MISSION 4 - RIMINI AARs
316th BS (Lead)
FULL HOUSE, Lead flight, lead plane
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with 1 superficial damage and no casualties.
The early morning fog dissipated as predicted over Sterparone Field but little did we realized as we ran down the runway that only two other bases would be fog free at the appointed time. During formation we learned that, except for the 99th BG and the 325th FG, the rest of the mission groups were grounded. A single squadron of P-47 fighters were on time at the rendezvous but the 99th BG was 10 minutes late. A message received from Wing said that it would be Colonel Lamb's call to abort the mission or to continue with the mission. After a short conference with me, Colonel Lamb decided we could pull it off despite the mission group's reduced strength.
The only enemy resistance we encountered was during our approach on Rimini and I would have to classify the resistance as light.
That one squadron of P-47s did a very good job keeping away the enemy fighters as only three Me-109s were able to attack us. We damaged two of them while we received only one minor hit in the fuselage.
Flak was light and very inaccurate and Lt. Sears reported good results.
During the withdrawal battle, the other two squadrons from the 325th arrived and they kept the remaining enemy fighters away. Landing back at base was a piece of cake.
- Captain, Daniel Tanner, Pilot, Full House
ROCK 'EM & SOCK 'EM, Lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned without damage or casualties.
Thank god for a quiet
mission! We didn't even see a plane until we turned from the target, flak
was non-existent and we had an ME-110 make a run at us but he missed and a
Me-109 nosed about but dove down below us. Most of the guys never in fired
their guns, and I brought the new guys in the nose back alive so that that jinx
broken, chalk up one for the guys in the white hats!!
-2nd Lt. Coleridge, Pilot, Rock 'em & Sock 'em
SATIN DOLL, Lead flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 60%.
Returned with damage to the outboard port fuel tank (patched) and superficial
damage to bomb bay doors, radio room, starboard wing. No casualties.
Claims: 1 Me-109 each by 2nd Lt. Morris and Sgt. Blankenship.
1st Lt. J.P. McConnell and his crew are departing the Interrogation Hut, after giving their account of the Rimini mission to the Interrogation Officer when the 316th Commander, Capt. Dan Tanner, calls to McConnell, "Hey Mac, hold it up a minute."
McConnell tells his co-pilot, Lt. Hank Johnson, to take the crew over to the club for a drink after they turn in their gear. "I'll catch up with y'all later," he drawls in his soft Virginia accent. Saluting Capt. Tanner, he says, "You wanted to see me, suh?"
"Yes, Mac, I do," Tanner replies returning the salute. "I need to talk to you about a couple of things but first I went to know how it went today. I noticed you drew a little attention from the Jerries."
"Hell, Cap', it wasn't that bad I guess," McConnell answered. "We got bounced by a couple of FW's in Zone 2 from 12 level and 130 low. Then a Jug Jockey plastered the low one and the other one shot all over the place but missed and broke down toward the low squadron. They were after us pretty good just before the target, but the '47's nailed two of them, and SSgt Turner in the top turret chewed up the one from 3 level. He broke away trailing heavy smoke. Another Me-109 came up from 3 low but missed and flew off just before we reached the AP. The flak gunners missed us completely and Lt. Morris put 60% of the load into some Krauts new Christmas train set. I guess they got all bent out of shape about PJ bustin' up their new choo-choo and came at us pretty heavy near the rally point. Four Me-109's came barreling in, 3 head and 1 astern. The one from 12 low scored some hits in the bomb bay and radio room."
"Damage?" asked Tanner.
"Nothin' major, Cap. Just nicked the oxygen system in radio and holed the bomb bay doors a little. That's when JP nailed one at 12 level. I saw it clear 'cause I was sure he was aiming for me! That spooked the other one from 12 high. He flew by pumping out a few rounds but didn't hit anything. There was another from 6 low that punched a few holes in the starboard wing and holed the port outboard fuel tank. Man I'm sure glad to have these Goodyear self-sealing tanks! Both he and his buddy tried to form up and make anther pass from 130 level but they danged near ran into each other, split, and peeled off for the low squadron. After that, it was smooth sailing all the way home. Is that all?"
"Thanks, Mac," Tanner began, "Like, I said I knew you had some 'greenhorns' aboard and that you seemed to be the one ship in the formation to draw the most fire. I've got something for you to think about. You don't need to answer right away, just don't take too long. We have enough aircraft & crews in the group now to start rotating mission assignments and standing down squadrons. The Colonel wants to know what pilots & crews, if any, each squadron has that would be willing to fly even if their squadron is stood down. It would mean less time between missions, and the pace could be rough on the crews. Like I said, it's completely voluntary, and you know what they say about volunteering for anything." With this remark Tanner allowed himself a little chuckle.
McConnell regarding the man for a minute, then drawled "Well, suh, I'll have to take it up with my crew. It's their lives on the line, not just mine. Hell, if it was just me, I'd say OK, fine, let's get to it. They're over in the club, havin' a little snort. I'll go put it to 'em and get back with you tomorrow if that's OK."
"Sure Mac, that'll be fine. Say, why don't I go to the club with you and we have a 'little snort' too?"
-1st Lt. J.P. McConnell, Pilot, Satin Doll
LUCKY PENNY, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with no damage or casualties.
Talk about a milk run;
No enemy fighters or flak even came near us. We got to target without even
seeing any fighters, flak was not even noticed, target was bombed with fair
accuracy. We turned the Penny around and headed for home.
I had to "remind" a few of the lads that there could still be enemy fighters out there and to not be too complacent -- but not a single enemy was even within shout'in distance. We landed the plane and Edmond comes up to me afterward and said he "fell asleep" on the trip back . . . I reminded him that I had suggested he not have that "last Christmas toast" yesterday and tried to give him a chew'in out but being Christmas and all . . .
Anyway, this was the BEST Christmas present that Command could have given the men. Home in one piece and no family letters to write for the holiday season.
-1st Lt. Paul Griffin, Pilot, Lucky Penny
CABALLERO, second flight, left wingman
Did Not Fly.
OLD YARD DOG, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with minor damage to the #3 engine and no casualties.
This one was quick and not too dirty. I am glad since we lost 3 planes in the group last time. Form up for us went well and we kept as tight as we could manage. We didn't have any trouble until right at the IP. Some 109s broke thru the fight screen and made a couple of passes at us with light damage received. We nicked them in return & they were seen smoking and turning away but under their own power, so both sides ground crews will stay a little busy.
The flak over the target
was light, small caliber, and not too accurate. We did take a ding in the #3 to
shrapnel but nothing serious. Gauges barely moved. We hit the target with
a good portion of the load (30%) and turned for home. It was smooth sailing the
rest of the way.
-1st Lt. Michael Chase, Pilot, Old Yard Dog
399th BS - Assigned with the 316th BS
RAW DEAL, third flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with minor control damage to the pilot compartment and no casualties.
December 26 - After the long fight to and from Athens 6 days ago where many planes went down, the guys were glad to be fighting from the middle squadron on a short milk run to Rimini. It really was rough and it seemed (to us at least) that the enemy seemed to seek us out personally. (And where where our ------- fighters I hear so much about?).
It seems that we caught them napping today though. I did not see a fighter until after we had dropped our bombs, but George up in the top turret said that about 20 or so miles from the target he saw a flight get driven off by other bombers from the 316th (who we flew with today). We hardly saw any flak as well without a burst even coming close.
Apparently all our bombs were off target, though I donít see how. I mean it was nearly a training run from back in the states. Shelley blamed a sticky release mechanism. I donít know about that. The whole crew is a bit red faced.
Right after we turned for home we did get jumped by a lone 190 from 10:30 H. Lt. Lovering claimed some damage to him, but he still came around and attacked again from 1:30. Lt. Mershon thought he missed both times, but seems he did cause some superficial damage to the controls. (We found out after we landed).
From the diary of Sgt. Terry Chimes, Ball Gunner, Raw Deal
HOOSIER DADDY, third flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Shot down soon after by enemy aircraft from a fuel tank fire with 9 chutes seen. International Red Cross later confirm 1 man was killed, 7 others were captured by the Germans, and two others are still MIA.
Shortly after the bomb run, a 190 was seen raking the starboard wing of Hoosier Daddy. Almost instantly flames burst from the wing, the plane listed to the right and began falling out of formation. Some chutes were seen.
FATEFUL AMY, third flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with minor hits to rudder, port landing gear inoperative, starboard aileron out and 4 casualties.
A relatively quite outward journey with no enemy contact. The bomb run was poor given the weather conditions. Turning for home jumped by 4 109's, fighter cover conspicuous by it's absence. Two highly skilled German pilots, one coming in from 6 low, peppered the fuselage causing light damage to the rudder and injury to the engineer. The nose gunner managed to hit one of the 109s coming in from 12 high but not enough to deter him from attacking.
A second wave of Fw-190s, one of which was discouraged by fighters, came swooping down, one directly overhead put out the port landing gear and damaged the starboard aileron along with Sgts. Carson and Shaefer, both of whom received minor wounds.
The rest of the mission was without incident, landed safely.
Pilot Bill Wilson made several comments on the absence of fighter cover on what should have been a fairly straight forward mission.
- 2nd Lt. Barney Lewis, Co-Pilot, Fateful Amy
318th BS (LOW)
GOLD DRAGON, lead flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with no casualties and minor damage to the nose section and ball turret. Claims: 1 Fw-190 each by 2nd Lt. Anthony, Sgts. Mason and Pulley.
As I briefed the crew on our mission there was an air of optimism since this was a relative short flight. The takeoff and form up was without incident.
But it wasn't long before three 190's jumped us from the front. A shell from one of these 190's messed up the Ball Turret mechanism and things became a little tense for Jeff Tucker being stuck in the turret. Tom Anthony and Elliot Mason each smoked a 190. Dave Tucker sent the third 190 limping home with an engine shot.
Then as we started the bombing run three 109's also came at us from the front. One of the shells from a 109 passed within inches of Jerry Minter while he was lining us up for the bombing run causing him to release the bombs way early. Needless to say we missed the target completely.
Just before we got back to base three more 190's jumped us from the front. Allen Pulley got his second kill as a 190 passed us from 12 high to 6 low. Jerry Minter was a little pissed missing the target and took it out on the third 190 sending him home badly smoking.
- 1st Lt. Joe Smith, Pilot, Gold Dragon
LUCKY LAUREL, first flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Returned without damage or casualties.
After our delayed start we began the short trip up the coast. It's never fun being in the low squadron, but at least this one promised to be quick. And I was hoping the bad weather would keep the German fighters on the ground. Christmas hadn't been enjoyable what with the pending stress of further combat. I was actually looking forward to getting back in the action . . . the sooner we finish here the sooner we can get home to continue with our lives. It was comforting to be flying in the front flight with the other veterans of the 318th -- Gold Dragon and Old Crow Express. Behind our plane The Russian Lady had the bad luck of the TEC position. I felt bad for Andrews and his crew, they seemed like good fellas . . . but then again . . . better them than us.
As it turned out the mission was our smoothest yet. In the target zone we drew five waves, two on the way in and three more as we left, but only two fighters made it through our tight formation and friendly fighters. Our ball gunner damaged an Me-109 coming in from 3 o'clock level and both Jerries missed their mark. It would have been a perfect mission if our replacement bombardier had hit the target. I'll chalk it up to first run jitters with his new crew, but he better do better next time. This war won't be finished anytime soon if we keep missing the mark.
-1st Lt. Todd Wilson, Pilot, Lucky Laurel
OLD CROW EXPRESS, first flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with damage to the control cable, navigator equipment inoperable and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Peterson.
We met no E/A until around the target area. There were four 109s and the
control cables and navigator equipment got hit, two came for another pass and
then broke away. Flak was pretty light and inaccurate. We hit the
target pretty good around 30% of our sticks hit the target. And on our way
out we met a lone 109 which Peterson was able to bring down. There was no
other enemy resistance encountered. Landing was uneventful. More
missions like this and we may live to see the end of this god forsaken war.
-1st Lt. Fred Anderson, Pilot, Old Crow Express
B-17F #42-11828, second flight, lead aircraft
- 2nd Lt. Tommy Franks, Pilot, #42-11828
BOUNCIN' BETTY, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with 2 superficial hits and no casualties.
The first attack happened over the water by a 190. The 190 was damaged and didn't manage to get any hits on our bird.
We were lucky and didn't take any flak hits over the target allowing us to put 30% of the bombs on target.
Then we got jumped by four 109's. We damaged two of the 109's, but one 109 was able to get thru and get a superficial hit on the starboard wing and another superficial hit. On that 109's second pass, we were able to damage it and it broke off its attack.
We could sure use more missions like this one. The landing was uneventful.
-1st Lt. Eric Wright, Pilot, Bouncin' Betty
THE RUSSIAN LADY, second flight, left wingman, Tail-End Charlie
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with #4 engine out, fuel leak inboard port wing tank, starboard aileron inoperable, one hit to port wing root and superficial damage to bomb bay doors, radio room and 4 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Johnson.
Things were going great -- we kept a tight formation and didn't see any sign of
the Germans over the Adriatic, until we got inside the target zone, then
everything happened. We got jumped first by four 109's, from 12 Level and
High, 1:30 level, and 6 high. Sgt. Johnson knocked the guy down from 6
high; the others didn't hit us and took off. I don't know if one of the
109's led the next wave in, or if it was a stray guy, but we got hit almost
immediately by a group of four FW-190's, plus a 109. Man, those 190's are
fast! They came at us from everywhere -- 12 High, 9 Level, 6 High, and a
vertical dive, plus the 109 also came at us from 6 high. I guess
they moved in a little too fast for the Jugs to take care of them . . .
Sgt. Johnson damaged the 190 from 6high, but he came on anyway. We think he's the guy that took out Hickock in the waist. Meyers in the top turret hit the 109 from 6 High, did some damage, the guy left streaming smoke after taking a swipe at us. It was the one from 9 level that did most of the damage -- he came in real fast and gave us hits all along the plane -- he put the shots in the pilot compartment that dinged up Lts. Andrews and Fratelli, he put a hole in the inboard port wing tank, and he wounded Sgt. Johnson in the tail section.
Three of the fighters came back for another pass. I'll tell you, I heard the scuttlebutt about those binoculars that the Jerries supposedly have, and I didn't believe it, but wouldn't you know it, two of those fighters came back at us from 3 Level and 6 Level! We hadn't had time yet to get anybody to those gun positions, and that's where they hit us from! Another, a 190, came back at us from 12 Level, and Vachon put some bullets in him for his trouble. I think he was upset about the Jerries messing up his bombing run. Anyway, the one that came in from 3:00 is the one that busted up the #4 engine, but Lt. Andrews managed to get the prop feathered. Once they left us alone, Lt. Andrews had Sgt. Lynch and Sgt. Seaton get Johnson out of the tail. Seaton took over the tail gun position while Lynch took Johnson up to the radio room to try to keep him alive. He seemed to be in pretty bad shape according to Spanky. Sgt. Lynch wanted to man one of the waist guns, but the Lieutenant thought it was more important that he take care of Johnson and, given the fuel leak and the damaged engine, that he stay in the radio room in case we needed to make an emergency transmission in the event of a crash or bailout.
Somehow Lts. Andrews and Fratelli managed to keep us in formation and on course. We finally got to the target, flak was light and inaccurate, and Vachon hit the target pretty good, about 40%.
On the way out it was more of the same -- we got jumped by more waves of fighters. One group was driven off by the other B-17s, thank goodness we were still in formation! We then got hit by three more 190's in one wave, with a 109 getting driven off by the Jugs. We took a couple of minor hits from two of them, and they both came back at us from 12 Level, but missed us and left. Then it was another wave of four 109's. A pair P-47 took one of them out, one of the others hit our starboard aileron, and another put a couple of shells in the Radio room, but somehow managed to miss anything of importance there, though it did scare the heck out of Lynch!
As we were heading back towards base we got jumped once more by two 109's, but our friends took care of them. Lt. Andrews managed to set her down without setting the leaking fuel on fire -- it's a good thing they didn't hit the tail wheel this time, or, well, I don't like to think about that.
- 2nd Lt. D.C. Hawkins, Navigator, The Russian Lady
317th BS (HIGH)
BEWITCHED, first flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with no damage or casualties.
Just like a training mission. Take-off, fly there, bomb and come home. No flak, no fighters. Only Forrest got hit by some flak. Maybe the Krauts like him as much as we do.
More like this and I'll start to forget we're in a war.
- Capt. Shamus Montague, Pilot, Bewitched
FRISCO KID, first flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 30%, Returned with starboard waist gun inoperable and other superficial damage. No casualties. Shared claim: 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. McDonough & TSgt. Angelico.
An easy mission, despite initial snafu with fog causing failed rendezvous
with other groups and most of fighter escort. We figured the fog
messed up Jerry too, since we saw no enemy a/c until we reached the target
zone, when we were attacked by four Fw-190s. Sgt. McDonough and TSgt.
Angelico fired at one attacking from 6 o'clock high -- both observed hits on
the a/c, which was seen to fall away in flames. Two of the enemy hit
us, but did only minor damage, except for knocking out SGT McNutt's gun (he
was unhurt) and their second pass was ineffective.
Took light flak hit to waist -- only minor damage. Hit target with 30% accuracy, and turned for home. We were not attacked on the return flight, and we landed safely at base. All crew and a/c ready for further action.
-1st Lt. David Moody, Pilot, Frisco Kid
DARKWATCH, first flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with 2 hits to tail section and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Poulous.
A nice quiet mission for everyone except Tiege, who got hit by a ME-109 with
more courage than sense (must have been a rookie -- came on despite damage
through an absolute hail of fire to hit us in the tail). Tiege will be
all right, and now he'll have a Purple Heart to impress his girl.
We enjoyed excellent fighter coverage throughout the mission, particularly when we turned for home -- the P-47s really earned their pay in chasing away a cloud of 109s. Without them, it could have turned ugly. With them, Poulous was able to concentrate on just a single bandit to score his first kill.
Krystek made up for his nerves on the Greece mission with a nice, tight grouping of bomb hits. We're on a hot streak with flak -- but I almost wish we'd gotten hit. Half the guys are refusing to wash their "lucky underwear" so long as we remain invisible to flak, and the Darkwatch is starting to get kind of rank.
Easy trip home.
- 1st Lt. Paul OĻConnor, Pilot, Darkwatch
SILVER SPOON, second flight, lead wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with flak damage to the port wing inboard fuel tank and no casualties.
A milk run if ever there was one! We didn't see a Jerry anywhere in
the beautiful blue sky and, apart from a bit of flak, we didn't see much at
all. We got two flak holes in the port wing from shrapnel, one of which
punctured the inboard tank. Luckily it was a short trip, 'cuz we lost a
fair bit of fuel on the way back. Our gunners, especially the three
new boys in the waist, didn't do much except admire the tight formation we
put together. Those boys in the 99th sure looked sloppy, though!
They seemed pretty disorganized, if you ask me. Lieutenants Forrest
and Williams can give you the finer details, soon as they've finished
chatting with Captain Montague. Okay?
-2nd Lt. Charlie Yablowski, Navigator, Silver Spoon
GO FOR BROKE, second flight, left wingman,
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with no damage or casualties. Claims:1 Me-109 by SSgt. Mukai.
Took off from Sterparone
Field, Foggia, Italy without any problems or malfunctions.
About twenty (20) miles from target we encountered two (2) FW-190s, one coming in at 13:30 H & the other at 3 Level. The top turret manned by SSgt. Mukai was able to KIA the FW coming in at 10:30 while the other missed the plane and was driven away by bomber formation.
We were again jumped before we reached target. This time four (4) ME-109's came in at 12 H, 10:30 H, 1:30 H, and 12 Level. Fighters were able to drive off the plane coming in at 12 H and the port waist (manned by Sgt. Yano) was able to damage the one coming in at 10:30. All of the German fighters missed the plane and were driven off by a combination of P-47's and bomber machinegun fire.
Over target we saw light flak which didn't hit the plane. Weather over target was clear and 2nd Lt. Osa was able to hit about 60% of the target.
On the turn around from target we were again jumped by enemy aircraft. This time one FW-190 came in at 10:30 H. Fighter escort drove the aircraft away before it came near the bomber.
Reached Sterparone Field and was able to land without incident.
-1st Lt. Mark Yoshikawa, Pilot, Go for Broke
MEMPHIS GAL, second flight, right aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned undamaged & no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Nimble.
In and out! Just like the good Colonel had predicted! The men
looked as white as sheets when we mounted up, but once we got into the air
thankfully all of them remembered their training. German opposition
was light, we got attacked by a 109 which our Navigator Clarke Nimble shot
down with a fine piece of deflection shooting. We put 20% of our bombs
on target and headed home. We are all relieved that we have got one
mission notched up so quickly and didn't have to hang around waiting in
-1st Lt. Ralph Flynn, Pilot, Memphis Gal
399th BS (High)
FELL TO EARTH, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with minor damage to control cables and no casualties. Claims: 1 shared Me-109 by Sgt. McAllister and Sgt. Penrod.
Fell to Earth was assigned the #7 slot, leading the third element in the high squadron, for this mission. Take-off, assembly and trip to the target were all uneventful. We did not encounter any enemy resistance until just before the IP was reached. Two Me-109's singled us out for some attention. My gunners put up a barrage of fire for them to fly through, Mst. Sgt. Smithson reported hitting and damaging one before the broke off their attacks on us.
Flak in the target area was not a problem and 2nd Lt. Segavio reported to me that our bombs were on target and approximately 30% of them fell within 1000' of the aim point.
After we had turned for
home we were attacked by five Me-109's. Again my gunners put up a barrage
of fire and this time they were reward with seeing one of the Me-109's going
down in flames but, not before the control cables in the bomb bay were damaged
and some holes appeared in the pilot compartment although nothing serious was
hit. Seeing one for their comrades shot down was enough for the remain
enemy fighters and they headed for home. We were not troubled for the rest
of the mission and landed safely at base.
-1st Lt. Timothy Fell, Pilot, Fell to Earth
HEART OF TEXAS, second flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with no damage or casualties.
Mission ran by the book. Intel was accurate
regarding fighter cover and flak over target. Prior to bomb run, we
engaged a single Me-109 approx 50 miles out from target, one run at us from
straight above. Ineffective enemy fire and top gunners reported limited
hits. Attack came and went just too quickly for us and him I guess.
Flak over target was very light and ineffective. Bombs released on target with excellent results. Once we cleared enemy flak, we met with 2 Fw-190's, first one coming from 10:30 high, the second from 3 o'clock flat. Sgt Smith reported driving off bandit 1 and Sgt Huerta placed effective fire on bandit 2. Neither bandit hit us in return.
Arrived safely back at base, all present.
-1st Lt. David Kuehn, Pilot, Heart of Texas
PRINCESS LILIKOI, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with no damage or casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 each by SSgt. Marlow and Sgt. Hutton.
This was a very quiet
mission, a milk run, for us. The 325th did a good job keeping them bandits
away. If the Germans do have a secret weapon we didnít see them use it
today. Perhaps they are using a new tactic when attacking the high
squadron. We saw several fighters using a vertical dive when coming in at
us, and successfully. Got through both the fighter cover and our defensive
fire, but none of them hit us and our gunners claim two killed and two damaged
fighters. Good shooting.
- 2nd Lt. Nathaniel R. Duncan, Bombardier, Princess Lilikoi
Return to Sterparone Field