diving.
The landing was a pinpoint thud onto the asphalt but we all walked away. Notch another on the board.
- Capt. Shamus Montague, Pilot, BeDamned
MEMPHIS GAL, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with chin turret and radio room guns jammed. No casualties.
Unfortunately we went all the way to Padua only to miss the target. Fortunately not one of my crew was hit and the aircraft returned relatively unscathed. We did encounter some extreme temperatures while in formation and had trouble with our guns jamming. While trying to clear the jams the nose and radio room guns were put out of action for the duration of the mission, which set our nerves on edge I can tell you. Luck however was on our side today and we returned without incident.
- Capt. Ralph Flynn, Pilot, Memphis Gal
DIVINE WIND, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with damage to the cockpit oxygen system, to the rudder, to control cables in the waist portion of the plane, superficial damage to port wing and no casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 by SSgt. Shimizu (SSgt. Shimizu's claim was later confirmed by S-2).
Took off from Sterparone Field, Foggia, Italy without any problems or malfunctions.
One hundred (100) miles from base bogies were spotted at ahead of the group but were driven off by both fighters and machine gun fire from formation.
Two hundred (200) miles from base one (1) ME-109 attacked from 3 low. The plane was able to hit the plane three (3) times, once each in the pilot compartment, tail and port wing. The hit to the pilotís compartment damaged the oxygen system but was still operable. The hit to the tail damaged the rudder but was still operable and the hit to the port wing was superficial in nature. The plane attempted to return but was driven off by fighters of the 325th fighter group.
A second wave came in after the lone plane consisting of four (4) ME-109s, three form 12 o'clock and one from 6 o'clock. Two fighters that came were driven off by fighters of the 325th FG, allowing one to come in from 12 high that was hit by the bombardier (2nd Lt. Nakahiro) which made it miss the plane and this fighter did not return. Another one attacked from 12 low hit the plane once in the port wing again creating superficial damage to the wing. The plane tried to return but was driven off by fighters from the 325th FG.
About fifty (50) miles from target we were attacked twice the first wave consisting of two (2) ME-110s coming in from 12 and 10:30 low. The one coming in from 12 o'clock missed the plane and did not return. But the one that came in from 10:30 hit the plane twice, once in the radio room and in the waist. The hit to the waist damaged the control cables to the tail of the plane and the hit to the radio room was superficial in nature. The plane returned at 12 level, missed the plane and was driven off by machine gun fire from the formation.
The second wave consisted of a lone (1) ME-109 coming in from 3 low and one (1) ME-110 coming in from 1:30 low. The fighter coming in from 1:30 was severely damaged by the bombardier 2nd Lt. Nakahiro, causing it to miss and it didnít return. The one that came in from 3 low was slightly damaged by the starboard waist gunner, Sgt. Hanano, which caused it to miss the plane. This fighter did not return.
Over target we encountered light flak and was not hit and 2nd Lt. Nakahiro was able to line up to the target and put 30% of the bomb load on the target.
On the turn away from target we were attacked by two (2) ME-110 coming in but both were driven away from fighters of the 325th FG before they were able to attack our formation.
One hundred (100) miles away from target we encountered two (2) ME-109s. One was driven off by the 325th FG and another one that came in from 12 level was shot down by the flight engineer SSgt. Shimizu.
One hundred fifty (150) miles from base we were attacked by four (4) ME-109s coming in from head-on and all them missed and didnít return.
Reached Sterparone Field and was able to land without incident.
- Capt. Mark Yoshikawa, Pilot, Divine Wind
DARKWATCH, second flight, left wingman (TAIL-END CHARLIE)
Runway abort, did not take-off and participate in the mission.
Return to Sterparone Field