MISSION 42 - REGGIO EMILIA AARs

399th BS (LEAD)

RAID HOT MAMA, Lead flight, Lead aircraft, Group Commander

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned without damage or casualties.  Claims: 1 ME-109 apiece by 2nd Lt. Jacob, SSgt. Fargo & Sgt. Thompson (SSgt. Fargo's claim later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

Another mission as the lead aircraft of the Group, our escorts did an outstanding job!  They repeated stopped all but the most determined of Jerrys fighters.  Prior to the IP the Group drove off a determined attack by several groups of enemy fighters.  The flak over the target was ineffective and we were able to bomb without interference.  Lt. DeMarco placed over 30% of our bombs on target.

 

After leaving the target area several formations of Jerry fighters attempted to attack us, but were driven off once again by our escorts.  One pack of 109s tried to attack us but the boys put up a great fight and knocked three 109s down.  We were on top of our game today!

 

- Capt. Art DeFilippo, Pilot, Raid Hot Mama


CAROLINA LADY, lead flight, right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 60%  Returned without damage or casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

Take-off and assembled as planned.  Great fighter escort drove off the only E/A we saw, about 25 miles from the target.  Dropped on target-60% !! Poor weather at base made landing a bit tricky, but landed in one piece.  Milk run.

 

- 1st Lt. Mark Choate, Pilot, Carolina Lady


ADOLPH'S NIGHTMARE, lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned without damage or casualties.  Claims: 1 ME-109 by SSgt. Clare.

 

Mission Narrative:

The P-40s and P-38s did most of the job on this mission.  The first enemy fighters attacked northwest of Arezzo and they stayed with us to the target and back to the same area.  Perhaps there is an airfield nearby?  One wave got away from the Lightnings over the target.  Two of the three in that wave were shot down by the P-38s and the third by Staff Sergeant Clare.

 

- 2nd Lt. Christopher Borders, Navigator, Adolph's Nightmare


GOODBYE GIRL II, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned without damage or casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

This was the quietest mission I've flown to date.  The Warhawks and Lightenings kept the Jerries off us almost the entire mission.

 

Flak was light, as expected.  Our bombing run was on target, and Lt. Paxson estimates 30% of our load was on target.

 

Shortly after we dropped our load a single 109 buzzed in from our 12.  He sprayed a few rounds in our direction, but with 2 Lightenings on his tail, there wasn't much he could do. Sgt. Fishback reported seeing a chute from the 109 shortly after it was raked by our little friends.

 

Landing was without incident.

 

- 1st Lt. Herman Gordon, Adolph's Nightmare


MISSOULA EXPRESS, second flight, left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned without damage or casualties.  Claims: 1 ME-109 apiece by Lt. Link & SSgt. Gates

 

Mission Narrative:

I guess this is what the old timers call a 'milk run'.  We saw no enemy planes until we got to target.  Even then, only one attacked us, and Leon got him with the nose gun.  Flak was light and did not hit us, and Leon laid our eggs on the target perfectly.

 

More enemy planes attacked the squadron as we turned around from target, but none hit us personally.  A couple more 109s made a pass at us as we neared the coast.  We exchanged fire to no effect.

 

One more enemy plane dove down on us from above out over the sea, but Al nailed him with his twin guns.  All in all, an uneventful mission.  We hope they're all like this.

 

- 1st Lt. Mark Stevens, Pilot, Missoula Express


316th BS (Middle)

SATIN DOLL, second flight, right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned without damage or casualties.  Claims: 1 ME-109 by MSgt. F. Turner.

 

Mission Narrative:

The return to Reggio Emilia turned out to be a real milk run. The  P-40s kept the few Krauts we saw on the way to the target off us.

 

Flak over the marshalling yards was light as briefed, and thankfully ineffective.  PJ got a good setup and put about 30% of the load into the target area.

 

Right after the rally point, the P-38s swatted a few more bugs out of our way, except for a lone Me-109 in a vertical dive.  Turner yelled out that he had him and let loose with a long burst from his twin .50s that smashed into the Jerry's cowling.  Blankenship
called in that he saw the Kraut bail out just before the 109 blew to pieces below us.

 

Back over the Adriatic, Turner called in that the engineer on the Missoula Express nailed a 109 in a vertical dive.  After that, Lightnings swept the sky clear in front of us the rest of the way home and we landed without incident.
 

Observations:

  1. Near target area, E/A marked with Italian fasces on wing and Italian flag on fuselage in place of German crosses.

  2. Aggressive escort to and from target.

- Capt. J.P. McConnell, Pilot, A/C 42-11806 Satin Doll, 316th BS, 88th BG (H)


318th BS (High)

ZEBRA'S REVENGE, Lead flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with superficial damage to the fuselage and nose compartment, and 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by 2nd Lt. Forman & SSgt. Chrisman (Sgt. Chrisman's claims later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

We had an uneventful takeoff and form-up.  Just as we approached the Italian coast three 109s jumped us.  A lot of shells were flying in both directions when 2nd Lt. Parham took glancing shell on his left leg.  We were okay until we lined for our bombing run when we saw three more 109s.  This is when SSgt. Chisman got his first Kill (first kill means he will buy the first round in town for the crew).  Again a lot of shells flying around but only superficial damage.  We totally missed the target when 2nd Lt. Forman got a little "trigger-happy" with his bombs.

 

Once I had control of the aircraft again and began the slow turn for home we saw three more 109s.  Again a lot of shells but nothing more than superficial damage for us and the crew got its second kill when 2nd Lt. Forman took the wing off the 109 approaching from 10:30 level.

 

Landing was uneventful.

 

- Major Mick Mikula, Pilot, Zebra's Express


GOLDEN SPIKE, lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned with returned without damage or casualties.  Claims: 1 ME-109 apiece by Lt. Thompson & SSgt. Garbutt (Lt. Thompson's claim later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

That’s what I call an easy flight.  We had excellent fighter cover throughout the mission and only five enemy planes made it passed our escorts.  On the way to Reggio Emilia, Lt. Thompson downed one ME-109 who attacked from 12 o'clock level, and a short time later an ME-109 put a superficial hole into our starboard wing even after he was damaged by the top guns.

 

Scattered flak was nothing more than a distraction as we put 20% of our payload onto the target.  On the return flight our engineer claimed a second bandit who came at us from a vertical dive.

 

After that it was quiet.  With 40 missions under our belts, a couple of us are thinking about a State-side rotation if our luck holds out . . . IF!

 

- Capt. Todd Wilson, Pilot, Golden Spike


BAWLMER BETTY, lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with minor damage to the rudder, port waist position and no casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

We encountered enemy fighters several times on the way to the target, but the attacks were driven off by either our escorts or other B-17s in our group.  The only hits scored against us caused minor damage to our rudder and the port waist position.  We managed to avoid the light flak over the rail yards, but again completely missed hitting our target.  On our way home we damaged two of the eight ME-109s that attacked us and drove off the others.  A relatively uneventful mission.

 

Our new ship is a mixed blessing so far.  While we have yet to hit our targets, the improved firepower of the G-model continues to inflict damage on the enemy air forces opposing us while bringing everyone safely home.

 

-1st Lt. Mark Beyer, Pilot, Bawlmer Betty


LONGHORN LADY, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 40%.  Shot down by enemy fighters 2 miles SE of Reggio Emilia.  1 KIA and 9 POWs.

 

Mission Narrative:

"After the bomb run, Longhorn Lady was seen being attacked by a couple 190s.  The port wing was on fire and nine chutes were seen."

 

- Eyewitness reports from returning 318th aircrews.


EASY DOES IT, second flight, left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 75%.  Returned with flaps out, superficial damage to nose, bomb bay, radio room and 3 casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 by 2nd Lt. Eldred.

 

Mission Narrative:

"Jeez, Id hate to think where we'd be if it werent for those Fighter jockeys today.  We started picking up Krauts right around the coastline, but as fast as the Germans were coming in, our boys were kicking them out.  We didnt get to shoot at any until we were approaching the target.  One guy broke through and got a couple of hits on us.  He caught me on the forearm here and also hit Carson on his hand.  But again our guys did a good job keeping the Germans off of us, that was the only one that got through until after the bombing run.  Speaking of the bombing run, Kenny did a great job, getting 75% of the bombs in the target area, hes doing great so far.  Flak was light and inaccurate, not like last mission."

 

"Heading for the rally point we saw a bunch of enemy aircraft, but our friends kept them away.  On the way home we ran into some trouble when a 109 got through and walked hits right down the fuselage.  Thats when Sgt. Aaronson got hit, and we lost control of our flaps, which made landing a little tricky.  Carson said he saw one of our guys drop that German into the Italian countryside for his troubles.  The rest of the trip was easy.  Hammond flew most of the way, and we were able to land the plane despite the loss of the flaps.  Now, do you mind?  I gotta go get something for this arm . . ."

 

- 1st Lt. Jake McCardell, Pilot, Easy Does It


QUIEN SABE, second flight, right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 40%.  Returned with top turret guns, radio room heating system inoperable, rafts destroyed, damage to both wing roots, to the starboard tail plane root, 2 casualties and 1 case of frostbite.  Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by 2nd Lt. Acton & Sgt. Allen (Lt. Acton's claim later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

Thank god for our "little friends"!  We met wave after wave of Fw-190s and Me-109s as we headed northwards, but the P-40s did us proud.  What got through their cover shouldnt have bothered!  Lenny Cook (Radio) and Tim de Lavier (Tail) got enough on a Fw-190 from 6 high to make him think twice about a subsequent run but he put all his eggs in one basket and hit us ten times with a hell of an accurate burst before departing.  It was like watching a dragon breathe fire, and unfortunately our waist section was the point he was aiming for.  As a result Sgt. Lewis was seriously wounded and Sgt. Hole was killed instantly.  We also had our top turret rendered inoperable and received hits to the wing roots.  Flt. Engineer Lovell came down from the top turret to man the vacated waist guns.  Our little friends saw off a further 3 Me-109s and ball gunner Allen got himself a further Me-109, then 3 more appeared and of the 2 that got through and Navigator McGinley damaged one of them.

 

Over the target and bombardier Acton was accurate, all that training back home had paid off.

 

As we turned for home 3 more Me-109s materialized with 1 being buzzed off by the P-38s, 2nd Lt. Acton got a kill on the sitting duck Me-109 at 12 level.  The remaining bandit made 2 successive runs at us scoring 5 hits in the process but these didn't register anything more than shell holes in the aircraft skin.

 

Another wave of four 109s then appeared, but the P38s were resolute and drove off 3.  Of the one that got through, he damaged the radio rooms heating system and rendered our rubber rafts useless from a 9 high position, the friendly P38s took care of him though.

 

Being our first mission I decided to maintain altitude and formation for the safety of the crew but unfortunately Lenny Cook succumbed to frostbite in the radio room. Why he didn't climb back to the vacated waist section I don't know.

 

-1st Lt. Gary Johnstone, Pilot, Quien Sabe


316th BS (High)

LUCKY NICKEL, third flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned without damage or casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

No fighters were near us the whole trip.  We had one or two but were chased away by our friendlies.  Flak was miss.  Our first "true" milk-run.

 

- Capt. Paul Griffin, Pilot, Lucky Nickel


LUCKY SEVEN, third flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 5%.  Returned with port elevator rendered inoperable, the Navigators heating system knocked out, numerous holes along the fuselage and no casualties (40 Damage points per Peckham's damage chart).

 

Mission Narrative:

After a deep strike like this there is only one thing to say, we lived up to our ship's name, "Lucky Seven".  We counted no less than seven enemy aircraft that our little friends downed.  As briefed, the 79th splashed three ME-109s.  This left only one fighter for our boys to concentrate on.  The lone Messerschmitt shot wide and ran for home.  This one had markings of the Italian Air force.

 

As we entered the I.P., a lone ME-109 dove down through the BG taking wild shoots as he went.  His attempt at us missed.

 

Flak was light and inaccurate.  We took no hits from any flak, though Lt. Grams must have been distracted by the vertical diving Messerschmitt, as he was off target, only placing a mere 5% within 1000ft, as reported by Sgt. Burroughs and Sgt. Fidone.

 

Coming off the target we encountered two waves of enemy fighters.  The first was a lone Focke-Wulf 190 from 10:30 o'clock that was driven off by a pair of P38s. The 190 was last seen smoking heavily and looking for a place to hide.  Capt. Griffin's crew, in the Lucky Nickel, drove off the second wave before they were able to attack.

 

About fifty miles later we were jumped by four ME-109s.  Again our little friends dove in to help out, driving two of the aggressors coming from 12 o'clock low and high off before they could close.  A third from 12 o'clock level was spooked and missed his shot.  Deciding retreat was the better part of valor, he left the battle.  The last 109, coming in from 6 o'clock low, was severally damaged by Sgt. Fidone, yet he was able to walk his shot from tail to nose.  He disabled our starboard elevator and knocking out Radfordson's heat, with his other shots only superficially damaging the other sections.  Due to the damage sustained from our ball turret, this fighter dove out of the battle.

 

This was the last enemy activity we saw for the rest of the mission.  As I said earlier, our little friends saved our butts.  They chased away no less than seven enemy fighters.

 

Mission Summery:

Crew Status: Healthy and fit for duty.

 

Aircraft Status: Lightly Damaged and Flyable; Starboard elevator inoperable, Navigator's heated suit destroyed, numerous holes along the fuselage. (40 pts Damage Peckhams Chart)

 

Claims:
Eleven enemy aircraft encountered.
7 Driven off by our fighters.
1 ME-109 damaged; Sgt. L. Fidone, 1 ME-109 Probable

- Capt. James Jameson, Pilot, Lucky Seven


LUCKY LAURA, third flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Runway abort from port tire blow out.  Did not take-off and participate in mission.


317th BS (Low)

SILVER SPOON, lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with minor damage and no casualties.  Claims: 1 ME-109 by Capt. Blackmore (later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

There was very little to get excited about, even though we were in the low slot.  We did see lots of fighters, but most of them were either chased off by our jocks, or were green-horns.  They fired enough, but most of it went wide.  Jim Blackmore up front got three of them.  One blew up and two went down smoking.  He missed the target, though, and that with no flak near us!  Trip home saw even less to write home about, and here we are.  One trip closer to home . . .

 

- Major Neil Amoore, Pilot, Silver Spoon


MORBID ANGEL, lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with minor superficial damage and no casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

Perhaps it's a quiet before the storm, or perhaps we're really doing a much better job than we even know . . . I'm not sure why, but this was a very quiet mission.

 

The flak wasn't too bad, the fighters were few and far between, and Pearson was able to damage one and chase it away.  We only saw 3 the entire way there, and 4 on the way back.  Mostly shooting and going away.

 

The superficial damage to the plane was extensive.  Looks like we'll need to repaint the whole thing, and I'm seeing if the supply officer can get some new speakers for us.  But other than that, we're in decent shape for the next mission.  I hope this quiet time continues, though I'm not making any bets on it.

 

-1st Lt. David Vincent, Pilot, Morbid Angel


MEMPHIS GAL, lead flight, right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Fell out-of-formation after bomb run and returned home alone with nose compartment heating system inoperable, superficial holes to the waist compartment and 1 casualty.  Claims: 2 Me-109s by Lt. Fulmer (1 Me-109 was later confirmed by S-2) and 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Almeda.

 

Mission Narrative:

We managed to survive another mission.  We encountered a few German fighters and were unlucky to be hit at all as we had good fighter cover.

 

A ME-109 stitched us from nose-to-tail but did not do any serious damage.  We lost the heat in the nose but were able to continue the bombing run before dropping out-of-formation.

 

Our port waist gunner is having a run of awful luck.  He had just rejoined the crew after recovering from his serious wound only to be lightly wounded this mission.

 

We got home without trouble despite being out-of-formation.

 

- Capt. Ralph Flynn, Pilot, Memphis Gal


DIVINE WIND, second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 5%.  Returned with superficial damage to the fuselage. Claims: 1 ME-109 by SSgt. Shimizu.

 

Mission Narrative:

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

 

About one hundred fifty (150) miles from base three (3) ME-109s from lined up to attack but all three were chased away by fighters from the 79th Fighter Group.

 

A second wave coming in from 6 high was spotted by our bomber group but they were driven off by machine gun fire from the bomb group.

 

About fifty (50) miles from target we were attacked by two fighter waves.  The first wave spotted at 10:30 level was again driven off by machine gun fire from the bomb group.  The second wave consisted of two (2) ME-109s coming in from 10:30 and 12 level. Our fighters were again able to drive away the enemy fighters before they were able to shot at the bombers.

 

About ten (10) miles away from target we were again attacked by two fighter waves.  The first wave was a lone ME-109 coming in from 10:30 high was driven off by fighters of the 79th Fighter Group before is was able to reach the bomber formation.  The second wave consisted of two (2) ME-109s.  The one coming in from 1:30 high was driven off by fighter cover.  And the other fighter was able to hit the plane two times and both hits were in the fuselage and was superficial in nature.  The plane was driven off by fighter cover before it could make another attack.

 

Flak was light and didn’t hit the plane.  2nd Lt. Nakahiro wasn’t able to get a line up on the target was off target.  But he was still able to get about 5% of the bombs on target.

 

On the turn around we were attacked in two waves.  The first wave consisted of three (3) ME-109s.  A fighter that came in from 10:30 high was driven off by fighters of the 1st Fighter Group.  One that came in from 12 high was hit by the top gunner SSgt. Shimizu and was destroyed.  The one that came in from 1:30 high missed the plane and was driven away by a combination of machine gun fire from the bomb squadron and fighter cover.  The second wave was spotted coming from 12 level was driven away by machine gun fire from the bomb group.

 

About one hundred (100) miles from target we spotted bogies coming in from 1:30LEVEL and didn’t attack.

 

Fifty (50) miles from base we were attacked in two waves. The first wave consisting of two (2) Me-109s were chased off by fighters from the 1st Fighter Group before they were able to get to the bomb group.  The second wave consisted of a lone ME-109 was also chased off by fighters of the 1st Fighter Group.

 

Reached Sterparone Field and was able to land without incident.

 

- Capt. Mark Yoshikawa, Pilot, Divine Wind


WAKKA WAKKA, second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with minor flak damage to the underside of the fuselage and to the port wing and no casualties.  Claims: 1 ME-109 by SSgt. Virgil (later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

We will never have it so good ever again.  We could have walked home on the wings of our fighter cover it was so dense.  We only got attacked over the target when two 109s somehow managed to slip through.  The engineer blew one out of the sky and our starboard waist gunner spooked the other by hitting his windscreen.

 

The flak was incredibly light and we had a giant magnet under our tails.  We got 2 hits under the butt and 1 in the port wing.  Nothing serious at all but it did blow our bomb run and we were way off.  We really showed those farmers!!

 

Uneventful coming home but we did see Memphis Gal going down. She did make it home though.

 

-1st Lt. Michael Malloy, Pilot, Wakka Wakka


MISS BEHAVIN, second flight, left wingman (TAIL-END CHARLIE)

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%. Returned with starboard landing gear inoperable, top & tail gun turrets inoperable, damaged to rudder, superficial holes to fuselage, nose, pilots' compartment, starboard wing (83 damage pts. per the Peckham's chart) and 2 casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

Miss Behavin OOA due to rudder and landing gear damage.  Repair completion expected by 30 March 1944.

 

Overall, (a) fair bombing performance, no enemy kill or damage reported.

 

Miss Behavin's ass was handing out like a sore thumb as we flew in the Low Squadron (with a +1 factor) and in the "Tail-end Charlie" position (with an added ME-109 at 6 high).  We're damn lucky that we didn't get our ass shot off, Sir.

 

Will have entire crew at gunnery practice range on a daily basis.

 

- 1st Lt. Harry Higginbottem, Pilot, Miss Behavin


Return to Sterparone Field