MISSION 80 - MUNICH AARs

316th BS (LEAD)

GINGER SNAP, First flight, Lead aircraft (Mission Leader)

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with minimal 13mm damage to the starboard wing, to the pilots compartment and no casualties.  Claims: 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Hodge.

 

Mission Narrative:

Fighter opposition was light and ineffectual the entire mission.  Several small German fighter formations attempted to attack our squadron, but most were easily broken up by our escorts.  Our gunners drove off the few that penetrated the escort screen, with Sgt. Hodge in the tail claiming one Me-109 destroyed on a nice passing shot.

 

Flak was negligible over Munich, and Lt. McClain had an undisturbed bomb run.  He was confident that he had placed our bomb load squarely on target.

 

A single German fighter half heartedly harassed us over the Alps on the way back to base.  The rest of the flight home was uneventful, and landing was routine.

 

- Captain Harold Snakenberg, Pilot, Ginger Snap, 316th BS


SATIN DOLL, First flight, Left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned without damage or casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

We didn't have any E/A get close until just before we crossed the Alps.  A pair of Me-109s tried to make a run at us from dead ahead while an Me-110 crept up from below.  All were summarily dispatched by the 'Fork Tailed Angels' of the 1st FG.

 

Nearing the target area, we saw some groups of E/A forming but none got through to us.  We must have caught them cold, even the flak gunners were way off the mark and fairly light.  Lt. Douglas put 30% of the load into the center of the A/C depot area.

 

Just after the rally point, three Me-109s swarmed in on us. The Mustang Jockeys of the 52nd FG swatted two from the sky before they could get close.  Despite Lt. Douglas and Sgt. Rountree missing their Kamerade at 12 high with nose and top turret guns, they spooked him off, and he blew past us firing a quick ineffective burst.  Sgt. Walker called in from the tail that the P-51s got him as he pulled clear of us.

 

That was the only time any E/A got close to us the rest of the way home.  Despite being exhausted from the long flight, we got the Doll back on the ground without a scratch.

 

- 1st Lieutenant William M. Patrick, 316th BS/88th BG (V), Satin Doll, B17F 42-11806


LADY B, First flight, Right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with starboard landing gear inoperable and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Jacobson.

 

Mission Narrative:

“Germany, Munich and the Alps - sightseeing and getting paid to do it”.  When Ken came out with that on the hardstand one the whole crew just stopped what they were doing and turned and just looked at him, never seen them at a loss for words before.  Not that that phased Ken at all.  He pulled out a camera and threatened to take a ‘Shocked B17 crew preparing for a mission somewhere in Europe’ and post it to Stars and Stripes.  I swear if he turns up for a mission in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts he is going to get grounded.  After that everything was tight lipped and professional - guess the unspoken feeling was that someone was tempting fate.

 

It seems that the Gods had been provoked as we had no sooner got over the sea when a finger four of Me-109s sliced in towards us, not a word was spoken as they came in for us and the silence was deafening.  Still well out of our gun range as they lined up they suddenly burst apart wingmen covering leaders as a set of P-38 came in after them.  There was a ragged cheer over the intercom from those who could see as the attack was broken up.  These guys were determined and one of them managed to get close enough to fire a burst in our direction.  It went wide just like our defensive fire.  The nasty little dogfight gradually drifted past and behind us until it was lost to sight.

 

All the way to the target, with a respite as we pulled up over the Alps, we saw enemy fighters flicking in and out, mixing it up with the escorts but nothing came close enough to trouble us.  We had hoped that we had got away with it when a couple of FW-190s hauled round onto us.  One of them got picked off by our little friends the other put a pile of shells into our starboard wing.  From the chatter on the intercom the FW dived underneath us and pulled up in a hard left bank to drop him level on our six.  What the poor guy hadn’t realized was that the whole maneuver was followed with gunner handing over to gunner so that as the German pilot steadied himself to take a shot Bill’s twin fifties in the tail were already eating into his engine and wing.  There was a bang and a flash as a piece of cowling flew off and then a long trail of black oily smoke vanishing down towards the ground.

 

The flak was barely noticeable, light and wayward it never came near us.  This made the bomb run a lot easier and we managed to drop a good pattern on the target.

 

Heading for home our little friends kept all of the enemy at bay and it was not until we were back over Italy that a 110 tried to sneak up on us from behind and below.  Worst decision he made that day as his plane disintegrated round him as the Ball and tail turrets showered a hail of bullets into him.  After that there were no further attacks.

 

I think the gods had one final joke to play on us before the end of the mission.  We had landed without incident and were taxiing to the hardstand fifty yards short the starboard under carriage collapsed slewing us to a halt.  Crew chief didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It seemed that the hits the lone FW had made on us had damaged the under carriage and it had finally given way.

 

- 2nd Lieutenant John Tresise, Pilot, Lady B, 316th BS


THE FLUFF, Second flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Did not bomb target.  Returned early with damaged windshield and 1 casualty.

 

Mission Narrative:

Took off no problems.  2 P-38s took up position alongside.  Call-sign Ziff, old buddy from New Guinea.  Promised personal escort to Munich. (AGG ESCORT Random).

 

Not far from base three FW-190s came at us.  Buddies knocked down two but third peppered cockpit.  Co-Pilot so serious unable to push him out in chute.  FW made no return as 38s chased him off.  Broke formation and returned to field as wounded man would not have survived trip.  No incident in turn around.  Landed safely, signaling for ambulance.

 

- 1st Lt. Steve Cable, Pilot, The Fluff, 316th Bomb Squadron


VENGEFUL HARLOT, Second flight, Left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 75%.  Returned with a damaged port aileron and minor superficial damage (1 hole) to the fuselage (26 Damage points per Peckham's damage chart) and no casualties.  Claims: 2 Me-109s by Sgt. Burmeister.

 

Mission Narrative:

We were airborne by 0603 hours with a load of 3500 gallons of gasoline, 4x 500 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 0621 hours.

 

From 150 miles out of the IP we encountered numerous German fighter groups.  Yet our little friends did a stellar job by chasing off or destroying many of the Jerries that ventured in.  In the target zone we saw a 52nd FG P-51 destroy a Me110.

 

Lt. Flynn was spot on putting around 75% of his load on target.  Flak was light and very inaccurate.

 

Total of 7 fighters made attack runs.  The P38s & P51s drove off 9 Enemy Aircraft.  Our gunners shot down 2 enemy aircraft.

 

Respectfully,

- 1st Lieutenant Gary Tines, 316th BS/88th BG (V), "Vengeful Harlot", B17G-10-VE 43-8870


SHREVEPORT RANGER, Second flight, Right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned without damage or casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

Didn't get a chance to look in on Bill Wiley as we were rallied pretty early for this serious mission into Germany.  This will be our longest mission yet, and I was not looking forward to it.  Quigley (our replacement from the Ash Can, got his story straight this time from the scuttle-butt in the mess hall.  This will be a BIG ONE!  The briefing room was pretty quite after the XO uncovered the map to Munich; several groans were heard.  Al (my co-pilot) nudged me with his elbow as he realized where we were going.  I looked back at him with a grin but was feeling damned nervous--I didn't show him.

 

It was still dark when Al & I left the briefing room--lots of talk about this one among the pilots as we left.  I wasn’t sure how we were going to make it over the Alps--it was bad enuf going over the mountains on our way to Ploesti.  The Alps were a different story.  Lots of horror stories in the `O' club.

 

The chatter on the intercom was pretty heavy as the guys got settled in the ole bird after I gave them the `low-down' in our huddle out-side.  Spinks had done his usual job of getting us in `top-notch' shape for this mission.  Rev'ed the engines to life as Al checked all the instruments and the Rel man was re-assuring me that we would have no problems with navigation.  He had been studying this route, figuring that it was only a matter of time that we would be `doing this one'.  Quigley and he had been talking, I noted.  At least my crew had been getting to know the new man--that was a good sign.

 

We got tucked-in real tight with our comrades and I was feeling pretty confident for the trip when we got jumped right off the bat by 4 Me-109s!  The sky-jockeys were going to get some extra rounds in the `O' club after this one--the P-38s chased `em all off of us!  For such a long mission to get jumped early (in zone-3) was a bad omen, but then we were going to have escorts all the way in and out--that was a better sign!

 

The ole Ranger groaned and creaked as we started climbing to get over the Alps--she made it, but I got the feeling that she really didn’t like it!  Over the Alps and into the target area without any fighters--then the fun started!!!  FWs jumped us as we got close to Munich, but our friends with the yellow fuselage band (the 52nd FG) whisked them away--sure glad thos boys were covering our butts today!  The flak was light going in and that made it easier for Greg to nail the target despite the rather poor weather--30% on target--damned good, by a damned good bombardier!

 

Coming out of the target, the flak again was ineffective, but the fighters were again in our shorts.  Penetrating the outer screen of fighters, I cautioned the gunners to be watchful of those yellow fuselage bands on the bogeys.  I knew from other pilot’s talk in the `O' club that Jerries in this area would not be sporting those markings, and P-51s were hard to distinguish from the German fighters.  Again those boys of the 52nd came in close to our formation to scare off the intruders--another lucky event for our crew.

 

We made it back over the Alps with the same creaking and groaning, but safe just the same and really no problems as we picked up the P-38s again and they chased away the enemy about mid-way back from the target.  Landing was no problem either as I sat in a pool of sweat as we got the bird parked.  Al looked at with that familiar grin--we were home safe and sound without a scratch!  Yeah, we would be hosting the drinks tonight.

 

- 2nd Lieutenant Richard Wright, Pilot, Shreveport Ranger, 316th BS


399th BS (MIDDLE)

LAURALEE II, Third flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with minor superficial damage and no casualties.  Claims: 1 Me-109 by Capt. Pipes (claim was later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

Took off, formed behind 6 a/c of 316th BS.  Out over the Adriatic, a lone 190 dove at us from 12 o’clock, but did no damage.  Two more a/c (both 109s) attacked us over Italy before we reached the Alps.  CAPT. Pipes hit one with the chin turret guns, and it was seen to fall away, trailing smoke.  No hits to our ship.

 

Nice and clear over the Alps, with no enemy contacts sighted, but Munich was socked in pretty good.  We were not attacked or hit by flak on our bomb run and despite the cloud cover we laid our eggs squarely on target.

 

After we turned away from the target area we came under heavier attack.  Two 190s attacked from the front quarter. We observed hits on one but he kept coming, hitting us but fortunately only doing minor damage.  Both a/c broke off.

 

A lone twin-engined a/c (believed to be a 110) attacked us from 9 o'clock low over Italy (after we recrossed the Alps).  SSGT. Ward reported seeing tracers hit the enemy a/c and that it broke off smoking but still under control.  Not sure if we got it or not.

 

The rest of the trip home was uneventful. We stand ready for further action.

 

- Captain Bill Hearn, Pilot, Lauralee II, 399th Bomb Squadron


AC#43-8944, Third flight, Left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Runway abort. Did not participate on mission.


SNAFU III, Third flight, Right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Runway abort. Did not participate on mission.


317th BS (HIGH)

SALLY WRAITH, First flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned without damage or casualties.  Claims: 2 Me-109s by Sgt. Landers and 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Henshaw.


PROWLING PANTHER, First flight, Left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 40%.  Returned with top turret, starboard check MG inoperable, structural damage to the starboard wing root, hole damage to the #2 engine oil tank, superficial damage to the tail plane, to the cockpit and waist compartments (96 Peckham Damage Points) and 3 casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

This mission was going to be our first really big one . . . all the way to Germany!  Over the Alps and everything that goes with that.  Lt. White has really got the crew feeling confident . . . I mean that kid is doing pretty well.  Anyway . . . after takeoff we formed up with no problem and headed north.  Well . . . it didn’t take long before a kraut pilot got through the fighter boys and headed right at us.  But Kenny and Bruce up in the nose both hosed him real good and he was last seen headed down trailing a lot of smoke.  That really got us fired up!  Of course from that point on we didn't see a single German.  Until we hit the target zone . . . and all hell broke loose.

 

We got jumped by a bunch of 190s . . . and while the fighter boys did their best . . . 3 of them got through.  Although the bomber shrugged off the attacks . . . those Krauts ended up killing Lt. Neal and putting both Harry and Don out of action.  Meanwhile, we turned towards the target . . . didn’t see a bit of flak anywhere near us . . . and dropped the bombs and turned to get the heck out of there!  I mean . . . Lt. White hadn't told us yet that Lt. Neal was dead . . . but we knew the waist guns had stopped firing . . . and the Lieutenant was telling us to go check the boys out as soon as we could get the chance.  But those damn Krauts kept showing up after we turned for home . . . and one guy in particular was relentless.  He made three passes at us . . . knocking out the port cheek and top turret guns . . . as well as punching a hole in the #2 oil tank (found that out after we landed).  But at least no more of the guys got hit.

 

Anyway . . . after we finally got out of the target zone . . . Lt. White had Bobby Long come up to help him in the cockpit since his gun was out of action . . . and Brubaker went to check on our gunners.  All he said was that it didn’t look good for either of them . . . but he patched them up best he could.  After this it was all quiet on the way home except for one guy who showed up and made a half-hearted pass and just kept going.  Finally Lt. White made a smooth touchdown on the runway.  The ambulances were waiting for our guys . . . but soon after we got word that both of them had died.

 

Our joy for having made it to Germany and back was quickly crushed knowing that we had lost 3 friends on this mission.

 

- Sgt. Bill Weaver, Ball Gunner, Prowling Panther, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)


DARK WATCH, First flight, Right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with minor superficial damage to the fuselage (1 hit) and no casualties.


Aircraft #43-8941, Second flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with superficial damage to the waist compartment and no casualties.  Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by SSgts. Furutani and Sgt. Nagagiri (SSgt. Furutani’s claim was later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

Off the Italian coast (zone-4) we encountered unknown bogies coming in from ahead that were driven off by a combination of machine gun fire from the formation and fighters from the 1st Fighter Group.

 

Over the Alps, (zone-6) encountered unknown bogies coming in from head-on, level; they were driven off by a combination of machine gun fire from the formation and fighters from the 1st Fighter Group.

 

Approaching the target (zone-7) we encountered three (3) ME-109s coming in from head-on from all levels.  The one coming in from 12 level was driven off by fighters from the 1st Fighter Group.  The top turret, manned by SSgt. Furutani, was able to shoot down the ME-109 coming in from 12 high before it was able to attack the bomber.  And the ball turret, manned by Sgt. Nagagiri, was able to damage the ME-109 coming in from 12 low but the fighter was still able to hit the plane causing superficial damage to the waist area.  This fighter didnt return after its first pass.

 

Over the target, encountered light flak and was able to evade without damage to the plane.  Even with the poor weather 2nd Lt. Yamamoto was able to put 30% of the bomb load on the target.

 

Leaving the target (zone-7), saw two (2) ME-109s coming in from ahead and to starboard; Fighters from the 1st Fighter Group were able to chase the fighters away before they were able to attack the bomber formation.

 

Over Italy, (zone-5) we encountered two (2) ME-109s; One fighter coming in from 10:30 high was chased off by fighters from the 1st Fighter Group.  The fighter from 3 level was shot down by the ball turret manned by Sgt. Nagagiri before it was able to attack the bomber.

 

Was able to land the plane safely with any problem at Foggia.

 

- 1st Lt. Harry Honda, 317th Bomb Squadron


THE BRAZEN HUSSEY, Second flight, Left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Returned with bomb controls inoperable, structural damage to the starboard wing root (1 hit), superficial damage to the port wing (1 hit), the port flaps (1 hit), to the fuselage (1 hit), and no casualties.  Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Tolbert.


CARDINAL EXPRESS, Second flight, Right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with port ailerons and flaps inoperable, structural damage to the rudder (1 hit), superficial damage to the #3 engine (1 hit), to the starboard wing (1 hit), the bomb bay doors (1 hit), to the waist (1 hit) and tail (1 hit) compartments, and 2 casualties.  Claims: 1 Me-109 by Lt. Abernathy (claim was later confirmed by S-2).


TAILS A'draggin', First flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Runway abort. Did not participate on mission.


SECRET VICTORY, Third flight, Right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Runway abort. Did not participate on mission.


399th BS (HIGH)

LUCY QUIPMENT, Third flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with superficial damage to the port wing, tail planes, fuselage and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by Lt. Thompson.
 

Mission Narrative:

Our form up went without any issues; we first encountered enemy aircraft after crossing the Alps.  Our escorts did a good job keeping the Luftwaffe away from us.  A lone Me-109 attacked us from above and shot up the port wing and tail.  We fired without much effect.

 

As we approached the IP another Me-109 made it through our escorts and Lt. Thompson shot the Jerry up and his wing came off.  The flak over the target was heavy; but failed to score any hits.  Our bomb run went well and Lt. Lindsey reported that 30% of our bombs hit the target area.

 

Another wave of enemy fighters made a head-on run at us as we departed the target area.  These Me-109s scored some minor hits on the waist and tail plane as they passed us.  Our escorts did a great job of screening us for the remaining trip home and no fighters made it through their screen.

 

- Major Art DeFilippo, Pilot, B-17G Lucy Quipment, 399th Bomb Squadron


EL TORO, Third flight, Left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 40%.  During return journey, fell out-of-formation (zone-5) and reached base where 7 survivors bailed out over base and unmanned aircraft later crashed near the coastline, north of the base.

 

Mission Narrative:

El Toro was subjected to enemy fighter attacks most of the way to and from target.  Numerous Me-109s and Fw-190s hit us.  We made it to the target and hit with estimated 40% of our payload.

 

On the way to the target, enemy gunfire wounded Lt. Flanderson, tearing his lip and knocking out several teeth.  He bled considerably from this wound, but was able to continue his duties in the pilot compartment.  As we turned for home, EL TORO was hit by gunfire from other aircraft of the section, losing the pilot compartment heater.  Shortly afterwards, Lt. Del Madrid was seriously wounded by enemy gunfire and rendered unconscious.  Lt. Flanderson made the decision to leave formation and descend to 10,000 foot elevation as soon as we were over the mountains.

 

Back over Italy and flying OOF (out-of-formation) and low, we were hit by numerous Luftwaffe fighters.  Lt. Del Madrid, Lt. Flanderson, and Lt. Surry were all killed and SSgt. Bigelow was slightly wounded.  Even with a small hole in his shoulder, SSgt. Bigelow was able to take control of EL TORO and keep us on the heading toward base.

 

As we neared familiar Foggia, it was decided to not try to land EL TORO.  Myself and SSgt. Bigelow made this decision in the best interest of the crew.  We could not radio our plans as our radio had been shot to bits.  Over the field, we pitched out the bodies of our dead, pulling their chutes as they dropped from the nose hatch.  We think the body of Lt. Del Madrid may have hit the tail plane.  Everyone else parachuted safely from the aircraft.  SSgt. Bigelow reduced throttle, pointed EL TORO into a gentle dive toward the sea, then we exited EL TORO, parachuting safely and being picked up by MPs from the base.  I heard later that EL TORO crashed into some hills near the Adriatic Sea coast, near a small fishing village called Manfredonia.

 

- 2nd Lt. Alexander Boston, Bombardier, B-17G EL Toro, 399th Bomb Squadron


SQUEEZE PLAY, Third flight, Right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 60%.  Returned with tail turret inoperable, holed oil tank on #2 engine, structural damage to the starboard wing root (20%) and to the port wing root (40%), superficial damage to the cockpit and 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 Me-109 by Lt. Aaron.

 

Mission Narrative:

First mission into Germany for Squeeze Play was uneventful until approaching Munich.  We were jumped by a pack of 109s just outside of Munich.  One 109 took out the tail gun, while another recorded two hits on the wing root of the port wing.  Bombardier Lieut. Henry Aaron registered his first kill of the war, an ME-109, prior to starting the bomb run.  Never one to celebrate prematurely, Aaron then proceeded to drop 60% of his bombs on the aircraft depot.

 

After the bomb run, I informed the crew that co-pilot Lieut. James Rice had been seriously wounded by a bullet from a 109, and would be incapacitated for the remainder of the mission.

 

On the trip home, we were attacked by a wave of 109s just off the coast of Rimini, Italy.  The 109s hit the wing root of the starboard wing, and ruptured the oil tank of engine #2.  The leak would not seal, and eventually resulted in the loss of the engine just prior to landing. I had no problem landing the plane with the remaining three engines.

 

A 90 minute procedure back at the base hospital saved the life of Lieut. Rice, but he will be returning home to Anderson, South Carolina for the remainder of the war.  Buster Hoover of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will be replacing Rice on the next mission.

 

- 2nd Lt. Dwight M. Evans, Pilot, Squeeze Play, 399th Bomb Squadron


318th BS (LOW)

ZEBRA'S REVENGE, Lead flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with port wing flaps and ailerons, tail turret, nose compartment heating system inoperable, port wing outboard fuel tank holed, damage to engine #2, structural damage to the tail plane (186 damage pts per Perkham’s damage chart) and 2 cases of frostbite.  Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by 2nd Lt. Robins and Sgt. Mitchell.

 

Mission Narrative:

Got jumped right after we left the safety of home base . . . Three 109s . . . Got one and luckily (we) drove the other off with only surface damage.

 

Got to the target with no other problems.  Saw two groups of 109s as we headed for the target.  Drove them off with a mess of bullets, Suffered damage to engine #2, (but was able to stay in formation) and the port flaps.  Hit the target for 30% Im told.

 

Jumped again as we turned for home . . . Got another one but lost our heating for the nose compartment . . . Got a bit chilly for the guys.  Doc says they are okay and will remain in the infirmary for observation.

 

After we crossed the Alps on the way home saw two more 109s.  These were a couple of serious Krauts. They took out the port aileron, put holes in the tanks (just enough gas to make it home), tail root took some hits and lost the tail turret.  Luckily that was about it.

 

Landing was a bit rough but plane looks okay.

 

- Major Mick Mikula, Pilot, Zebras Revenge, 318th Bomb Squadron


JOLLIE ROGER, First flight, Left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Did not bomb target.  Aborted mission (zone-5) due to fuel leak.  Returned alone to base with holed outboard port wing fuel tank, port aileron inoperable, structural damage to the starboard wing root, port tail plane, the rudder, superficial damage to all the sections of the aircraft (estimated 265 damage pts per Perkham’s damage chart) and 8 casualties.  Claims: 1 FW-190 by TSgt. Locke and 1 ME-109 by Sgt. Havens.

 

Mission Narrative:

I knew it! Five easy missions and we were due to get clobbered, and boy did we get clobbered.

 

Takeoff and formation assembly were routine.

 

Relatively calm while over the water (zones 2 & 3).

 

As we neared the Italian coast (zone-4) a single 190 took a look at us but was quickly driven off by some P-38s.  A little after that a group of three 190s came our way.  The P-38s chased one away but the other two came on.  Both 190s made it through our defensive fire and continued in.  The first 190 got his dream shot and managed to walk his fire down the entire length of the fuselage.  Everybody in the front of the plane was hit, fortunately they were all minor wounds and we were able to continue.  Unfortunately, this same barrage of fire killed Sgt. Ketchum in the waist.  Finally the barrage ended with damage to the rudder.  The second 190 came in and peppered the cockpit, both Lt. Smith and I were hit again, scratches thank goodness.  These guys were not content to leave us alone and came back.  One of them made his approach from the 6 oclock position and TSgt. Locke got his first kill.  The other 190 was hit but came on through to finish the attack.  Fortunately, his hits were all relatively minor . . . except for good wallop to the port tailplane.

 

Finally we made landfall (zone-5).  Immediately we were approached by an entire Schwarm of 190s.  Two managed to get through the fighter cover.  Only one hit us, but man, did he hit us, lined up his shot perfectly and walked his hits from wing tip to wing tip.  Holed the outboard fuel tank on the port wing, we saved as much fuel as we could but it did not look like we would have enough to make it to the target (rolled enough fuel for 5 more turns).   I made the call to abort.  The fighters chased away the rest of the fighters and during the quite between waves we dumped our bombs.  Lt. Olsen said he thought the bombs took out some Italian grapes!

 

Another group of 190s came in and the fighter cover kept all but two away.  The first 190 shot up the port wing and the tail, seemingly to concentrate on Sgt. Havens, he was wounded and his suit heater was knocked out.  It was a light wound and he was able to continue his duties.  Sgt. Havens thought he could make it another zone or so before he would start getting cold enough to be concerned about frostbite. The second 190 stitched us from nose to tail wounding both SSgt. Holmes in the top turret for the first time and TSgt. Locke in the radio room for the second time this mission.  At first TSgt. Locke thought that this hit was serious but it turns out he was just nicked and his thermos of tomato soup took the brunt of the damage.  Just took him a minute to figure out where all the “blood” came from.  The fighters finally were able to get after these two 190's and chase them away.

 

After turning back towards base (zone-5) and leaving the formation things moved along quietly for a few minutes before the only 109s we saw today jumped us.  Two were driven off by the fighters still in the area but three more got through.  One of them decided to attack from the rear, big mistake, Sgt. Havens got his third.  We lost the port aileron to this bunch before they were chased off by the fighter cover.

 

Crossed back over water (zone-4) and dropped to 10,000 ft to warm up the plane for Sgt. Havens.  We attracted the attention of a couple of 190s, probably on their way back to base.  One got past some of our fighters that were in the area, he made a couple of half hearted passes then left without inflicting any damage.

 

Almost home (zone-3) and we saw a few enemy fighters in the distance tangling with some of our fighters. They did not bother us.

 

After that things were quiet and we made our landing with no further excitement.  Well there was a little excitement.  None of the fuel gauges were showing any fuel in the tanks, none, zero, zilch.  I guess the decision to abort was the right one.

 

I feel terrible, we lost a man and pretty much the rest of the crew is shot up. Our plane will probably be out of commission for a while, which is just as well as there is no crew to fly it.

 

Is that it? If so, Doc says I need to get down to the hospital to get stitched up.

 

- 1st Lt. Jeff Dodge, Pilot, Jollie Roger, 318th Bomb Squadron


ACES & EIGHTS, First flight, Right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Did not bomb target.  Aircraft shot down over Adriatic Sea (zone-4) during outbound journey to target. 10 casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

“While in formation and outbound over the Adriatic, B-17G AC#43-8891 known Aces and Eights was attacked from 12 o’clock high by an FW-190 and was destroyed by said attacker when enemy fire struck and detonated the bomb load.  The entire plane was engulfed by the explosion.  There were no chutes seen.”

 

- From Missing Aircraft Report of Aircraft SN#43-8891


AUSTIN NIGHTS, Second flight, Right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with brakes inoperable, tail wheel damaged, and a several superficial fuselage holes and no casualties.  Claims: 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Gillum.

 

Mission Narrative:

This we had fighters all over us the whole mission.  Lucky for us their aim wasn’t very good.  On the way to the target Sgt. Gillum shot down a 109.

 

Flak over the target was light allowing the bomb run to be on target with 50% in the target area.

 

On the way home the tail wheel was damaged by a 190 and the brakes were shot out by a 109.

 

The landing at base was uneventful.

 

- 1st Lt. Gary Hertel, Pilot, Austin Nights, 318th Bomb Squadron


BILOXI BEAUTY, Second flight, Left aircraft (TAIL-END CHARLIE)

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned with ball turret guns damaged, superficial damage to the nose, radio, waist and tail compartments, and 3 casualties.  Claims: 2 Me-110s and & 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Curp and 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Bray.


IRON LADY, Second flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Runway abort. Did not participate on mission.


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