MISSION 62 - BUCHAREST AARs
399th BS (LEAD)
LUCY QUIPMENT, Lead flight, Lead Aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with raft destroyed, starboard aileron, starboard waist MG & tail turret guns inoperable, damage to the both tail planes root, damage to the control cables, superficial damage to the port wing (2), starboard wing (1), to the nose, flight deck (1), bomb bay (4), radio (3), and waist (1) compartments and 1 serious casualty. Claims: 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Campbell.
The mission was routine until we entered Bulgaria and then we came under attack from multiple groups of enemy fighters. We were hit in the nose and flight deck and Sgt. Campbell destroyed a Me-110 attacking from below. This attack wounded Lt. Jacob and scored several superficial hit in the bomb bay.
The attacks did not break off until we started our bomb run. Lt. Phelps managed to drop 30% of our bomb load on the target area.
We came under attack again after leaving the target area suffering additional damage to the tail and waist area.
According to the flight surgeon Lt. Jacob will eventually recover, but he will be returning home.
- Major Art DiFilippo, Pilot, Lucy Quipment, 399th Bomb Squadron
GRIN 'N BARE IT, Lead flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Left formation after bomb
run and returned alone with port wing landing gear, the #4 engine, port elevator
and the top and tail turret inoperable, fire damage to the tail compartment
oxygen system, damage to the rudder and port wing root hit, superficial hits and
1 light casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by 2nd Lt. Dwight & SSgt. West.
The first part of our first mission went very well. We had no problems during take off or the assembly.
We crossed the sea and made landfall over Split. Both on the way to the target and back, there was intense fighter activity in this area, as well as in the target area and in the vicinity. Some krauts were driven off by the Little Friends, but after we left formation over Bucharest after the bomb run, we were on our own for the most part.
Severely damaged by flak we missed the target completely.
- 1st Lt. Ignatious Ellsworth, Pilot, Grin 'N Bare It, 399th Bomb Squadron
LAURALEE II, Lead flight, right aircraft
Bombed target 0%. Returned with rubber rafts shot up, Norden bombsight, Intercom, port wing flaps, heat out for the starboard waist position, tail turret guns, starboard elevators all inoperable, damage to the starboard wing root (2), to the rudder (1), to the cockpit oxygen system hit (1), lots of holes all over a/c with 3 casualties and 1 case of frostbite. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by Lt. Williams, 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Ross, and 1 Me-109 shared by Sgts. Ward and Parkinson.
Where the hell was the fighter cover? We got pounded right when we crossed the Romanian border and the Krauts and Romanians didn't let up until we crossed back over again. At one point five of them were coming at us. They shot us up good--the plane looks like Swiss Cheese--but didn't hit too many vital parts. They got the bomb sight early on, so God knows what we hit. Flak was heavy. The old timers say it can get so thick you think you can land on it; I didn't believe them until today.
We gave it back to them though. Andy got one, which by his unofficial count makes him an Ace, though S-2 probably won't confirm this one either. He also had a close call when a bullet passed through the glass of his turret. It would have nailed him in the head if he hadn't been ducking down to tell us something (the intercom was out, which made it real quiet in the plane except for the engine noise and all the shooting by us and the Krauts). Chuck got one with the cheek gun, and Terry and Park got one coming in abeam. Poor Park--Krauts nicked him, and they got his suit heater. He was miserable. Docs say he'll be okay though. He's luckier than Frank, who got hit twice.
Anyway, we made it back, shot all to hell. Damned Krauts even chased us over the Adriatic. I thought the Mustangs were supposed to give us more protection for the long missions like this one?
- 1st Lt. Bill Hearn, Pilot, Lauralee, 399th Bomb Squadron
THUNDERMUG, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with the
navigation gear and starboard flaps inoperable, superficial damage to the
fuselage (2), to the tail (1) and starboard wing (1) and 3 light casualties.
Claims: 2 Me-109s by SSgt. Bowdrie, and 1 ME-109 apiece by 1st Lts. Orwing and
Take off and assembly went fine.
Many E/A attacked formation beginning at the Romanian-Yugo border and stayed with us all the way to the target and back to the coast. Good group defensive fire and the escorts drove off most.
In target area, heavy flak followed by intense fighter attacks. During the bomb run gunners reported seeing 6-possibly 7 chutes from B17 out of the high squadron-this may have been "Flying Misfits". During the air battle our gunners shot down 4 Me-109s--both waist gunners and Sgt. Holly in the tail got hit--nobody seriously.
- Capt. Jerry Logan, Pilot, Thundermug, 399th Bomb Squadron
SWEET LUCY, Second flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with the port wing aileron, the top turret and port waist gun inoperable, superficial damage to the nose compartment and 3 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-110 by 2nd Lt. Pinuelas and 1 Me-109 by unknown.
The SWEET LUCY flew with little problems until over Yugoslavia. There, we were attacked by several Me-110s, one of which shot up our nose section, killing our bombardier 2nd Lt. Charles McGhenty. In this same attack, our navigator, 2nd Lt. Frank Pinuelas, was wounded but still managed to man a gun and shot down one of the attacking Me-110s. Accurate gunfire from other gunners damaged two other Me-110s and they never came back at us. We saw no escort fighters until we began our flight home.
Both approaching and over Bucharest, we had brief encounters with Fw-190s, two of which were damaged by our gunfire. We were hit twice by flak, one burst wounded our engineer/top turret gunner Sgt. Vernon Brookfield and rendered the top turret inoperable.
We attempted to bomb our target, the marshalling yards, but I must report that I do not believe we hit the intended target.
Flying home, we were shot at by both Me-109s and solo Fw190s. We lost use of our port wing aileron and our port machinegun.
The SWEET LUCY landed without problems or incidents.
Our crew chief reports that he should have our ship ready for the next mission, patching numerous holes, fixing the aileron and top turret mechanism and replacing the port waist machinegun.
The medical report regarding Flight Engineer/TT Gunner Sgt. Brookfield is not good. He will probably recover from his wounds, but will be sent home. 2nd Lt. Pinuelas will be recovered and able to perform his duties for the next mission.
2nd Lt. Hans Van Durham
SSgt. David Western
Two enemy aircraft destroyed: 1 Me-109 & 1 Me-110
Five enemy aircraft damaged: 1 Me-109, 2 Fw-190s & 2 Me-110s
- 1st Lt. Terrance Cassidy, USAAC, Pilot, Sweet Lucy, 399th Bomb Squadron
SNAFU II, Third flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with #4 engine inoperable and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Seaver.
This mission was basically a milk run for my crew. We saw only 3 inbound fighters the whole mission, and SSgt. Seaver shot one of them down. While the flak over the target was heavy, it was mostly above us, and only hit our #4 engine. Lt. Peterson reports our run was on target and 60% of our load hit the mark.
- 1st Lt. Benjamin Bailer, Pilot, SNAFU II, 399th Bomb Squadron
MAWIMAZO, Third flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with port landing gear inoperable, minor damage to the nose compartment and 1 light casualty. Claims: 2 Me-110s by Sgt. Vetter and 1 Me-109 apiece by Lt. Westell & SSgt. Hearndon.
We finally seemed to have worked out the gremlins from our aircraft, and we had a very successful mission, although we were disappointed with our bomb placement. Lt. Westell more than made up for it though be downing a 109 and chasing off 3 others.
We had very little enemy contact until we hit the target area, and we had some scary moments as we took multiple hits to our port wing. We found out later that our landing gear was malfed as a result of that attack, but our time on the gunnery range has certainly paid off as the crew shot down or damaged 9 enemy aircraft during the mission. Lt. Alexander suffered a minor hand injury when one of the Krauts peppered the plane, but overall the boys landed in good spirits and we are all off to celebrate our two new aces with a few pints.
- 2nd Lt. Clarence McCarty, Pilot, Mawimazo, 399th Bomb Squadron
318th BS (HIGH)
ZEBRA'S REVENGE, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with minor damage (65 damage points) and no casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 apiece by Sgts. Mitchell & Miles and 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Owens; Sgt. Owens' claim was later confirmed by S-2.
The flight was a little rough we saw a few bandits and were lucky to escape serious damage when we were hit by FLAK. We were still able to hit the target and with the help of our Friends the flight back was not without some excitement when we were jumped by two waves of 190s. With all the bullets flying across the sky we did not get hit for any serious damage and were able to send two of the 190s to there final resting place.
- Major Mick Mikula, Pilot, Zebra's Revenge, CO 318th Bomb Squadron
FLYING MISFITS, Lead flight, Left wingman
Reached target area but did not not bomb. Damaged by flak over Bucharest, A/C left formation, crew reported bailed out. Plane crashed near outskirts of Bucharest.
From sources considered reliable, the following
have been reported as Prisoners-of-War:
1st Lt. John J. McIntosh, 2nd Lt. Sam M. Bowden, 2nd Lt. James P. Knowles, 2nd Lt. William M. Jones, SSgt. Peter J. Alexander, TSgt. Clifford K. Holmstein, Sgt. James G. Powers and Sgt. Scott A. Thatcher
The following are listed as Missing In Action:
Sgt. Anthony L. Glover and Sgt. Charles K. Andrews.
- MACR 00123746, May 6, 1944, A/C 43-8882, McIntosh Crew
MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, Lead flight, Right wingman
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with rafts shot up and light superficial damage (2) to the aircraft and no casualties.
We didn't run into any fighters all the way to the target. We also didn't take any flak hits over the target allowing us to get 60% of our bombs on target. On the return flight home we weren't quite so lucky. Midway through Yugoslavia (zone-4) we were jumped by 3 109's but neither was able to score any hits.
Leaving Yugoslavia for the Adriatic (zone-3) we were attacked by 3 more 109's. The Tail gunner was able to damage one of the 109's but the other 2 did get hits on our bird. We took 2 superficial hits and the rubber raft was damaged.
The Landing was uneventful.
- 1st Lt. David Belden, Pilot, Midnight Express, 318th Bomb Squadron
GERTRUDE, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Shot down by fighters and crashed landed in Yugoslavia (zone-5) during return journey. 2 KIA, 7 POWs and 1 MIA.
We had it pretty light until we got midway through Yugoslavia (zone-4). That is when Shipley (Navigator) was hit and put out of commission.
Things fell apart over the target. We were
jumped by what seemed like an unending supply of Jerry fighters. By the
time I took control of the plane for the bomb run we had lost heat in the tail
and pilot compartments, the starboard landing gear was out, and the starboard
was leaking fuel. Despite that I was able to get some of the bombs on target.
On our way out of the target area, the Jerry's took out the heat in the nose, knocked out the elevator controls, and engine #4.
With no heat in most of the plane we had to drop out of formation. We new we were losing fuel but thought we could make it to open water and ditch. Despite being all alone we nobody bothered us for awhile, once I saw a bunch of fighters drive off some Jerry's that were showing interest in us.
We had just crossed into Yugoslavia (zone-5) when we got jumped by a flight of 109's. Must have been 5 or 6 of them. They managed to take out Engine #1. That ended our chances of making it to water or the coast. Lts. Keen and Porter did a nice job of putting us down in an fairly open field despite all the damage to the plane. Unfortunately, Lt. Shipley and Sgt. O'Rourke did not survive the landing. The rest of us were wounded to one degree or another.
Those of us that could took off for the boonies.
I was able to hide out for a day or so and then was picked up by these great
folks from the
Yugoslavian resistance. It took a while but I finally got back.
*Added to Squadron mission log after return of 2nd Lt. Jack Ansoff by Yugoslavian resistance.*
IRON MAIDEN, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with a wing tank holed, aileron controls, starboard brakes, tail section heating system & turret inoperable, superficial damage to the cockpit waist compartment and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Hand, and 1 Me-109 apiece by 2nd Lt. Bedford, SSgt. Despain, and TSgt. MacKenzie.
Uneventful run into the target and we put 40% of our bombs on target. However, immediately upon leaving the target zone we were jumped pretty bad. Gil in the nose got a piece of a 190, but an Me-109 raked the waist, severely wounding Hal and lightly wounding Regi. Both stayed at their weapons. In fact, on the next pass, Regi got a piece of another 109 and Jim in the upper turret shot down a second 109. They left us alone for a bit after that.
After a brief rest, we were jumped again and the wing took a pretty bad hit. We had a fuel leak that was made it iffy if we were going to reach Italy. We also lost the aileron controls and the starboard landing gear took a heck of a hit.
We were jumped four more times on the return. We lost the tail gun and heat, but both the radio operator and ball gunner got kills (109 and 190).
Somehow, despite all the damage we were able to make it down safely. Unfortunately, Hal didn't survive his wounds. We'll need a new gunner from the pool. Regi will make a full recovery.
- 2nd Lt. Buck Buds, Pilot, Iron Maiden, 318th Bomb Squadron
316th BS (HIGH)
BALTIMORE QUEEN, Second flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 5%. Returned with #4 engine inoperable, port outer fuel tank holed, port flaps and bomb sight destroyed, cockpit windows shattered, damage to the tail wheel, control cables, port wing root, and 4 casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 by 2nd Lt. Sweeney and 1 FW-190 by SSgt. McCulloch (Sgt. McCulloch's claims was later confirmed by S-2).
First mission from sunny Italy to Bucharest.
It was very hard, it’s one thing to formation fly in training, you do all the
drills, but that is all
they are drills. It doesn’t prepare you for combat. This was for real, trying to keep close formation, keeping an eye out fighters. It was a long mission and real tough. If they are all going to be like this then this is going to be one bitch of a war.
We saw lots of fighters all the way at first we thought they were all coming after us but it wasn’t until we were half way across Yugoslavia that we were actually attacked by four Fw-190s, three of which got through to us. By the time they eventually broke away the top turret was inoperable, we had both the navigator and tail gunner seriously wounded, and the port wing flap was shot away. However we did manage to knock down one of our attackers.
Both Gary and Pete were unconscious from their wounds and appeared to be stable. Going out of formation without a navigator was not something we relished so we pulled Pete up from the tail turret to the pilots’ compartment and moved Phil down to the tail. While we were doing this we were again heavily attacked. Our escorts disappeared and three Me-110s took advantage. We managed to beat off the attack but Phil took a light wound as he moved to man the tail guns. The 110s were followed up by an equal number of 109s. They blew away the Nordon and splattered the Queen with additional hits then disappeared.
Mercifully we were left alone until we got to the target area. We used the time to shift ammunition and to move John from the Port Waist to man the cheek guns and to make Pete and Gary as comfortable as possible.
Over the target we seemed to have been adopted by some little friends who did a great job breaking up the incoming attacks. The first wave of five Me-109 lost two of their number to these guys, Marty got another with the nose gun and of the remaining two one missed and the other put some more holes in us and then got chased away. Our little friends then set upon a couple of FWs who were lining up on us and totally spoilt their day.
Then all the fighters disappeared just as the flak started coming up. I have never seen anything like it. There was lots of it and it was accurate. We took a burst amidships under the starboard wing and we immediately lost oil pressure on no. 4. We did manage to feather it before we lost it altogether. Marti did his best with the bombs but we couldn’t say how well we did.
On the other side of the target there was a half hearted attempt to attack us by some fighters but they gave up trying to get to us through the rest of the formation. The same happened again as we crossed Romania and we began to hope that the worst was over and the enemy had given up.
Then as we were crossing over to Yugoslavia our
escorts disappeared and were replaced by five FW-190s coming at us from all
directions. We survived. We took damage everywhere however the waist
was riddled and Ron took a light wound and Gary who we had moved there from nose
was killed. Most worryingly of all was the stream of fuel leaking out of
our port wing without Gary we had no way of knowing if we would make it.
Once we got into Yugoslavia our little friends reappeared in numbers and drove
off the next attack by two 110 s and
chased away three of the five Me-109s that came after us and then the remaining two as they came back for another attack. Unfortunately in that attack they managed to knock out the tail turret so Phil once again moved, this time to the port waist.
That was the last attack. We sweated out the fuel leak and just managed to get back landing on the last fumes in the gas tank.
- 1st Lt. Gary Sanderson, Pilot, Baltimore Queen, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
SNAKE EYES, Third Lead aircraft
Mission aborted zone 5 due to loss of compartment heat and casualties. Returned alone and landed safely at Sterparone Field with radio destroyed, bombardier and navigator compartments heat inoperable, superficial damage to port wing, port tail plane, bomb bay, waist compartment, radio compartment, nose, and control cables (82 points), and 4 casualties.
The weather was perfect as we took off from Sterparone, and we easily found our place in the high squadron of the combat box, behind the B-17s of the 317th.
As soon as we hit the Yugoslavian coast we were literally swarmed with German fighters. Practically all of them were FW-190s, and they made repeated, coordinated, diving attacks on us from all directions –- scoring hits on our B-17 on almost every pass. Our gunners were able to get a few hits on the 190s but couldn’t knock any of them down nor discourage them from continuing their attacks. P-51s managed to chase off one of the fighters attacking us, but we never saw another “little friend” after that.
We battled these 190s practically non-stop all the way through Yugoslavia. On their first pass, one of them knocked out our radio. One fanatically determined kraut made three passes at us, riddling our ship, wounding McClain, Anderson (twice), and Bishop, and knocking out the nose compartment heating elements. I also sustained a minor hand wound that did not hinder my ability to fly or command.
When Lt. Eastburn called over the intercom to tell me that McClain had been hit in the shoulder and that the heat was out in the nose, I decided to abort the mission. We dropped out of formation, descended to 10,000 feet, and waited for the fighters to finish us off.
Luckily for us, the fighters must have stayed with our formation. For other than a pair that made a half-hearted attack as we neared the Adriatic, we didn’t see another fighter the rest of the way home. A little light flak came up at us occasionally, but it wasn’t very close.
As I prepared to land, I discovered that I’d forgotten to jettison our bombs when I aborted the mission over Yugoslavia –- a stupid mistake on my part. Bishop was in so much pain and had lost so much blood from a horrid knee wound that I decided against heading back over the sea to dump the bombs. S o I set her down as gently as I could and prayed. I feel bad about Bishop –- he was just filling in on this mission for Clellan, and now it looks like he might lose that leg.
The intensity, ferocity, and tenacity of the German fighter attacks makes me think that they may have been led by one of their “experten.”
- 1st Lt. Harold Snakenburg, Pilot, Snake Eyes, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
VENGEFUL HARLOT, Third Flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with auto-pilot destroyed, top turret guns a total loss, Norden bomb sight shattered, damage to the rudder (60%), to the port wing root (20%), and multiple superficial holes of various sizes throughout aircraft (230 Damage points per Peckham's damage chart) and 5 casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 & 1 ME-109 by SSgt. Ohm (SSgt. Ohm's Me-109 claim was later confirmed by S-2), 1 ME-109 by 2nd Lt. Hampton, 1 FW-190 shared by 2nd Lts. Hampton and Torbett, 1 ME-110 by Sgt. Piano, and 1 ME-110 shared by Sgt. Piano and Burmeister.
We were airborne by 0745 hours with a load of 2300
gallons of gasoline, 4000 pounds of M43, GP-HE bombs, full load of ammunition,
and the usual weight of men and equipment. Everything on plane was in operational order. We joined the group formation at 0820 hours.
We took it on the chin today. Jerry was ready and willing to take us out of the sky, how we made it home I don't know. Around an hour out Jerry jumped us. Luckily their shots was off. From here on out we fought our way to the target and back.
By the time we made the target zone we had encountered scores of enemy fighters. At least twelve of them made attacks on our ship. The mix of fighters consisted of mostly Focke-Wulfs 190s, some Messerschmitt 109s and three Messerschmitt 110s. On the way in we took damage to our auto pilot, lost our top turret, port wing flap was shot off, the rudder took 66% damage as well as the port root took 20% damage. That was on top of loosing Sgt. Franklyn, KIA, and TSgt. Andrews, taking a serious wound to the chest.
Lieutenant Hampton and Lieutenant Torbett did destroy one of the FW-190s. Hampton also destroyed an Me-109 before the target, as well as Sgt Piano and Sgt. Burmeister downing one of the Me-110. Even Sgt. Snider destroyed a Me109 from the starboard waist position. At one point we did get a slight breather, where SSgt. Ohm moved some of his ammo to the nose for the chin turret.
Flak was heavy and accurate as the Bastards hit the nose hard killing both Lts. Hampton and Torbett. Luckily SSgt. Ohm had just left the nose when this happened, though his was shaken for a bit. Lt. Vandergrift left the cockpit for a moment to go down and toggle the bombs and revive Ohm. After this he returned and Ohm manned the forward gun positions.
The trip home we fended of around nineteen more enemy fighters. Of which Sgt. Piano downed another Me-110 and SSgt. Ohm destroyed a FW-190.
We took very little damage from these attacks till we were over the Adriatic and a FW-190 walked us from rear-to-front. He lightly wounded Lt. Vandergrift in his right hand and took out the Norden bombsight. Ohm was starting to worry that Jerry had his number today.
We did see a mid-air collision as we made Italy. This happened in one of the lower squadrons. That is a scary thing to see.
Landing went well and the medics took care of our wounded.
Our gunners shot down 6 enemy aircraft and damaged
a further 10 enemy aircraft.
KIA - 2nd Lt. Walter Hampton
KIA - 2nd Lt. Dominic Torbett
SW - TSgt. andrew Cormack(chest - Invalidated)
LW - 2nd Lt. Pedro Vandergraft (right hand)
2nd Lt. Dillin Hogue, navigator, Hidalgo, TX
2nd Lt. Conrad Flynn, bombardier, Damascus, AR
TSgt. Kevin Witczak, radioman, Flagler Beach, FL
Sgt. Gerardo Inocencio, gunner, Denmark, SC (released from infirmary)
Damage repairable in two days
Repair/replace rudder (60%)
Repair port wing root (20%)
Replace Norden bomb sight
Replace top turret .50 cals
Repair/patch up numerous superficial holes
2nd Lt. W. Hampton: 1 ME-109 KIA, 0.5 FW-190 KIA, 3 FW-190s Probables & 1 ME-110 probable
2nd Lt. D. Torbett: 0.5 FW-190 KIA
SSgt. R. Ohm: 1 Me-109 & 1 FW-190 KIA, & 1 FW-190 damaged
Sgt. D. Piano: 1.5 Me-110 KIA, 1 FW-190 Probable & 1 FW-190 damaged
Sgt. F. Snider: 1 FW-190 damaged
Sgt. C. Burmeister: 0.5 Me-110 KIA, 1 FW-190 & 2 Me-109s Probable
- 1st Lt. Gary Tines, Pilot, Vengeful Harlot, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
CABALLERO, Third Flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 75%. Returned with #3 engine and port aileron inoperable, both waist .50s, ball and tail turret guns inoperable, starboard wing inboard fuel tank holed (self-sealed), damage to the oxygen systems to the nose and radio compartments, structural damage to the starboard wing root, superficial damage to both wings, to the starboard aileron, to the fuselage, to the bomb bay doors, to the nose, pilots', radio, waist and tail compartments, and 4 casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 and 1 ME-109 by SSgt. Simeon.
317th BS (LOW)
TULE LAKE SAMURAI III, Lead flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with starboard landing gear and starboard waist gun inoperable, damage to the starboard waist gunner’s oxygen supply, to the rudder (65%), to the port wing (60%) and starboard wing roots (20%), the starboard tail plane root (35%), superficial damage to the fuselage, on both wings, to the #2 & #3 engines, to the bomb bay, nose, waist compartments, and 3 casualties. Claims: 2 FW-190s & 1 ME-109 by SSgt. Kitano, 1 FW-190 by 2nd Lt. Hiromine. Lt. Hiromine's claim was later confirmed by S-2.
Took off from Sterparone Field, Foggia, Italy without any problems or malfunctions.
At checkpoint 3 we encountered bogies coming in
from the north (9 o’clock) but they were chased away be machine gun fire from
the bomb group before they were able to attack the formation.
Five (5) miles from checkpoint 4 we again spotted bogies, this time coming in from the rear. Again they were chased away by machine gun fire from the bomb group before they were able to attack.
Ten (10) miles after checkpoint 5, two (2) ME-110s attacked from ahead; the one was chased away by fighters from the 31st Fighter Group while the one coming in from 12 low missed the plane and didn’t return.
At checkpoint 6 we were attacked by three (3) ME-109s coming in from head-on. One came in from 1:30 level and missed the plane and didn’t return. The other two came in from 12 level and high each hit the plane once, hitting the waist and port wing. The hit to the port wing was to the root of the wing while the hit to the waist superficial. They were able to return both coming in from 10:30 level. One missed the plane and didn’t return while the other was able to hit the plane in the fuselage causing superficial damage. It returned coming in from 12 high but it was chased away by fighters from the 31st Fighter Group before it was able to attack the bomber.
Just after checkpoint 7 we were jumped by five (5) FW-190s coming in from all around us. One was chased away by fighters from the 1st Fighter Group. A fighter coming in from 9 high was hit by both the top and port waist gunners causing minor damage to the fighter. The one coming in from 12 high was hit by the chin turret also causing minor damage. Both of these fighters missed the plane and didn’t return. The one coming in from behind at 6 high also missed the plane and didn’t return. The last one coming in from 3 high was able to hit the plane twice in the tail, hitting the rudder and seriously wounding the tail gunner. The plane returned from 9 high and it was badly hit by the top turret causing it to miss the bomber and not return.
Just before we reached target we were attacked by two (2) waves of fighters. The first one consisting of three (3) FW-190s coming in from head-on. One of the fighters was chased off by fighters from the 82nd fighter group. The other two attacked high from 12 and 1:30 but both missed the plane and didn’t return. The second wave consisted of five (5) FW-190s coming in from all sides. One sneaking up from behind was chased off by fighters from the 82nd fighter group. A fighter coming in from 9 high was hit and damaged by the top gunner but was still able to hit the plane doing a walking hit on the wings, causing another root hit on the port wing and superficial damage to the wing. The hit to the starboard wing caused superficial damage to the wing and caused superficial damage to the #3 engine. The one coming in from 3 high was also able to hit the plane three (3) times: once in the tail and twice in the port wing. The hits to the port wing again hit the root of the wing and wing area while the hit to the tail again hit the rudder. The fighters that came in high from 1:30 and 12 missed the bomber and didn’t return. Two fighters tried to re-attack but they chased away by fighters from the 82nd Fighter Group before they were able to attack the bomber.
We encountered HEAVY flak and was hit a total of five (5) times, once in the waist, tail, starboard wing, and twice in the port wing. The hits to the port wing were superficial in nature. The hit to the starboard wing was to the root area of the wing. The hit to the tail was also superficial and the hit to the waist damaged the oxygen system to the starboard waist gunner.
With the heavy flak that we encountered, we weren’t able to line up the bomber on target and wasn’t able to put any of the bombs on the railroad facility.
On the turn around we again encountered two (2) waves of fighters. The first one consisting of three (3) FW-190s. Fighters from the 1st Fighter Group were able to chase away the fighter coming in from 3 high before it was able to attack. The ones coming in from 12 high and 3 level missed the plane and didn’t return. The second wave of fighters consisted of five (5) FW-190s. The fighters doing a vertical dive and the one coming in from 12 high missed the plane and didn’t return. The rest were able to hit the plane in the following order: 10:30 high, three times, once in the starboard wing and twice in the nose. The hit to the starboard wing damaged the landing gear making it inoperable. The hits to the nose caused a superficial wound to the bombardier. The one from 9 high hit the plane three (3) times: Once to the the port wing, tail and waist. The hit to the port wing #2 engine was superficial damage, while the hit to the tail hit the starboard part of the tail plane root. The one coming in from 6 high hit the plane six (6) times, twice in the bomb bay area, once in the pilots’ compartment, starboard wing, waist, and fuselage. The hits to the fuselage, starboard wing, waist and bomb bay area were superficial. The hit to the pilots’ compartment caused a superficial wound to the pilot. Three planes returned coming in from all level from head-on. The one coming in from 10:30 level was hit by the Bombardier and was destroyed. The other two missed the bomber and didn’t return.
About ten (10) miles after reaching checkpoint 7 we encountered one (1) ME-109 doing a VERTICAL DIVE, it was destroyed by the top turret manned by SSGT. Kitano.
Five (5) miles from checkpoint 5 we encountered three (3) ME-109s coming in from 12 high, and 12 and 1:30 level. One coming in from 12 level was chased away by fighters from the 325th Fighter Group and the other two missed the bomber and didn’t return.
On reaching checkpoint 4 we encountered a lone ME-109 coming in from 12 o’clock high but fighters from the 325th were able to chase it away before it was able to attack the bomb group.
Ten (10) miles from checkpoint 3 we spotted bogies at 3:00 level and for some reason didn’t attack the bomb formation.
Reached Sterparone Field and landed without incident.
- Capt. Lt. Ken Shimizu, Pilot, Tule Lake Samurai II
CONQUEST, Lead flight, Left Wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with the starboard aileron, #2 Engine out, radio, port wing flaps, port cheek gun all inoperable, damage to the rudder (65%), numerous superficial holes to the nose, pilots' and tail compartments, with 5 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Lindsey.
We saw lots of action this flight. The action started midway over Yugoslavia (zone-4). Our Engineer got a 109 at 3 level.
North of Nis (zone-5) Engineer Lindsey got his 2nd 109. Unfortunately a 109 coming in from 10:30 level and seriously wounded both our Pilot and the Engineer. I was lightly wounded in the shoulder. It hurt like hell, but I was able to maintain control of the aircraft.
Over Romania (zone-7) a 190 got through our defenses and took out the #2 engine (prop feathered luckily). Fighter cover was great over the target; we were not hassled at all.
The Flak was very heavy. We were holed a lot but the only real damage was a chunk out of the rudder. Bombs away and scored 30%.
On the way home we saw a lot of action but the tail gunner was wounded as soon as we turned around and sometime in the next few minutes he took another round. By the time we got back to him he was dead. One fighter really sticks out in my mind. He came over from 3 high and really lit us up. I suspect that it was his rounds that finished our tail gunner. He also took out the radio, hit the rudder, took out the port wing flaps, and put a few more holes in us. He came back twice more and destroyed the port cheek gun and added more holes. After landing I was informed that Lindsey, our engineer, died of his wounds on the way to the base Infirmary.
This was a brutal mission costing us 2 dead, 1 seriously wounded, and 2 lightly wounded. I hope those marshalling yards were worth it.
- 2nd Lt. Robert Greene, Co-Pilot, Conquest
FALCON, Lead flight, Right Wingman
Runway abort - tire blowout. Did not participate in mission.
TALLEST CROW, Second flight, Lead Aircraft
Bombed target, 5%. Returned with damage to the starboard wing root, superficial damage to the fuselage, nose, radio and waist compartments and 3 casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s by SSgt. Colt and 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Freed.
Steve Gorman damaged two 109s, and Audley Freed shot one down right off the bat. Little did we know they'd be helping us on their last mission. The next thing I knew, we were hit, and Gorman was dead. Colt damaged a 110, and the choice was whether or not to abort. I made the call to keep going, because I figured we could at least deliver the bombs close, and we'd be better off in formation. Colt shot down another 109, and Ford damaged one.
We were getting closer, and the plane was only taking superficial damage. Cease damaged a 109, helping out a bit on the guns, and then the radio room was hit, and the new guy, Casey, was gone. Colt shot down yet another 109, and I still stayed the course.
We were at the target, and we took no flak hits, which was amazing in itself. We were off target, but got about 5% of the target hit. It at least made it seem like we had met our purpose, somewhat.
Right away, Freed was hit, and hit bad, though he was still alive at that point. Rich Robinson damaged another 109, and we took a hit to the starboard wing root. Still, no other damage to the plane at this point. Rich damaged a 110, then Colt damaged a 109.
Then we were home. Our plane was in great shape, all considered . . . but Freed died shortly after we got on the ground, which made the count 3 dead.
- 1st Lt. Trey Azagoth, Pilot, Tallest Crow
SPECIAL K, Second flight, Right Wingman
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with #4 engine and starboard flaps inoperable, damage to the rudder and both wing roots, TONS of superficial damage and 3 light casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Greenawalt.
The mission was flown under constant harassment from enemy fighters - outbound, little friends were too busy helping the other bombers to lend us a hand, I guess!
We got our bombs off -- pretty close I think -- even though we took some flak damage that injured our RO. We were lucky though. Even though the K looks like Swiss Cheese, we managed to avoid any serious loss to the crew and we brought her back in one piece (I got really lucky on those rolls!).
She'll need a bit of repair - I don't know if the #4 engine will be salvageable - we had to shut it down over the Adriatic (zone-2) due to an oil leak. The starboard flaps are out, too. And even though the rudder and wings took a beating, she brought us home! I'm sure our navigator, radio operator and tail gunner are enjoying the company of the nurses in the infirmary, but don't give them too much slack -- they didn't lose a pint of blood between them! Heck, I've scraped my knee worse than that jumping out of the hatch back on the ground.
Our engineer, Greenawalt, knocked a 109 out of the sky, but other then that our shooting was pretty grim. We sent a lot of planes limping home, but we didn't see them go down. This is one green crew!
- 1st Lt. Alison Seth, Pilot, Special K
BACALL'S BOXER, Second flight, Left Wingman (TAIL-END CHARLIE)
Aborted mission due to fuel leak zone-4. Returned to base alone with port wing inboard fuel tank holed, rafts shredded, nose .50 cal gun, bomb controls and radio compartment heating system inoperable, damage to the starboard wing root (20%), and 2 casualties. Claims: 2 ME-109s by SSgt. Gordon. One of SSgt. Gordon's claims was later confirmed by S-2.
We took off and joined up with the group without any difficulty.
As soon as we crossed over the water the Germans hit us. A flight of FW-190s got passed our fighters and came at us head-on. Gordon, in the top turret, laid down a stream of fire, which damaged one of the Germans forcing him to break off. The remaining enemy fighters poured it into us. We took hits all over the plane and the reports came through on the intercom – “Bombardier reporting bomb controls shot out, drop will have to be manual”; “Radio Room reporting compartment heat out”; “Tail gunner reporting I’ve taken a hit to the hand but it will be okay”. All I could think was it’s gonna be a long day. As the Kraut fighters came around again Gordon had a bead on a 109 and let him have it. The fighter burst into flames and tumbled from the sky. This seems to have distracted the returning 190s and their aim was off.
As we crossed into Yugoslavia I was trying to decide what to do about the heat being out in the radio room when we got jumped again. This time at least 4 FW-190s and an ME-109 got past the fighters. As we filled the sky with lead the waist gunner reported his gun had jammed. I could fee the ship rock under the impact of cannon and machine gun shells. The intercom was full of yelling and I called out for reports by compartment. Keyes in the nose reported that the nose gun was out. Gordon reported from the top turret that the port wing was leaking a lot of gas. When Sparks did not report I sent Gordon to check him out. The report came back that he was badly injured. Considering the effect on Spark’s condition with no heat and the fuel leak I made the decision to abort.
As we dropped out of formation and made the turn for home some more Germans came at us. Gordon let fly with the lead and another ME-109 was knocked from the sky. We made it safely back to base and the Doctors report that Sparks is going to recover but won't be able fly for about 3 weeks.
- 1st Lt. John Stryker, Pilot, Bacall's Boxer
Return to Sterparone Field