MISSION 48 - NIS AARs
316th BS (HIGH)
SATIN DOLL, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target 60%. Returned with tail O2 regulator slightly damaged by flak fragment, superficial damage to the nose compartment from flak and 20mm shell fragments, to the port wing root hit by flak fragment, port wing skin superficial damage from 20mm & 30mm shells, to the waist compartment from 20mm & 30mm shells, and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Blankenship.
Satin Doll flew group lead for Mission 48 to the Nis marshaling yards. Right out of the chute, we knew we were in for a little more than the usual attention from the Krauts.
Halfway across the drink, a whole flock of Me-109 swept in heading straight for the formation. The rest of the boys kept all but one 109 off us and as luck would have it, he met up with a P-47. Not a single Kraut got within range of us until we neared the IP. Again, the rest of the formation and our friends in the Jugs kept the krauts at bay. The one 109 that got close enough to shoot at was hit pretty hard by George's twin .50s. He fired wide of us and broke for the deck trailing smoke from his cowling.
Flak over the target was medium thick and just as PJ was getting ready to drop we got slammed around by four close bursts. The first tore into the port wing root and the second put some new windows in the floor of the nose. PeeWee called in that his oxygen regulator had deflected a chunk of flak that nearly tore his head off. Then the fourth burst went off right below us. It sounded like some one had let go with both barrels of Grandad's old shotgun right in the bomb bay. Nervous moments followed, then I realized that there was no ear shattering explosion, meaning that the eggs were still OK. PJ was really pissed, swearing at the flak gunners about how he had to get the bombs on target since we were the lead ship and everybody would be dropping on us. I have to admit that with all his emotion and bluster, PJ is a fine bombardier especially when things are rough. He managed to get 60% of the load into the center of the main switching yard complex.
Rallying off target, a whole gaggle of 109s came boring in, definitely not pleased with our destruction of their 'choo-choos'. Two were quickly dispatched by the P-38 drivers. George repeated his earlier performance, shooting up the engine of one at 12 high. This guy's wingman fired a quick burst and followed his leader down and away from the fight. The remaining Kraut from 12 low was missed by Blankenship and managed to hole the port wing and waist floor. As he was swinging around to make another pass, a P-38 hammered him right in the cockpit.
Things quieted down after that until we crossed the coast. Just offshore, another batch of 109s was waiting for us. Again five of them tore at us, and again the P-38's scored two. Blankenship made up for missing the earlier Kraut and plastered the one at 12 low. PJ missed his at 12 level and got a few extra holes in the nose for it. As he set up another pass from head on, a P-38 tore through the formation and drilled him. Nearing the Italian coast, two 109s made a fast pass from 12 high. We missed, they missed, and flew off toward the north.
As we neared the field, I felt as though a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders. We had lead the group for the first time, and made it home with good bombing results, minor damage to the Doll and best of all, no casualties. As had become our custom, I let Henry bring her in and he put her down smooth as silk.
- Capt. J.P. McConnell, Pilot, A/C 42-11806 Satin Doll, 316th BS, 88th BG (H)
NORTHERN DREAM, lead flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with minor superficial damage and no casualties.
Assembled in formation without any problems. Fine weather all the way in. Had an easy journey out-bound with no enemy waves encountered until we were over target.
Once over target we were picked up by a flight of Me-109s. Didn't cause us much trouble. Small amount of damage to the ship nothing critical and no wounds, thank God. Didn't get to splash any of the enemy but, we did ding the odd one. Once we had cleared the fighter sweep we entered 'Flak Alley'. Again we were lucky and sailed through without mishap. Someone was looking out for us today! Sanderson took control and was able to put down approx 30% of our load bang on target.
Not a bad start. Looks like we caught Jerry off guard because we were able to get back home without any other mishap. I hope all our missions go as well as this one!
- 1st Lt. Jim Calder, Pilot, Northern Dream, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group
OLD YARD DOG, Lead flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with superficial damage to the port wing and no casualties.
One of our easier missions. Being tucked in the middle of the formation kept us from getting anything serious. Flak over the target was thick and seemed much heavier than medium, but we made it thru undamaged. We hit the target with at least 40% of our bombs.
Turning for home we got one 109 do some superficial damage to the port wing then it was clear sailing from then on. Landing was uneventful. A couple of us are real close to going home. We are looking forward to it!
- Capt. Michael Chase, Pilot, Old Yard Dog
LUCKY NICKEL, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Did not take-off due to mechanical difficulties and did not participate in the mission.
CABALLERO, Second flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 50%. Returned without damage or casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-109 by MSgt. Simeon, 1 Fw-190 shared by 2nd Lt. Pappas and MSgt. Simeon.
It was a great mission, we came back without scratch, the group pulverized the target, and we destroyed 3 fighters. A special note goes to MSgt. Simeon -- he was hot today as he hit anything that tried to get near us.
During formation, Lucky Nickel failed to take-off and as the most experienced pilot, we took the lead of the second flight with the rookie crew of Rough Times flown by Lt. Windley taking up the right wingman position.
We met light resistance over the Adriatic just before hitting Yugoslavian coastline. MSgt. Simeon dispatched a single Fw-190 diving down from above. The only other times the Luftwaffe attacked was over Nis. A pair of Fw-190s made an ineffective attack before bombs away with 2nd Lt. Pappas and MSgt. Simeon sharing a kill.
Flak was intense but inaccurate for us. Up ahead, the Satin Doll took some flak damage but the bombardier of the leading Satin Doll, Capt. Morris, did a good job as his aim was good. Lt. Pappas reported the initial hits from the squadron were very well placed, close to 50% for the squadron.
We met more light resistance leaving Nis when a lone Me-109 approached from our starboard side. MSgt. Simeon's accuracy downed this fighter before it could do any damage.
The remainder of the flight home was uneventful and without incident.
- 2nd Lt. John McPherson, Pilot, Caballero
ROUGH TIMES, Second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with the top
turret inoperable, multiple superficial hits to both wings and radio room (35
Damage points per Peckham's damage chart) and no casualties. Claims: 1
Fw-190 by Sgt. Arcuri.
Our first mission went well considering it was a relatively long one. We did not see any enemy fighters till the IP. This is when four Messerschmitt 109s attacked our aircraft. Our fighters, P47s, were able to destroy one of the Germans fighters, coming in from the nine o'clock low position, before it was able to get close enough to fire its guns. The Messerschmitt 109 approaching from nine o'clock high position missed us with his shot. The German fighter coming from three o'clock high position hit the radio room and port wing with superficial damage. The last fighter, Messerschmitt 109, hit the starboard wing doing superficial damage and the top turret, rendering Staff Sergeant Branco's guns inoperable. Upon these Messerschmitt pilot's return attack they both missed. Sergeant Simien passing shot at the enemy attacking from the twelve o'clock high spot was true and heavily damaged the Germans plane.
Flak was thicker than we expected, but extremely inaccurate. No of it was close enough to hit us. Lieutenant Windley did a stellar job with his first combat drop, putting around 60% of our bomb load on target. This was confirmed by Sergeant Kelemen, in the ball turret, and Sergeant Simien in the tail.
As we were reassembling to return home three Focke-Wulf 190s attacked us. Our P38 fighters, the ones with the twin tails, drove off one attacking from twelve o'clock high. A Focke-Wulf 190 coming from 3 o'clock level missed his shot and left the fight. Sergeant Arcuri placed his shot on the cockpit of the last Focke-Wulf and the Germany dropped like a rock as the canopy exploded from the .50 caliber rounds. A second wave of two Messerschmitt 109s attacked from 10:30 level and twelve o'clock level. The first one missed us, shooting wide. Two P38s ganged up on the head-on fighter, taking both wings off of the Germans fighter before he could shoot us.
About one hundred mile from the target two more Messerschmitt 109s tried to attack us, but the P38s were on top of things and drove these fighters away too. Our tight formation kept any other Germans from attacking us.
The rest of the trip was quite and we landed with out incident.
Crew Status: Fit and ready for duty.
Aircraft Status: Ready for the next mission (35 pts Damage - Peckham's Chart)
Claims: Eleven enemy aircraft encountered, 4 Driven off by our fighters.
Sgt. R. Arcuri, 1 Fw-190 Destroyed
Sgt. R. Simien, 1 Me-109 Probable
- 1st Lt. Peter Windley, Pilot, B-17G 43-7229 Rough Times, 316th BS/88th BG
399th BS (Middle)
LUCY QUIPMENT, Third flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with the starboard wing fuel tank holed, tail compartment heating system inoperable and damage to the flight deck windshields (2) and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Thompson and 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Campbell.
We had good fighter coverage and only a few fighters made it past our escorts. The boys have been giving as good as they have gotten. Sgt. Thompson killed an Fw190 who made a head-on pass. He shot up the fight deck but was killed as he passed by the tail guns.
The flak over the target seemed to be zeroed in on us, we took a hit in the starboard wing fuel tank. Lt. Edwards was right on target with 30% of the bomb load despite the flak hit.
Sgt. Campbell knocked down an Me-109 coming in from 3 o'clock low when a group of Jerry fighters jumped us after the bomb run. That is when Lt Edwards was hit in the arm, our bombardier's have been hit hard. In the last four mission we have had three injured or killed to enemy action. The flight surgeon says we can expect Lt. Edwards back in a few days.
- Capt. Art DeFilippo, Pilot, Lucy Quipment
LAURALEE, Third flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with a few cockpit windows shattered, superficial holes in tail and radio room area and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by 2nd Lt. Finster and SSgt. Gates.
Pretty quiet. The Checkertails kept the Germans off us pretty well on the way in--we saw a few as we neared the coast, though none attacked us directly.
Over target, three enemy a/c came at us from dead ahead. Frank nailed one with the chin turret. They made a firing pass and one of them hit us, smashing the cockpit window. He came around again two more times, the first time from the front, where he put some holes in the tail. When he tried to come at us abeam, Al creased him with the top turret guns.
Flak was moderate and did not hit us, and we laid our eggs on target and turned for home.
The 38s took over at that point, and provided us excellent cover all the way home--we saw no Krauts at all.
- 1st Lt. Bill Hearn, Pilot, Lauralee, 399th BS
CAROLINA LADY II, Third flight, right aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with with #3 engine out, port elevator and radio inoperable, damage to the pilot compartment windows (1), Rudder (1), superficial damage to the fuselage (2), nose, pilots' compartment, bomb bay, and tail (2), and 3 casualties.
Take off and assembly went fine--we saw a few fighters along the way but they were driven off by the escorts. Just after the IP we got hit by 3 Me109s that made head-on attacks from 12 high, level and low.
They wounded MSgt. Barnes in the top turret (lt. wound). We didn't get any hits on them.
During the bomb run we got hit hard by flak-knocking the port elevator and #3 engine out. A big part of the engine cowling blew away and the engine was smoking badly-we got the prop feathered okay. The flak left holes all over the ship. Stein dropped when the lead did, but we missed the yards.
After the turn for home we got hit by more Me-109s but the escorts were on the ball and kept them off us for a while.
About 100 miles past the target an Me-110 came up underneath us using the contrails and smoke from the engine to cover his approach---Holly started screaming into the intercom for Smitley to help shoot him --this guy came up close and raked us bad--he seriously wounded both the waist gunners, blew a large hole in the rudder, knocked the radio out and put more holes all over the ship--he came around again but Stein and Barnes damaged him and he fell out of sight. TSgt. Lipton went back into the waist--he did first aid on both the gunners and saved Semelbauer's life (Lucky Charm).
We made it back okay--shot off the red flares and had an ambulance meet us at the hardstands. Barnes is just scratched but the other two are going home.
Only 5 left of the original crew.
- 1st Lt. Mark Choate, Pilot, Carolina Lady II
317th BS (HIGH)
THE BRAZEN HUSSY, Lead flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned without damage or casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Richards.
This new crate handled like a dream, but I must admit I missed the Spoon. The crew were all stand-ins, apart from Wittstock in the bombardierís position. At least he got a trip behind him before he meets the old salts. Nothing much to speak of, strangely. We managed to bring her home untarnished.
- Major Neil Amoore, Pilot, The Brazen Hussy
NATURE'S MISFITS, Lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 70%. Aircraft returned with no reported damage or casualties.
FLAK CITY, Lead flight, right wingman
Bomb target, 60%. Returned without damage or casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Ward and 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Scott.
It's good to be finally in action after our training. The men were all nervous as hell this being our first mission. I am please to report that despite being a green crew we kept formation well and put a good percentage of our bombs on target. Our first experience of German aircraft and flak put this war into perspective for us and I am sure quelled any delusions or romantic notions of war the crew may have had. We have a grim task to perform and I hope we all survive to see the enemy finally beaten. The mission went smoothly and fortunately we got off Scott-free despite all the enemies attempts to do us harm.
- 1st Lt. Bob Adams, Pilot, Flak City
MORBID ANGEL, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Return with the autopilot inoperable and no casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 by Sgt. T. Morris, 1 Fw-190 by 2nd Lt. Sandoval, and 1 Me-110 apiece by SSgt. Rutan and Sgt. Mazurkiewicz.
A very strange mission to Nis, this one. We had great fighter cover, and what fighters made it through, we dealt with quite well. But then the bombing run was off target completely. The only damage to the plane was when some flak took out the autopilot, and a 110 took out our navigation equipment on the way back . . . but we made it home.
Tom Morris, our starboard waist gunner, damaged a 190 and shot down a 109. Erik Rutan, our engineer, damaged a 109 and a 190, and shot down a 110. Pete Sandoval, our bombardier, shot down a 190. Tony Norman, our ball gunner, damaged a 110. And Paul Mazurkiewicz, our new tail gunner, shot down a 110 of his own. All in all, 4 damaged, 4 killed. Not bad . . . if only we'd been on target.
- 1st Lt. David Vincent, Pilot, Morbid Angel
TULE LAKE SAMURAI II, Second flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with damage to the co-pilotís oxygen system, the #4 engine, to the port wing root and rudder, superficial damage to the nose, bomb bay, radio, and waist compartments, and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Hiromeni.
Took off from Sterparone Field, Foggia, Italy without any problems or malfunctions.
One hundred (100) miles from base we were attacked by three (3) Me-109s. The ones coming in from 12 high and 9 level were chased away by fighters of the 325th Squadron while one attacking using a VERTICAL DIVE was able to put walking hits on the plane. Luckily the only hits were to the nose where 2nd Lt. Hiromeni sustained superficial wounds by shrapnel from the bullets, a hit to the oxygen supply for the co-pilot 2nd Lt. Ken Aoki, and a hit to the rudder. The plane was able to return and was destroyed by 2nd Lt. Hitomeni before it was able to hit the plane.
Just before we were able to get to the target we were attacked by three (3) waves of fighters. The first wave consisting of one (1) Me-109 coming in from 10:30 high. This fighter was chased away by fighter cover before it was able to attack the plane. The second wave consisted of two (2) Me-109s coming in from 10:30 and 12 level. Both missed the plane and didnít return. The third wave, bogies were spotted at 12 level and didnít attack the squadron.
Over target we encountered medium flak and was hit twice, once on the port and starboard wings. The hit to the starboard wing damaged the #4 engine while the hit to the port wing damaged the root area of the wing.
2nd Lt. Hiromeni was able to line up the bomber and put 20% of the bomb load over target.
Fifty (50) miles away from target on the turn around we spotted bogies at 9 high that were driven off by machine gun fire from the bomber formation before they were able to attack.
Reached Sterparone Field and landed without incedent.
- 1st Lt. Ken Shimizu, Pilot, Tule Lake Samurai II
DELTA BLUES, Second flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with superficial damage to the fuselage and bomb bay compartment and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Johnson.
Since this was our first mission, all the men were nervous and ready to put this one in the books. As we departed Sterparone, the enlisted men were hamming it up on the radio, which I didnít discourage. Iíve noticed since getting in-country some of the other crews are loose and relaxed, and I asked the chaplain about this. He said often times men will use a sense of humor to mask stressful situations. In light of this, I thought to let the men try to enjoy themselves and Ďfeel outí themselves and Delta before things get dicey. It seems that Sgts. Girardi and Johnson have already developed a strong friendship. Anyway, once we reached altitude, I instructed Lt. Gibbins to ask them to knock it off.
It didnít take long for all the hours of training to kick in as we became engaged with two FW-109s at 3 level and 12 high (zone 2 out). Our fighter cover of P-47s drove of the 190 that was at the 12, and Sgt. Johnson locked in and took down the remaining 190, but not before he got his licks in, sending a few rounds into the bomb bay. I sent Sgt. Girardi down to get a damage report. All he could find was where ammo had come in and gone out of the bay. It looked like a few rounds rattled around before exiting. We hoped that was the case.
Our formation was attacked again later (zone 3 out), but once again our P-47s came through in the clutch. Those men sure earned their wings!
Once we approached the drop zone, I heard radio chatter about another wave (zone 5 out), but it sounds like our on board squadron gunners took care of that threat. Iím anxious to find out more during the mission debriefing.
The flak was something else that I couldnít have prepared for. Since we were high in formation, our threat was light, but still, it certainly seems and sounds deadly enough. Conversations in the Officerís Club have led me to believe thatís the one aspect of our missions that can un-nerve any man.
We made our approach to the marshalling yards and I instructed Lt. Pearson to look sharp and keep alert. Once we were at our coordinated and over the yards, we dropped the payload with a 30% target coverage rate.
On our return to Sterparone, it was business as usual until close to base (zone 2 in). Somehow, four Me-109s appeared on our horizon at 10:30 level, 12 level, 12 high and 1:30 level. The men manned their guns while our fighter escort managed to drive of the 109 at 12 high. The 10:30 and 1:30 managed to strafe us causing superficial damage. Sgt. Schwartz zeroed in and managed to force the 109 to break off (FBOA).
- 1st Lt. Steve Hartline, Pilot, Delta Blues
399th BS (High)
CIVIC DUTY II, Third flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned out of
formation with #4 engine, rudder, ball turret, port wing flap & elevator
inoperable, pilots' and radio compartments oxygen system out, fire damage to
radio room, superficial damage to both wings and 1 casualty.
Take off and form up went without incident. The rest of the formation and our escorts kept the heat off of us until we approached Nis. Then we were hit by a group of 190s. They shot up the waist, hitting Sgt. Noakes in the foot, and disabling his turret. When they came back around they shot up the tail; knocking out the rudder and port elevator.
Entering Nis, the flak was heavier than I hoped for. We took 3 flak hits. One knocked out the oxygen to the pilots' compartment and engineer, another knocked out the oxygen for the radio room and started a fire, the third blew a peach basket sized hole in our port wing. The bomb run was on target and Lt. Hollabaugh estimates 30% of our load hit the target.
Following the bomb run we were forced to drop from formation for the return trip. Leaving Nis we were hit by a group of 109s. They targeted our wings; knocking out our #4 engine, and damaging our port wing flap. My gunners managed to keep them at bay but never really got a good hit on any of them. The rest of the trip was quiet.
- 1st Lt. Glen Short, Pilot, Civic Duty II
IRON CLOUD, Third flight, left wingman
Reached target but did not bomb target. Aircraft shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire over target after taking direct BIP on Port Wing.
Regret to report that Iron Cloud, B-17F, 42-12201 was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire over the target. Jerry appeared to score a direct flak hit on the port wing, blowing the wing off and sending the Iron Cloud into an instantaneous death spiral. One chute was seen deploying, but it seems hard to believe that anyone could have survived that hit.
- 1st Lt. Roy Harwell, Pilot, 325th Fighter Group
MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, Third flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with navigator's heating system inoperable, damage to the pilot's oxygen system and rudder, and 2 casualties.
The fighters attacked over the target. Four 109s came in from 12 o'clock. One was driven off by the fighter cover. The three that attacked us fired and hit, cam around for a second attack from 6, 3 and 9 and they all hit again, went through the formation turned around and attacked a third time. They all hit again. The damage after this wave was mostly superficial, but Lts. Mullins and Roberts in the nose were wounded, and the navigators heater was destroyed. I left the formation after the bomb run.
There was intense fighter activity in the target zone. Four more 109s attacked after the flak. Most of them missed. Waist gunner Sgt. Wapram damaged one, and the rest were driven off.
- 1st Lt. Paul Day, Pilot, Midnight Express
318th BS (LOW)
ZEBRA'S REVENGE, Lead flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with top turret inoperable and other minor damage (37 Peckham Damage pts) and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by Sgt. Mitchell and TSgt. Parker.
The flight was without incident until we reached the final IP and were jumped by three waves of Jerries. We damaged a few and one knocked out the top turret and we got quite a few holes in the old Lady. We were bumped by a bit of FLAK but Smalley was able to put some of the load on target.
After we turned for home a single 109 dove at us but Alvin Parker split him in two with a shot right down the pike.
Just as we left the mainland behind a single 109 came at us from right in front (12 level). He put a hole through the cockpit but lucky for us missed anything important. As he passed by Phil took off his starboard wing for his 6th kill (he is buying the first round).
- Major Mick Mikula, Pilot, Zebra's Revenge
QUIEN SABE, Lead flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned alone with #1 & 2 engines, the port aileron inoperable, damage to the port wing root, superficial damage to the nose and waist compartments, and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Elliot, 1 Me-110 apiece by Sgt. Allen and De Lavier (Sgt. De Lavier's Me-110 claim was later confirmed by S-2), 1 Fw-190 shared by 2nd Lt. Acton & SSgt. Lovell.
The team were apprehensive and rightly so, after seeing the reality of what a war does to a man. Approaching the target De Lavier in the tail claimed a Me-110 and is now an Ace. We then got immediately buzzed by an Fw-190 from above but it was on his second pass that we lost our starboard waist man and damaged our port aileron. His third pass was very short and our loss was avenged through a joint effort from our top & nose guns (Lovell & Acton).
We dropped our payload successfully and turned for home, Milton Elliott up front claiming an Me-109 from the starboard cheek and the ball claiming an Me-110.
Things were going our way until approaching our base we were jumped by a load of 109s. This resulted in a fuel tank leak so we shut off number 1 engine, then we lost our number 2 engine too. We also took a hit to the port wing root and Acton in the nose complained of 2 light wounds.
- 1st Lt. Gary Johnstone, Pilot, Quien Sabe
8-BALL, Lead flight, right aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with the #2 engine, radio, the starboard elevator, the starboard waist gun, the ball & tail turrets inoperable, the Norden bomb sight damaged, several superficial fuselage hits, and 5 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by 2nd Lt. Tomas (Lt. Tomas's claim was later confirmed) and SSgt. Hoag.
We didn't run into any enemy fighter until we got over Yugoslavia. A 190 killed 1st Lt. McDonald and seriously wounded 2nd Lt. Layman.
Over the target area we were jumped by two 109s and a 190. SSgt. Hoag destroyed a 109 and a 190 was damaged, the other fighter missed on his attack.
Flak knocked out the ball turret guns, the starboard elevator and other superficial damage. Bombs were off target with 0% in the target area.
Then jumped by four 109s, we received damage knocking out the tail guns and the Norden bombsight. 2nd Lt. Tomas destroyed one of the 109s.
Then over water we ran into some 190s. The radio, #2 engine, starboard waist gun were knocked out, and both the bombardier and navigator received light wounds. We then ran into 3 more 109s and Sgt. Wicker received a serious wound to his right shoulder.
Landing was safe. The Doc told me that 2nd Lt. Layman will be sent home. The Doc didn't tell me how long Brittain, Tomas and Wicker (serious wound) would be out.
Sgt. Jeff Hoag, Flight Engineer, 8-Ball, 318th Squadron, 88th BG
GOLDEN SPIKE, Second flight, Lead Aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with tail turret inoperable, nine superficial damage hits, and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by 1st Lt. Lawton, SSgt. Matson, SSgt. Archibald and SSgt. Turner (SSgt. Turner's claim was later confirmed by S-2).
For such a short trip it was busy. Flying in the low squadron we faced off against 8 waves of enemy fighters. Sometimes our escorts were pretty limited, but at other times they saved our bacon.
A couple hundred miles from base was when the first German planes managed to squeeze by the friendlies. Sgt. Archibald in the belly guns killed one Jerry and we were able to close on the target without any problems. There, three waves of Germans hit us. In the melee around the target we claimed two Me-109s and only received some superficial hits in return. A single flak hit in the starboard wing shook us a bit but old Ace still managed to drop a third on target.
Leaving Nis we rattled an Me-109 that got a little too close for comfort, but our escorts took care of most of them. A few minutes later an Me-109 dropped on top of us, right before two of his buddies made passes from our port side and bow. In that exchange the tail guns were knocked out, but thankfully nobody was hit. When the smoke cleared we added another kill to our tally. Finally a trio of Me-109s made the final attack of the day about 150 miles from Sterparone. We shot them up but one guy must have been an ace. He managed to walk some hits down our fuselage in spite of being severely damaged. We were lucky though, mostly superficial hits. Lt. Lawton got nicked, but with divine intervention Lt. Thompson avoided injury (used his last lucky charm).
It was nice to be home. Only a couple more missions for the two remaining members of the original crew! Lets pray for easy missions.
- Capt. Todd Wilson, Pilot, Golden Spike
UNCLE SAM'S $$, Second flight, right wingman
Did not take-off due to mechanical difficulties and did not participate in the mission.
BAWLMER BETTY, Second flight, left wingman (TAIL-END CHARLIE)
Bombed target, 5%. Returned with #3 engine and radio out, minor damage to nose, pilot compartment, radio room, tail, rudder, starboard wing, bomb bay, and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-109 each by Sgt. Hamel, and 1 Me-109 apiece by TSgt. Carr (TSgt. Carr's claim was later confirmed by S-2) & Sgt Winter.
It was our turn in the barrel this mission! We served as 'Tail-end Charlie' and were attacked non-stop all the way to and from the target. Other than losing our #3 engine and radio, most of our damage was minor. No one was wounded, although Sgt. Bianconi narrowly escaped being killed by a spent round from one of our attackers (used lucky charm).
The flak over Nis was ineffective, but we were only able to place 5% of our bombs on target. Ordinarily, the crew and I would have been upset by this, but we were too glad to have arrived back at Streparone in one (although well-ventilated) piece.
- 1st Lt. Mark Beyer, Pilot, Bawlmer Betty
Return to Sterparone Field