MISSION 51 - GYOR AARs
318th BS (LEAD)
ZEBRA'S REVENGE, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 97%. Returned without damage or casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Miles.
This mission was a breeze from our point of view. We only saw two 109ís just as we started the bombing run and we smoked one and sent the other one home with his tail between is legs and parts falling off. The bombing results were outstanding with Donnie hitting the target with 97% of our load. Wish all the missions could be this easy. The first round at the O-Club was on me.
- Major Mick Mikula, Pilot, Zebra's Revenge, CO 318th Bomb Squadron
UNCLE SAM'S $$, Lead flight, left wingman
Runway abort. Did not participate in the mission.
8-BALL, Lead flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with intercom and top turret inoperable, superficial damage to the port aileron, and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by Sgts. Eckley & Hibbard.
Once over water we ran into 4 Me-109s. Sgts. Eckley and Hibbard both shot down a 109. One of the 109s knocked out the intercom and the top turret guns.
Once over Yugoslavia were attacked by 3 Fw-190s. One of the 190s hit the port wing aileron, but there was no effect.
We didn't see any more enemy fighters the rest of the way to the target and home. Flak over the target was medium, but we did not take any hits. Lt. Brittain was able to get 30% of the bombs in the target area.
The landing at base was safe and uneventful.
- 1st Lt. James Dolph, Pilot, 8-Ball, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
HEAVEN CAN WAIT, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 5%. Returned with minor superficial damage to the fuselage caused by flak and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Forsythe.
Excellent fighter protection en route to target. Flak was horrendous and our skin was punctured with brightly colored pieces of metal, but no casualties. We were so distracted as a crew and we missed the target with our payload. Claimed an ME-109 on route to the base via our top turret.
- 1st Lt. Gary Johnstone, Pilot, Heaven Can Wait
WOLVERINE, Second flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with light flak damage to the nose and waist compartments and 3 casualties.
Fighters attacked three times. Twice the fighters were driven off before attacking the Wolverine. Once a single 109 passed by and missed (Our tail gunner, Darren Swayne, damaged it with a passing shot). All three crewmen wounds occurred from flak over the target. Lt. Max Yearwood was wounded by flak in the target zone while Lt. Hugh Woodall took his fatal wound. Despite these events Lt. Yearwood, on his first flight, held to the target and delivered 30% on target.
- 1st Lt. Cody Fiscus, Pilot, Wolverine
GOLD AND BOLD, Second flight, right wingman
Aborted and dropped out of formation outbound (zone 5) due to bombardier being incapacitated. Returned alone and landed with #2 engine out, port outboard tank holed (empty upon landing), starboard elevator inoperable, #3 engine oil tank holed (self-sealed), wing root damage, several (7) superficial damage holes, and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Stanley Streich. SSgt. Streich's claim later confirmed by S-2.
My first taste of combat and itís not to my liking. We left the base and had an easy flight until we crossed the Hungarian border. There we ran into three fighters one of which shot up the nose of the plane, wounding both navigator and bombardier. That same bandit hit us a total of eight times in three separate passes. We were sure happy when he left. With the bombardier seriously wounded I decided to abort the flight and we turned for home on our own. We hadnít seen any Germans until the last 50 miles so I gambled it would be just as easy on our return . . . it wasnít.
As soon as we turned we drew two more waves of fighters. Sensing an easy kill against a lone B-17 they made multiple passes at us. We had good fighter protection but our plane, especially our port wing, took a beating. We lost our #2 engine, and had a serious fuel leak. We got a break but not for long as two more bandits tried their luck about 130 miles from Sterparone. We took a couple hits but SSgt. Streich made the first kill for our plane.
We arrived to bad weather in Italy and our fuel was running low. We landed safely, and it was with more than a little relief that we stopped the plane. Unfortunately, Lt. Jeffreys died of his wounds shortly after landing.
- 1st Lt. Bryan Byette, Pilot, Gold & Bold
317th BS (Middle)
MORBID ANGEL, Third flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with minor superficial damage and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by SSgt. Rutan and Sgt. Norman and 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Mazurkiewicz.
All was quiet until we were over Hungary (zone 5) on the way out, when Lt. Azagthoth took a light wound while Sgt. Mazurkiewicz damages a 109.
Over Gyor, SSgt. Rutan damaged a 109 that broke off the attack. Still, no real damage to our plane. The target run success, with 30% accuracy.
Leaving Gyor (zone 6 homebound), there were LOTS of fire . . . but no hits except for Sgt. Marurkiewicz, who shoots down an Me- 110.
Quiet again until just before reaching the Yugoslav coast (zone 3), when SSgt. Rutan and Sgt. Norman each shot down an Me-109, but we still haven't taken anything more than superficial damage.
Nothing the rest of the way.
All in all, a success. We saw a few enemies, but dealt with them handily, as well as taking very little damage ourselves. Maybe they're realizing they can't win . . .
- Capt. David Vincent, Pilot, Morbid Angel
TULE LAKE SAMURAI, Third flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 50%. Retuned with the autopilot mechanism inoperable and minor damage to the port wing, nose, pilot, bomb bay, radio room, waist compartments and 2 casualties.
Took off from Sterparone Field, Foggia, Italy without any problems or malfunctions.
Near checkpoint 3 over Yugoslavia we spotted bogies at 9 level that were chased away before they were able to attack the bomb group.
At the target zone (zone-6) we encountered one wave of fighters consisting of an Fw-190 at 12 high and two (2) Me-109s coming in from 1:30 and 3 level. Two fighters were chased away by fighters of the 325th Fighter Group leaving the one coming in from 1:30 level to hit the plane once on the port wing superficial damage. The plane was able to return, coming in from 10:30 level but the fighters from the 325th Fighter Group was able to chase the plane away before it was able to attack the bomber.
We encountered medium flak which missed the plane, this enabled 2nd Lt. Joe Hiromeni to line up the bomber and put 50% of the bomb load on target.
On the turn back we encountered one (1) ME-110 doing a VERTICAL CLIMB. It was able to hit the plane doing a walking hit on the fuselage. The hit to the nose, pilot compartment, bomb bay, radio room was superficial in nature. The hit to the waist injured Sgt. Kano in the foot that was superficial in nature. The hit to the tail damaged the autopilot mechanism making it inoperable. The fighter returned at 12 level and was heavily damaged by 2nd Lt. Hiromeni manning the nose gun that caused the plane to veer off before it was able to fire on the bomber.
About five (5) miles from checkpoint 3 (zone-3) we were jumped by one wave of fighters consisting of three (3) Me-109s coming in from head-on. The one coming in from 12 level was chased away by fighters from the 14th Fighter Group. The one coming in from 1:30 level missed and was chased away by machine gun fire from the bomb group. The last one from 12 high hit the plane twice once in the pilots compartment and once in the tail. The hit to the pilot compartment hit co-pilot 2nd Lt. Ken Aoki and caused serious injury to him. The hit to the tail was superficial in nature. The fighter was able to return, coming in from 12 high but 2nd Lt. Hiromeni again was able to damage a fighter causing it to miss the bomber and not return.
Reached Sterparone Field and landed without incident.
- 1st Lt. Ken Shimizu, Pilot, Tule Lake Samurai II
DELTA BLUES, Third flight, right wingman
Runway abort. Did not participate in the mission.
316th BS (High)
STRAIGHT FLUSH, Lead flight, Lead Aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with starboard aileron inoperable, superficial damage to the #1 engine, to both wings, to the pilot, radio and bomb bay compartments and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 apiece by SSgt. Sherwin & TSgt. Williams.
Take off and formation went without incident. We first encountered E/A after entering Yugoslavia (zone-3). A pair of Fw-190s made an unsuccessful head-on attack and quickly disappeared after making one attack. Soon after the Germans broke off their attacks, Capt. Chase in Old Yard Dog on my right wing broke from formation and headed back south by southwest. His ship didn't look too badly damaged but Chase must have had a good reason to abort and head back to base.
Heavy resistance was encountered over Hungary consisting of two waves of Fw-190s. In these two attack waves is where we took all of our damage received in the mission. The worst part was when one fighter had managed to seriously wound both the bombardier and navigator, Lts. Benson and Hedges, on one pass.
Approaching the target zone, I ordered Sgt. Proctor to move from the waist section to the nose compartment to toggle the bombs, give first aid to the wounded men and to man the guns up front. The sky appeared clear at first, with the P-38s taking care of the enemy fighters when suddenly TSgt. Williams called out a diving Fw-190. Both SSgt. Sherwin and TSgt. Williams fired at the FW, with TSgt. Williams shooting it down before it could do any damage to us.
Flak was moderate and there were some close bursts all around us but we came through the flak barrage without being hit. When Sgt. Proctor saw the lead bomber release its bombs is when he toggled our bombs but I doubt they were even close to hitting anything.
At the Rally Point, a pair of Fw-190s attacked from head-on. SSgt. Sherwin shot down one of the fighters with the other taking off after making a half-hearted attack.
That is the last time we had any enemy fighters that attacked us, although the rest of the squadron were attacked as the group made its way back across Hungary and Yugoslavia. During the lull, Sgt. Proctor administered first aid and gave both men morphine for their pain as both men were in bad shape.
With two seriously wounded men aboard, we fired the red flares and we were ones of the first to land. Lt. Hedges will recover but he's going back to the states when he is able to travel. The crew and I were all sadden to learn that Lt. Benson died the next morning.
- Major Daniel Tanner, Pilot, Straight Flush
UNTAMED BEAUTY, Lead flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with port waist heater system and tail turret inoperable, rudder gone, starboard waist gun destroyed, starboard wing root damaged 20%, pilot & co-pilot oxygen system damaged, #1 Engine minor damage, and multiple holes in aircraft, and 6 casualties. (187 Damage points per Peckham's damage chart). Claims: 1 Fw-190 shared by Sgts. Hammel & Markowski.
Well, Jerry didn't get my wishes. They came at us about 100 miles before the target and hit us hard. A group of five FW-190s came at us from all around. One 190 was driven off by the checker tailed P-47s but four got through with one fighter doing considerable damage. A 190 in a vertical dive walked his shot from nose to tail, wounding Kirsch, Ray and myself. This attack also took out Hammel's heat and hit the rudder too. On his successive attacks he killed Braverman and wounded Hammel.
As we approached the target two waves of Me-109s came in. The first of three 109s was driven off by the P-38s. Though the second wave of two snuck in under the fighter cover. Thank God the missed us. But the flak didn't miss. Two burst hit us and caused heavy damage to the tail. With both burst near the tail, they took out the rudder and peppered the starboard wing. This rendered the rudder inoperable.
The new bombardier did a great job, considering every thing going on, by putting 30% on target.
As we were forming up for our return trip a flight of Me-109s jumped our squadron, four of them singling us out. One was shot down by a P-38 yet the other three all hit us. Taking out Payeur's tail gun turret and destroying the starboard waist gun. These three also hit the #1 engine, but it seamed to be superficial as the performance wasn't affected. They all missed their second shots and left the battle. About forty-five minutes later two Me-110s attacked us. One must have been an ace as he pressed his attack relentlessly. He was able to give Ray and I our second wound. We believe this is what killed Vincent. Being nicked twice by our gunners this fighter decided to leave the fight.
A second wave was driven off by either Chase's crew in the Old Yard Dog or McConnell's crew flying Satin Doll. No one was in the tail so we don't know for sure.
Fifteen enemy aircraft encountered.
Eight driven off by our fighters.
Sgt. T.Markowski 1 FW-190 Destroyed (shared
Sgt R.Hammel 1 FW-190 Destroyed (shared with Markowski)
Sgt. D.Payeur 1 FW-190 Probable
2nd Lt. M.Jackson 1 Me-110 Damaged
MSgt. C.Herrada 1 Me110 Damaged
- 1st Lt. Peter Windley, Pilot, B-17G 43-8864 Untamed Beauty, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
OLD YARD DOG, Lead flight, right wingman
Aborted mission over Yugoslavia (zone-3) due to loss of bomb control, intercom, compartment heat to the nose section, cockpit windscreen damaged, and superficial damage to the port wing, and no casualties. Returned alone out-of-formation without incident.
Everything started out well enough until we were about 100 miles outbound to the target. Several waves of enemy fighters flew into us and smashed the bomb controls and our intercom went out. We also lost heat to the nose compartment and we took several superficial hits in the port wing. And I had bullets in the windscreens up ahead. I decided since we were closer to home than the target we should abort as we were just sitting ducks without working equipment. We went low and escaped being seen by the Krauts as we made it back to home successfully. The weather was still good for us and landing was uneventful.
- Capt. Michael Chase, Pilot, Old Yard Dog, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
LUCKY NICKEL, Second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with the starboard elevator, port cheek & waist guns inoperable, radio shot up, damage to the port elevator and port wing root, superficial damage to the bomb bay compartment (after bombs were away) and no casualties. Claims: 2 ME 109s by MSgt. Allison, 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Edmond, 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Watkins. SSgt. Watkins' claim was later confirmed by S-2.
Fighters were out there, but not around us. Skies were bumpy but clear, and flak was seen on and off as we flew over enemy held positions. Being the high squadron, we were able to see the formations below, and some of them were taking fighter attacks.
Over the Adriatic sea (zone 2) was clear for us, but entering Yugoslavia (zone 3) we encountered 3 Me-109s but both our gunners and enemy shots were off target.
No enemy until just before we crossed into Hungary (zone 4), then we got 1 FW but our radio went out and the waist guns were damaged.
Over the target flak was lighter than we've seen but we got peppered with 4 hits: 2 in the nose, 1 on the port wing and one in the tail. The tail received a tail plane hit that knocked out our starboard elevator, the port wing took a shot in the wing root but the most damage was in the nose were a blast destroyed our port cheek gun, then walked on down and took out the waist guns, and shaking up the guys in both compartments too. Not too bad however as we were able to put 40% on target.
As we were leaving the area and cleared the Flak, 2 waves came at us. Two Fw-190s jumped us but were driven off by unusually good fighter cover. The 2nd wave was a 190 diving at us but we nailed him good.
Over Yugoslavia again (zone 3) saw a few more fighters but we were able to kill or put damage on most, the rest ran after one pass.
Back over the Adriatic (zone 2) just before the airfield saw a lone fighter dive on us. He then made another pass and hit our bomb-bay area.
Our guys are getting jumpy now as we come close to that magic 50.
- Capt. Paul Griffin, Pilot, Lucky Nickel, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
NORTHERN DREAM, Second flight, left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with tail & top turret guns inoperable, damage to the port tail plane (1 point), to the rudder (1 point), radio room oxygen system (1 point), superficial damage to the bomb bay (Bombs hit but did not detonate!), and 5 casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Ludwolf.
A bad mission all round. I lost Walt Peagood my tail gunner outbound over the Adriatic (Zone 2) when a FW-190 came in on the 10:30 high position. Every one who could fire, fired but the E/A got through pumping a series of cannon shells into the tail section, radio room and pilot compartment. Superficial damage cause by most of the hits except for Walt, who was killed out right when the shells peppered his position. Ken Ludwolf shot him down on his next pass. Picked up a little activity between this contact and over target but, nothing too serious.
This changed when we were hit by a flight of FW-190s; little friends accounted for three of them and Ken knocked one about blasting chunks of his fuselage. Unbelievably, it didn't stop him, he came on and nothing could prevent him from slamming our Plane full of Kraut lead. His attack was devastating hitting and killing our radio operator Frank Talbolt outright and lightly wounding the starboard gunner Jim Kuderrin. Two guys down already! In the trauma we almost missed the fact that he blasted the bomb bay and stray cannon rounds ricocheted around the bay; only by a hairs breath did we survive! The damage sustained by him finally forced him to break off but, not before he had dealt us a cruel blow.
We just about had time to collect our thoughts when another wave came in on us but were scattered by our little friends again. By this time we were over target and ready to line up on the Bomb Run. Flak started up not long after and again we succumbed to serious damage this time making both the tail guns and top turret guns inoperable. Jim Kuderrin picked up a second light wound. Even with the flak hits the bombardier Phil Sanderson was able to put our load down fair and square bang on target with a 30% success rate. Not brilliant but good enough given the state of my plane and my crew.
On the way back a flight of 5 FW-190s homed in on us again. There was no fighter cover to be found and so we faced them out ourselves. Ken Ludwolf managed to get to the Radio Room gun in an attempt to cover the loss of the tail guns. One of the FW-190s lined up on our six but, Ken didn't have time to blap off any rounds at him before he swept past us, fortunately doing no discernable damage. The others likewise had a rough time of it and didn't manage to land any significant hits. Finally a FW-190 coming in from 9 high was bracketed by Jim Kuderrin's guns and again bits broke of Jerry's Plane but once again this E/A just kept on coming! In the process he claimed the life of a third member of my crew, this time our Bombardier Phil Sanderson. He came back round for another go; this time coming in from the 12 high position. We had nobody who could fire upon him. With little difficulty he opened up on us again and took the life of Herbert Smith in the ball turret. These E/A flyers were fanatics and they were determined to take us down. It seemed a dead cert that our ship could not stand up to this, even if she did structurally we would soon be in the position that we would have no one capable of firing back at them!
Just when we thought we were done for little friends turned up and scattered a couple of Me-110s who were coming in from low climbing steadily against us. With those cleared and following an uneventful scuffle with a sole Fw-190 we were nursed back to the base protected by formation fire on a couple of times. Boy, were we glad to see our base again. But elation at getting back on land was muted with the knowledge that today we had lost four good men; men it will be hard to forget and impossible to replace!
- 1st Lt. Calder, Pilot, Northern Dream, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
CUTTING EDGE, Second flight, right aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with starboard wing flap inoperable, damage to the rudder (1 hit), superficial damage to the fuselage (3 hits), and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Duff.
This was a long mission for our maiden flight. We were straight out of training and not knowing what to expect. The seventy five minutes after take off was taken up with slow climbing turns as we heaved ourselves up to combat altitude and formed up at the rendezvous point. Plenty of cloud which made for some problems with getting into formation and bode ill for our return as it appeared to be thickening rather then thinning. We were in the high squadron, in the middle with Calder and Griffin, guys who we had only just met. Behind us were three ships from the 318th who we only knew by their call signs. Last to turn up were the P-47s sliding in some three to four thousand feet above us. It seemed to me that there were not enough there to cover the whole formation, but then you can never see enough escorts. Everyone now being in place we turned north to cross the Adriatic and the Yugoslav coast.
Although there was plenty of action going on around us it was not until we were lining up for our bomb run that we were attacked by enemy fighters. There were plenty of P-38s around and they managed to catch one of the four Me-109s that were coming for us. The remaining three had us as the meat in the middle of a sandwich. One came in high on the port side and one high on the starboard side as well as one coming in level on the port side. Both waist gunners, and the top and ball turrets were in operation. None of the fighters hit as they flashed passed. From the mixture of swearing and cheering I could make out that the two waist gunners had impeded each other trying to get a shot in but Charlie in the Ball had taken one of the enemy fighters down. Fortunately our little friends chased away the next wave of three fighters as I donít think anyone but Ambrose saw them coming and he could not make himself heard on the intercom.
When we got hit by the flak on the bomb run the noise stopped. We later found on landing that the starboard wing flap took a piece of shrapnel which jammed it shut. Ambrose showed his metal not only had he kept his head during the fighter attack but despite the buffet from the flak hit he still managed to put 40% of our bombs on the target.
Turning away from the target we got jumped by an Me-110 coming up in a vertical climb. We saw him coming and so did the one and only P38 in the sky that we could see. The 110 broke off with itís right engine smoking. More P-38s turned up as we left the target area. They chased an Me109 away that was angling for us unfortunately they missed his two friends who got in clean to attack. The one coming in at 12 high didnít seem to like the lead that the top turret was feeding him and he broke away to our right leaving a trail of debris. This must have disconcerted his friend as he did not press his attack to close range and did no damage. As we left Hungary and entered Yugoslavia, according to our Navigator where we got attacked by two 190s. This time our little friends were no where to be seen. Our defensive fire was ineffective. These guys were good, the one at 10:30 high hit us but did negligible damage, the one at 3:00 level stitched a line of hits from the rudder along the tail fin and into the waist compartment, creasing Matt with a shell fragment. They came back at us lining up at 12 high and level. This time we were ready for them both the nose and top turret getting strikes, but these guys were determined and they still kept coming. Fortunately they both missed and we did not see them again.
Those were the last enemy fighters we saw. Dave Young patched up Mattís wound on the way back. The weather had closed up over Sterparone but we managed to land with no difficulty.
- 1st Lt. John Caldwell, Pilot, Cutting Edge, 316th Bomb Squadron
SATIN DOLL, Third flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 99%. Returned with superficial damage caused by flak to the radio, nose & waist compartments, 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Wheeler.
The Satin Doll's trip to Gyor, although long, wasn't as bad as it could have been. Courtesy of the escort and the rest of the A/C in the formation, we didn't receive any attention from the Krauts until we were halfway across Yugoslavia. Three Me-109s lined up on our nose high, dead ahead, and low. These were quickly dispatched by the Jug Jockeys. While the Jugs tore into the Jerries in front of us, another 109 tried to slip up under us from dead astern. PeeWee hammered away with the tail .50's and tore its engine right out of the mounts. The escorts and other formation A/C kept the Hun at bay the rest of the way to the target.
Flak over Gyor was medium thick as briefed and fairly accurate. We got bounced around by three bursts in rapid succession directly below us. A quick check on the interphone revealed that we had some new ventilation in the radio room, nose and waist. Brad Wall called in that he had been nicked in the left calf by a fragment, but that he would be OK. Even after a chunk of flak zinged by his head, PJ remained cool enough to get a good setup and put an estimated 99% of the load into the center building of the factory complex.
Rallying off target, we drew no attention from the Jerries buzzing around the formation.
The next time a Kraut got close was shortly after crossing the Hungarian-Yugoslav border. A solo FW in a vertical dive made a fast pass at us. Both Swede and George opened up on him with the radio and top turret guns, filling the sky above with lead. Somehow, the 190 made it through the hail of .50 cal rounds without a scratch, fired a short burst that missed wide, and barreled right through the formation heading for the lower squadrons.
The rest of the trip home was quiet for us, and
despite the marginal weather, we made a good landing.
Superior defensive fire from other B-17's in formation.
Outstanding bombing by Capt. Morris
- Capt. J.P. McConnell, Pilot, A/C 42-11806 Satin Doll, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
317th BS (High)
THE BRAZEN HUSSY, Third flight, left wingman
Took off but did not form up due to intercom failure. Returned to base.
NATURE'S MISFITS, Lead flight, left aircraft
Runway abort. Did not participate in the mission.
399th BS (LOW)
CAROLINA LADY II, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with starboard aileron inoperable, navigation equipment destroyed, superficial damage to the fuselage (3 hits), to the waist and tail sections (2 hits each), to the nose, pilot, radio room compartments (1 each), and starboard wing (1 hit) and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-109 by 1st Lt. Stein, 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Barnes, 1 Me-110 apiece by Sgts. Smitley & Holly.
The Krauts must really like the planes they make down there. We got hit by 13 separate waves of E/A beginning about 125 miles from the target and continuing until about 75 miles from base. The Group's formation was good and tight today-defensive fire from other A/C drove off 4 waves of fighters. Our escorts kept some of the Krauts off of us on the way there, but the flight home was rough.
About 90 miles from the target we came under a frontal attack by FW-190s. Stein got one with the nose guns and Barnes damaged another with the top guns. Two 110's tried to sneak up on us from underneath but the escorts dove on them and drove them off.
There was pretty much a running gunfight from this point on, with Jerry only breaking off when we entered the flak field, and picking us up again on the other side. We took two flak hits--blowing off the starboard aileron and putting some holes in the tail. We dropped on target.
During the next 2 hours or so we shot down 4 more E/A--Smitley got a 110 coming up underneath us, Holly got another 110 that somehow weaved its way through the rest of the squadron to park on our tail, Barnes got 190 coming in from 12 high, and Stein got his 2nd of the day--a 109 coming head-on. We collected holes all over the ship and Captain Choate got hit by an MG slug--a real bleeder but not a serious wound--he's over getting patched up now.
A 20mm shell destroyed the navigator station and a lot of charts flew out the rather large hole in the nose. Landed hard but no damage to the ship. We fired off about 40% of our ammo.
- 1st Lt. Fletcher, co-pilot, Carolina Lady II
LUCY QUIPMENT, Lead flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with
superficial damage to bomb bay and radio compartments, and no casualties.
Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-110 by Lt. Edwards & 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Thompson.
The mission went off well from form up to the target. Our escorts did a good job and the few times the Germanís made it past the boys shot them up good. Lt. Edwards showed outstanding skill with the 50 cals, he damaged an Fw-190 coming in from 12 oíclock low after we crossed into Yugoslavia and Sgt. Thompson destroyed another attempting to come in from 6 oíclock low.
Upon reaching the target Lt. Edwards placed over 60% of our bomb load in the target area.
After leaving Gyor we came under attack once again, we fought a running battle with several fighters. Lt. Edwards shot the wing off another Fw-190 making a head-on pass. Later he severely damaged a Me-110 attempting an attack from 1:30 low forcing the enemy aircraft to break off his attack. While we seemed to be on the top of our gunner game today the Jerryís had a hard time hitting us.
The only real problem we encountered was after crossing the coast of Yugoslavia when the #3 turbocharger malfunctioned forcing us out of formation.
- 1st Lt. Gibson, Pilot, Lucy Quipment, 399th Bomb Squadron
LAURALEE, Lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with minor flak damage to tail compartment
and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by 2nd Lt. Winslow, 1 Me-110 shared by
Sgts. Ward and Mauch. 2nd Lt. Winslow's claim was later confirmed by S-2.
A quiet ride most of the way in--must have been because there were so many Forts in the air along with us. A couple 190s made a run at us just inside the Hungarian border, and our new bombardier (Winslow) creased one. One 109 dove down on us over target, and that was it--the 38s did a good job protecting us. We took some flak to the tail, but nothing serious, and plastered the target good.
The formation tightened up as we turned for home. A few more Germans attacked us; Ralphie and Terry got a 110 coming up behind us, and the others didn't hit us. Other than that, quiet all the way home. Maybe the Germans were hitting the B-24 groups for a change.
- 1st Lt. Bill Hearn, Pilot, Laurelee, 399th Bomb Squadron
MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned out of
formation with #1 engine, Pilot Compartment and radio room heating systems
inoperable, mechanical failures to the elevator controls & ball turret, damage
to the port wing root and rudder. One casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by SSgt.
Rance, and 1 Me-109 apiece by Sgts. Sawyer & Boyer.
The P-38s did most of the job against the fighters on this mission. One 109 shot out the pilot compartment and the radio room heaters when we were 50 miles east of Zagreb and I left the formation. We encountered some light inaccurate flak, but there were not many fighters active. Those that were in the area were driven off by the P-38s.
- 1st Lt. Paul Day, Pilot, Midnight Express
MAWIMAZO, Second flight, right aircraft
Bombed target, 75%. Returned with superficial damage to the waist compartment and no casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Larry Wolfe and 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Kramer.
Happy to report that the new additions to the crew have really bolstered the morale of all of the boys. We had a smooth take off and form up, and didn't encounter any enemy aircraft until midway over Yugoslavia (zone 4). A lone ME-109 dropped down on us on a vertical dive, but Herndon managed to hit it a couple of times and scare it off without any damage to us.
As we entered Hungary, we got jumped by 4 more 109s, but 2nd Lt. Wolfe, our new bombardier, quickly bettered our odds, turning the bandit at 12 high into a ball of flame. One of the bandits attacking from 9 level managed to lay some shells into us, and we thought we had another waist gunner injured, but miraculously the slugs ripped through Sgt. Carbone's flight suit and didn't touch skin. As that Kraut bastard came around for another go at us, he go the full treatment, taking slugs from Lt. Wolfe's chin gun, then getting hit again by Lt. Alexander's cheek gun, and finally being finished off and sent flaming to the ground by a passing shot from Sgt. Kramer. As we lined up for our bombing run, we got hit by 3 more 109s, but once again Lt. Wolfe evened up the odds by downing the bandit at 12 high with the chin gun. One of the other bandits hit us with a couple of shells, but didn't do any significant damage. He started swinging around to have another go at us but was chased off by the escorts.
I was a bit worried about Wolfe's concentration with all the fighting he was doing, but he was spectacular, laying what looked like about 75% of the load on target!
We got jumped pretty quick by four more 109s as we turned for home, but Sgt. Vetter stung one of them and the rest took one run at us and then took off. The morale boost was palpable on the flight back after that, and the boys were so excited that I had to keep reminding them to stay alert. We encountered a trio of 190s over Yugoslavia on the way back, but the fighters chased off one of them, and a lot of lead was exchanged but nobody scored any hits on either side. The fighters were solid on the way home, chasing off another trio of bandits as we crossed the Adriatic, and we had a smooth landing to end our most successful mission yet.
- 1st Lt. Todd Fairbanks, Pilot, Mawimazo
COLORADO GOLD, Second flight, left wingman
Aborted zone 3 due to bombardier being incapacitated. Returned alone and out-of-formation landed with tail guns knocked out of action, damage to the co-pilot's oxygen system, superficial holes on the starboard wing flap, starboard tail plane, nose and radio room compartments and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Padderick (later confirmed by S-2).
We started the day optimistic and ended it with bitter disappointment. Take off was smooth and we encountered no enemy aircraft until over Yugoslavia (zone 3). Four 109s came at us from 12 level, 12 low, 12 high, and 10:30 level. We opened up on them but didn't hit anything. The 109 at 12 low missed. The 109 at 12 high hit us but didn't cause any real damage. The 109 at 10:30 level hit us, sending a few rounds trough the nose compartment but not hitting anything vital. The 109 at 12 level came straight at us as he fired his guns into the nose compartment. I heard 2nd Lt. Olsen, our navigator, call out that Lt. Montague, our bombardier, had been hit. One of the 109s must have been driven off by fighter cover as only 2 came back at us from 10:30 level and 1:30 level. When the cheek guns remained silent I knew that Montague had been hit bad. Olsen wouldn't have left his position to help him if it wasn't serious. Both 109s hit us causing only superficial damage except for 2nd Lt. Summersvill's oxygen supply took a hit but didn't knock it out of commission. As the 109 from 10:30 passed by us, Sgt. Spencer, our tail gunner, took a big chunk out of his wing. The crew saw him peel off and head for home. The last 109 was driven off by the little friends as he was trying to come at us again. 2nd Lt. Olsen had some medical training before joining up. I asked him what he thought about 2nd Lt. Montague. Olsen said Montague was losing a lot of blood and had lost consciousness. I informed the crew that I was aborting the mission. I didn't have to give any explanation as to why. Everyone knew that no one else on board would be able to get the bombs anywhere near the drop zone. No one said it but we all knew that if it had been one of us instead of Montague we would have pressed on with the flight. The crew was silent as we dropped out of formation and began to turn around.
Just as we had completed our turn and started to head for home 5 more 109s came at us. Two of them were driven off by our fighter cover leaving three 109s at 12, 10:30, and 1:30, all high. We missed them and they returned the favor by missing us. One more was driven off by our fighter cover and the last 2 came in at 9 high. One of them missed but the other put some rounds in to the radio room and the tail section. The radio room escaped without any serious damage but Sgt Spencer had his tail guns knocked out of order. The two 109s came at us again from 9 level and 6 level. Sgt. Padderick took out the one at 9 level with the ball gun before he got a shot off. Sgt. Spencer was yelling into the intercom "he's coming right at me" as he watched the 109 coming at him over his useless guns. Unbelievably the 109 missed us! He must have been embarrassed to have missed such a perfect target because we saw bank away from us and headed back north-by-east.
The rest of the flight passed without any more action, which was fine by us.
As we approached Sterparone Field we sent up flares to let them know we had wounded on board. We landed safely and the ambulance pulled up before we even got the engines shut off. 2nd Lt. Montague was carefully unloaded and transported to the base infirmary.
Post Script: I went to see 2nd Lt. Montague in the infirmary after completing the above report. The doctor told me that he will recover but his shoulder will never be the same. We were relieved to find out that he will live.
- 1st Lt. Daryl Evans, Pilot, Colorado Gold
CIVIC DUTY III, Third flight, lead aircraft (TAIL-END CHARLIE)
Shot down by enemy fighters over Yugoslavia
(zone-4 inbound). Two KIA, 6 POWs and 2 MIA.
Civic Duty III dropped from formation near Gyor (inbound zone 6), radio communication from Civic Duty a short time later (zone 5) indicated they had suffered several direct hits to the fuel tanks and were going down (on fire) some where in Yugoslavia (zone 4).
- MACR#91, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
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