MISSION 46 - BUDAPEST AARs

399th BS (LEAD)

RAID HOT MAMA, Lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 40%.  Aircraft returned heavily damaged with 5 casualties.  Landed with starboard main landing gear and flap controls inoperable.  Aircraft written off as beyond economical repair. Claims: 1 Me-109 by Lt. DeMarco (later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

We all thought this was turning out to be a milk run, we encountered no enemy fighters until about 75 miles from the target.  Then German's came at us like mad men, a mixed group of Me-109s and Fw-190s came at us.  Lt. DeMarco repeatedly struck an Me-109 until the plane exploded and Sgt. McKnight heavily damaged an Fw-190 coming in from below.  The next group of fighters immediately followed and an Fw-190 walked hits along the length of our aircraft, wounding Lt. Ford.  The enemy continued to come at us and it seemed they were never going to stop.  For the first time in my life I was glad to see flak since the enemy fighters broke off.  Sgt. McKnight reported that we placed nearly half of out bombs on the target area. It wasn't until later I discovered that Lt. DeMarco was wounded and Lt. Donahue was killed, we were busy trying to keep the ship in the air.

 

After leaving the target the enemy fighters came at us again.  We fought a running battle from the target are to the coast damaging a couple of Jerry fighters and losing Sgts. McKnight and Riley along the way.  When the fighters finally broke off we were a wreck, we has lost the #1 engine and our flight controls, and the starboard landing gear.

 

Prior to landing the crew elected to stay with the ship rather then attempting to bail out.  I brought the Raid Hot Mama in and set her down on along side of the runway, the landing broke her back.  She was a good ship.  According to the flight surgeon both Lts. DeMarco and Ford will be going home.

 

- Capt. Art DeFilippo, Pilot, Raid on Mama


ADOLPH's NIGHTMARE, lead flight, right wingman 

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Aircraft shot down as a result of flak damage taken over Yugoslavia (zone-4).  Aircraft crashed 50 miles NW of Mostar, Yugoslavia (zone-3).  Claims: 1 Fw-190 apiece by Sgts. Stewart & Vinson.

 

Mission Synopsis:

Adolph's Nightmare left the formation over the target after bombs away on route to the Rally Point after being hit by flak.  It descended to 10000 feet and was later hit by flak which set a fuel tank on fire.  The pilots (Lts. Egan & Norton) tried to put out the fire by diving, but to no avail.  The crew abandoned ship approximately 50 miles Northwest of Mostar, Yugoslavia.

 

- Reported by Lt. Clement, 95th Fighter Squadron, 82nd Fighter Group


CIVIC DUTY II, Lead flight, left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 40%.  Returned with minor superficial damage to starboard wing and waist and 1 casualty.  Claims: 2 Me-110s by Sgt. Kramer, 1 Me-110 & 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Noakes (Sgt. Noakes' Me-109 claim was later confirmed by S-2), 1 Fw-190 apiece by MSgt. Benham & Sgt. Carbone, and 1 Me-109 by TSgt. Milan.

 

Mission Narrative:

As the formation headed out over water we were attacked by a lone 109.  Sgt. Noakes was able to down it easily as it approached on our starboard side.  Our escorts did a good job keeping the fighters off of us and we didn't see another inbound fighter until we entered Hungary.  As we crossed into Hungary we were swarmed by four 110s.  Sgt. Kramer downed one, two of the three remaining missed on their pass, but the third shot up our starboard wing.  As it came back around for a second pass Sgt. Kramer downed it too.

 

As we entered Budapest a lone 109 dove down from above, but Sgt. Milan downed him.

 

The flak missed us completely, and our bomb run was on target.  Lt. Wolfe reports 40% of our load hit the target area.

 

As we turned for home we were attacked by a group of five 190s.  Sgt. Benham downed one coming in from our 12, and Sgt. Carbone downed one coming in from our 9.  The remaining 190s targeted our wings and waist.  As they turned for another pass the call came over the intercom that Sgt. Bailey was hit.  He had been shot in the waist and shoulder.  As the 190s made their second pass they missed us completely, and they left.  Just before we hit the Yugoslav border we were attacked by two more 109s.  Sgt. Noakes was able to down the one coming at us from below, and the other missed us.

 

Landing back at base was uneventful.

 

- 1st Lt. Glen Short, Pilot, Civic Duty


CAROLINA LADY II, Second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with #4 engine and Ball turret guns inoperable, starboard outer fuel tank holed, damage to the rudder hit, superficial damage to the fuselage, and 2 casualties.   Claims: 1 Me-109 by Lt. Stein (later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

Take off and assembly went smooth.  We got hit by fighters about 150 miles from base, and almost continually all the way to the target--but the group was shooting good, because every wave was driven off by group defensive fire!!!  Which was a good thing--because when we went to test fire our guns, both the nose and ball guns jammed from the cold (random event #10).  We eventually fixed the nose guns, but the ball guns would not fire at all.

 

Flak was bad--we took 2 hits on the tail killing our new tail gunner, Sgt. Asher---this will make 2 tail gunners lost in 5 missions.  Also, the starboard outer fuel tank took a hit and fuel began to pour out--about 75 miles past the target it ran out and we feathered the #4 engine.

 

We got jumped again about 150 miles from base--this time the rudder got peppered, but. Lt Stein shot down another Me 109--his 5th! Our landing was okay.

 

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


AC# 43-7210, Lead flight, left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned with both elevators inoperable, port wing outboard fuel tank holed, and no casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

A quiet trip in to target--good coverage by Little Friends.  We saw only a few enemy a/c, and fighter escorts kept them away up through our bomb run.  Flak moderate--we took some hits, but were still able to strike the target.

 

Enemy activity increased on the return trip.  We were attacked twice after we turned for home, suffering minor damage.  We saw one enemy fighter, bearing multicolored tail stripes, break off, smoking, after a run on our a/c.  Port wing tank was holed and began to leak fuel, but we maintained sufficient endurance to regain our base.

 

Formation tightened up as we neared the Yugoslav coast, further protecting us from enemy activity.

 

We landed safely without loss to our crew.

 

 - 2nd Lt. Gregory Hill, Pilot, B-17G AC# 43-7210, 399th BS


ROSIE GAL, Second flight, right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with minimal damage to the port wing, the bomb bay doors and tail compartment (30 Peckham damage pts) and 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Hatten & 1 Me-109 by Lt. Creel (Lt. Creel's claim was later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

We had a relatively quiet ride into Hungary, with a single 190 attacking us over Yugoslavia.  Sgt. Mortimer claimed he hit her from the top turret as she came in, and although she kept coming her fire was wild.

 

Things picked up as we approached the IP -- we got jumped by 3 Fw-190s, but one of them was driven off by our fighter cover.  We traded shots with the other 2, but nobody hit anything and they broke off as the flak starting getting heavier.  We suffered a flak hit to our starboard wing, but just a couple of holes that didn't affect Lt. Lilly -- he laid 30% of our load on target and we started to head back.

 

The Little Friends kept the enemy a/c off of us at first, but as we were heading back over Hungary on our way home we got jumped by 2 waves of Germans and their Hungarian counterparts flying an assortment of 190s and 110s, with the Hungarians flying a batch of 109s.  Lt. Lilly peppered the fuselage of a 190 in the first wave, and Lt. Creel recorded our first claimed kill on one of the 109s.  They broke off, but we immediately got hit by 2 more 190s, a 109 and a 110.  The pilot flying the 190, which hit us low and head on really knew his stuff . . . he blasted the tail on the first pass, and Sgt. Morris called out that he had been hit.  I knew we couldn't leave the tail unguarded, so I sent Sgt. Hatten back to check on Morris -- when he told me that Morris was pretty shot up I decided to leave him back there and rely on the formation to cover our port side.  That 190 came in again at 3 high, and shot us up some more, perforating our bomb bay doors and the tail again.  I called back to Hatten and he was unhurt but extremely pissed off, which turned out to be a good thing.

 

We got hit again over Yugoslavia by a lone 190 that broke through the formation and hit us from 10:30 high, peppering our port wing but not doing any significant damage.  However, Sgt. Hatten had clearly had enough and hadn't gotten over his anger at being shot up in the tail, and he blew that 190 out of the sky as it passed by the tail.

 

The rest of the flight was quiet, and Hatten directed his energies to keeping Morris alive until we could get him on the ground.  We fired some flares and got a priority landing, and the docs told me that although Morris' shoulder was shot up pretty bad he should be ready to fly again in a couple of weeks.

 

- 1st. Lt. Emmert, Pilot, Rosie Gal


318th BS (HIGH)

ZEBRA'S REVENGE, Lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with flak damage to the starboard tail plane root (50 Peckham damage pts) and no casualties.  Claims:  2 Me-109s by SSgt. Chrisman, 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Stallard (Sgt. Stallard's Me-110 claim was later confirmed by S-2) and 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Mitchell.

 

Mission Narrative:

There seemed to be clear skies until the FLAK nailed us twice (caused two starboard tail root hits).  On the return we were jumped a few times but our gunners were on the ball and destroyed FIVE of the little guys and sent one home trailing pieces.  The after-action report revealed we hit the target for 30% despite the double FLAK hit.  Kudos to Donnie for his concentration on that run.

 

Landing was uneventful.

 

- Major Mick Mikula, Pilot, Zebra's Revenge


EASY DOES IT, Lead flight, left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 5%.   Aircraft crash landed at base after port main landing gear collapsed.  No casualties but aircraft irreparable and will be scrapped.  Claims:  1 FW-190 by Sgt. Johnson and 1 Me-109 by Lt. Eldred.

 

Mission Narrative:

Someone must have alerted the Germans that we were coming, because they put up quite a welcoming committee before we even hit land. Four 109s came at us from 12 high, level, and 1:30 and 10:30 high.  The one at 12 Level walked right into Lt. Eldred's fire and blew up.  The others passed by and didn't come back.

 

After that, we were pretty quiet -- we saw some Jerries buzzing around the formation, but no one got close enough for us to fire at.  Over the target we saw more fighters, but our own boys took care of a lot of them, and they didn't trouble us much.

 

Flak was of medium intensity and accuracy.  We took some superficial hits from it but, thankfully, no one was hurt.  It was enough to maybe throw Kenny off a little, but Sgt. Wheeler reported that some of the bombs did fall in the target area.  On the way back, we had four 109s come after us, again from the front (12 low, level, high, and 9 High); Fighters took care of the 9 high, and the rest missed and didn't return.

 

As we left Hungary, we were found by a single 190 that came at us in a vertical dive.  Sgt. Johnson destroyed him with his radio room gun.

 

We had some pleasant flying, didn't see a thing, until we got back over the water.  We got picked on by a single 190; Sgt. Eldred definitely hit him, but he hit us back, on the port wing.  That must have been what messed up the landing gear.  Meanwhile, Sgt. Carson reported that one of the planes behind us was taking a licking.  He reported 8 chutes, and the plane going down.  He caught the number -- 11852.  Hope those guys make it.

 

Our landing was rough -- part of it was my fault, I came in a little too fast, and part of it was the gear collapsing.  For once, at least no one got hurt.

 

- 2nd Lt. Dale Hammond, Co-pilot, Easy Does It


BAWLMER BETTY, Lead flight, right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Reached target area but did not bomb due to inoperable bomb controls.  Aborted mission and returned with chin turret and bomb controls inoperable, minor damage to the pilot, nose, radio & waist compartments, to the right wing and 2 casualties.  Claims: 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Schreiber.

 

Mission Narrative:

We were attacked by enemy fighters all the way to Hungary.  We destroyed an Me-109 and seriously damaged 5 other aircraft.  As we approached Budapest, an Fw-190 penetrated the escort screen and hit our nose, knocking out our bomb controls . . . the jinx continues!.  Unable to bomb the target, we again aborted the mission.  We were attacked several times on the return trip, during which I was lightly wound and our waist gunner, Sgt. Brooks, was more seriously hit.  We again landed at Streparone with our bomb load still intact.

 

We have now risked our lives on six straight missions without hitting the target.  Each man (including me) has silently pondered the question: How many times can we risk fate by landing with battle damage and a belly full of armed ordinance before our numbers come up?  The crew's morale is at an all time low.

 

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


GOLDEN SPIKE, Second flight, Lead Aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 10%.  Returned with autopilot inoperable, starboard outboard fuel tank holed, tail plane root damage, 2 superficial hits, and 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Turner & 1 Me-110 by Lt. Lawton.

 

Mission Narrative:

It was a pretty good flight.  We didn't have any problems until we approached Budapest.  Up to that point our fighter cover was excellent.  Inevitably, three Me-109s entered our formation.  Our new engineer managed a clean kill on one bandit while the remaining Germans failed to hit us.  We took a couple flak hits, one of which knocked out the autopilot.  As you'd expect we missed the target.

 

On the way home a couple of Me-110's tried their luck.  Our ball gunner damaged the bandit from 9 o'clock, but his buddy from 6 o'clock level wounded SSgt. Turner on the tail guns and caused a fuel tank leak.  Luckily we had enough gas to make it home.  On his second pass that Me-110 was swatted out of the sky by Lt. Lawton's port cheek gun -- what a hit!  Soon we were on the tarmac and SSgt. Turner was chatting up the nurses in the hospital.

 

- Capt. Todd Wilson, Pilot, Golden Spike


QUIEN SABE, Second flight, left wingman 

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 40%.  Returned with navigator's heating system inoperable, damage to the pilots' compartment oxygen system, to the starboard wing root, and 1 case of frostbite.  Claims: 1 Me-110 by Sgt. De Lavier.

 

Mission Narrative:

Met staggered resistance throughout entire mission with inconsistent levels of fighter support.  Immediately we found ourselves with 3 hits to the starboard wing roots and separate hits to the co-pilot (from an Me-109) and then the pilot's (from flak) oxygen systems. Then we lost the heat to the navigator's unit from a flak burst, but decided to stay at 20,000feet.  Unfortunately, crew member 2nd Lt. McGinley was frostbitten immediately and his tour is over.

 

Post mission addition: My crew have some concerns over the battering that our ring roots have taken over all these missions but the bird still flies.

 

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


8-BALL, Second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with flak damage to the waist and radio compartments, and 2 casualties.  Claims: 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Wicker.

 

Mission Narrative:

We didn't run into any enemy fighters on the way to the target.  We received flak damage over the target killing Sgt. Nick Odom and TSgt. Ralph Nagy received light wound to his left calf.  In spite of the flak, we were able to get 30% of the bombs on target.

 

We then ran into three 190s.  One 190 was destroyed by Sgt. Tony Wicker, while another 190 was damaged.

 

The landing was uneventful.  I haven't gotten any word back from the Doc on if TSgt. Nagy will miss any flight time.

 

- 1st Lt. Terry 'Bull' McDonald, Pilot, 8-Ball


316th BS (HIGH)

LUCKY NICKEL, Third flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with tail guns and tail section heater inoperable, radio destroyed, starboard waist .50 jammed, damage to the radio room, rudder,  minor damage to port wing aileron and 1 casualty. Claims: 2 Me-109s by SSgt. Jenkins, 1 Me-109 apiece by Capt. Hamilton, MSgt. Allison & SSgt. Watkins.

 

Mission Narrative:

We were fine until just over target . No enemy fighters seemed to have noticed us in the high position.  Over target trouble started with the flak.  Reports were for medium flak but we got the heavy stuff.  Radio room got it first knocking out the radio.  Then, there was a huge bang, the plane seemed to stagger forward and our replacement gunner (Sgt. Stark) started screaming.  It seemed like it wouldn't stop, but then the sudden silence was even worse.  We managed to put bombs near the target but fighters were swarming us and it appeared we had no coverage at the 6 o'clock position.  The Co-pilot tried to get back towards the tail but there was too much damage.  Meanwhile our gunners started to give some back.  Radio room guns and ball guns were blazing away and shot down a plane apiece.  Then the starboard waist gunner popped a 109 only to have the guns jam as a second wave came at him from the low position.  The ball gunner (SSgt. Jenkins) got this one too.

 

On the flight home the enemy started to concentrate on the front while friendly fighters tried to keep the enemy from our rear.  One more plane was shot down by the navigator (Capt. Hamilton) and one was damaged by the port waist guns.  We kept manning the starboard guns (as he tried to undo the jam) in the hopes of scaring fighters away and it might have worked as one fighter seemed to head toward the starboard side only to pull up and be damage by the radio room guns.

 

We had a few more close calls but finally dropped down below most of the clouds as the base was getting pretty hard to spot due to very poor weather.

 

They took the tail gunner to infirmary and we are awaiting the outcome.  He looked so white from massive loss of blood in both legs as well as frostbite as it appears his heater also was knocked out (although we didn't know it at the time).

 

- Capt. Paul Griffin, Pilot, Lucky Nickel


SATIN DOLL, Third flight, left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 90%.  Returned with port aileron inoperable, superficial damage to nose and tail compartments from 20mm shells and 1 casualty.

 

Mission Narrative:

Another long one for the Satin Doll.  We first encountered opposition near the Yugoslav coast.  Three Me-109s formed up in front of us and started a run. The Jug Jockeys scored two and the third fired a quick ineffective burst and broke away from the combined fire of George & PJ's guns.

 

Crossing into Hungary, two 109's were again dispatched by the T-bolts.

 

Nearing the target, the supporting fore of the rest of the formation kept the first wave of fighters off us.  The second wave of two 109s were brushed aside by those Fork Tailed Angels of the 1st FG.

 

Flak over Budapest was medium thick and not too accurate.  The gunners managed to score a hit on our port aileron, rendering it inoperable.  PJ kept the ship lined up and put a whopping 90% of the load right into the heart of the complex.  PeeWee called in from the tail that multiple secondary explosions were erupting from several buildings and that PJ had really hit it hard.

 

Rallying off the target, the formation's combined firepower again kept the first wave off us.  The second wave of three 109s got through the escort and rest of the formation.  The ones at 1:30 and 10:30 high made quick, ineffective passes and broke away for the deck.  The 109 at 12 high added some ventilation to the nose area.  On his second pass from 6 high, PeeWee riddled his cowling with the tail guns.  Blankenship called in from the ball that the Kraut was bugging out, trailing black smoke but still under control.

 

Nearing the Hungarian-Yugoslav border, the cold got to some of the guns.  While adding to the formations defensive fire, the port and starboard waist guns jammed, as did Wally's starboard cheek gun.  This was not the kind of news one likes to hear when there are still many miles of enemy controlled airspace to fly through.

 

Halfway across Yugoslavia, our squadron mates again kept the Krauts off our back.  As we neared the coast, a lone 109 in a vertical dive bore down on us.  George managed to get some hits on it, but he kept coming, firing into the tail.  Hank got on the interphone to check on PeeWee.  When he got no answer, he told Brad Wall to go back and check on PeeWee.  Brad called back that PeeWee didn't look good, he was slumped over his guns and not moving.  As Brad started to pull PeeWee away from his position, he suddenly gasped and started flailing about.  Shortly, Brad reported that it appeared PeeWee had taken a ricochet off his armor plate that hit him in the chest and knocked him unconscious.  The fragment had ruined the holy medal PeeWee wore, but this lucky charm had definitely saved his life.  Brad patched him up and sent him forward, taking over the tail guns himself.

 

As we neared the Italian coast, we added what firepower we could to the running fight Three Times A Lady was having with a gaggle of Jerries.  Jamie's boys put up a good fight but when flames engulfed the starboard wing, they had no choice but to bail out.  One man opened his chute too soon, the flames streaming back from the wing consumed it, and he tumbled earthward to the horror of all watching.

 

The rest of the flight was quiet and despite the lousy weather and shot-up aileron, we managed to get the Doll back on the ground in one piece.

 

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


THREE TIMES A LADY, Second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Aircraft shot down by enemy fighters zone 2 inbound.  Two men KIA and 8 others rescued by Air-Sea Rescue.  Claims: 1 Fw-190 apiece by Sgts. Lis and Burroughs.

 

Mission Narrative:

It was quite to the target, we only saw two waves and our little friends took care of most of the fighters.  Only one Focke-Wulf 190 made a lame pass.  His aim was way of the mark.

 

The 88's, now that's another story.  The ground boys tore into our port wing hard.  We took no less than six hits to the port wing and one in the nose.  We lost our port aileron and I'm sure our landing gear.  Plus the port wing root was hit hard to.  Luckily, the nose hit was superficial.  Quite a welcome for our new guys.  Even though, our new bombardier placed 20% on target.

 

The trip home was more eventful with at least ten Fw-190s attacking us.   Most of these were chased off by our fighters and the boys gunnery skill.

 

Yet as we were in sight of the Italian coast four of the ten Focke-Wulfs jumped us.  The fly boys destroyed one and Sgt. Lis destroyed another.  Sgt. Duffy nicked another though this just made him mad.  That Kraut walked a shot down our wings doing superficial damage to the port wing, but devastated the starboard engines.  These hits caused an oil leak in the number three engine and a fire in number four engine.  With the oil coming from number three we had no chance to put it out.  It spread quickly and Jamie issued the bail out call.  Jamie and I held the plane level for the others to get out and we then jumped.  Sgt. Burroughs mustn't have heard the call, as he never left the plane.  He was seen shooting at one of the fighters and destroying it as the ship exploded.  Also, TSgt. Dykstra opened his chute too early and the fire consumed it.  He fell to his death.

 

That was it, we were on our last leg of the trip almost home when four Fw-190s got us.  We are all lucky to be alive.
 

Mission Summery:

  1. Crew Status: KIA - Tech. Sgt. Jack Dykstra (Radio operator), DWP Sgt. Sid Burroughs (Tail Gunner), Break Down - Capt. Jamie Jameson (Pilot) Return yet to be determined.

  2. Aircraft Status: Lost due to engine fire in zone 2.

  3. Claims: Fifteen enemy aircraft encountered, 8 Driven off by our fighters.

    2nd Lt. J. Fabry, 1 Fw-190 Damaged
    SSgt. J. Rhodes, 1 Fw-190 Damaged
    Sgt. J. Lis, 1 Fw-190 Destroyed
    Sgt. E. Duffy, 2 Fw-190 Damaged
    Sgt. S. Burroughs, 1 Fw-190 Destroyed

- 1st Lt. Richard Ratt, Co-pilot, Three Times A Lady


317th BS (Low)

MEMPHIS GAL, lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

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

 

Mission Narrative:

Fighter cover was once again excellent.  We had little trouble en-route and all Germans encountered were driven off by our little friends.

 

Flak however was a different story and we took a number of hits over the target though nothing too serious.  Unfortunately the flak put us off our aim and I am certain we missed the target.

 

The return leg also proved to be uneventful and what fighters that did make an appearance were once again driven off by our own fighters.  I would go as far as saying that the mission was a bit of a milk-run if it was not for the fact that we saw one of our own go down.

 

- Capt. Ralph Flynn, Pilot, Memphis Gal


SILVER SPOON, lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 60%.  Returned with damage to the port wing root from a 20mm shell hit, superficial damage in the nose compartment from 20mm shells and flak, and 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 Me-110 by SSgt. Spofforth.

 

Mission Narrative:

I didnít know what to expect taking the left seat for the first time, but it didnít turn out too bad.  The fighter jocks did us proud all the way there, and most of the way back.  Those Krauts that did get through were wide with their efforts, and it wasnít until the target and the flak that we got hit.  Capt. Yablonski in the nose took a hit to the leg, a real nasty looking wound.  Slit his calf open from ankle to knee, but Capt. Blackmore helped tie it off.  Doc says heíll be ok to fly again, but it may take a while.  Those two guys up front have more metal in them than the Spoon!

 

We hit the target pretty good and came home without much incident.  Yabo needed a morphine shot, but heís a trooper.  We saw Wakka Wakka drop out of formation after the target after taking a lot of lead from Kraut fighters, and she went down inside Yugoslavia.

 

Hope the Major isnít upset about things, though . . .

 

- 1st Lt. Joe Sedgwick, Pilot, Silver Spoon


MISS CONCEPTION, lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Shot down by enemy fighters outbound over Yugoslavia (zone-3).  9 chutes seen.


WAKKA WAKKA, Second flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, but eventually ran out of fuel from fighter attack damage and crashed landed in Yugoslavia. 10 MIA.

 

Mission Narrative:

A message has been received from the Yugoslavian partisans that 2 crew members from a B-17 called Wakka Wakka have been pried from the grip of the Chetniks and will be sent back to Italy soon.  It appears that the plane was crash-landed by the pilot in an effort to save his numerous critically wounded crew.  Initial reports are that there was an engine out and a major fuel leak that would have meant that they would not have been able to exit Yugoslavian airspace.  The pilot made the decision to crash land to prevent further loss of crew.

 

- Major W.L. Thornton, 3rd Squadron SBS


TULE LAKE SAMURAI, second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed 40%.  Returned with tail wheel inoperable, #4 engineís oil compartment hit (self sealed after hit), rudder was slightly damage, starboard waist gun damaged, superficial damage to the fuselage, tail, waist and pilotsí compartments and 3 casualties.  Claims: 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Ono.

 

Mission Narrative:

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

 

About one hundred miles away from target bogies were spotted at 10:30 level but they were repulsed by a combination of machine gun fire from the bombers and fighters from the 325th Fighter Group.

 

Fifty miles from target we were attacked by a single Fw-190 doing a vertical dive on the plane.  The fighter was able to hit the fuselage of the plane causing minor damage.  The plane returned at 12 high and the top gunner, SSgt. Takamoto, was able to hit the fighter causing major damage to the fighter. This caused the fighter to miss the bomber and not return.

 

Just before reaching target we were attacked by two (2) waves of fighters.  The first wave consisted of three (3) Fw-190s coming in high from 10:30, 12, and 1:30.  Two fighters were driven away by fighters from the 325th Fighter Group.  The one coming in from 12 high was able to hit the plane three times; once in the tail, pilot compartment and the starboard wing.  The hit to the tail damaged the tail wheel.  The hit to the pilot compartment caused superficial damage.  The hit to the starboard wing hit the #4 engine and oil was spotted leaking out of the casing.  No fire was spotted so it was assumed that the leak self-sealed.  The plane returned at 6 level which was chased away by fighter cover.  The second wave consisted of one (1) Fw-190 coming in from 10:30 high but this plane was chased away by fighters of the 325th Fighter group before it was able to attack the bomber.

 

We encountered medium flak and was hit twice (2), both in the tail. One hit was superficial while the other hit the rudder and caused minor damage to it.

 

Even with the hitís by flak, 2nd Lt. Hiromeni was able to line up the target and put 40% of the bomb load on target.

 

On the turnaround we were again attacked by two (2) waves of fighters.  The first wave were chased away by fighters of the 14th Fighter Group.  The second wave consisted of two (2) Me-110ís coming in from low.  Again the 14th Fighter Group was able to chase the planes away before they were able to attack the bomber.

 

About seventy-five (75) miles away from the target we were attack by four (4) Me-109s.  One coming in from 9 high was chased away by fighters from the 82nd Fighter Group.  Two others missed the plane and didnít return.  One coming in from 3 high was able to hit the plane twice once in the starboard wing and once in the waist.  The hit to the starboard wing hit the aileron but didnít cause any damage.  The hit to the waist hit the machine gun on the starboard side and rendered it inoperable.  This plane was able to return at 12 high and hit the plane four (4) times, twice in the waist and once in the nose and radio room.  One hit to the waist was superficial in nature while the other wounded port Waist Gunner Sgt. Kano in the leg causing a superficial wound.  The hit to the nose hit the bombardier, 2nd Lt. Hiromeni, causing a light wound to the arm.  The hit to the radio room also hit a crewman.  This time TSgt. Yamaguchi was hit in the shoulder causing a minor injury.  The plane returned at 6 high, it was hit by tail gunner Sgt. Ono destroying the plane.

 

One Hundred-fifty (150) miles away from target we were again attack by German fighters.  This time three (3) Fw-190s.  One coming in from 3 high was driven away by fighters from the 82nd Fighter Group.  Another missed the plane and didnít return.  The one coming in from 3 level was able to hit the plane once in the fuselage causing minor damage.  The plane was then able to return at 12 level but it missed the plane and was driven off by machine gun fire from the bombers.

 

One hundred (100) miles from base we were attacked by two (2) Me-109s coming in from 1:30 and 9 oíclock but both were chased away by fighters from the 14th Fighter Group.

 

Reached Sterparone Field and was able to land without incident.

 

- 1st Lt. Ken Shimizu, Pilot, Tule Lake Samurai


MORBID ANGEL, Second flight, left wingman  (TAIL-END CHARLIE)

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with the #1 engine, flaps controls and auto-pilot inoperable, structural damage to the starboard wing root and to the starboard tail plane, damage to the #2 engine's oil tank, to the waist compartment oxygen system, to the fuselage, and 3 casualties.  Claims: 2 Fw-190s & 2 Me-109s by SSgt. Rutan and 1 Fw-190 by Lt. Sandoval.

 

Mission Narrative:

Although I never been to Budapest, my grandparents and family were from Hungary.  But I'd knew one day the group would have to bomb Hungary when I was posted to the MTO.  And being 'Tail-end Charlie' today makes a HUGE difference . . . but not necessarily a good one.  WHAT a nail-biter!  I can't believe my plane made it back!  It would be another sad day for the crew of the Morbid Angel . . .

 

On the way to the target just entering Yugoslavia, (zone-3) we took a hit to the starboard wing root from enemy fighters but our escorts drove them off before the enemy could do any more damage to us.  Still over Yugoslavia (zone 4), more enemy fighter attacks damaged the starboard tail plane and wounded TSgt. Tucker but the escorts came to our rescue again.

 

Now over Hungary (zone-5) enemy attacks increased.  The first wave contained 4 fighter; Lt. Sandoval hits a 190, damaging it, but it keeps coming at us.  SSgt. Rutan shoots a 190 down, destroying it.  After that, we take some superficial hits, and that's it.  As for the second wave, the other bombers drove them off, which was good to see.  We were starting to fatigue a bit, I think.  We weren't used to this much action.

 

Heavy resistance approaching Budapest.  Two fighters attack in 1st wave and SSgt. Rutan shoots down his second of the mission, a 109, and then nothing else happens.  The 2nd wave, 2 more fighters, SSgt. Rutan damages a 109, and it turns tail . . . a smart move.  The last wave was the worst, 4 fighters.  We don't hit any of them, and our fighters don't get to them.  TSgt. Tucker gets hit again, and he still insists he's okay.  Just as I think we must have the best luck of anyone . . . we take a bunch of hits!  The autopilot gets taken out, #2 engine gets an oil tank leak, which self-seals, and some more superficial damage . . . but then, our port waist gunner, Jim Morris, is killed.  His brother, our starboard waist gunner, Tom, tells us about it on the radio . . . I can't imagine what it would be like to watch my brother die.  They attack again, and Lt. Sandoval shoots down a 190.  It's at this time that Tom really gets panicky, because Jim's body is hit again.  Tom assures us he was already dead, but that he was hit some more (No open casket at the funeral). They attack again, and this time, we all miss and they go away, finally.

 

Inaccurate flak over Budapest, none hits us . . . but the bomb run is off target, and we hit nothing of importance.  I can't say it wasn't because the crew was really shaken up.  Now we were heading home . . .

 

Leaving Budapest (zone 6) 2 waves were seen approaching the squadron.  First wave, the other bombers drove them off.  Good thing, we needed a short break.  I told the men we had to make it home, still . . . In the second wave, 2 fighters, and Rutan damages another 109, and it keeps coming, but couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.  Nothing else really happens.

 

Still over Hungary (zone-5) 4 more fighters but Rutan shoots down his third plane, a 190, and nothing else happens . . . probably because the Krauts are starting to realize we have a real ace on board.

 

Just pass Mostar (zone 3) 4 more fighters again but one is chased off by our fighters.  We take some damage to the oxygen system, but it turns out to be to Jim's line . . . which he doesn't need anymore, sadly.  Sgt. Benton, our recently acquired tail gunner, takes a hit, but says he's not only okay, but even more anxious to avenge Jim.  We also lose the flap controls completely and a prop gets feathered and we lose #1 engine.  They attack again, and everyone misses.  The idiots attack a third time, and get what they came for: Rutan shoots down his FOURTH plane, A 109!

 

Almost home now (zone-2), but the Luftwaffe is relentless.  One more wave approaches but our squadron drives them off.  We see a bomber from the high squadron on fire and 9 men bail out.  We can't tell who it was but a radio transmission indicates it was Joker Two.  We watch in horror as one of the crew's chute catches on fire . . . we look away, feeling relieved and guilty that it wasn't our plane.

 

We landed safely, somehow.  I was just going through the motions at that point.

 

I'd like to take this opportunity to recommend medals for Benton and Tucker, both of which should be able to return to duty, Jim Morris, who won't return, and there has to be some kind of medal for a guy who shoots down 4 enemy fighters, and cripples another one.

 

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


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