MISSION 43 - LINZ AARs
318th BS (LEAD)
ZEBRA'S REVENGE, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 50%. Returned with damage to the starboard wing root, other various superficial damage (57 damage pts) and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Mitchell.
We had clear skies and an uneventful transition to the target. The FLAK seemed to leave us alone and 2nd Lt. Forman did a superb task with 50% on target.
As we turned off the bombing run and headed for home we were visited by three 110s and one 109. A lot of shells went flying and we had the good fortune to damage two of the 110s and send one back to the Fatherland in a pine box. The 109 made a single pass, with no damage, and went on its way.
Just before we left Yugoslavian air space two 109s came at us from 12 o'clock high. One made a NO HIT pass but the other peppered us a bit, mostly superficial. And came around for another pass. Sgt. Stallard knocked him good and it looked like he had some serious engine problems as he went limping home.
- Major Mick Mikula, Pilot, Zebra's Express
BAWLMER BETTY, lead flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with #1 engine out from oil leakage, the chin & starboard cheek guns inoperable, damage to the port wing root, superficial damage to pilot, nose & radio compartments, and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 destroyed by Sgt. Hamel and 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Schreiber (Both gunners claims were later confirmed by S-2).
We encountered enemy fighters about half-way to the target. Most were driven off or missed us and dove away, but one determined Fw-190 managed to knock out the chin turret, seriously wounded Sgt. Daly and caused a slow oil leak to engine #1 in only one pass. As he swung around to come at us again, Sgt. Hamel put a full burst from the tail guns into him and he exploded into pieces.
As we approached Linz, two Me-109s came at us. One shot at us and missed, but the other was shot down by Sgt. Schreiber before he could even line up to fire.
We were then hit by flak over Linz. Although this hit caused only minor damage to our port wing root, it was apparently enough to throw off Lt. Heim's aim, and he once again completely missed hitting the intended target. As we left the area, the oil in our #1 engine finally ran out, and we had to make our return on only three engines.
After crossing the Alps, we were again jumped by a group of Fw-190s. While only one of their group scored any hits, he managed knock out the starboard cheek gun position and almost take my head off before retreating (my lucky St. Christopher medal was working overtime today).
The remainder of the flight was uneventful and I managed to land the ship successfully back at Streparone.
The men are beginning to grumble about our lack of bombing results, but they don't blame Lt. Heim -- his results were a respectable 37%+ over 10 missions in our first ship, so he's a proven bombardier. Maybe it's just taking all of us a little longer to transition to this new plane than we thought it would.
-1st Lt. Mark Beyer, Pilot, Bawlmer Betty
EASY DOES IT, lead flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with burned out port wing inboard fuel tank, #2 engine inoperable, superficial damage to port and starboard wings, waist and tail compartments, and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 Lt. Eldred.
I'm glad no one got hurt, and that we made it back alive. Things went very smoothly, didn't get bothered by the Germans, until we got over the target. Three 190's buzzed us from three sides, and one of us holed the inboard fuel tank on the port wing side, causing a fire and a leak, and we had to shut down the #2 engine. Lt. Eldred shot down his second fighter, and Sgt. Rincon sent another packing for home. We were already dropping behind the formation, but as we were so close to the target, there was no thought given to dumping the bombs and leaving. We got bounced around by flak, but took no damage. Between shooting at Germans and taking flak, it's no surprise that Kenny missed the target completely.
On the way home, we had to contend with the fire, but, fortunately, it didn't spread. Our fighters drove away a couple of enemies as we started for home, and the angels must have been watching over us, because we had just enough fuel to get in and land, and we didn't see a single Jerry after leaving Austria.
- 1st Lt. Jake McCardell, Pilot, Easy Does It
GOLDEN SPIKE, second flight, lead wingman
Reached target but unable to bomb. Returned with bomb bay doors and tail turret guns inoperable, damage to the starboard wing root, superficial damage to the cockpit and radio room, and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-109 by 1st Lt. Thompson.
We had our first enemy contact about 150 miles from base. A combination of fighter cover and poor shooting saw us continue unscathed. After an scenic flight over the Alps we dropped into a hornets' nest. Nine bandits in three waves made things interesting for a few minutes, but as the flak started bursting we were still in good shape. We managed to hit four Germans and in return escaped with only superficial damage.
Our luck came to a sudden end in the flak. Four bursts tore into the plane damaging the bomb bay doors and tail guns, barely missing the tail gunner (used a lucky charm), and killing our radio operator Tech. Sgt. McArthy. As one of the last remaining members of the original crew from Lucky Laurel, he was flying his 39th mission. He was good man.
With the bomb bay doors jammed we couldn't bomb the target or even jettison our payload. It was the first time flying for home fully loaded?. a very vulnerable feeling. However our fighter cover was better at the rally point and only two Germans managed to make it through. For our part we downed a Fw-190 and for some reason the Germans seemed poorly coordinated (random events #9, Bad Luftwaffe Communication). Soon as we crossed the Alps it was an uneventful trip to Sterparone.
- Capt. Todd Wilson, Pilot, Golden Spike
QUIEN SABE, second flight, right aircraft
Runway abort. Did not take off and participate in mission.
KELLY DOLL, second flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with superficial flak damage to the fuselage and no casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 by Sgt. Gallagher.
We ran into four 190s on the way to the target. Sgt. Gallagher destroyed one of the 190s, while Sgt. Trantham damaged another. The other two 190s missed on their attacks.
Flak over the target was medium and we only received superficial fuselage damage from the flak. We were able to get 40% of bombs in the target area.
On the way back to the base we saw a few fighters that were driven off by other B-17s. The landing was uneventful.
-1st Lt. D. Maggard, Pilot, Kelly Doll
317th BS (MIDDLE)
DIVINE WIND, third flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with the tail wheel inoperable, damage to the port waist gunnerís oxygen system, starboard wing root, port wing aileron & navigational equipment; superficial damage to the fuselage, port wing, starboard wing, radio room, waist and nose compartments; 2 casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s by SSgt. Shimizu (1 of SSgt. Shimizu's claims was later confirmed by S-2).
Took off from Sterparone Field, Foggia, Italy without any problems or malfunctions.
One hundred (100) miles from base we were attacked by a lone ME-109 coming in from 12 high. The flight engineer was able to damage the fighter which caused it to miss our plane and not return.
Fifty (50) miles from target we were attacked by three (3) waves of fighter planes. The first was bogies that were spotted at 12 level and were repulsed by machine gun fire from the formation before they were able to attack. The second wave consisted of four (4) Me-109s coming. One was driven off by fighters from the 14th Fighter Group. The flight engineer was able to hit and destroy the fighter coming in from 12 level. The one that came in from 1:30 high missed the plane and was driven off by fighters from the 14th Fighter Group. Another one that came in from 10:30 high was able hit the pilotsí compartment and debris caused a laceration on the shoulder of Capt. Yoshikawa. The plane returned at 1:30 level and again was able to hit the plane. This time it was able to hit the port wing, which cause superficial damage to the wing and damage the aileron. The plane again came again, this time at 3 level but it missed and didnít return. The third wave consisted of four (4) Me-109s coming. The 14th Fighter Group drove it off. One Me-109 came in from 12 level was hit by both the bombardier and flight engineer. The navigator reports that the flight engineer was able to destroy the fighter while the bombardier was able to inflict heavy damage to it. Two planes that came in from 12 high and low missed the plane and didnít return.
We encountered medium flak and was hit twice, once on the starboard wing and once in the radio room. The hits to both the radio room and wing were superficial in nature. Because of the hits by flak 2nd Lt. Nakahiro wasnít able to line the plane up to the target so we were not able to get any of the bomb load on the target.
On the turnaround we were attacked by to wave of fighters. The first wave consisted of bogies from 9 high that were driven off by a combination of machine gun fire and fighters from the 14th Fighter Group. The second wave consisted of one (1) Me-109 coming in from 3 low and one (1) Me-110 coming in from 1:30 low. The Me-109 was able to do a walking hit on both wings of the plane. Fortunately, the hits to the starboard wing was superficial in nature and the hits to the port wing caused some root damage to the wing. The ME-110 was also able to hit the plane, twice (2) in the waist and once in the tail. The hit to the waist damaged the oxygen supply system for the port gunner while the hit to the tail caused a laceration on the face of Sgt. Sakaue. The Me-109 returned at 12 level and the Me-110 came back at 6 level. The Me-110 was driven off by fighters from the 14th Fighter group while the Me-109 missed the plane and was driven off by machine gun fire from the bomber formation.
One hundred (100) miles from base we were attacked by two (2) group of fighters. The first was bogies coming in from 12 level were driven off before they were able to attack. The second composed of three (3) Me-109s; the oneís coming in from 12 high and 1:30 level missed the plane and didnít return. The other one coming in from 12 level was able to hit the nose and damage the navigational systems of the plane. This plane returned at 3 level and again was able to hit the plane, this time hitting the fuselage which caused minor damage and the tail which damaged the tail wheel making it inoperable. The plane tried to came back at 3 level but it was driven off by fighters of the 14th fighter group.
About fifty (50) miles from base a lone Me-109 came in at a vertical dive. The radio operator was able to inflict heavy damage to the fighter which caused it to miss and not return.
Reached Sterparone Field and was able to land without incident.
- Capt. Mark Yoshikawa, Pilot, Divine Wind
MISS BEHAVIN, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with top turret guns inoperable, tail turret, nose and port waist guns jammed, nose compartment heating system and tail wheel inoperable, damage to the rudder and cockpit oxygen system, and 1 casualty.
Safe landing at base. Miss Behavin OOA due to battle damage. Repair completion expected by 30 March 1944.
Overall fair bombing performance, no enemy kill or damage reported.
Will have entire crew at gunnery practice range on a daily basis.
Will conduct class in elemental weapons cleaning and personally supervise weapons cleaning due to excessive weapon jamming.
.50 Ammunition will be rechecked for defective rounds.
- 1st Lt. Harry Higginbottem, Pilot, Miss Behavin
316th BS (HIGH)
LUCKY NICKEL, lead flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned without damage or casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-109 each by MSgt. Allison and SSgt. Jenkins (Fw-190 by SSgt. Jenkins later confirmed by S-2) and 1 Fw-190 by Capt. Hamilton.
Over Yugoslavia (area 3) we saw our first group of enemy fighters but they were driven off by friendly fighters. No other activity until over target.
We got hit with five 190s but first, our ball gunner got "Ace for a day" lucky . . . some of the the enemy was chased away by friendly fighters and we killed 1 and damaged another. The Germans must have been trainees as all of them missed and flew off.
Flak missed completely but as we swung around to head home, two 109s and a 190 came at us. Our "new" ace scored a kill while we damaged another one and again all German shots went wide. Another lone 190 dove on us but all shots went wild.
Back over the Alps we ran into another wave of five 190s. This time, we killed 2, one was driven off by fighters and all AGAIN the Germans missed.
Finally as we neared home, 3 more 109s came at us; two were driven off by friendlies and the 3rd one missed after getting some damage from the radio gunner. We arrived back at base without a scratch.
- Capt. Paul Griffin, Pilot, Lucky Nickel
SATIN DOLL, lead flight, right aircraft
Bombed target, 50%, Returned with bombing controls damaged by 13mm & 20mm shells, superficial damage from 13mm & 20mm shells to Nose compartment, superficial flak damage to waist compartment, and no casualties.
Another long cold run into Austria. Other ships in the formation drove off the first E/A we encountered over nearing the Yugoslavian coast before they could get a line on us.
The next time Jerry got close to us was just before the IP. Three Me-109s swooped down on us. PJ & George missed theirs at 12 high, but shook him up enough to foul up his aim too. Billy Boy got some good hits on the one at 3 level, causing him to break off his pass and peel off trailing smoke. Wally fired a long burst at his at 1:30 level, but with no effect. The Kraut managed to cause some superficial damage to the nose area and blasted PJ's bomb release controls into junk. On his second pass from 6 high, Swede and PeeWee hosed the sky with the radio and tail guns. They didn't hit anything but neither did the Kraut.
Flak over the target was medium thick, and one burst caught us in the waist. Fortunately, we suffered only superficial damage from a few fragments. Without any release controls, and the bouncing around from the flak, PJ still got a good look at the target and called for me to release at just the right time. We put an estimated 50% of the load into the main factory complex.
Rallying off the target, a lone Fw-190 made a quick pass from 10:30 high. George, Wally, and Brad filled the sky with lead, the only effect being that it threw the Kraut's aim off, and he flew off looking for an easier target.
No more E/A got close to us the rest of the way home, and we landed safely without incident.
- Capt. John P. McConnell, Pilot, Satin Doll
OLD YARD DOG, lead flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 5%. Returned with top turret guns out, severe damage to the rudder, wing root damage to both wings, superficial damage to the #1 engine, superficial damage in numerous other places, 2 casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by Capt. Bonner.
What a cluster! That almost was our ticket to hell! Everything started out well enough and we didnít even see an enemy until right before the Alps. We were trying to stay tight with the group and watching everything to make sure we make it over the Alps. Three FWs came screaming in from the front of the formation. They almost hit us head on! We took hits in the cockpit and all along the fuselage. By pure luck I missed from being wounded (Capt. Chase used a lucky rabbitís foot). The round blew half of the control column off and I had to fly the rest of the mission one handed. My engineer then reported his guns were out in the same pass. I know I had rudder damage as well because everything was hard to control when I tried to yaw. They came around again but we drove them off with bullets flying everywhere.
Just after we crossed the Alps and headed for the target 109s and 190s were everywhere. Where were the P38s? I sure as hell didnít see any. At least 7 FWs made passes at us and at least 3 MEs I could remember counting. As I flipped controls to the bombardier, I got a report from the navigator saying Wiggins was not responding over the bombsight. Bonner pushed him aside and saw a large chunk of his flight suit missing near his waist. He toggled the bomb load right then and there. We found out later in the mission Wiggins was alive but with a serious hip wound and he was unconscious. He stayed unconscious the whole mission. We gave him morphine to help him along. I had the engineer look after him. All of a sudden Lt. Armstrong shouted that he had been hit. I had Sgt. Post check him out while I tried to keep him calm and stay in formation with half steering wheel. We found that a piece of metal had tore across both his thighs but he would be okay (1Lt. Armstrong used a lucky rabbitís foot). Bloody but nothing serious. We decided not to do morphine as I needed Jack alert and on the wheel with me.
We had holes everywhere by then. Flak bounced us around the whole time and we took some superficial hits in the radio room. Bonner got a 190 with the chin guns and I think my ball gunner can confirm that shoot down. We at least feel we hit 2 more of those damnable Focke-Wulf vultures before they dove out of sight.
Although we strayed out of formation because of the flak and our damage, we kept close enough that we didnít get any extra enemy notice. Thank goodness.
Crossing the Alps wasnít easier this time with our damage but we made it. Thankfully everything was quiet the rest of the way. I saw a couple of P38s about then. We needed them back over the target and not out here over Yugoslavia.
Anyway we landed hard but safely. We were met by the ambulances for Lt. Wiggins. He didnít look good. I understand he died on the way to the hospital but some medic beat him back alive (Lt. Wiggins used a lucky rabbitís foot). And in fact I hear that he will make it back to this damnable war. He must have an amazing constitution.
Lucky for him . . .
- Capt. Mike Chase, Pilot, Old Yard Dog
LUCKY SEVEN, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with wing root damage to starboard wing, damage to the tail compartment oxygen system (35 damage pts. per Peckham's damage chart) and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by shared by SSgt. Rhodes and Sgt. Duffy and 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Fidone.
Today's mission was putting over the hump for a second time. Our target this time was Linz, their aircraft industry. We took to the air around 09:12 and made it into formation like clockwork. We headed for Austria shortly after. At around 185 miles from base we saw our first enemy aircraft. Satins Doll's crew deterred the Krauts from getting to us.
Over the target, we were hit by two waves of fighters. The first wave consisted of three Me-109s. Our little friends shot one down and another missed us completely. Hough one did press its attack and damaged the starboard wing root. On Jerry's successive attack, Sgt. Luke Fidone separated the Kraut's left wing from his plane. The second wave was a lone Me-109 coming from 6 o'clock high. Sgt. Burroughs hit this Kraut solid, causing him to miss his shot and head for home.
After these enemy aircraft passed, we were in position to drop our load. German flak was fairly intense, but extremely inaccurate. We passed through with out any damage. Lt. Grams set up for a decent run putting at least 20% of our eggs on target.
Coming off the target we ran into two more waves. First we had a Fw-190 and two Me-109s come in from everywhere. Luckily, our P-38s kept two of them occupied. The last one was off its mark and missed hitting us. The 317th's Morbid Angel, whose bombardier put a few rounds into our tail, chassed off our second wave. Sgt. Burroughs was fine, but we did take some hits to the oxygen system.
Over the Alps we saw some more enemy fighters, but the Satin Doll once again drove them off. We encountered two more waves of enemy fighters, Fw-190s, about 155 miles from base. Again, the P-38s did their jobs and kept the first wave of Krauts off our backs. Yet, taking advantage of our fighters tangling with the first wave, a second wave made its pass. This wave consisted of four Fw-190s. One did run into our fighters as he swung out too far to avoid them. Sgt. Burroughs picked up another probable and SSgt. Rhodes and Sgt. Duffy combined to destroy another fighter. Burroughs fighter missed us and the last one, which surprised us from a vertical dive, was going so fast that he missed us too.
That was all we saw for the rest of the trip.
Crew Status: Healthy and fit for duty.
Aircraft Status: Lightly Damaged and Flyable; Starboard wing root 20% damaged. Tail oxygen damaged but still functional. (35 pts Damage Peckham' s Chart)
Thirteen enemy aircraft encountered.
6 Driven off by our fighters.
Sgt L.Fidone 1 Me-109 Destroyed;
Sgt. Burroughs 1 Me-109 Probable & 1 Fw-190 Probable
SSgt. Rhodes & Sgt Duffy 1 Fw-190 Destroyed (Shared)
- Capt. James Jameson, Pilot, Lucky Seven, 316th BS, 88th BG (H)
FULL HOUSE II, second flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with bomb controls damaged and a minor superficial hole to the fuselage, and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Ward (Me-109 by later confirmed by S-2),
With Major Tanner on leave, the Full House would be under my command for a few days.
It was a smooth mission with very light enemy opposition. No EA were encountered until we reached the target area when a pair of Me-109s attacked. Sgt. Fuller damaged one fighter while the other one damaged the bomb controls and hit the fuselage.
Flak was medium thickness and slightly accurate hitting a few of the other squadron aircraft; luckily it missed us completely. With the bomb controls shot, Lt. Sears did the best under the circumstances but he believes the drop was inaccurate.
We fought another pair of Me-109s leaving Linz. We escaped without damage and Sgt. Ward claimed the Me-109 he shot at as destroyed.
No further enemy resistance was encountered the remainder of the mission.
-1st Lt. Michael Cawley, Pilot, Full House II
317th BS (HIGH)
MORBID ANGEL, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with minor superficial damage and 3 casualties.
Fighter waves were continuous on this mission. One after another, but thankfully, nothing but superficial damage, mainly to the waist and left wing. Three of our crew were hit: Brunelle, Tucker and Pearson - but all will recover in time to fly again. We were on target, but only with 20%. I guess every bit counts, but I sure wish I felt a little more effective this time.
- 1st Lt. David Vincent, Pilot, Morbid Angel
317th BS (HIGH)
MEMPHIS GAL, third flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 50%. Returned without casualties. Claims: 3 EA by Sgt. Mitchell (1 of Sgt. Mitchell's claims was later confirmed by S-2), 1 each by Sgts. Knott & Barry.
- Capt. Ralph Flynn, Pilot, Memphis Gal
WAKKA WAKKA, third flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 40%. Returned without casualties. Claims: 2 EA by SSgt. Virgil (1 claim later confirmed by S-2).
-1st Lt. Michael Malloy, Pilot, Wakka Wakka
SILVER SPOON, third flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned without casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by SSgt. McDonald and Sgt. Pancetti.
- Capt. M.B. Forrest III, Pilot, Silver Spoon
399th BS (LOW)
RAID HOT MAMA, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Aborted mission zone 4 outbound due to loss of tail compartment oxygen. Returned with bomb release mechanism inoperative, radio out, tail compartment oxygen out, fire damage in tail compartment (2 Fire Extinguishers used), raft destroyed, starboard wing root damaged, superficial damage to the cockpit and tail compartments. No casualties.
We had an uneventful flight until just before
reaching the Alps (zone 4) then we came under heavy attack. Our
escorts drove off three of the initial attackers but more slipped past.
The next wave screamed past guns blazing. Lt DeMarco poured heavy fire (FBOA)
into a Me-109
coming in from 12 o'clock level. Another Me-109 coming in from 3 o'clock high walked hits along the length of the ship, knocking out the bomb release, radio and starting a fire in the tail oxygen system. Sgt Thompson fought the fire for sometime before manage to get the fire under control. He continued to fight the fire while the tail section was repeatedly struck by enemy fire. I believe he saved the ship at great risk to himself. Both Lt. DeMarco and Sgt. Blanchard were struck by spent shells (Lucky Charms) and have some bad large black and blue marks.
On the next run Lt DeMarco damaged another Me-109 (FBOA) but we suffered superficial damage to the tail and the life raft was destroyed in the bomb bay. SSgt. Fargo damaged (FCA) another Me-109 attacking from 12 o'clock high, he damaged our right wing root and tail (superficial). With our oxygen out and the bomb controls damaged we were force to jettison our bombs and abort the mission.
On the return flight home we linked up with some boys from the 325th Fighter Group and landed at base without any other problems.
- Capt. Art DeFilippo, Pilot, Raid Hot Mama
CAROLINA LADY, lead flight, right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned out of formation with pilots' compartment heating system inoperable, damage to the tail compartment oxygen system, superficial damage to both wings and the fuselage, 1 battle casualty & 1 case of frost bite. Claims: 2 Fw-190s by SSgt. Barnes and 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Clare.
Take off and assembly went well. Just before the Alps we were hit by Fw-190's that got through the fighter escorts--they holed our port wing causing minor damage, but really worked over Red Hot Mama--we watched her jettison her bombs and turn for home. Goodbye Girl II slid into the lead spot.
About 75 miles from the target we got into a running gunfight that lasted until we reached the Alps on the return flight. We were hit by several waves of Fw-190's and some 110's. During this fight the top turret gunner (SSgt. Barnes) shot down 2 FWs and the tail gunner (Sgt. Clare) got a 110. One FW shot up the PC, knocking out the heat in that compartment. The navigator also took a bullet through both his legs. 1st Lt. Choate elected to stay in formation. We bombed the target and continued to stay in formation until we were over the Alps-then Fletcher dove the Lady down to 9,000 feet. By this time Lt. Choate could not move his arms or feel his feet.
We dodged home alone and landed safely. Both the navigator and pilot will return to duty.
- 2nd Lt. Adam Stein, Bombardier, Carolina Lady
ADOLPH'S NIGHTMARE, lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with damage to the tail compartment oxygen system and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by SSgt. Clare (SSgt. Clare's claims later confirmed by S-2) and Sgt. Vinson.
There was no opposition at all to target. The first fighters we saw attacked as we left the Alps behind us nearing the IP. There was a very persistent 109 in the first wave. He attacked from a vertical dive first, but missed and came around again from 6 high. Our gunners wasn't going to let him fire at us a second time. He went right into a hail of fire and SSgt. Clare's tracers went right into his engine. The pilot lost control and dove away. The second wave, a lone 190, was driven off by the P-38s, but they missed a 109 which attacked from 12 high. He made a hurried attack before we got into the flak area. He fired a very short, inaccurate burst.
We were now in the flak zone. It was moderate, but not intense. One shell exploded behind us and sent shrapnel into the tail and wounded Sgt. Harp. The hit didn't disturb Lt. Zalenski on the bomb run who dropped on the leader and was well on target. The flak hit us again, but made only a big hole in the bomb bay.
As soon as we were out of the flak area the fighters appeared again. A 109 at 3 low hit but made only a few holes in our plane. Sgt. Vinson in the ball sent him to a dark place. The next fighter, a 109 again, attacked from 6 high and wounded Lt. Egan. He wanted to attack again but was driven off the fighter cover. He was the last enemy we saw before the Alps and after we were across there was no opposition at all. It was as quiet as the ride out.
The fighters today attacked mostly from 12, 3 and 6 and always a single plane at a time. Are they trying new tactics?
- 2nd Lt. Christopher Borders, Navigator, Adolph's Nightmare
GOODBYE GIRL II, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 98%. Returned with #4 engine, the radio, chin turret, port wing flap inoperable, damage to control cables, superficial damage to all areas of the plane, and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by MSgt. Tracey, 1 Me-109 apiece by Sgts. Corey, DeWolf, & King, 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Fishback.
What a change from our last mission. We had Jerries all over us almost the whole mission. But, none of them landed a hit on us 'till we crossed the Alps.
Approaching Linz, we were hit by 3 waves of fighters. The first wave (4 Me-109s) knocked out our radio, port wing flaps, and chin turret. But Sgt. DeWolf managed to down one of them. The second wave was a pair of 110s. Sgt Fishback quickly downed one, and Sgt. DeWolf smoked the other. The third wave was mostly 190s; they concentrated their fire on the waist and tail. Sgts. King and Bailey were both hit by the fire from the 190s. but no real damage was done to the aircraft.
The FLAK was heavier than I had hoped, but we only took a superficial hit to the starboard wing. Lt. Paxson reports 98% of our bomb load hit the target.
As we turned for home we were hit by a group of five 109s. Sgt Corey managed to down one of them from the radio room, but the others kept coming. They concentrated their fire on the bomb bay and my compartment. But, again no real damage was done. As they came back around they concentrated on the wings; knocking out engine #4.
Half-way back to base a lone 190 dove down at us from above, but Sgt Rich took him out with the top turret.
A short time later a pair of 109s made a pass at us from our port side. Sgt King downed one, and the other turned for home after he missed us.
Landing was safe and uneventful.
- 1st Lt. Herman Gordon, Goodbye Girl II
WINGED FURY, second flight, right aircraft
Reached target area but was hit by flak causing the starboard wing to catch fire; 10 chutes were seen. The plane crashed about 1 mile SW of Linz. Reported claims: 3 Me-109 & 1 Fw-190.
It is with the gravest regret that I write to inform you of the loss of the Fortress serial #42-12203, Winged Fury, over Linz, Austria on 29 March 1944. Our debriefing, in conjunction with debriefing that was conducted by the 325th FG, allows us to offer some clarification regarding the details of the last hour or so of the Winged Fury's existence. Based on the observations and radio traffic, the pilots of the 325th reported that the crew of the Winged Fury had put up a spirited fight on its way to the target zone, encountering a lone FW 190 that was engaged and destroyed during its second attack of the Fortress, by a passing shot from the tail-gunner.
As they crossed the Alps, they were jumped by 4 Me-109s - 1 was driven off by the fighter escort, a 2nd was shot down by the port waist gunner, and the other 2 made ineffectual runs and then departed.
As they entered the target zone, they were hit by three more waves of enemy fighters. In the first wave, a pair of 109s attacked, 1 of which was damaged by and then destroyed by fire from the starboard waist gunner and the top turret. The second wave was repelled by the excellent formation flying of Lt. Matheny and the concentrated defensive fire of the squadron's formation. The third wave was equally ineffective, as what started out as a trio of 109s attacking in a fully stacked frontal assault (with a 4th fighter darting in from 10:30 level) dwindled rapidly as 1 was knocked out by the fighter escort, a 2nd was shot down by the fire of the top turret gunner and a third was damaged by the tail gunner. None of the enemy fighters scored a single hit on the Fury during this assault.
As the Fury lined up on the IP for her bombing run, her undoing was the withering flak barrage being sent up by the German anti-aircraft batteries. They had plenty of time to get their range, and they had the Fury square in their sights by the time she passed over. Fighter pilots report that she took a devastating hit to her starboard wing, and that the inboard fuel tank caught fire. The Fury plunged out of formation, which may be the reason that the reports of her catastrophic descent were so widely circulated. However, our pilots, citing the greatest respect for the piloting skills of Lt. Matheny, report that she ultimately leveled out at about 8,000 feet, although the engine was still blazing away. Lt. Matheny kept her steady, and our pilots reported 10 chutes deployed before she went the rest of the way down. Unfortunately, that deep in enemy territory we were unable to offer any further assistance. The crew performed heroically during their last flight, and they are in the prayers of every pilot here in the 14th Fighter Group.
/s/ Maj. Lawrence McGowan, 14th Fighter Group
MISSOULA EXPRESS, second flight, left aircraft (TAIL-END CHARLIE)
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with bomb controls, autopilot, nose compartment heating system, rudder, port aileron, aileron controls, tail-wheel--all inoperable; rubber rafts shot up, structural damage to the port wing root & to the starboard tail plane; damage to the oxygen systems in the nose & tail compartments; lots of holes in a/c, 6 battle casualties and 1 case of frostbite. Claims: 1 Me-109 and 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Phelan.
It was nice and quiet until we got to the target. We saw lots of Germans on the way in, but only one got through the Checkertails and made a run on us, from behind, and he put some holes in the tail before breaking off. We saw one of the planes in our squadron turning back before we began to climb over the mountains. The Alps were pretty--we saw more Germans there, but none attacked us.
Then the Checkertails left, and the Germans descended on us. We got hit by at least ten of the bastards over target. They worked us over pretty good--kept coming at us from behind. I guess they do that when you're "Tail-End Charlie" for the whole damned group. They got the skipper in the first pass--punched his ticket home. Then Dick was killed, and Pete and Ralph got hit too--looked pretty bad. We managed to fight them off--Bob got a 110 off the tail, and a 109 after we turned around. Even the flak was nasty, and with all the damage, we missed the target.
The attacks didn't let up until we were nearly home. The 38s weren't as good protecting us as the Jugs--Germans followed us all the way out over the sea (they did leave us alone over the Alps). They nicked me too. Finally we made it back, plane all shot to hell, half the crew hurt. What a mess. I hope they all aren't like this.
- 2nd Lt. Bill Hearn, Co-Pilot, Missoula Express, 399th BS
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