MISSION 79 - POLA AARs
318th BS (LEAD)
ZEBRA'S REVENGE, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with autopilot, port flaps and port landing gear inoperable, and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by Sgts. Miles and Owens (Sgt. Owens’ claim was later confirmed by S-2).
Take off, form up, and transition to the target went off without a problem. Got jumped as we turned inbound. Took a flak hit but hit the target. Was jumped again as we exited the target area. Rest of the flight was without a problem. Both waist gunners got a 109 apiece. Damage was to the autopilot, port landing gear and port flaps, all inoperable. Landing was a bit rough but we all made it.
- Major Mick Mikula, Pilot, Zebra’s Revenge, 318th Bomb Squadron
TOUGH TIMES, First flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned without damage or casualties.
AUSTIN NIGHTS, First flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with flak damage to the starboard aileron inoperable, superficial damage to the tail section and no casualties.
This mission was a real milk run for our crew. We didn’t have any enemy fighter attacks the entire mission. We did take a couple of flak hits. One hit was to the starboard wing aileron making it inoperable, while the other just caused some superficial fuselage damage to the tail. The bomb run was on target with 30% of the bombs in the target area.
- 1st Lt. Gary Hertel, Pilot, Austin Nights, 318th Bomb Squadron
JOLLIE ROGER, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with superficial damage to the port wing (1 hit - 5 damage pts per Perkham’s damage chart) to the port wing and no casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s & 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Holmes (1 Me-109 claim was later confirmed by S-2).
The crew is getting a little antsy with all these easy missions we have had. Our luck is going to turn at some point. Take off and formation were uneventful.
We were engaged almost immediately by the enemy but they did not seem to have much heart in it as they made one pass and were gone. It also helped that SSsgt. Holmes continued his reign of terror and shot down another one.
All was quiet, until we were in the target zone. A group of 4 FW-190s made toward us but they were ambushed by the 47's and all but one were driven off. The one that continued on made a pass but his shots were nowhere near us.
Flak wasn’t too bad but we did catch a few dings in our port wing. The damage itself was negligible but the timing of the hit was just perfect to knock our bomb run off target. Bombs probably landed in Germany . . .
Outbound from the target a single 109 came out of nowhere diving right at us. His mistake. SSgt. Holmes got on target and racked up another one.
Once we were over water again we were looking forward to a quiet flight home. But the fighters must have been still chasing all the enemy plans in the target zones. We were engaged by a complete Schwarm. After SSgt. Holmes shot down another one the others made half hearted passes and left us alone.
Rest of mission was uneventful. Landing okay, even though the weather was a little worse than usual.
- 1st Lt. Jeff Dodge, Pilot, Jollie Roger, 318th Bomb Squadron
ACES & EIGHTS, Third flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with superficial damage to the cockpit and no casualties.
Squadron took off on time at 0900 hours, formed up on time even though cloud patterns in the area caused some havoc with visibility. Once the group broke through cloud cover over the base the group tighten up. The weather forecast called for poor conditions upon our return. The 318th was the lead squadron today with a group from the 317th added on. Once the group formed up Major Mikula lead us north out over the Adriatic.
Our trip up the Adriatic was tense as several groups of enemy aircraft probed our group, but the fighter cover was spot on and drove off the sporadic attacks. It wasn’t until we neared the target zone that the enemy fighters appeared in numbers. Fighter cover did their best, but an occasional Fw-190 would slip through and make a run on the squadron. The boys were canvassing the sky calling out bandits, but only one Jerry made on run on us as it dove from the high squadron and made a passing shot on us.
The flak gunners were shooting at us, but their aim was off and the black fingers didn’t find us today. Smalley took over during the run in, but we hit some turbulence, got off course a bit which threw off Smalley’s run. He dropped with the rest of the squadron, but doesn’t think our bombs did any significant damage.
As we turned to the rally point, the Jerries hit us again. Several enemy fighters that were making a run on us were driven off by gunners in other bombers in our squadron. Didn’t see anything else until we were over the Adriatic again and heading home. This time two FWs made a beeline for ole Aces and Eights. Ballard in the ball gun swears he got himself a piece of one coming in from three o’clock and Smalley in the nose is saying the same thing about one coming in from 12 o’clock high. All I know is that there is a small hole in the cockpit roof where some stray bullet went through and lodged in the bulkhead behind us. I looked at Herman over in the right seat as he was looking at me. If my eyes were as big as his . . . Checked with Gene in the top turret and he was alright as well.
The rest of the flight was tense but uneventful. Had to land through some low clouds, but brought her down safely even if there was an extra bounce or two on the tarmac. If Brownie saw that landing he’ll be respectively all over me, telling me "Lieutenant, you know there is a rubber shortage back home, please take care of your tires."
- 2nd Lt. James Deed, Pilot, Aces & Eights, 318th Bomb Squadron
317th BS (MIDDLE)
SECRET VICTORY, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned without damage or casualties.
Flight went pretty well especially when you consider our Bombardier at least hit the target for a change. Which considering we couldn’t hit a FW-190 that attempted a run on us but then again he missed us as well. Over all a successful mission. Hopefully our bombs on target in conjunction with the rest of the team caused the enemy some sort of damage.
- 2nd Lt. Earl Schultz, Pilot, Secret Victory, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
GO FOR BROKE, Third flight, Lead aircraft
Did not bomb target. Shot down by flak approaching target.
Over the target, FLAK hit the plane and a shell was seen hitting the port wing. The plane fell out of formation three chutes were seen leaving the plane. From the Red Cross the Radio Operator (Sgt. Ozawa), Port and Starboard Gunners (Sgt. Watasuki & Sgt. Ishida) were able to get out the plane and became POWs. All other crew is presumed KIA.
- From debriefing reports of 317th Bomb Squadron crews.
PROWLING PANTHER, Third flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with structural damage to the port wing, tail plane, superficial damage to the fuselage (37 damage points per Peckham’s damage chart) and no casualties.
Lt. White seemed a bit uneasy as he climbed into the pilot’s seat. I don’t think it was because of the possibility of combat . . . we’ve been through several missions now . . . but I think the weather had him weirded out. Anyway . . . we took off and it seemed forever before we climbed out of the nasty weather that was socking in the base. Lt. White never said a word over the intercom. . . but whatever was bothering him seemed to vanish like all those clouds we left behind.
Anyway . . . we finally formed up and turned outbound towards the target. We did not see a single enemy plane until we hit the target zone. Well . . . actually we never really saw anything as the fighter boys and our other squadron mates must have driven off everything that did show up because not one fighter so much as made a pass at us. Lt. White announced we were heading into some flak and we did take a couple of hits in the tail and port wing . . . but the only thing it really did was throw off the aim of Kenny Austin on the bomb run. I think I heard more expletives coming over the intercom in the course of a 10 minute period than I heard when we were getting shot up a couple of missions ago. Kenny was pissed at himself. Lt. White kept saying forget about it . . . right now we just need to be alert and get back home. We'll do better next time.
So we turned to head back and I think a couple of fighters might have been around . . . but again those fighter boys must have been scaring the crap out of them as none even came close to us.
However, as we approached the base and started descending into the clouds I noticed Lt. White became silent again. I’m not sure . . . but I think he’s more worried about the weather than possibly getting shot to hell by the enemy! Regardless . . . he managed to find the runway . . . and even though we bounced kind of hard once the landing we darn near perfect. While the bomb run didn’t appear to be real good, we’re all home in one piece.
- TSgt. Ron Brubaker, Radio Operator, Prowling Panther, 317th Bomb Squadron
SPECIAL K, Third flight, Left aircraft
Runway abort. Did not participate on mission.
BILOXI BEAUTY, Third flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Group Spare. Took place of Special K, middle squadron, third flight, right aircraft. Returned with starboard flaps inoperable, superficial damage to the radio compartment and no casualties.
316th BS (HIGH)
FOUR OF A KIND, First flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with bomb controls and starboard elevator inoperable, shot up rudder (2 hits), superficial damage both wings, to the fuselage, to the nose compartment and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Smith and 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Sauer.
VENGEFUL HARLOT, First flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with superficial damage port wing and to the tail and 1 casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 shared by SSgt. Ohm & Sgt. Piano (claim was later confirmed by S-2).
We were airborne by 0915 hours with a load of 3500 gallons of gasoline, 5 x 1000 pounds of M-44, 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 0923 hours.
Due to the deplorable weather I was unable to attain proper formation. This resulted in our ship being targeted by two FW-190s right out of the gate. With our fighter cover just organizing, this left us on our own with the enemy fighters. The first two made their attacks high from ten and three o’clock. SSgt. Ohm and Sgt. Piano teamed up and just shredded the bandit from three high. There must be bits of this plane all over the Adriatic. The destruction of that fighter deterred the other Jerry, he made a halfhearted attack and left.
The Luftwaffe continued to target us, as I was unable to make any progress in tightening up our position in the formation. We attracted two more waves of butcherbirds making frontal attacks. By this time our little friends were engaging the enemy and they chased of three of the six FW-190s. Of the other three SSgt. Ohm and Sgt. Syed severely damaged one each. Sgt. Burmeister nicked the third as he passed by the tail. This was the last of the fighters for the mission.
Flak was as briefed. We took two fragments form a burst that caused superficial damage. Though one fragment in the tail just wounded Sgt. Burmeister’s left knee. Cory refused to go to the infirmary, but the Doc Insisted.
Total of 8 fighters made attack runs. Three were driven of by our P-47s. Our gunners shot down 1 enemy aircraft and damaged a further 3 aircraft.
- 2nd Lieutenant Gary Tines, 316th BS/88th BG (V), "Vengeful Harlot", B17G-10-VE 43-8870
SATIN DOLL, First flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with superficial flak damage to both wings, to the starboard flaps, to the horizontal stabilizer, to the tail and waist compartments.
We didn't run into any E/A until just before the target. A gaggle of 3 FW-190s were forming up to take a crack at us when they met up with the Jug Jockeys of the 332nd FG. The only Kraut left for us was a lone FW in a vertical dive. Nobody got a shot off, and he fired wildly, missing us completely, and went tearing off for the lower formations.
Flak over the target was medium thick and fairly accurate. For a while I thought the gunners had us bracketed. Shells burst all around the Doll, fragments perforating the wings and tail surfaces. A couple of closer bursts ventilated the waist; fortunately, neither of the gunners were hit. Despite all the bucking and bouncing, Lt. Douglas put 20% of the load onto the sub pens.
Rallying off the target, another wave of E/A was stymied in their efforts by the combined firepower of the group and the aggressive attacks by the Jug Jockeys.
The rest of the trip home was quiet, and we managed to put the Doll on the ground reasonably well, in spite of the foul weather closing in.
- 1st Lieutenant William M. Patrick, 316th BS/88th BG (V), "Satin Doll", B17F 42-11806
GINGER SNAP, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with bomb controls inoperable, holes in pilots’ compartment windows, damage to pilot compartment oxygen system, minor battle damage to all compartments of plane plus to both wings and 3 casualties.
Enroute to the target over the Adriatic we were attacked by a lone Fw-190 that slipped through the escort screen and made a single, effective diving pass from straight above. This attack rendered the bomb controls inoperable, damaged the pilot compartment oxygen system, and seriously wounded the port waist gunner (Sgt. O’Dell, who was filling in for Sgt. Westcott on this mission).
We were struck by antiaircraft fire as we entered the bomb run, which seriously wounded Sgt. Arledge in the tail compartment. Lt. McClain still appeared to have dropped our bomb load on target, despite the flak hits and the damaged bomb controls.
On the return flight over the Adriatic we were jumped by a flight of FWs. Most were driven off by our escorts, but one managed to evade the P-47s and made a single firing pass which wounded the navigator (Lt. Eastburn) and put a number of bullet holes in the pilot compartment, narrowly missing the pilot and copilot.
I fired flares on our landing approach, and the ambulance met us as we taxied to a stop. The crew caught a ride to the infirmary, where we learned that Arledge didn’t make it. But O’Dell will recover but he’ll being going statesides.
- Captain Harold Snakenberg, Pilot, Ginger Snap, 316th BS
SHREVEPORT RANGER, Second flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned without damage or casualties.
We missed the run to Leghorn (what we call Livorno, Italy) yesterday. I was glad for it gave me some time to spend with Gordy, Mark, and Bill. Gordy got pretty chewed-up in that last mission to Belgrade. He’ll be shipping out with Mark today before we get back home. Mark’s arm was left limp and I'm hoping the Docs at home can rehabilitate him enough for him to get his small plane's pilot license again. Wiley got a 3-day lay-over in the infirmary with a shot near his butt. Yeah, we have been kidding `just a little bit' about that one. We weren't taking off till later in the am for this mission, so I snuck over to the infirmary to catch one more glance of `The Beast'. He was still sleeping when I coerced the nurse to let me see him but as I stood by his bed, he rolled those eyes and winked at me. I knew he was going to be okay, but this man was like a brother, and I was going to miss him far more than he was of me. Grasped his hand and left.
The new co-pilot was Alan Phillips also of Springfield, Mass -- be damned if we didn’t meet each other months before at flight school. Didn’t know much about him, except that he was first rate. I was glad to have him at my side. Wayne Quigley came over from the "Ash Can" for a ride at Bill Wiley’s post (Port Waist). Quigley’s plane was a real mess after Ploesti and had to be used for spare parts. He seemed to have all the scuttle-butt from the Mess Hall. Quite a guy! I was just hoping that he would fit-in with our crew. Our crew, the original group, was dwindling pretty fast. Only half of us out of the original 10! John Nozka was our replacement for Mark. This guy was sharp as a tack! Loved radios and could do anything with them. He didn’t take long to meld with the rest of the guys. I knew he was going to be a fine member of the crew.
Al got the engines warmed-up as I checked on the rest of the crew. We were airborne @ 0915 hours with the rest of the squadron. Got tucked-in real tight with "The Fluff", ole "Ginger Snap", and "Lady B". For the first time, I felt that I had done a good job getting into the formation as I was trained to do.
We got linked-up with the P-47s of the 332nd Fighter Group. These guys were right on time and sure welcome sight! I was feeling good about this trip, when out of now-where a lone 190 pierced our fighter screen and got some hits on the "Snap"; couldn’t tell how bad. We got to the target without a scratch and was thinking that this might be a milk run when 2 waves of fighters came screaming in on our starboard side. Thank God for those boys of the 332nd--they got ’em all off of us.
The Flak wasn't the thickest that I have seen, but it was rocking us around pretty good, when Dombrowski yelled that the "Fluff" got hit in #3! She was smoking bad--then the "Ginger" got it, pieces flying all over the place. Jesus! We pickled our bombs right on target, thanks to Greg Brown, nailed it! I was looking forward to getting the hell outta there when 2 Fw-190s blew-in past the "Fluff" and got a piece of her with one of them going down in flames! Alllrrrigghhtt! Pay-back!
I was feeling pretty cozy when we got over the Adriatic and got jumped again! The 332nd kept the enemy off of our tail, but this time an Me-109 got thru and hit the "Lady B". Didn’t see any smoke out the window and had Al check just to make sure that she was staying with us. She stayed as snug as a bug in rug. Tresise was a great pilot. We had no problems landing despite the poorer than usual weather. All of boys home and safe! I’ll count this one as one of our best.
Gave the bird over to Don Spinks, our crew chief. He kidded me a bit by saying he was surprised he didn’t have much work to do to get the ole "Ranger" ready for the next one. He was smiling as I was rushing back to the infirmary with the hopes of maybe seeing Gordon McKellick, my best friend, one more time; his bed was empty.
- 2nd Lieutenant Richard Wright, Pilot, Shreveport Ranger, 316th BS
LADY B, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with minor damage to the landing gear and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. James.
The mission was just a short run up the Adriatic to hit some submarine pens at the naval base at Pola. Tucked up in the middle of the high formation we were not expecting to see a lot action.
All the way out to the target we never saw a single fighter, either ours or theirs. They were either not in the air or playing elsewhere. Once we were on final approach to the target we began to see some enemy fighters and lots and lots of P-47s. The enemy fighters were getting a beating from our little friends. Only one 109 managed to make a pass at us. The combination of our defensive fire and his vertical dive and the P-47s coming in for him meant his one hurried burst was well wide.
The flak coming off the target was thick but inaccurate with no burst in our immediate vicinity. With smooth air and a clear run we dropped a good pattern on target.
Heading for home we were once again faced by swarms of P-47s and no enemy aircraft, Scotty swore that he saw some 110s below and to port of us but they could have been B-25s. As they never approached us and disappeared soon afterwards.
Heading back down the Adriatic we were pursued by a solitary 109. The P-47s had disappeared again and this 109 would not let go. He gradually closed from aft flying into the hail of lead put in his path by the top, tail and radio room guns finally bursting into flames. Scotty said that the pilot bailed out. That was the last contact with the enemy. As we flew back down the Adriatic the weather gradually deteriorated making the landing hazardous. We got caught by an sudden downwards gust which slammed the Lady into the deck. It damaged the landing gear but will be repairable.
- 2nd Lieutenant John Tresise, Pilot, Lady B, 316th BS
THE FLUFF, Third flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with damaged waist MG, superficial damage to the #3 engine and waist compartment and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by 1st Lt. Landry.
Took off no problems. Little enemy activity visible en route. P-47s drove off 3 Fw-190s near Pola.
An 88 shell hit #3 engine, didn't explode but deflected into waist where it severed barrel on .50 and barrel or shell left nasty dent aft of waist gun location. The jolt though sent out bombs into open water.
Another 190 dove down on us and missed while Landry killed another at 12 o’clock high as we turned around after completing bomb run (Fw-190A destroyed - 44°52′N, 13°51′E).
Return uneventful, weather bad over base. A/C needs new cowl, new 50 and dent hammered. Almost a milk run.
- 1st Lt. Steve Cable, Pilot, The Fluff, 316th Bomb Squadron
CABALLERO, Third flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Group Spare. Took place of Tallest Crow, high squadron, third flight, left aircraft. Returned with superficial fuselage damage and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by MSgt. Simeon.
317th BS (HIGH)
TAILS A'DRAGGIN', Lead flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned without damage or casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Falkenhayn (claim was later confirmed by S-2).
We took off and formed up without difficulty. We did not see any German fighters until we reached the target. Our fighters drove off all the attacking aircraft except for one that came screaming at us in a vertical dive. “Sparks” was hammering away when Falkenhayn let loose with his twin .50s. The German fighter began to smoke and then burn as it dove past us.
The Flak was ineffective and we put our bombs solidly on the target. As we made the turn for home another wave of enemy A/C came at us but our fighters were too much for them and drove them off.
On the return flight we saw no enemy fighters and landing was routine.
- 1st Lt. Harry Flashman, Pilot, Tails A'draggin', 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
TALLEST CROW, Third flight, Right aircraft
Runway abort. Did not participate on mission.
399th BS (LOW)
LUCY QUIPMENT, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 40%.
Returned with port landing
inoperable, damage to the port wing and 2
casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Powers.
We had a quiet run to the target thanks to our escorts and a good bomb run placing 40% of our bombs in the target area. After we started home, one Fw-190 and one Me-109 came at us from 12 o'clock. Our defensive fire was ineffective and they shot up the nose wounding both Lt. Phelps and Potts. On there second pass Sgt. Powers shot down the 190. Later another group attacked us again and shot up the port wing and landing gear. Despite this damage we were able to successful landing. Lt Potts survived his wounds; but he will not be returning to the Group. He will be rotated home as soon as the is fit enough to make the trip. Lt Phelps will return to duty as soon as he is fit.
- Major Art DeFilippo, Pilot, B-17G Lucy Quipment, 399th Bomb Squadron
SNAFU III, First flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with superficial flak damage to the port wing and no casualties.
An overall quiet mission, we only saw a handful of inbound Jerries. The boys managed to get a few rounds on them, but I think they're still jumpy from the last mission, and they're aim was a little off. Our run was on target and Lt. Tucker estimates 40% on target.
A nice quiet mission as they go; the boys are hoping
for another after this.
- 1st Lt. B. Bailer, Pilot, B-17G SNAFU III, 399th Bomb Squadron
MAWIMAZO, First flight, Right aircraft
Did not bomb target. Shot down by flak approaching target.
Reports filtering in through returning crews that Mawimazo suffered a direct hit on bomb bay by flak over target, resulting in an mid-air explosion. No chutes observed, all presumed KIA.
- From debriefing reports of 399th Bomb Squadron crews.
LAURALEE II, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with port flaps inoperable, superficial damage to the wings, nose, waist and radio compartments and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Snowden
Quiet until we got to the target area. Then a lone 109 dove down on us from above and put some holes in the port wing, but no visible damage. Flak did more to us than he did, hitting the wing, knocking out the flap, and also hitting the nose. Despite the flak Pipes hit the target and we turned for home.
The Jugs kept the Germans off us until we were back out over the Adriatic, at which point three 190s made a run at us from the front. One of them hit us good, nicking Lynch and putting holes in the wings and nose. He came around again, and missed this time. Tony lined him up and flamed him as he passed behind us.
A couple more 190s came at us as we got near home base, but Pipes and Josephson hit them hard. One hit us in the waist for minor damage, and they were both observed to be smoking as they broke off.
We returned to base safely, and stand ready for action.
- Captain Bill Hearn, Pilot, Lauralee II, 399th Bomb Squadron
EL TORO, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 40%.
bomb run (zone-3 outbound) after losing 2 engines.
Returned alone with #1 & #4 engines inoperable, superficial flak damage to the
port wing and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by SSgt. Bigelow.
Hit target with estimated 20%. No crew casualties, EL TORO limped home on two engines; we were hit hard by a 109 (zone-3, inbound). However, that 109 was last seen corkscrewing into the Adriatic Sea with pilot floating seaward after getting his starboard wing blasted off by Eng/TT Gunner Andy Bigelow. Saw many enemy 109's and 190's, but few put any holes in us.
Main damage to EL TORO: Repair/replace Engines 1 and 4, fix flak hole in port wing.
- 1st Lt. Fernando Del Madrid, Pilot, B-17G EL Toro, 399th Bomb Squadron
SQUEEZE PLAY, Second flight, Left aircraft (Tail-End Charlie)
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with radio destroyed, the starboard elevator inoperable and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Hemus.
Flight to Pola was uneventful till we approached the target. Port waist gunner, Solly Hemus, claimed his first kill, downing an Fw-190. A pair of Thunderbolts drove off another 190. An Me-109 from 6 o’clock high knocked out the radio, and destroyed the starboard elevator of "Tail end Charlie."
No flak hit Squeeze Play, but bombardier, Henry Aaron, whiffed on the sub pens, and scattered all of our bombs in the Adriatic Sea.
- 2nd Lt. Dwight M. Evans, Pilot, Squeeze Play, 399th Bomb Squadron
Return to Sterparone Field