MISSION 47 - BUCHAREST AARs

318th BS (LEAD)

ZEBRA'S REVENGE, Lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with an aileron and the radio inoperable, superficial damage to the fuselage (25 Peckham damage pts), and 1 casualty.  Claims: 2 Me-109s by SSgt. Chrisman (1 Me-109 confirmed by S-2), and 1 Me-109 apiece by Sgts. Mitchell and Stallard.

 

Mission Narrative:

Literally right out of the chute we were jumped by four 109s.  Mitchell got his fifth KIA as one of the 109s passed by from our 12 oíclock high position.  Chisman got his fourth kill when one of the 109s came around for a second pass.  The other 109s left us with a few holes and an aileron inoperable.  Just as we pass our IP one 109 made a vertical dive at us and raked us with shells.  When he came around for another pass Chisman sent a him home in pieces (his fifth KIA).  Luckily Forman only suffered a LW and should recover after a short stay in the infirmary.  We were hit by FLAK once which took out our Radio.  The return flight was without incident and the landing was uneventful.

 

- Major Mick Mikula, Pilot, Zebra's Revenge


AC# 43-7219, Lead flight, left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 10%.  Aircraft was forced to land in Yugoslavia (zone-3) due to fuel exhaustion from flak damage taken over Bucharest. 10 men taken prisoner with 1 later DOW. Claims: 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Carson.

 

Mission Narrative:

ďFireball Three to Fireball One . . . Fireball Three to Fireball One -- fuel leakage critical, not enough to return to base.  Seriously wounded man on board.  Need to put her down.  Attempting to land, and hoping for the best. Fireball Three out.Ē

 

- Last radio transmission from 2nd Lt. Dale Hammond, Pilot, Ac# 43-7219


8-BALL, Lead flight, right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with the chin turret and starboard wing flap inoperable, and 2 casualties.  Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Hoag.

 

Mission Narrative:

We were attacked by two 190s over Yugoslavia (zone 4).  One of the 190s missed on his attack while the other killed 2nd Lt. Fulkerson and seriously wounded Sgt. Edler.

 

Next over the Bulgaria/Rumania border we were jumped by four 109s.  One missed another was destroyed by Sgt. Hoag.  The other two 109s got in some superficial hits.

 

Over the target area a 190 came in on a vertical dive but missed.

 

Flak over the target was medium and knocked out the nose gun inop and starboard wing flap inop.  We were still able to get 30% of the bombs on target.

 

Lucky for us we didn't have any enemy contact on the way back to base.  Landing was uneventful. The doc told me that Sgt. Edler ended up dying from his wounds.

 

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


GOLDEN SPIKE, Second flight, Lead Aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with starboard aileron inoperable, the starboard tail plane root and rudder hit, 2 wing root hit, five superficial damage holes, and 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 Fw-190 by 1st Lt. Thompson and 1 Me-110 apiece by SSgt. Archibald and Sgt. Spears.

 

Mission Narrative:

It was a long way to go to miss the target, and we lost Sgt. Spears who was filling in temporarily - what a waste.

 

We came upon our first Germans soon after crossing into Yugoslavia.  A group of four Me-109s charge us from the front.  Although we saw some escorts nearby they werenít able to help out and, as it turned out, that would be the case most of the day.  We damaged one guy pretty good and thankfully they missed us clean.  We had a repeat performance a hundred miles later and again Jerry was off his mark.

 

Fifty miles more and another wave tried their luck, however we found their range nicely before they closed.  Lt. Thompson used his twin nose guns to take down a 190, and Sgt Spears on the tail guns took care of an Me-110.  The remaining Germans turned for home and we continued unscathed into the target zone.

 

Unlike the German fighters the flak was deadly accurate.  We took at least 7 hits from flak and it was then that Sgt. Spears was killed instantly by shrapnel.  Being so shook up we missed the target by a wide margin and turned for home.

 

A couple more Me-110s made a pass.  One fellow was chased off by our escorts, but his buddy came in at 6 oíclock level.  With no tail gunner he hit us hard but most of the damage was limited to the tail section.  He soon left without further hits.  A few minutes later a single Me 109 was chased off by friendlies and that was the last bandits we saw for the rest of the mission.

 

- Capt. Todd Wilson, Pilot, Golden Spike


QUIEN SABE, Second flight, left wingman 

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with rafts, port waist .50 and navigation equipment destroyed, the #2 engine, both ailerons and flaps inoperable, and 3 casualties.  Claims: 2 Me-109s and 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. De Lavier (1 of Sgt. De Lavier's Me-109 claims was later confirmed by S-2), and 2 Me-109s by 2nd Lt. Elliott.

 

Mission Narrative:

On the way out we lost the port wing aileron, our rubber rafts, ball gunner Allen (an ace) and our number 2 engine to fighters as well as a couple of oxygen hits up front and we lost the feathering controls for the props.

 

We got hit by quite a bit of flak and bombardier Acton was severely injured in the process.

 

Coming back the front of the plane took a beating and we lost our starboard waist gunner, Ted Walters, who was sat up in the Navi compartment as well as losing the use of the Navi Equipment.  Navigator Elliott in his maiden voyage meanwhile manned the nose guns and got himself 2 Me-109 kills.  We lost our port waist gun, the starboard and port flaps and the starboard aileron but we landed nicely.  Pleased to say that bombardier Acton will actually fly with us again when he is well enough.

 

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


BAWLMER BETTY, Second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned with #1 engine out, superficial damage to the nose, pilot and tail compartments, to the tail fin & port wing, and no casualties.  Claims: 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Hamel (later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

This was the seventh mission in our new ship, and it proved to be a lucky one all around.  We flew all the way to Bulgaria before we even saw an enemy plane.

 

As we crossed into Rumania, things started to heat up.  After Sgt. Hamel destroyed an Me-109 that was trying to slip under our tail, he narrowly missed having his hair parted by a piece of shrapnel that pinged off his 50's and stuck in the front of his helmet (used up his luck on that one!).

 

The flak over Bucharest knocked out our number 1 engine and scored superficial hits on our nose, port wing an tail.  All that bouncing around resulted in only 20% of our bombs striking the target, but at least we finally got to drop them!

 

Our luck continued as our escorts kept the enemy fighters at bay all the way home.

 

For once, we landed at Streparone without worrying about undropped bombs in Betty's belly blowing us sky high.  The drinks are definitely on me tonight!

 

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


317th BS (Middle)

MEMPHIS GAL, Third flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 5%.  Aircraft made a forced landing in Yugoslavia.  The Germans rounded up and captured the entire crew.

 

Mission Narrative:

Aircraft was seen leaking fuel after bomb-run. The Memphis Gal dropped out of formation soon after the bomb-run.

 

- From eye witness accounts from 318th Bomber Squadron crews.


SILVER SPOON, Third flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 60%  Aircraft fell out of formation after bomb run and ditched in Adriatic Sea (zone-2) on return to base due to lack of fuel with 3 casualties.  Crew rescued by Royal Navy.  Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-109 by Lt. Keenan.

 

Mission Narrative:

There was no excitement at all going there, none at all.  They waited for us over the target, the bastards.  They hit us from all sides, and I lost count of the number of hits we took in the starboard wing.

 

Flak was bad too, and Sgt. MacDonald in the tail shouted that he had an oxygen fire back there, which meant we were going to have to leg it back home at 10,000ft.  Again.

 

Capt. Blackmore said weíd hit the target pretty much smack-on, but then we had to drop down to 10,000 and the light flak opened up. They hit the fuel tank in the starboard wing and we figured we werenít going to get home.  Just then, though, Lt. Gordon got it.  They also said that Sgt. Pancetti had been hit pretty badly, and Blackmore lost his left arm below the elbow to a shell fragment.  Fighters knocked out our tail guns too, but we got everyone into crash positions before getting our feet wet.  Sgt. Ferrelli radioed our position, and we ditched.  We got Gordonís body out too.  Blackmore lost a lot of blood and the Royal Navy destroyer that picked us up did so just in time.  Pancettiís wound looked worse than it was apparently, but he was damned lucky.  The Spoon floated for ages, not wanting to die. She sank finally, though, the old girl.

 

- 2nd Lt. Joe Sedgwick, Pilot, Silver Spoon


NATURE'S MISFITS, Third flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned with light cockpit damage and 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Packer.

 

Mission Narrative:

We had a milk run for our 1st time flying in combat.  The only fighter that got near us got me with a piece of shrapnel in the left butt cheek but otherwise there was nothing.

 

The flak didnít come close and our bombardier got a good run in.  We saw our other 2 planes going down to 10,000 from the target but havenít heard anything else about them.  I hope theyíre okay as it does get lonely up there.

 

Well, the boys did well for their first time and letís hope it stays that way.

 

- 2nd Lt. T. Feather, Pilot, Nature's Misfits


316th BS (HIGH)

OLD YARD DOG, Lead flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with #2 engine and intercom system inoperable, damage to both ailerons and the port wing root, and 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by SSgt. Post & Sgt. Beasley (Sgt. Beasley's claim later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

Leading the 316th this time out.  This was a long mission and we are glad to be home.

 

Take off went well and form-up was within norms.  We got into some trouble with enemies outbound at about 400 miles but we survived it.  We took hits in the ailerons and port wing root.  We damaged a 190 for their trouble.

 

Over the target we got into another load of them and we shot down at least two 109s from the engineer and tail gunner.  We damaged at least one 190 and one 109.  It was too busy to count exactly.  We hit the target but took a load shot of flak for our trouble (30%). The intercoms went out and we had to shut down #2 engine due to damage.

 

We strayed a little in the turn for home and a mean, green 190 got another piece of us and wounded the port waist gunner, Sgt. Riddell.  He tied it off and stayed on his guns.

 

Homeward bound was much less stressful and we made it back without straggling too much.  I know the 316th took a beating today. I know at least 2 of us went down.  I donít know where our fighter cover was.  I only saw one P-38 all day. Make sure we get those losers in the game as well next mission.

 

- Capt. Michael Chase, Pilot, Old Yard Dog


SATIN DOLL, lead flight, left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with the starboard wing skin damaged by flak fragments, 20mm & 30mm shells, the starboard wing inboard fuel tank damaged by 20mm shell fragment, self- sealed, starboard flap holed by flak fragments, the radio room roof holed by 20mm & 30mm shells, superficial damage to port side of the nose compartment from 20mm & 30mm shells, and no casualties.  Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-110 by Capt. Morris, 1 Me-190 & 1 Me-110 by SSgt. Blankenship, 1 Fw-190 by MSgt. G. Turner, 1 Me-110 by SSgt. Wheeler

 

Mission Narrative:
The longest run yet for the Satin Doll.  Things went fairly well up to about 75 miles from the IP.  Two Me-110s made runs on us but were met by a couple of P-38's before they could fire on us.  It didn't go so well for Iron City Widow though.  The 109s and 190s were all over her, and she dropped out of formation with greasy smears of oil and fuel trailing from her wings.

 

Nearing the target, a lone FW-190 bore down on us in a vertical dive. George was all over him, and blasted the nose off with the top turret guns. Right on his heels, a trio of 110s swept in from around the clock. Blankenship got his at 12 low with the ball turret guns, and though PeeWee missed his at 6 low, the Kraut missed too.  The last 110, from 1030 level, scored some minor hits on the starboard wing, and perforated the nose a little.  On his second pass from 12 level, we missed, he missed, and flew off undamaged.

 

Flak over Bucharest was medium thick, but fortunately not too accurate.  Even so, the starboard wing picked up a few new holes, and the starboard flap was turned into Swiss cheese by fragments.  Bellyaching about the bouncing around, PJ dropped the eggs on target and got about 30% of them in the basket.

 

Rallying off target, we met up with another trio of 110's. PJ hammered the one at 12 low, blasting the cockpit out of it and sending it down trailing flames.  PeeWee nailed his at 6 low with the tail guns, making up for missing the earlier one. The remaining 110 scored a hit on the starboard wing, hitting the inboard fuel tank. After some tense moments watching the fuel streaming out, the tank self-sealed thanks to God & Goodyear.  On his second pass, we missed him again and he popped some holes into the radio room.  On his third pass from 12 level, he was met by the combined fire of every gun that could be brought to bear.  Nobody hit anything, but neither did the Kraut, and he flew off toward the following squadrons.  Not long after, a pair of 109s lead by a 190 tried us.  The 190 met his demise at the end of PJ's nose gun, and the 109 at 3 level was flamed by Blankenship.  As the second 109 at 1:30 got within range, a P-38 drilled the pilot in his seat and blew the craft  apart.

 

The formation kept the remaining fighters off us for the rest of this and the next zone. Crossing the Bulgarian border, we watched
as a pair of P-38s hammered a 109 at 3 low, and a 110 at 1:30 low that had turned toward us.

 

We didn't have any more E/A get close enough to us to cause any concern the rest of the way home.  After such along mission, Henry and I were exhausted and the landing was a little bumpier than usual.

 

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


IRON CITY WIDOW, Lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Did not bomb target.  Aborted mission (zone-7) and plane lost on return due to fuel exhaustion.  Ten chutes over Yugoslavia (zone-3) and all were captured by enemy troops.

 

Mission Narrative:

My wingman and I saw the B-17G called Iron City Widow drop out of formation just before the target zone.  We decided to follow her back.  As my wingman's P-38 was leaking oil and we needed to get home to.  We had our hands full as there were Krauts everywhere.  We did what we could but a few 109's and 190's made it to the injured bird.  She had one engine feathered and was leaking fuel from her outboard starboard wing.  I must say she must have had a experienced crew, as none of the enemy fighters that managed to get by us were able to get a clean shot on her.  Sadly all our help didn't mater much.  As we approached the Yugoslavian coast one by one her remaining engines quit.  With only one engine turning we counted ten chutes.  All chutes floated deeper into Yugoslavia and we presume all survived.

 

As we made the Italian coast my wingman had to bail out as his engines failed due to his oil issues.  We are awaiting word on his
condition as we speak.

 

- Capt. Scott Liews (Pilot), 95th Fighter Squadron, 82nd Fighter Group, Misty Ridge, P-38 Pilot


LUCKY NICKEL, Second flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned with the radio out, the port wing outboard engine shot up, damage to the rudder and 3 casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 apiece by Capt. Hamilton, MSgt. Allison, TSgt. Dewes (TSgt. Dewes' claim later confirmed by S-2) & SSgt. Edmond.

 

Mission Narrative:

I thought this was going to be the one that brought us down. . .

 

No activity until zone 4 when we ran into "Murphy" . . . A major SNAFU (random events) that caused our formation to fly too loose, allowing fighters to get in among us at a heavier rate.  In addition, on the very next zone our radio was knocked out so we could not communicate to get in tighter, although we tried with signals & lights but to no avail.

 

We were attacked by 3 Fw-190s.  Two missed but as mentioned one hit our radio.  In the next zone we had to face 2 waves. The first group were 4 Fw-190s.  Luckily one was driven off and Navigator & Radio guns downed two more.  The vertical diver blew past us and missed.  The 2nd wave went after other aircraft near us so no event here.

 

Next zone was almost a repeat of the last zone.  Our gunners got a piece of two 190s, one enemy missed and the diver again blew past us.

 

Over target we had to deal with another group of fighters but friendlies took care of one, and we and the enemy both managed to miss each other.  Flak was the danger her as we took a hit on the port wing outboard engine and the oil tank started to flame.  We tried to put out the fire and managed it on our 2nd attempt.  We then lined up on target but only put 20% due to all the disruption due to flak.

 

As we swung around, 2 waves came at us.  One group just passed us by but the other group of 4 Fw-190s came at us strong. The 12:00 guy was driven off by friendlies and the 6:00 guy was blown to bits by the tail guns.  Yet another vertical diver again blew past us but the 9:00 guy scored 4 hits.  One in the nose wounding Navigator, one on the port wing that appeared to be superficial but he also scored 2 in the pilot compartment.  Felix (co-pilot) got it in the left shoulder and at first I thought I was a goner too.  I must have hit my head, blacking out but woke up seconds later to find I had no wound (rabbits foot used to prevent KIA) but the shell had lodged in my seat near my headrest.  We did not fall out of formation at that point as bombs were away but we were certainly a very loose formation coming back to base.

 

The next zone allowed us a bit of a breather as no enemy fighters came near our plane.

 

Zone 6 again saw the same formation that we seemed to be encountering all mission.  Four Fw-190s at 12, 3, 6 and Vertical dive. The top turret was the first to score here, while 2 more enemy were driven off and once again, while the diver blew past us.

 

The next three zones were relatively quiet allowing us to tend to the wounded and restock ammo.  As we neared home, a lone Me-109 came at us.  He made one pass hitting the front areas of the plane with superficial damage, then his next pass was aimed at the port wing that had been attacked previously.  He managed to hit the port inboard engine causing an engine leak.  If we were not just outside of base, we might not have made it but engineer managed to wing the fighter on his last pass and he flew off.

 

We landed at base very shaken up.  The wounded were tended to and I'm heading over now to check out the bump on my head. The Nickel should be able to be fixed up for next mission but it was a close one.  Worse one we had in a long time.  Enemy fighters certainly seem to be in no shortage, despite rumors to the contrary.

 

- Capt. Paul Griffin, Pilot, Lucky Nickel


TROUBLE & STRIFE, Second flight, left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Aircraft forced landed in Yugoslavia (zone-4) due to fuel exhaustion.  8 POWs, 1 KIA & 1 Evader.  Claims: Fw-190 by SSgt. Cristoff.

 

Mission Narrative:

No trouble until late in the mission.  Encountered a wave of four Fw-190s.  Some were chased off by friendlies, others shot up by our boys, one knocked down by the tail gunner on a passing shot as it was trying to come around for another attack.  Some further minor activity between Yugoslavia and our target.

 

Over target we encountered very stiff resistance.  We were first jumped by two Fw-190s.  Had a good go at knocking them down but to no avail.  Both scored hits against us taking out the tail guns and damaging the instrumentation.  On the second attack run we managed to badly damage one of the Fw-190s.  The second came in again and scored a series of hits against us; this time wounding both the Bombardier and Navigator, fortunately only light wounds were suffered and the guys were able to continue on with their duties even though they were uncomfortable.  Our nemesis came in for his third attack but, this time he was unable to do any damage and opted to break off his attacks against us.

 

Not long after this engagement we were picked up by a single Me-110 climbing up from below.  I tried to bring him down but could not get a good shot in.  He opened up on us and pumped a series of rounds damaging the nose section taking out the nav controls, the radio room and the port wing which suffered some slight damage but nothing too noteworthy.  He then banked around and came in again at the 12 level position, again blasting the pilot compartment and starboard wing.  Fortune was with us and the damage was relatively minor.  He was a persistent attacker cos he came in for yet another go at us but this time he was not cautious enough and Jerry Schmultz was able to knock him about a bit and managed to do enough to cause him to break off and leave the attack.

 

Looked like it was open season on us but the next wave we spotted coming against us were taken care of by others in the formation giving us some much needed rest and recuperation.  Thank God we needed the relief!

 

Directly over target we drew some flak and a stray shell burst damaged the pilot compartment cracking one of the windows.  Shuck us up a lot especially as we still had our bombs on board.  The bombardier was still able to put the load down on target with an estimated 30% success rate  Now we turned for home.

 

Boy, we thought we'd seen action on the way in; the way out was much, much worse. We had just turned for home when we were picked up by a flight of three Me-109s and a rouge Fw-190.  Fighter cover was none existent.  Everyone manned their guns and filled the air with lead. We hit nothing but we put the fear of God into them as they too were unable to make any shots count.  They all skedaddled.  We started to breath again when we were jumped by four Fw-190s.  They were all over us.  Again the air was filled with lead and this time Billy Cristoff took one down.  An Fw-190 coming in at 3 low strafed us and shot up the pilot compartment lightly wounding the co-pilot but seriously wounding the pilot.  The co-pilot took control of the ship while we did what we could for the pilot.  The 190 swept back in on us blasting away as he came, pumping round after round into us.  Shot up the radio room, the nose and critically punctured the outboard fuel tank on the port wing starting a fire.  The co-pilot's quick action saved us as he put the ship into a steep dive and was able to extinguish the fire after a short while.  Damage was done though cos it was obvious we had lost fuel and there was a good chance we still were.  Navigator reckoned we might not have enough juice to get us back to base, he couldn't tell.  Didn't have a lot of time to worry about it as the 190 swept in for a third time this time from 3 high.  We opened up on him and this time he took a direct hit from Billy.  We hit him hard cos he went into a steep dive and spin.  Thought he'd gone down but later saw him climb and bank away leaving us alone.

 

We had a very brief respite.  We checked our situation and it was realized that we had a good chance that we were no going to make it this time.  It was our first mission and it looked like it would be our last! Ric, our new skip, told us to keep it together.  He said we've not gone yet and that he'd do his damnedest to nurse us back to base.  Whose idea was it to call this crate Trouble & Strife?  Reckon they just jinxed us good and proper!

 

The dive had put us out of formation and we were unable to regain our position in the box.  That meant we were even more vulnerable.  It wasn't long before we were noticed by another group.  Three 109s and an Fw-190 took us on and shot us up quite a bit.  Without support we posed little risk to them and so they kept coming around and taking pot shots at us.  The damage started to tell.  Stan Glover caught a serious wound and Jerry Schmultz was very badly wounded.  He had already taken a wound earlier and this one did him in!

 

Short while after we flew over the Yugoslav border it was apparent that we were running on fumes and that is was only a matter of time before we went down.  Skip decided it would be better to try to land and put the ship down sooner rather than later in the hope we could make a break for it.  We got into position and waited.  Skip eventually brought us down a little roughly in a field, God only knows where.  We scrambled out, got the pilot Mick Tompson and Stan Glover out and started to pull some provisions together.  Reckon we stayed a little too long cos in a very short time we were picked up by a patrol.  Got the lot of us, only saving grace was that we were all okay, except poor Jerry though!

 

We were taken to a transit camp nearby where by complete good fortune I was able to slip the leash and make a getaway.  I expected a shot to ring out at any minute but, as the distance between me and the camp grew I realized that nobody had seen me go!  I think I'm the only guy to make a break.  I was lucky.  I was discovered by some people, who knew some people.  The result is that I made it; the only one of the rookie crew of Trouble & Strife to get back.  Who knows maybe one day well all meet up again. I just know I'm one lucky bugger cos I'm on the way back Stateside.  I hope the guys are okay!

 

- Filed by Sgt. Forrestal, Ball Gunner, Trouble & Strife, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group, 4 May 1944 after he rejoined the Group, 4 weeks after being declared missing.


FIREPIDEGON'S RAINBOW, Second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Runway abort due to radio malfunction - did not take off and participate on mission.


317th BS (High)

MORBID ANGEL, Third flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned with #2 engine inoperable, superficial damage holes to the nose and tail compartments, 3 casualties.  Claims: 1 Fw-190 apiece by 2nd Lt. Brunelle & Sgt. Norman, 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lts. Rutan & Brunelle.

 

Mission Narrative:

Things were really quiet for us until 100 miles (zone-6) before the target.  Brunelle shot down a 190.

 

Fifty miles later, (zone-7), a replacement guy, Jennings, damaged a 109, and Rutan damaged one.

 

Then, over the target, flak hit us, and we lost Benton.  I knew it was bad right away . . . but he was gone.  Engine #2 went out, and we were able to stay in formation.  We were on target this time . . . only 20% . . . but we were on target . . . and it still didn't change our luck.

 

Now we're heading back . . . same place we lost Benton, we get hit again.  Jennings damages a 190, and so does Rutan.  Norman shoots a 190 down from the ball turret.  And then the nose gets hit.  Sandoval's hit, but he's OK . . . a light wound.  Brunelle isn't so lucky.  We lost him instantly.  More fighters, Rutan shoots down a 109.

 

A few zones later, more fighters . . . Jennings damages another 190.  He's hitting a lot of planes, but not getting finishers.  A couple of zones later, Norman damages a 190 that keeps coming . . . then Rutan damages another one that goes away.

 

We land OK, and have a lot of repairs to do, mainly to that engine.  We've just lost 2 more good men.  This is starting to have a really bad cost/effect ratio for our crew.

 

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


TULE LAKE SAMURAI, second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned and landing gear collapsed during landing.  Aircraft declared beyond economical repair, category E and will be scrapped.  3 crew casualties.  Claims:  1 Me-109 by Sgt. George Takemoto & 2nd Lt. Joe Hiromeni, 1 Fw-190 by 2nd Lt. Ben Takai

 

Mission Narrative:

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

 

About seventy-five (75) miles away from base we spotted bogies coming in from 12 LEVEL but didnít attack the formation.

 

One hundred (100) miles away from base we were attacked by four (4) Fw-190s coming in from 12, 3, 9 and 6 oíclock all high. The planes that were coming in from 3 and 9 high were chased off by fighters of the 325th Fighter Group.  The one coming in from 6 HIGH was heavily damaged by the tail gunner Sgt. Ono and didnít return.  The one coming in from 12 HIGH missed the plane and didnít return.

 

One hundred fifty (150) miles from base were attacked by two (2) Me-109s; one was chased away by fighter cover and the other coming in from 12 level missed the plan and didnít return.

 

About One Hundred (100) miles from target we were attacked by four (4) Me-109s coming in from 12 LOW, 12 LEVEL, 12 HIGH, and 9 HIGH.  The ones coming in from 9 HIGH and 12 level were chased away by fighters from the 325th Fighter Group.  The one coming in from 12 HIGH was destroyed by Sgt. George Takemoto before it was able to hit the plane.  The one coming in from 12 low was heavily damaged by the ball turret Sgt. Paul Yoshimura which caused it to miss the plane and it didnít return.

 

About Seventy-Five (75) miles away from target we were attacked by two (2) wave of fighters.  The first wave consisted of a lone ME-109 coming in from 12:00HIGH.  It missed the plane and was driven off by a combination of fire from the bomber formation and fighter cover. The second wave consisted of two (2) Fw-190ís coming in low from 12 and 1:30.  The one coming in from 1:30LOW was destroyed by Navigator 2nd Lt. Ben Takai before it was able to shoot at the plane.  The one coming in from 12:00LEVEL missed the plane and didnít return.

 

About Twenty-Five (25) miles away from target we were attacked by three (3) Fw-190ís coming in from 12:00HIGH, 1:30HIGH, and 9:00LEVEL. The one coming in from 12:00HIGH was able to hit the plane three times.  Twice in the port wing and once in the pilotís compartment,  One hit on the wing was superficial in nature while the other one was able to hit the port flap but didnít cause any major damage.  The hit to the pilotís compartment was superficial in nature.  The plane coming in from 9 HIGH was able to do a walking hit on the plane hitting the nose, pilotís compartment, bomb bay, radio room, waist, and tail.  The hit to the nose was able to hit the bombardier and causing a minor injury to him on his hand.  The hit to the pilotís compartment damaged the controls to the rudder system to the plane making in almost inoperable.  The hits to the Bomb Bay and radio room area were superficial in nature.  The hit to the waist area hit the port waist gunner Sgt. Greg Kano but was superficial since it was only a facial wound (the hit was caused by shrapnel and debris caused by the bullets from the fighter).  The other fighter that came in from 1:30HIGH missed the plane and didnít return.  The one that hit us at 12:00HIGH returned and attacked at 9:00LEVEL while the other one came in from 12:00LEVEL. Both missed the plane on the second pass and didnít return.

 

We encountered medium flak but none was able to hit the plane.  This allowed the Bombardier 2nd Lt. Hiromeni to line up the plane on target and we were able to get 20% of our bomb load on the target.

 

On the turnaround we were attacked by a combination of one (1) Fw-190 coming in from 12 LOW and three (3) Me-109s coming in from 12 LEVEL, 12 HIGH, and 10:30 LEVEL.  The Fw-190 coming in from 12 LOW was hit by the ball turret manned by Sgt. Paul Yoshimura causing it to miss and not return.  Also the oneís coming in from 12 LEVEL and 10:30 LEVEL missed the plane.  But the ME-109 coming in from 12 high was able to hit the plane once causing minor damage to the fuselage. The fighter was able to return at 6 LEVEL. It again was able to hit the plane, this time four (4) times on the tail. Two hits were superficial in nature while one hit damaged the port elevator making it inoperable and hitting the tail gunners gunís making it inoperable. The plane was again able to come in and attack this time from 9 high but fighters from the 14th Fighter Group was able to chase the plane away before it was able to attack.

 

About Fifty (50) miles away from target we were attacked by two (2) wave of fighters.  The first wave was bogies spotted at 9:00HIGH but were chased off by fighters from the 82nd Fighter Group before they were able to reach the bomber formation. The second wave consisted of a combination of one Me-110 coming in from 10:30 LOW and two (2) Me-109s coming in from 10:30 LEVEL and 12 level. The Me-110 was chased off by fighters from the 82nd Fighter Group.  The one coming in from 12 level was destroyed by the Bombardier, 2nd Lt. Joe Hiromeni, while the one coming in from 10:30 LEVEL was hit by the navigator, 2nd Lt. Ben Takai, causing minor damage and making the plane miss the bomber.

 

One hundred (100) miles away from the target we spotted bogies coming in from 1:30 level but they were chased away by fighters from the 14th Fighter Group before they were able to attack the bomber formation.

 

About two hundred (200) miles away from base we were attacked by five (5) Fw-190ís coming in from 12 HIGH, 1:30 HIGH, 3:00HIGH, 9:00HIGH, and 6:00HIGH. The one coming in from 6:00HIGH was chased off by fighters from the 14th Fighter Group. The one coming in from 12:00HIGH was damaged by the Bombardier and didnít return. The one coming in from 3 HIGH was hit by the Starboard Waist gunner Sgt. Sam Hayashi which caused that plane to veer off and miss the plane.  The one coming in from 9 HIGH was able to hit the plane five (5) times.  Once each in the radio room, waist, port wing, bomb bay and tail.  The hit to the radio room damaged the intercom system making it inoperable.  The hit to the waist hit the port waist gunner again this time in the shoulder causing him to have trouble manning the gun.  The hit to the port wing caused a fire in the #2 engine and was put out by the fire extinguisher system on the second try.  The hit to the bomb bay area damaged they fire extinguisher system knocking it out.  The hit to the tail was superficial in nature.  The one coming in from 1:30 HIGH was also able to hit the plane once in the pilots compartment.  The hit was minor in nature.  The planes were able to attack the plane again this time coming in from 3 and 1:30 level.  The one coming in from 3 LEVEL was hit by the ball turret causing minor damage to the Fw-190 and making it miss the plane. The one coming in from 1:30 LEVEL missed the plane and didnít return.

 

One hundred (100) miles away from base we were attacked by two (2) Me-109s coming in from 10:30 LEVEL and 12 LEVEL. The one coming in from 12 level missed the plane and didnít return while the one coming in from 10:30 LEVEL was able to hit the plane twice, once in the tail and once in the radio room.  The hit to the tail again was superficial in nature while the hit to the radio room was able to hit the radio man Tech Sgt. Sam Yamaguchi killing him instantly.  The plane was able to return at 1:30 LEVEL but missed the plane and not return.

 

About fifty (50) miles away from base we were attack by two (2) Fw-190s coming in from 10:30 LEVEL and 3 LEVEL. And both were chased away by fighters from the 82nd Fighter Group before they were able to attack the plane.

 

Reached Sterparone Field but with the damage to the rudder and port elevator we were not able to land the plane without causing more damage to the plane. It is unknown if the plane will be able to be fixed before the next mission.

 

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


AC#43-7217, Second flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Runway abort due to flat tire - did not take off and participate on mission.


399th BS (LOW)

LUCY QUIPMENT, Lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 75%.  Aircraft returned with tail wheel inoperable, radio knocked out, damaged rudder, superficial damage to the starboard wing (2), to the bomb bay (1), radio room (1), waist (3) & tail (1) compartments (134 damage points) and 3 casualties.  Claims:  1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Bigelow, 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Thompson, 1 Me-109 by Lt. Duncan.
 

Mission Narrative:

Well the new ship is broken in; we had good fighter coverage to the target.  The enemy did not start to press their attacks until well after we entered Bulgaria.  After that they came in waves from 12 o'clock, lining up 12 to 18 abreast.  We lost our radio on the first pass and Sgt. Thompson managed to knock down an Fw-190 as he flew past the ship.  We fought a running battle until we reached the target area, Sgt. Bigelow was giving as good as we got . He managed to knock down an Fw-190 and Me-110 before we reached the flak.

 

Lt. Duncan did an outstanding job dropping about three quarters of our bomb load on the marshalling yards.

 

When we came under attack again the enemy fights lined up on us from 12 o'clock once again.  Lt. Duncan shot up an Me-109 which exploded.  The remaining enemy fighters shot the nose up, killing Lt.  Duncan.  I wish I had a chance to get to know him better.  Lt. Jacob had his .50 cal shot right out of his hands, other wise he would of been hit too.

 

Just after leaving the coast of Yugoslavia we come under attack again and took hits in the tail and waist Sgt. Horn shot up an Me-109 coming in from 3 o'clock high before he and Sgt. Dobson were hit.  Sgt. Dobson was not able to control his bleeding and he died before we were able to get him medical attention.

 

Looks like our luck may be running out, five killed and three wounded in two missions.  According to the flight surgeon, Sgt. Dobson leg wound should heal fine and he should be fit for duty in a few days.

 

- Capt. Art DeFilippo, Pilot, Lucy Quipment


SCARLET O'HARA, lead flight, right wingman 

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 97%.  Aircraft crashed landed in Yugoslavia (zone-3) due to fuel exhaustion.  9 POWs and 1 KIA.  Claims: 3 Me-109s by Sgt. Mercer, 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Ackerman & 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Michaelson.

 

Mission Synopsis:

Scarlet O'Hara was swarmed by fighters as soon as we had left the Italian coast behind us.  It was as if every fighter in the Luftwaffe had something against her.  Our fighter cover did not stand a chance against the heavy offense and many skilled fighter pilots who always seemed to get away from the 47s and attack the formation.

 

It was unbelievable.  They wouldn't leave her alone.  The weather was poor over eastern Yugoslavia and their formation was very loose. Scarlet O'Hara was attacked by 109s, 190s and several 110s.  Her gunners hit several, but most of the bandits hit her.  Over and over.  This went on from the Adriatic until the target.

 

As we left the target area we saw Scarlet O'Hara being attacked by at least 15 fighters.  Several of them came around for a second, and even a third pass at her.  We were busy ourselves, but we tried to support her too.

 

Yes, we saw her leave the formation shortly before we crossed the border on the return leg.  She lost altitude.
 

- Reports from the 82nd Fighter Group

 

We felt sorry for her.  She left the formation and dived to 10,000 feet.  Me and my wingman tried to stay with her, but there was not much we could do.  The Krauts were all over the sky and I was hit in the right engine and couldn't keep up with her.  I had to disengage. 

 

I saw her leaking fuel after she was hit in the right wing.  This was 20 miles west of the Yugoslavian border.  The crew began throwing out all the equipment, guns, ammo, fire extinguishers, flak vests, flak helmets! She was in trouble!

 

I got one 109 that went after her and I was on the tail of another, but there 4 other bandits attacking her.  She had no guns onboard and was a sitting duck.


- Reports from the 14th Fighter Group


LAURALEE, Lead flight, left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Aborted mission zone-3.  Returned with #3 engine knocked out, cockpit heat out, holes in wings and fuselage, and 1 casualty.

 

Mission Narrative:

A short trip--the Germans hit us right after we crossed the Jugoslav coast.  One of them nailed our #3 engine, which began to run rough, so I shut it down, feathered the prop, jettisoned the bombs in an obliging field and turned for home.

 

At that point we picked up a couple 38s, who drove off a couple enemy planes (they chased them off, actually, leaving us alone).  The Krauts got the cockpit heat, so we had to dive down to 10,000 feet over the Adriatic so we wouldn't freeze.  Then they swarmed us--Germans everywhere.  Fortunately, their aim wasn't good--they got Mitch, and put some holes in the plane, but nothing major.  We scratched a couple.

 

We landed safe, and Mitch is going to be going home.

 

 - 1st Lt. Bill Hearn, Pilot, Lauralee, 399th BS


CAROLINA LADY II, Second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with top turret, starboard Cheek and port waist Guns inoperable, damage (1 hit each) to the rudder, cockpit windows, control cables, the intercom and heating system in nose compartment inoperable, superficial hits to the fuselage (5), to the starboard wing, nose (2), bomb bay, waist (2), tail (2) and radio room compartments, and 2 casualties.  Claims: 4 Fw-190s and 4 Me-109s.

 

Mission Narrative:

This was our toughest mission yet.  We were hit by fighters almost all the way to the target and back, beginning about 200 miles in from the Adriatic (zone 4).  At first the fight went almost all our way--from the point where we first got hit right up to to the bomb run we were attacked by 7 separate waves of Fw-190s and Me-109s.  These guys were able to evade our escorts with ease, but today we were hot on our guns!  The first to score was our new tail gunner, Sgt Holly.  Before we took off he was very quiet--our 4th tail gunner in 10 missions. TSgt. Wright talked to him a bit to steady him out.

 

Anyway, Holly shot down two 109s with passing shots.  Then Barnes up in the top turret shot down another 109 diving on us from the '6'.  Almost immediately after this a gaggle of 190s made a front on attack from 10:30, 12 and 130 high -- Stein and Semelbauer each got one.  Just as we began our bomb run we got hit again by both 109s and FWs--Barnes got an FW and Orwing blasted another Me-109.

 

Flak was as bad as expected but we got through it okay--Stein unloaded on the target.

 

After the turn for home we came under heavy and repeated attacks--and things went bad.  Ten (10) waves of fighters hit us between the target and the Adriatic.  Barnes shot down another Fw-190, then 3 more came in and began to shoot us to pieces, including walking hits from nose to tail.  In short order the top guns were shot up, the intercom went dead and TSgt. Wright was killed by a 20mm shell.  Barnes moved down to take over the radio room guns and soon after he got a light wound.  These fighters
seemed to come right through our escorts-with the intercom out it was hard to coordinate our guns--we didn't hit a single fighter on the way home.  We took hits to the rudder, control cables, the Pilot compartment windows took a hit, the fuselage looked like Swiss cheese, the tail was peppered, the starboard wing had holes in it, the starboard check gun got shot out of its mount and another 20mm ricocheted off the port waist gun, disabling it and impressing Sgt. Layton to double up on his life insurance.

 

We were about over the Adriatic (zone 3) when 3 more FWs came in from head on and shot up the nose, knocking out the heat. Orwing came back into the Pilot Compartment to ask if he and Stein could please have some heat.

 

Over the Adriatic (zone 2) we went down on the deck so Stein and Orwing wouldn't freeze--with the intercom out and what we had just been through, this caused some excitement in the crew until Lt. Fletcher passed the word that we were not going into the drink.  We encountered no more E/A and arrived home safe.

 

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


CIVIC DUTY II, Second flight, right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 95%.  Returned with radio out, port waist gun out, starboard landing gear brakes out, superficial damage to nose, tail and bomb bay compartments, and starboard wing, 1 casualty.  Claims: 2 Me-109s by Lt. Hollabaugh, 1 Me-109 & 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Bailey, 1 Me-109 apiece by MSgt. Benham, Sgts. Kramer & Noakes.

 

Mission Narrative:

Take off and form up went without incident. Shortly after entering Yugoslavia we were attacked by a pair of 190s.  Sgt Bailey downed one easily and the other missed us on his pass. Just before we left Yugoslavia we were hit by four 109s.  Sgt Bailey downed his second fighter of the day by taking out the one coming in from our 1:30.  One coming in from our 12 punched some holes in the nose and tail, but no real damage was done. When he came back around at us Sgt. Benham tore his wing off.

 

Fighter cover took care of us pretty well for the rest of the mission.  As we entered Rumania a group of 190s and 109s hit us. Sgt Noakes took down a 109, and Lt. Hollabaugh drove off another 109 from his position in the nose.  A 190 shot up the bomb bay, but no real damage was done there either.  Entering Bucharest we were hit by three separate waves of fighters.  Our escorts did a great job pulling them off us, but some still got through.  They shot up the starboard wing, knocked out our radio, and put more holes in our tail.

 

Flak was present, but never came close to us.  Lt. Hollabaugh's bomb run was on target and he estimates 95% of our load hit the target.

 

As we turned for home we were hit by a group of 109s.  Sgt. Kramer downed one with his tail gun, and fighter cover took care of all the others except one coming at us from a vertical dive.  He shot up the tail some more.  When he came back around from our 12, Lt. Hollabaugh downed his with the chin turret.  Our little friends kept the bandits off of us until we left Yugoslavia.  Then we were surprised by a lone 190.  He came in fast, and sprayed our cockpit.  Lt. Rooker was grazed in the arm by one of the rounds.  He came back around and sprayed the waist, knocking out one of our waist guns. After that our escorts were on him and he missed us on his third pass.

 

Landing was a little rough, I over shot the end of the runway because the starboard brakes went out.  Our tail has more holes in it than a cheese grater, but it still works.  My crew chief says he can have the plane fixed by the morning.

 

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


ROSIE GAL, Second flight, left wingman  (TAIL-END CHARLIE)

 

Mission Synopsis:

Aborted mission zone-5 outbound due to fuel tank leak.  Aircraft shot down by enemy aircraft over Yugoslavia, twenty miles east of Nis (Zone 5 inbound after aborting, jettisoning bombs and diving out of formation in an attempt to put out starboard inboard fuel tank fire).  Claims: 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Mortimer & 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Reitz
 

Mission Narrative:

Our inbound flight was relatively quiet initially, given our position as tail-end Charlie.  We got hit by one 109 as we crossed the Adriatic, but the boys exchanged shots with her and she flew off.

 

We got hit by another lone 109 right after land-fall into Yugoslavia, and the boys lit him up pretty good, with both Mortimer and Reitz scoring hits -- that 109 exploded into a beautiful fireball when they were finished with her.

 

As we got deeper into Yugoslavia, the Jerries started hitting us harder, and we got hit by four 190s and a 109 about 70 miles west of Nis.  The fighters drove off 2 of the 190s, but the other 2 hit from 12 high and a vertical dive.  Mortimer shot the wing off the 190 at 12 high, but the bastard coming in on the dive rattled us pretty good, peppering Rosie's hide but doing no real damage.  We thought for sure that she would come back around for another run at us, but the Little Friends chased her off.

 

We got past Nis and we were closing on the Bulgarian border when we got jumped again by 4 Jerries, a 190 at 12 high, and three 109s at 1:30 level, 3 level and 6 high.  The 109 at 1:30 slipped it to us good, scoring a hit on our inboard fuel tank on the starboard wing, setting it ablaze.  The bastard from 6 high probably should have finished us off, hitting our starboard wing as well as the bomb bay, but the shells rattled around and we were still airborne, at least for the moment.  The fuel tank was on fire, and I had heard some horror stories at the OC about fuel tank explosions, so I figured I had to dive out of formation to try and put out the blaze.  Unfortunately, it didn't work, but the crazy flying caused those Jerry pilots to miss us on their second go by.  Derr and Mortimer conferred about the leakage from the tank, and we knew we wouldn't have enough fuel to go the target and back (we reckoned we'd be lucky to make it back to the Adriatic) so I made the call to abort, jettisoning the bombs about 20 miles east of Nis and turning for home.

 

Somehow we managed to survive an onslaught from another quartet of Jerry fighters, who all had at us 3 times, but unfortunately, the fire only got worse and I had to order a bail-out to the boys.  As far as I know, everyone got out okay -- I was the last one out and I saw 10 good chutes on my way down.  I got picked up by some local partisans, and I heard through the grapevine that the new tail-gunner Reitz did as well, but it sounded like all of the rest were scooped up by the Luftwaffe.
 

- From intelligence de-briefing of Lt. Thomas Emmert, Pilot, Rosie Gal, upon his return from Yugoslavia on 4 May 1944.


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