MISSION 69 - WIENER-NEUSTADT AARs
317th BS (LEAD)
TALLEST CROW, Lead Flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Dropped out of formation after rally point, returned alone and landed with auto-pilot, intercom, flight deck heating system, #3 engine inoperable, tail section oxygen system lines destroyed by fire, #2 engine damaged by fire, damage to the rudder, numerous superficial damage holes throughout the ship, and 4 casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s by 2nd Lt. Shirley, 2 Me-109s by SSgt. Colt; 1 FW-190 & 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Ford, 1 Me-110 by Sgt. R. Robinson.
So much for the milk-runs. We gave as good as we
got this time, flying the lead position. The rundown of events is as
Colt shot down a 109, Ford damaged a 110, and R. Robinson shot one down (110), R. Robinson also was hit, but only nicked, really.
Ford shot down a 190, R. Robinson damaged a 109 and so did Colt. Shirley shot down a 109, then another one. Engine #3 was a runaway . . . shut down, prop feathered.
Over the target, flak took out our autopilot, hit our rudder once, and caused an oil tank fire in engine #2. Fire was stopped. Bomb run was off target, 0%.
Ford shot down a 110, R. Robinson damaged a 109. Angelus damaged a 109, Colt shot down a 109, Shirley damaged another 109. Then we had some walking hits. Shirley took a light wound, Cease a serious wound. Pilot and co-pilot heat were taken out. Angelus took a light wound, and R. Robinson was killed instantly. Decision was made and implemented to drop to 10,000 ft.
Pipien damaged a 109, and the tail gunner oxygen was hit, with a fire resulting. Was put out by hand extinguisher (Angelus). Shirley damaged a 109, and the intercom was taken out.
Flak from the lower altitude hit us, and Cease was instantly killed.
All injured recovered from their wounds. C. Robinson was notably shaken, as his brother was killed. He has been cleared to resume flight duty, though, and I fully endorse this decision.
- Capt. Trey Azagthoth, Pilot, Tallest Crow
BACALL'S BOXER, Lead flight, Left Wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Shot down by enemy aircraft over Yugoslavia (zone-3) during return journey and 10 chutes seen; 1 POW and 9 are MIA.
Bacall’s Boxer dropped out of formation and was seen descending after the bomb run. A pilot from the 82nd Fighter group reports seeing a lone B-17 below 10,000 feet being attacked by multiple enemy A/C (zone-3, Yugoslavia, Inbound). While descending in an attempt to provide escort the B-17’s wing was seen to catch fire; 10 parachutes were seen.
- Official Debriefing report reported by returned crews, 317th Bomb Squadron
CONQUEST, Lead Flight, Right Wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with the starboard aileron inoperable, superficial damage to the nose, waist and pilots' compartments, and 6 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 and 1 Me-110 by crew.
There is talk that the Conquest is bad luck. We returned from this mission with minimal damage to the plane but with 6 casualties. This is the 2nd mission in a row that we have had a high causality rate. The only damage to the plane was the starboard wing aileron and lots of superficial damage. Three crew members were lightly wounded, 2 seriously wounded (sent home), and 1 KIA. The bombardier took a glancing blow to his forehead. He tried to dry it up before we were over target but there was too much blood to get a good drop and our bombs went wide. We did mange to get a 110 and a 109 on the way to the target.
- 1st Lt. Michael Nobel, Pilot, Conquest, 317th Bomb Squadron
TULE LAKE SAMURAI III, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with damage to the port wing root and superficial damage to the tail section and no casualties.
Took off from Sterparone Field, Foggia, Italy without any problems or malfunctions.
Near the target we encountered two (2) waves of fighters. The first wave consisted of two (2) FW-190s, one (1) ME-109 and one (1) ME-110. The ME-109 and ME-110 were chased off by fighters from the 52nd Fighter Group before they were able to attack the bomber. The FW-190 from 12 o’clock low missed the bomber and didn’t return. The other FW coming from 12 o’clock high was hit the port root area of the wing. The fighter was able to return from behind at 6 o’clock level but missed the bomber and didn’t return. The second wave we spotted bogies from high and ahead but machine gun fire from the formation was able to drive off the fighters before they were able to attack.
Over target we encountered heavy flax and was hit once in the tail causing superficial damage. We were able to line up on target and put 20% of the bomb load on the factory.
On the turnaround we encountered two (2) waves of fighters. The first wave consisted of three (3) ME-110s coming. One tried to come in low from from 6 o’clock but was driven away by fighters from the 82nd Fighter Group. The other two attacking from head-on missed the bomber and didn’t’ return. The second wave was a lone FW-190 coming in from 10:30 o’clock high was driven off by fighters from the 82nd Fighter Group before it was able to attack.
About five (5) miles from checkpoint 3 we encountered two (2) more waves of fighters. The first wave consisted of a lone FW-190 coming in from 10:30 o’clock high but this one was driven off by fighters from the 82nd Fighter Group. The second wave consisted of three (3) ME-109s coming in from ahead but all were chased away by fighters from the 82nd Fighter Group before they were able to attack the bomb squadron.
Reached Sterparone Field and landed without incident.
- Capt. Lt. Ken Shimizu, Pilot, Tule Lake Samurai II
318th BS (MIDDLE)
MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, Second flight, Left wingman
Did not bomb. Shot down by direct flak hit to the starboard wing over Wiener-Neustadt; no chutes were seen.
Over the target Midnight Express was seen took a direct flak hit to the starboard wing. The plane dove out of control, no chutes were seen.
- Official Debriefing report reported by returned crews, 318th Bomb Squadron
IRON MAIDEN, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with the #1 engine inoperable, superficial damage to the waist and tail compartments, and 2 casualties. Claims: 3 Me-109s by 2nd Kt. Bedford, 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-109 each by SSgt. Despain and Sgt. Hand, 1 Me-110 by 2nd Lt. Cunningham.
Relatively busy mission. Pretty steady stream of attacks. The ball turret got two kills and one FCA; top turret for two kills; nose got three kills; port cheek got one kill. We lost engine #1 to the same run that killed Frank in the tail. However, we made a safe landing and Regi, also wounded (LW) will recover. We do need a new tail gunner.
- 2nd Lt. Buck Buds, Pilot, Iron Maiden, 318th Bomb Squadron
ZEBRA'S REVENGE, Third flight, Lead Aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with bomb release mechanism and chin turret inoperable, damage to the port aileron and starboard flaps, and 2 seriously wounded crewmen. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Owens.
Everything went normal until we started inbound to the target then all hell broke loose. We were hit three times by the FLAK. The first blast Seriously wounded both the Navigator and Bombardier. The second hit took out our bomb release mechanism and the nose guns. Finally the last hit damaged the port aileron and starboard Flaps. We missed the target completely. I suppose some farmer is giving us the business for the livestock we hit.
As we turned for home two bandits came at us head-on. Of course we had no nose gun system by then and lucky for us everybody missed. The only other close call was when we got jumped by two 190s about half way back. It seemed our fighter cover kept some away from us. S. Waist gunner Chris Owens smoked one and Tommy Chisman sent the other one away with trailing a lot of smoke.
Lucky for us both Forman and Parham will recover but are on their way home. They are done for this war.
The post flight inspection revealed a lot of damage beyond what I was able to discern. Estimated total damage count is 85.
- Major Mick Mikula, Pilot, Zebra's Revenge, CO 318th Bomb Squadron
JOLLIE ROGER, Third Flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with damage to the port wing root, superficial damage to the port wing and no casualties.
Another easy mission. Did not see any enemy aircraft until our approach to the target [zone-6]. Three 190s approached us but 1 was driven off by the escorting Mustangs. The other two each made a pass, resulting in no damage, and left.
Flak was relatively light, only dinging up the port wing a little bit. It was, however, just enough to throw our bombs off target. No idea how close to the target they landed but I don't think it was close at all.
Encountered some more fighters as we exited the target area [zone-6]. Lt. Olsen got a piece of a 190, enough to drive him off. Our little friends drove most of the Germans off and we took no damage from the ones that did get through to us.
Rest of the mission was uneventful.
- 1st Lt. Jeff Dodge, Pilot, Jollie Roger, 318th Bomb Squadron
LOADED DICE, Third flight, Right wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned without damage or casualties.
Take off and rendezvous with Squadron and Group went smoothly. We were flying on Major Mikula's right wing again in the third flight of the Lead Squadron. The flight in was non-eventful as the crew reported no immediate threats. Any enemy planes that came up were forced away by the P-51s flying escort. Our only threat came in Austria when three bandits began a run on us from the front, but a pair of P-51s jumped on them and two of the bandits dove for the deck. The remaining 109 made a pass at us from 10:30. Lt. Colin reported he got a piece of him but still the bandit turned for another pass, until tracers from another pair of P-51s zipped by him and he rolled over and went for the deck.
After a few minutes Sgt. Bohannon reported on the
comm that we were at the IP and beginning our run in. I turned on Major
lead and we began our run in. As we approached the target flak bursts began to come up, looked really nasty but the concentration was
slightly low of us. Crew reported no damage. Lt. Greiner reported "Bombs-Away" and we turned hard away with the squadron to the rally
point. Sgt. Placencia in the ball said looked like our bombs were off slightly. He estimated a 30% coverage pattern.
Some enemy fighters were waiting for us near the rally point but again the P-51s drove them off. As we began our egress the 51s took off, either to engage some fighters or pick up stragglers. The formation tightened back up and we headed home.
We picked up escorts of P-38 as we left Austria and didn't see any bandits until we neared the coast of Yugoslavia. But it didn't look like they were too enthused about engaging us as they gave us a wide berth as we passed by.
We crossed over the Adriatic without any further sightings. Landing went smoothly, crew broke down their gear and headed to our debriefing. Most of us finished quickly, but Lt. Griener and Sgt. Placencia got extra attention as the planners wanted as much damage assessment as possible.
- 1st Lt. Albert Richie, Pilot, Loaded Dice, 318th Bomb Squadron
399th BS (HIGH)
LUCY QUIPMENT, Lead flight, Lead Aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with the starboard elevator Inoperable, radio destroyed, damage to the starboard tail plane, superficial damage to the both wings (port 2, starboard 1), the flight deck (2) and no casualties.
The mission went well until we reached the target area, we only saw one German fighter and SSgt. Goyer hit him several times and drove him off. Our biggest problem was from the flak, we were struck three time. Needless to stay this caused us to complete miss the target.
On the way home we saw a few more Jerry fighters, but they were driven off by the fire the other Forts in our group.
- 1st Lt. Steve Gibson, Co-pilot, Lucy Quipment, 399th Bomb Squadron
SNAFU II, Lead Flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with radio inoperable and minor superficial damage and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Seaver.
Take off and form up went without incident. Our escorts did an outstanding job keeping the Jerries off of us, only a few were even able to make a run at us because of our escorts. The few who were determined enough to get to us did little damage. SSgt. Seaver managed to down one of the 190s and damage another, but that's the extent of our claims.
Lt. Petersen reports our run was ON, with 40% of our load on target.
- 1st Lt. Benjamin Bailer, Pilot, SNAFU II, 399th Bomb Squadron
THUNDERMUG, Lead flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Dropped out-of-formation after bomb run and returned alone. Landed safely with the radio room oxygen system destroyed by fire, both flaps, starboard aileron and radio inoperable, starboard waist MG destroyed, damage to the control cables, to both wing roots, to the rudder (2), superficial damage to the #2 and #3 engines, to both wings (4 on starboard, 2 on port), to the fuselage (4), and to bomb bays, and no casualties. Claims: 1 ME-109 apiece by Capt. Stein, SSgt. Bowdrie & Sgt. Holly.
Everything was okay till we got over the target. The flak just ripped us to pieces-my oxy system just blew up and the fire drove me into the waist. I grabbed a fire extinguisher and went back in, but the fire was pretty big and getting out of control. Semelbauer came in behind me with a second extinguisher that put the fire out. Then he got me hooked into a walk around oxy bottle. The Thundermug looked like a piece of Swiss-cheese . . . we got took a bunch of flak hits. I reported up to the captain that my oxy system was gone. Right about then the bombs dropped. Capt. Logan told me to call Glowworm Leader and tell him that we were leaving formation . . . the fire did more damage than I thought and the radio shorted out during the transmission. I felt the plane turn to starboard and lose altitude quickly. The Krauts were all over us as soon as we left but the escorts stayed with us too. Everybody was shooting like crazy . . . we were all almost out of ammo by the time the Krauts decided to leave us alone. I'm not sure how we got home with no casualties . . . the escorts did a great job today!
- TSgt.. Chantry, Radio Operartor, Thundermug, 399th Bomb Squadron
LAURALEE II, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 98%. Returned with starboard flaps inoperable, navigator's equipment out, damage to the starboard wing root and to the tail compartment oxygen supply system, some superficial holes in wing and fuselage and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by 1st Lt. Pipes and 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Ross.
Almost another milk run, thanks to the Little Friends. The Mustangs kept the Krauts off us until we got to target. Even then, only one 190 dove at us, and Jason got him with the chin turret.
Flak was heavy, and gave us a bumpy ride, putting some holes in us, wrecking the navigation equipment, damaging the starboard wing. Despite that, Jason absolutely plastered the target. Hopefully that will mean fewer Messerschmitts attacking us later.
As we left the target area, a couple 109s dove down on us from above. Andy nailed one with the top turret guns, and the other missed us. We got attacked twice more on the way home, as a few Germans broke through the 38s (but only a few). We shot up a couple of the Germans, but they didn't do any damage to us.
- Capt. Bill Hearn, Pilot, Lauralee, 399th Bomb Squadron
GRIN 'N BARE IT, Second flight, Left aircraft
Aborted mission due to mechanical failure to the oxygen system, zone-3 outbound. Returned to Italy without incident.
A complete failure of the oxygen system over Yugoslavia forced us to leave the formation and return to base early. There were no fighters seen.
- 1st Lt. Ignatious Ellsworth, Pilot, Grin 'N Bare It, 399th Bomb Squadron
REBEL RIDER, Second flight, Right aircraft
Did not bomb. Shot down by enemy fighters approaching target. No survivors.
The REBEL RIDER was attacked on approach to target by a mixed flight of Fw-190s, a Me-109 and a Me-110. A Luftwaffe ace flying a 190 scored a hit on the bomb bay of the REBEL RIDER, detonating the bombs and destroying the REBEL RIDER and KIA her crew. Prior to this, defensive gunfire from the REBEL RIDER damaged two Fw-190s.
- Debriefing report from Sgt. Tony Snowden, Tail Gunner, Lauralee II, 399th Bomb Squadron
318th BS (HIGH)
SALLY WRAITH, Third flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with superficial damage to the nose, waist, tail and pilots' compartments and 6 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-110 by 2nd Lt. Dunlap.
Quiet all the way to the target, then three waves hit us over the target. Six wounds and light damage to the plane. We were on target 40% and returned with a few attacks, but no damage worth mentioning. Landing good.
- 1st Lt. Sanford Pheleps, Pilot, Sally Wraith, 318th Bomb Squadron
316th BS (LOW)
GINGER SNAP, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with #3 engine shot out, port aileron and the starboard elevator inoperable, intercom system shot out, damage to the starboard wing root & rudder, holes in pilots’ compartment windows, superficial damage to the #4 engine, to both wings, to the nose, waist, bomb bay, tail, radio and pilots’ compartments (280 + damage points), and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 FW-109 apiece by Sgts. Anderson & Arledge, 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Sikorsky; Sgt. Sikorsky's claim was later confirmed by S-2.
I was proud to be flying lead for the 316th in our new B-17G “Ginger Snap”, named after my beautiful, red haired wife. We had gotten accustomed to the new ship, and flown lead for the first time on some milk runs over targets in Italy the past few weeks. The rest of the squadron quickly formed up on us, and we headed north towards Wiener-Neustadt, flying as the low squadron on this mission.
We were first hit by enemy fighters about 100 miles out from Sterparone, and were under heavy, determined fighter attack all the way to the target and back home. Three waves of fighters hit us as we approached Wiener-Neustadt – 190s, 109s, and 110s, and the ship was just peppered with holes.
We were hit by flak over the target, but Lt. McClain again stayed on target during the bomb run. Turning for home after dropping our bombs, three more waves of fighters hit us. We lost our #3 engine during this attack, which also knocked out our intercom system. As a result, I was not aware that Sgt. Anderson had been killed in the waist until shortly before we landed. According to the other waist gunner – Sgt. Zanders – Anderson had shot down an FW-190 before a cannon shell knocked him off his feet, killing him instantly.
The Germans seemed to attack in staffel strength, and our fighter escorts, although active, were simply overwhelmed by attacks of this magnitude.
- Capt. Harold Snakenburg, Pilot, Ginger Snap, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
BALTIMORE QUEEN, Lead flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Fell out of formation soon after rally point. Returned alone and safely landed in Italy with radio shot up, both elevators and the tail compartment heater inoperable, damage to the starboard wing root, superficial damage to the starboard wing flaps, and no casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 and 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Marconi and 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Taylor; Sgt. Taylor's claim was later confirmed by S-2.
This was the second visit to Wiener for the Queen and her crew so we knew what we were expecting. The four previous missions had given us time to get acquainted with the realities of combat flying over training missions. We were a much better crew for it.
We were pretty much left alone until we got to the Austrian boarder when a couple Fw-190s made a move on us only to be embarrassed by a flight of four P-51s. They just dropped down and ran. As it turned out it was just a curtain raiser as all hell broke loose as we headed for the IP. We had fighters coming in from all directions most of them enemy. By the time we had reached the IP we had had five separate attacks made against us, three by the same FW. However the enemy will be needing a new Fw-190 and an Me-109 chopped down by the Steve and Andy with the twin fifties in the ball and tail. What worried me most was that we had lost elevator controls and there was a line of holes stitched from one wing tip to the other.
It was no consolation to see the black cloud thick enough to walk on that lay between us and the bomb point. The flak was not only heavy but accurate we got bracketed twice the first exploding just underneath the trailing edge of the starboard wing perforating the flap and the radio compartment knocking out the radio. The second got us in the tail knocking out Andy's suit heater. Despite all this Marty still hit the target.
On the other side of the target there seemed to be less enemy fighters as if all their effort had been spent in trying to stop us and they certainly seemed less determined then on the way in. It was at this point that we had a hard decision to make. We could either stay in formation or drop out and try and keep Andy from getting frost bite. Andy was our third tail gunner and the position on the Queen was beginning to look a jinx. So the whole crew, except for Andy, decided rather then risk losing another tail gunner we drop out of formation, trust to our little friends, and go it alone.
We dropped low as we approached the Yugoslav boarder. We got spotted by a couple of Me-109s but one got chased away a P-38 the other tried a number of passes and then broke away. We stayed low all the way back to base and didn't see any more fighters. We had some pot shots taken at us by smaller caliber flak, you could see the tracers, but nothing came close.
The landing without the elevators was bumpy but could have been a lot worse. We rolled back to the hard stand, with one happy crew and our tail gunner intact. I think we broke the jinx.
- 1st Lt. Gary Sanderson, Pilot, Baltimore Queen, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
VENGEFUL HARLOT, Lead flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with autopilot and the port waist heat inoperable, both elevators roots damaged (30%) roots, superficial damage holes to the waist compartment plus five other hits of a superficial nature, and 2 casualties (127 Damage points per Peckham's damage chart). Claims: 1 FW-190 shared by SSgt. Ohm and Sgt. Piano and 1 ME-109 by Lt. Flynn; Lt. Flynn's claim later confirmed by S-2.
We were airborne by 0620 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 0730 hours.
Everything was going good till about a half hour before the IP. Up to then we were barely attacked by six waves of fighters, yet all but five enemy fighters made it through our little friends. Only two of them managed to hit us. Most damage was superficial, except for the autopilot, which we found out about when Flynn took over the plane to start our run.
Then three FW-190s hit us from the front, severely wounding Sgt. Inocencio and bouncing 20mms of our bombs. We were sure that was going to be the end of us. Luckily these boys only made one pass that counted and were off to harass other bombers.
Flack was horrific over the target. Thank
God they were not very accurate. I think they were aiming at the 99 group
above us. Even so we took one hit. This disabled our starboard aileron and
took out Sgt. Snider's heat. He would later develop a bad case of frostbite and
will now be going home. With all the commotion of the flak hit and our autopilot
being out, we didn't get one bomb anywhere near the drop zone.
Nothing came of the five FW-190s that we ran into after our bomb drop. But the two that hit us about twenty minutes later got our other elevator root and gave Sgt. Inocencio another severe wound, which he never recovered from. Gerardo was gone by the time we touched down. Poor bugger, he had just recently come back from being wounded over Ploesti.
We didn't see any more enemy aircraft after that and made it back to base with no other incidents. Landing went well.
Our gunners shot down 2 enemy aircraft and damaged a further 8 enemy aircraft.
Sgt. Gerardo Inocencio - DOW
Sgt. Fred Snider - LW and frostbite, amputation, sent back to USA
Sgt. Kurt Syed, Austin, TX
Sgt. Randy Lyke, Ruth, NC
Damage repairable in 3 days for aircraft to be available
Repair/Replace auto-pilot mechanism
Repair tail compartment heater system
Replace radio system, SRC-274-N
Repair elevator controls
Repair starboard wing root
Patch up several superficial damage holes
LT. C. Flynn: 1 Me-109 Destroyed & 1 FW-190 Probable
SSgt. R.Ohm: 0.5 FW-190 Destroyed, 1 FW-190 Probable, 2 FW-190 damaged & 1 Me-109 Probable
Sgt. Damon Piano: 0.5x FW-190 Destroyed, 1 FW-190 Probable & 1 FW-190 Damaged
Lt. Dillin Hogue: 1 FW-190 Damaged
- 2nd Lt. Gary Tines, Pilot, Vengeful Harlot, B17G-10-VE 43-8870, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
OLD YARD DOG, Second Flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with auto-pilot, elevator controls inoperable, port waist MG & radio destroyed, port elevator inoperable, superficial damage to the bomb bay and pilot compartments and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-110 by MSgt. Post.
Squadron and group formation went off without a hitch. We were not attacked while over the Adriatic but the second flight was attacked by FWs, no doubt attracted by the loose formation flying by our right wingman, Lt. Cable's crew. Entering Yugoslavia, our left wingman, Lt. Hoover's ship, was attacked by 3 Fw-190s but the Germans broke off without hitting Hoover with two of them smoking. Half-way over Yugoslavia, the enemy attacks broke off and Lt. Cable's plane closed up with the second flight.
Entering Austria, the closer flying paid off as Hoover and Cable when two Fw-190s attacked my ship from head-on but did no damage while Lt. Wiggins claimed one of them as damaged.
Approaching the IP, a pair of Me-110 shot up the radio, while an Me-109 knocked out the elevator controls. The gunners shot down one of the 110s and damaged the 109.
Flak was accurate and it destroyed the port waist MG; worst of all, the flak got our auto-pilot causing the drop to be off target. Soon after bombs away, Hoover's ship took a hit on her number 3 engine and it began to wind-mill. Soon after that, Hoover began to loose altitude and they fell out of formation.
On the withdrawal, Lt. Cable came under heavy fighter attack while my ship was not attacked. Leaving the target behind us and with the Caballero now gone, both Cable and I closed in with the first flight for better protection.
Leaving Austria, a pair of Fw-190s from head-on caused superficial damage to the cockpit and they were chased away by P-38s.
Just before reaching the Yugoslavian coastline, a trio of Fw-190s made a half-heated attack that put holes in the bomb bay compartment but they soon broke off as they didn't want anything to do with the escorts.
Once over the Adriatic Sea, it was smooth flying back to base.
- 1st Lt. Jack Armstrong, Pilot, Old Yard Dog, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
ASH CAN, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 50%. Returned with damage to the starboard wing root and windshields, numerous superficial damage holes, and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 FW-190 each by SSgt. Henriques and Sgt. Fiore.
Takeoff saw no problems. Due to pilot error I failed to fly tight after joining formation and two Fw-190s made a pass at us over Adriatic. We sent one away smoking and tail gunner reports they appeared to be just MG armed recon birds. Suspect they were headed to Bari and hopefully returned home without completing their mission.
Spotted some enemy fighters over Yugo coast but none approached me. After moving inland P-51s showed up and took out two Fw-190s approaching me, another FW at 6 high broke off smoking and another 190 dropped straight past us from above, no hits received from any fighter.
Sometime later some Nazi fighters heading our way broke off from fire from our box. Having learned my lesson I kept very tight after the first mishap.
Over the target one FW dropped on us like a stone, no damage, no hits. Flak felt light until nose was hit but it was pretty superficial causing scorching of paint. Bombardier took control and stated demolished target with an estimate of 50% damage.
Turn around was a disaster. Nazi fighters were stacked up like cabs in front of Grand Central Station. Their first wave was broke up before reaching us but second wave pasted us hard as Minnesota ice in January. Our top gunner killed an FW-190 but a 12 high FW seriously wounded my radio man. Another FW but more holes in fuselage than Swiss-Cheese. Waist gunner Fiore killed a 2nd FW at this point; yet more hits in fuselage.
Heading towards Italy the relentless attacks continued. Two more waves spotted coming at us. A Bf-110G with radar was spotted below us but broke off when a P-38 got on its tail. This was the only non-Focke-Wulf spotted today. An FW-190 at 10:30 high then hit my gunner Fiore at right waist but it was just a crease. That fighter then turned around and tore up our right wing roots despite blasting big meaty chunks off him. He turned for a third pass and shattered the windshield before breaking off. Heavy fire from other Forts kept the second wave away from Ash Can.
Closing on the coast the P-38s chased some Nazis away. No activity of note over the Dalmatian coast. Some Fighters spotted over the Adriatic but defensive fire from box kept them away.
Landed sloppily but without incidence. Armorer reports top turret expended 50% of ammo. Sgt. Carl Nogueira will require replacement as leg shattered. Sgt. Fiore should be back within 3 days depending on how many days until the next mission . . .
- 1st Lt. Cable, Pilot, ASH CAN, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
CABALLERO, Second flight, Left aircraft (TAIL-END CHARLIE)
Bombed target, 30%. Fell out-of-formation after bomb run from loss of oxygen to the tail compartment. Returned home with wind milling propeller with starboard aileron inoperable, numerous superficial damage to the starboard wing, tailplane, fuselage, cockpit, bomb bay, waist and tail compartment and 5 casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s & 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Simeon, 1 Me-109 apiece by Sgts. Vincent and Bristoe, and 1 Me-110 by Lt. Nelson.
- 1st Lt. Dean Hoover, Pilot, Caballero, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
Return to Sterparone Field