MISSION 82 - MUNICH AARs
399th BS (LEAD)
LUCY QUIPMENT, Lead flight, Lead aircraft (Lead)
Bombed target, 20%. Dropped out of formation after bomb run from failure of Pilots’ Compartment oxygen system. Reached Switzerland and 10 crew members interned. Claims: 1 Me-109 each by MSgt. Fargo, Lt. Phelps and Sgt. Thompson.
LADY LIGHT, Lead flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with structural damage both wings roots (1 each), to the port tail plane (1 hit), damage to the oxygen supply, superficial damage to the waist and tail compartments and 3 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-110 each by SSgt. Boudin and Sgt. Washington.
Port waist gunner Sgt. Roy DeVoy - KIA (head), tail gunner Sgt. Bruce Williams, left foot severed, physically unfit to return to active duty, starboard waist gunner Sgt. Henry Martinez, lightly wounded (bit of shrapnel cut his neck, quick, complete recovery expected).
Crew Chief MSgt. Waltrip reports that LADY LIGHT will be fit to fly her next mission.
- 2nd Lt. Maurice Duncan, Pilot, Lady Light, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
SQUEEZE PLAY, Lead flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with port landing gear and port flaps inoperable, damage to the rudder (1 hit) and 3 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 each by Lt. Aaron and Sgt. Manush.
Easy trip to the target. No fighters sighted till Verona (zone-5), where two 190s were driven off by P-38s. A 190 and 110 got through the fighter cover in Munich, where Squeeze Play absorbed a hit to the rudder, and the port wing flap, making it inoperable. Flight Engineer Doc Edwards was seriously wounded, and will need to spend some time in the infirmary.
After dropping 30% of our bombs on the factory, a wave of 190s came through, knocking out the landing gear, and instantly killing pilot Dwight Evans. Port waist gunner Solly Hemus was seriously wounded, and is being sent home to recover. Over the Alps (zone-6), bombardier Lt. Hank Aaron downed his second 109 of the war. Aaron and tail gunner Sgt. Heinie Manush shared a kill of a second 109.
Co-pilot Buster Hoover safely landed Squeeze Play, despite (the) inoperable landing gear.
- 2nd Lt. L. C. Davis, Navigator, Squeeze Play, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
LAURALEE II, Second flight, Lead aircraft (Deputy Lead)
Bombed target, 10%. Returned with port wing flap inoperable, structural damage port wing root (2 hits), to port tail plane root (1 hit); numerous hits all over wings and fuselage and 3 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by Captain Pipes, SSgt. Terry Ward and Sgt. Snowdon.
Took off, formed up as leader of second element behind Major DeFilippo’s ship and headed out over Adriatic northwards towards Italian coast. One enemy a/c made a run at us over the Adriatic, but missed us and broke off. Quiet the rest of the way in. Gorgeous clear skies over the Alps.
Target area a mass of a/c, ours and theirs, smoke, black puffs of flak. We were attacked by numerous enemy a/c, both before and after target, and by heavy flak that damaged our wings, put holes in the fuselage, and caused three casualties, including Capt. Hearn, nicked by a bullet that passed through the cockpit. Our gunners reported nailing three 109s, and damaging more. Despite the heavy flak and damage to our plane, Capt. Pipes was able to at least get some of our bombs on target.
After egressing target area, we got a radio transmission from Major DeFilippo’s ship that they had oxygen loss and were going down to 10,000 feet. We instructed group to form on us for the trip home. The Germans harried us most of the way home, but only a few planes broke through our Mustang fighter cover.
We landed safely, and should be repairable by next mission.
- 1st Lt. Shaun Hill, Co-pilot, Lauralee II, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
AIRBORNE LADY, Second flight, Left aircraft
Runway abort. Did not participate in mission.
318th BS (MIDDLE)
BILOXI BEAUTY, Second flight, Left aircraft
Group Spare. Took place of Airborne Lady. Bombed target, 0%. Returned with the radio destroyed and minor flak damage to the rudder and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Bray.
HEART OF TEXAS, Second flight, Right aircraft
Did not bomb target. Shot down by flak during bomb run. Took a direct hit to the Pilots’ Compartment, 2 survivors.
AC# 42-11832, Heart of Texas, took a direct flak hit to the Pilots’ Compartment while on the bomb run. The aircraft immediately went into a nose dive and fell out of formation. Two cutes were seen; one from the nose and one from the waist.
- From debriefing reports of 399th Bomb Squadron crews.
316th BS (MIDDLE)
THE FLUFF, Third flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with port aileron inoperable, structural damage to the port wing root (1 hit), heavily ventilated pilots’ compartment and no casualties. Claims: 1 Bf-110 by Sgt. Smith.
A milk run; spotted enemy aircraft off the coast of Italy (zone-4) but none in range of guns. A Ju-88 night-fighter was spotted below us in Alps but didn’t attack. An Me-410 with phone pole strapped under it tried to climb up to us but a fighter took him out.
Hit by flak that damaged wing root and destroyed port aileron as well as filling cockpit with shrapnel damage of no account. Bombs missed though.
A Bf-110 climbed up to us but the ball gunner shot both his engines off, he quickly zoomed off during turn around. Gunners opened up on enemy fighters over the Adriatic (zones 4 & 3) but no attacks.
- Lt. Steve Cable, Pilot, The Fluff, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
VENGEFUL HARLOT, Third flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with radio destroyed, tail compartment oxygen system damaged, four holes of superficial nature and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 shared by MSgt. Ohm and SSgt. Piano.
We were airborne by 0605 hours with a load of 3500 gallons of gasoline, 4x 500 pounds of M-43, 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 0631 hours.
There was no enemy activity till we were over the Alps. That is when a pair of FW-190s attacked from the front. One was chased off by a P-38 and the second fell to our guns. MSgt. Ohm and SSgt. Piano teamed up to shred the lone Butcher Bird.
Then over the target we encountered a mix of Me-109s and Me-110s. Two 109s and a lone 110 turned in on our ship. That is when the Mustangs showed up, taking down an Me-109 and an Me-110 in short order. The 109 exploded and tumbled under our plane in a ball of smoke. The Me-110 lost its port wing when the P-51 obliterated its engine and the prop hub came off. The prop just missed the tail of Lieutenant Paulini's ship, Rough House. Paulini did a good job of avoiding the debris and regaining formation.
Flak was worse than briefed. It was HELL in the skies. The Harlot took three bursts resulting in eight fragments piercing her skin. This resulted in two injuries and the loss of our radio and damage to the tail oxygen system. The wings were riddled but there was not major damage. TSgt. Kevin Witczak was seriously wounded in his left hand. With all the blood we though he was dead [used one lucky charm], but doc said he will be fine. Sgt. Cory Brumeister was took a minor wound to his left foot, but he hit his head when this happened and we also though the Jerry's killed him too [used one Lucky charm]. But he was only out for a few minutes and back at it soon after.
Even with all the damage taken from the flak Lt. Flynn was spot on placing 30% of our eggs in the target zone. We were attacked again coming off the target but the crew of Lt. Cable drove the Me-109s and FW-190s off.
Landing was textbook. After taxiing the Harlot to its hardstand, MSgt. Fenn initial evaluation is that he will have the old girl up for the next mission.
Total of 7 fighters made attack runs. The P-38s drove off 1 enemy aircraft and the P-51s drove off a further 4 enemy fighters. Our gunners shot down 1 enemy aircraft.
- 2nd Lt. Gary Tines, Pilot, B17G-10-VE 43-8870, Vengeful Harlot, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
ROUGH HOUSE, Third flight, Right aircraft
Did not bomb target. Shot down by flak during bomb run. Took a direct hit to the bomb bays, no survivors.
Rough House was seen to explode while traveling to the release point. It is assumed that this was due to a flak hit detonating her bomb load as there were no fighters in the area. There were no survivors.
- From debriefing reports of 316th Bomb Squadron crews.
318th BS (HIGH)
ZEBRA'S REVENGE, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 5%. Returned with fire damage to #1 engine, Norden bombsight inoperable, structural damage to both tail plane roots (1 each), to the rudder (1 hit), superficial damage (2 hits) to the fuselage and nose compartment, and two light casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by MSgt. Chrisman.
A fighter attack caused a fire to the #1 engine; luckily we got it out on the first try. Flak was accurate as we took 6 near misses causing the Norden to be destroyed, 3 hits to the tail section, and the nose causing minor wounds to Lts. Robins and Brahme.
Returned to base without further incident.
- Major Mike Mikula, CO, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
AUSTIN NIGHTS, Lead flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 10%. Returned with superficial flak damage to the port wing and no casualties.
Thanks to excellent fighter support we did not have any enemy fighter attacks. We did take a superficial hit to the port wing from flak. The bomb run was off target with only 10% in the target area.
We hope all the missions end up like this. Landing back at base was uneventful.
- 1st Lt. Gary Hertel, Pilot, Austin Nights, 318th Bomber Squadron, 88th Bomber Group (H)
LUCKY LADY, Lead flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with port landing gear inoperable, Oil tank hit, tail wheel damaged, port inboard fuel cell hit, minor damage to port wing root, 11 shell holes throughout aircraft (170 Peckham damage points) and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Gordon, 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Williams and 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Stewart.
Takeoff at 0600 hours went smoothly, group formed up at 4000 feet and proceeded to climb to 20,000 feet to meet up with the 301st and 463rd. Our target for today was an aircraft parts factory in Munich. Only our second mission with the group and we pulled a flight over the Alps.
As we flew up the Adriatic and crossed over Italy, we only met sporadic enemy fighter attacks and our fighter cover took care of any Jerrys that tallied us.
As the group climbed to altitude to fly over the Alps we encountered the first of many determined enemy fighter contacts. Our fighter cover did their best, but from each wave of enemy fighters one or two would press home the attack and make runs on the squadron. It was during one of these attacks that our navigator, Lieutenant David Evans was hit by shellfire and seriously wounded. My co-pilot, Lieutenant Daniels, reported a slight drop in oil pressure on #4 engine but that it had stabilized. Lieutenant Williams and Sergeant Stevens reported damaging two 190s in this engagement. Our P-38s left us at this point due to fuel concerns. We were due to meet up with P-51s for the remainder of the mission.
And on we flew.
Passing the Alps the group descended back to our assigned bombing elevation of 20,000 feet. As we crossed into Germany, the enemy renewed their attacks with 190s. My crew reported two large waves were lining up to attack our position. The first wave of 190s began their attack run and luckily none of them directly targeted us. The first wave was eventually driven off by the squadron. Those P-51s were noticeably unavailable at this point. The second wave then began their attack. The crew began calling out contacts as the enemy fighters pressed forward. Suddenly Sergeant Gordon called over the comm, "Little Friends 12 o’clock!" Those P-51s appeared hot in pursuit and forced many of the enemy fighters to disengage. One enemy fighter did manage to slice though the squadron from 12 o’clock firing as it went. But it appeared that it was unable to hit anything of significance.
And on we flew.
Reaching the run-in point the groups turned on to our target. Flak was so thick you could walk on it. Several nearby bursts rocked the ship, but the crew reported no more casualties or major damage. The LUCKY LADY did have a few more holes in her though. My flight suit was sweat drenched. No one can ever train enough for the hell that is a flak barrage. You just have to sit there, take it and pray. Lieutenant Williams called out, "Bombs Away," and we banked away from the flak with the group.
Once we cleared the flak barrage over the target, the enemy fighters were right back at us with a vengeance. Enemy fighters were coming from all directions and from above and below us. The P-51s were kept busy driving off the enemy and combined with the firepower of the squadron guns only a few enemy planes got through to make runs on us. One, an ME-110, tried to attack from below, but Sergeant Stewart in the ball turret claimed LUCKY LADY’s first kill. Sergeant Sims in the tail claimed a piece of a FW-190 as well.
And on we flew.
Again we had to cross the Alps. As we climbed a small group of FW-190s made a half hearted run at us and then broke away, but not before Sergeant Gordon in the top turret made claim to the LUCKY LADY’s second kill. As the group dropped back down in altitude and was crossing over Italy we were hit by a group of ME-109s. We received no damage in the attack and Lieutenant Williams made claim to LUCKY LADY’s third kill.
And on we flew.
The rest of the flight was uneventful. Our landing however would be problematic. Our port landing gear would not set down. Manual efforts by Sergeant Gordon also failed to drop the gear. I radioed our situation and then informed the crew that I was going to climb enough for them to jump. Sergeant Gordon came on the comm and asked, "Is that an order, Sir?" I replied back that, "No, it isn’t an order Sergeant, but it would be the prudent thing to do. They don’t give you much practice at belly flop landings in flight school." First silence, then Sergeant Gordon appeared in his jump seat between Lieutenant Daniels and I. He spoke through the comm even though Daniels and I could clearly hear him speak. "Sir, if it’s all the same with you, I'd prefer to ride down with you, after all I trust you more than some PFC who packed my chute." Soon over the comm the rest of the crew reported that their guns were secure and that they had assumed landing positions. Lieutenant Williams reported that Lieutenant Evans was in really bad shape and one way or another we needed to get down now. I radioed the tower that I was bringing the plane down with crew aboard.
And on we flew.
We once again made our downwind leg and turned for final approach. Sergeant Gordon was right there calling out altitudes while Lieutenant Daniels and I focused on bringing the LADY down smoothly. The final approach went well. As we touched I told Lieutenant Daniels to cut the engines and close the fuel valves. LUCKY LADY skidded straight down the runway, a shower of sparks spewing from her damaged bottom. When she finally came to a rest, the emergency crews and medical teams were right on us. They got Lieutenant Evans off the plane quickly and into an ambulance.
The enlisted men, while shaken up a bit over the landing, nonetheless walked back to the fuselage and again tapped the smaller paint job of our name sake on the fuselage. The officers walked over to do the same but were stopped by Sergeant Gordon. " No sirs, this isn’t for you. It’s not that we don't want to share her, it’s just that Lieutenant Evan’s tapped her after last mission and well . . ." His voice trailed off momentarily. "Sirs, it’s just that we’d like you stay around for a while longer that’s all." I looked at Greg and then Al, they both nodded and we turned away.
Later that evening our Ground crew chief Master
Sergeant Brown appeared at my tent. In a somber voice he said "Sir, I just
wanted to let you know you did a good job setting her down. We should have
her repaired and retrofitted for your next mission". He paused before
continuing. "Sir, we just heard the report about Lieutenant Evans. I’m
sorry sir, but he died while being operated on for his wounds."
After the shock wore off I noticed Sergeant Brown was still there. "Is there anything else Sergeant?"
"No Sir" he replied.
I stood up. "Thank-you for bring me the news, both good and bad. Now Sergeant one request, can you get me a pot of coffee and some of that rot gut whiskey you got stashed away. I need to write a letter with a clear head but then I think I’m gonna get drunk after."
- Lieutenant Charles Gibson, Pilot, LUCKY LADY, 318th Bomber Squadron, 88th Bomber Group (H)
IRON LADY, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with the starboard waist gunner heating system, port flaps and both ailerons inoperable, structural damage to the rudder (1 hit), superficial damage to the fuselage, to the nose and pilots’ compartment, and two light casualties.
Took off and Formed up. Our outbound flight was very quiet. Only sighted enemy aircraft once on our way up the Adriatic Sea and these were driven off by our escorting fighters.
Things changed, however, when we got to Munich. Flak was very intense and we suffered a rudder hit, the starboard aileron was knocked out and, at the time, Lt. Franchetti went down with what looked like a serious wound. The navigator, Lt. Gilmore, managed to get across and release our bombs but we were way off target and got nowhere near the IP (O% on target). As we came away from Munich we were attacked by three FW-190s. Two were driven off by our fighter cover and the third missed us and sped off.
As we approached the Alps on the way home, we were jumped by three 109s. All our defensive fire missed; however the attacks by all three fighters were pretty lame and they soon turned away and headed home. Just after we crossed the coast heading into the Adriatic we got hit again. Two 109s came in level from 12 and 1:30. Our gunners missed both and we took hits in the pilot compartment, the port aileron was knocked out and there were other superficial holes appearing in the old girl. The Jerrys both came round for a second pass and Sgt. Endelman pegged one (FBOA-2) on its way in. It missed and broke off streaming thick black smoke, whilst the other knocked out the port wing flap. It came around for another pass but got sent on its way by McNichol on the tail guns who knocked large chunks out of its tail(FBOA-2).
We were about two thirds of the way back down the Adriatic when we saw enemy fighters for the last time. Three Me-109s came out of the sun. Two were driven off by our fighter escort but the third managed to sneak through and attacked us from 9 o’clock level. Hank Foster hit it from the top turret (FCA-1) and Endelman in the ball turret got good solid hits on it (FBOA-2), but it pressed home its attack and wounded Paul McNichol (LW) and knocked out Sean Flathery’s suit heater (starboard waist gunner). The fighter then broke off trailing thick black smoke from its engine. That was the last we saw of any enemy aircraft on the mission.
Just as we were starting our approach to the base, Lt. Gilmore came on the intercom and informed me that Paul Franchetti was still alive and not as badly wounded as first feared. It seemed that although it was bleeding a lot, it was just a crease but had been enough to knock him out. That news certainly lifted the spirits of the crew as we headed in to land. The Iron Lady was flying like a brick without ailerons and one flap not working but we landed safely and handed her over to the ground crew although MSgt. Brewster didn’t look too happy with the number of holes in the Iron Lady.
- Captain Joe Di Agostino, Pilot, Iron Lady, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
GOLDEN GRIZZLY, Second flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned without damage or casualties. Claims: 1 Bf-110 by Sgt. Denison.
Wow, we weren’t really prepared for this mission. We’d been at Sterparone Field less than 24 hours when we were told to report to the Briefing Hut. Thought we’d have a chance to get settled before we got sent out.
Our take off and formation assembly were routine, exactly like what we practiced back in the States. Our trip to Munich was relatively quiet, though there was a discussion while flying over the Alps between Michael, our Radioman and Wesley, our Ball Gunner, on whether the Alps looked more like the Rockies or the Wrangell’s.
We were finally over Germany when the flak opened up and we sighted our first enemy fighters. With all the enemy fighters and P-51s flying around, not to mention the flak, things were very confusing and we nearly collided with another Fortress. Still not sure which one or what really happened, but we both got back into proper formation without incident.
Wesley spotted two 110s heading up towards us but they were driven off by the Mustangs. A few minutes later Johnny Greer, our Bombardier, spotted two 109s and another 110 heading straight towards us. The two 109s were driven off by the Mustangs while Johnny opened up on the 110, damaging, but discouraging it from still attacking us. Fortunately for us the 110 missed as it flew by us.
Greer took over and lined us up for "The Run" against "the Factory" and dropped our bombs on target, don’t know how much damage we actually did, but we definitely hit "The Factory".
We turned for home with the rest of the formation and immediately got jumped by two more 110s. A Mustang distracted one of them and Wesley unloaded the ball turret guns into the other 110, destroying it. He was ecstatic, hell we all were.
The flight over the Alps was uneventful and most of us were still catching our breath from everything that had happened over Germany. As we crossed over into Italy we spotted some fighters on the horizon, but none of them bothered us. We finally landed, immediately grabbed some chow and headed back to our quarters to unpack.
I hope the rest of the Missions go this smoothly.
- 2nd Lt. Ethan Sorensen, Pilot, B-17G 'Golden Grizzly', 318th BS
AC#43-8947, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Dropped out-of-formation (zone-5) and returned to base alone. Landed with port wing fuel tank holed, fire damage to the port wing, control cables severed, port flaps inoperable, radio destroyed, numerous superficial damage (10) throughout the aircraft (estimated 187 Peckham damage points) and 3 casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s & 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Hale.
Ride to target was largely uneventful with a single 110 making a run at us just before we crossed the Alps (Zone-5), no damage was taken. Both Havens in the nose and Wallowicz in the tail got a piece of the 110 and it was last seen descending rapidly with smoke pouring from both engines.
Once in the target zone (Zone-7) we were attacked by an entire Schwarm of 109s. One of the Jerrys got a perfect run on us and stitched us from nose-to-tail. Damage to plane was minor but both Lt. Beall and Sgt. Wallowicz were badly wounded. I was also nicked. At this time command of the plane came to me. After getting through the 109s we started into the flak, one burst was very close with the radio room taking minor damage and Sgt. Wallowicz being hit again. Unfortunately the second hit to Wallowicz was fatal.
The same flak burst that killed Wallowicz knocked our aim off and we completely missed the target.
Turning for home a 190 got through the fighter cover and immediately turned toward us. SSgt. Hale in the top turret took a bead on him and got his first kill of the mission. On the outer edge of the target zone we were jumped by a couple of 109s and a 110. They proceeded to put holes just about everywhere, most were minor but we did loose the radio, the port flap, and some of our control cables.
Getting back over the Alps was much more difficult as I had to fight the plane all the way over. Losing some of our control cables sure made it hard to control the plane.
Just as we crossed into Italy (Zone-5) another Schwarm of 109s made for us. Fighter cover drove one away but the rest got through. With three 109s bearing down on us, SSgt. Hale got his second kill of the day. The other two Jerrys came on and one of them started a nice fire and leak in the port wing fuel tank. We immediately started transferring fuel out of the tank to both try and put the fire out and have enough gas to make it home. The same 109 that holed our fuel tank decided to come back for more. He should have gone home. SSgt. Hale nailed him for his third kill of the mission.
With the plane on fire we dropped out-of-formation and did our best to continue home. It was shortly after we made sea fall that the fire went out. Must have pumped all the fuel out of the tank and left nothing to burn.
Rest of mission was uneventful and we spent all our time wondering if we would have enough fuel to get back to base. We lucked out and made a safe landing with both port engines dying from lack of fuel as we pulled into our revetment.
Lt. Beall was immediately taken to the hospital, I don’t know his status. I am to head over to the hospital to be looked at as soon as this report is finished.
- 2nd Lt. Charlie Rose, Co-Pilot, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
316th BS (HIGH)
SATIN DOLL, Third flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 90%. Returned to base with flak damage to the port inboard fuel tank (self-sealed), superficial flak damage to the port aileron, #1 Engine oil tank by 12.75mm shell fragment (self-sealed) and 20mm & 12.75mm shell holes in nose and 2 light casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by 1st Lt. Douglas, SSgts. Roundtree and Mason.
We didn't run into any E/A until about halfway to the
target. Nearing the Italian coast, a pair of FW-190s broke toward us from
12 level and
1:30 low. As they bore in, they were met by a pair of the 1st FG’s P-38s who sent them packing for the deck. Shortly after crossing the coast, a 109 trying to slip in on our tail was foiled by another P-38.
Although a little colder than usual, we crossed the Alps without any difficulty.
Nearing Munich, a trio of Me-110s swung in on us,
meeting up with the 52nd FG’s P-51s instead. Flak over the target was
fairly heavy. A
couple of bursts were close enough to spook us with their loud 'karumph!'. Two bursts went off just outside my window. I called Ray Davidson to check on the damage from his radio room. He reported that there was a minor leak from the inboard fuel tank and that the aileron had been holed, but it didn’t look serious. Shortly, he called in that the leak had sealed. Despite the bouncing around, Lt. Douglas dropped 90% of the load right into the largest building in the factory complex.
The 109s were up and swarming like angry bees near the rally point. Four of them came after us. A P-51 took care of one at 1:30 high, while Lt. Douglas and SSgt. Mason blasted their Krauts at 12 level and 10:30 high. SSgt. Rountree heavily damaged the 109 at 12 high, and he broke off trailing heavy smoke.
Again, we crossed the Alps without difficulty, and were starting to unwind a little heading out over the Adriatic, when the last batch of E/A came calling. Four Me-109s turned toward us; three managed to claw their way through the escorts and tore into us from dead ahead. SSgt Rountree, Lt. Douglas and Sgt. Maust threw up a wall of lead with the top turret, nose and ball turret guns. Unfortunately, they all missed. The 109 at 12 high missed also, and broke off for the lower squadrons. The 109 at 12 level hit #1 Engine’s oil tank, but with little effect. His Kamerad at 12 low peppered the nose, wounding Lts. Douglas and White. As the Krauts swung around for another pass, SSgt. Rountree plastered the one that hit Steve and Pete. The other tried a pass from 3 level, and was met with a steady stream of lead from SSgt. Tibbs’ starboard waist gun. Although SSgt. Tibbs missed, he shook the Heinie so bad, that he broke off, heading down and away from the formation.
The rest of the trip home was quiet, and we landed the Doll without incident. The Doc says that Pete’s thigh is only grazed, and that Steve’s left cheek nick won’t keep either one out of the air.
- 1st Lt. William Patrick, Pilot, A/C 42-11806 Satin Doll, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
SHREVEPORT RANGER, Third flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with superficial damage to the top turret and waist compartment and 3 casualties.
317th BS (LOW)
AC#43-8941, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Bomb target, 0%. Returned with intercom, tail heating system and tail turret guns inoperable, damage to the nose compartment oxygen system, superficial damage to the starboard wing, to the cockpit, nose, radio and tail compartments, and 2 casualties and 1 case of frostbite. Claims: Two Fw-190 by SSgt. Furutani and 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Nagagiri.
Approaching the northern Italian coast (zone-4) one (1) ME-109 doing a vertical dive attack the bomber. Missed the bomber and didn’t return to attack. A second wave consisting of two (2) ME-109s coming in from ahead and starboard were chased away by fighters from the 1st Fighter Group.
Over Germany (zone-7) two waves attacked the bomber. The first wave consisted of three (3) FW-190s coming in from ahead and starboard. The one was chased away by fighters from the 1st Fighter Group. The one coming in from 3 o’clock high was hit by the top turret, damaging the enemy fighter to the point that it missed the bomber and didn’t return. The other one coming in from 12 o’clock high was able to hit the plane three (3) times, twice in the nose and once in the starboard wing. The hits to the nose hit the oxygen supply and seriously wounding the navigator and causing a light wound to the bombardier. The fighter was able to come back and re-attacked the bomber from 12 o’clock level. The fighter missed the bomber and didn’t return.
Approaching Munich encountered heavy flak and was hit
a total of eight (8) times -- three times on the tail, twice on the nose,
starboard wing, radio room. Damage to the tail hit the twin 50s making
them inoperable, superficial damage to the tail area, and damaging the heater
unit to for the tail gunner. Damage to the starboard wing caused
superficial damage. Damage to the nose was superficial in nature. Damage
to the radio room caused the intercom system to be out.
Because of the heavy flak and injury to our bombardier, all of our bombs were off target.
Leaving Munich encountered three (3) waves of fighters. The first wave consisted of four (4) ME-109s coming in from 12 o’clock low, level and high, and one ME-109 attacked from 9 o’clock low. The fighter coming in from the port side was hit by the ball turret and shot down by Sgt. Naganiri. The one coming in from 12 o’clock low missed the bomber and didn’t return. The one coming in from 12 o’clock level was hit by the top turret, seriously damaging the fighter but it still was able to hit the bomber only causing superficial damage and it didn’t return. The one coming in from 12 o’clock high also was able to hit the bomber, hitting the pilot compartment hitting the co-pilot lightly wounding 2nd Lt. Hayashi. This ME-109 was able to return attacking the bomber at 12 o’clock level. The fighter missed the bomber and didn’t return.
After crossing the Alps, near Lago di Garda (zone-5) encountered one (1) wave of fighters consisting of four (4) FW-190s. Three were chased away by fighters from the 52nd Fighter Group. The last one coming in from 9 o’clock high was hit and shot down by the top turret manned by SSgt. Furutani.
Leaving Italy near Venice enemy fighters were spotted coming in from ahead but they were chased off before they were able to attack the bombers by a combination of fighters from the 52nd Fighter Group and machine gun fire from the bomber formation.
Was able to land the plane safely with any problem at
- Captain Honda, Pilot, AC#43-8941, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
SECRET VICTORY, Lead flight, Left aircraft
Did not bomb target. Took direct flak hit to waist compartment and fell out-of-formation. Shot down by enemy fighters 8 miles southwest of Munich. 7 POWs and 3 KIA.
Secret Victory was having a good flight until we arrived over the target when the heavy flak caused not only 6 hits but also a burst inside the plane in the waist compartment. By the time the crew was preparing for an emergency bail out, the following damage not only to the plane but the crew as well had taken effect. Enemy fighters had already knocked out the tail gunner’s heater so we knew expected to make a tough call after the bomb run. The following results in no certain order made that situation seem small compared to spending the rest of the war in a POW compound. Superficial damage had caused 10 hits throughout the aircraft. The port wing’s landing break was inop. The control cables had taken a hit. While compounded wounds (SW followed by a LW) to both waist gunners was a big hit to the morale of the crew. When the starboard wing took an inboard fuel tank hit that caught fire resulting in everyone minus the ball gunner being able to bail out into enemy hands.
- Debriefing report by 2nd Lt. Schultz, Pilot, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H) after being released from POW camp, May 1945
PROWLING PANTHER, Lead flight, right aircraft
Bombed target, 50%. Returned with #2 engine out, auto-pilot and port aileron inoperable, structural damage to the starboard wing root, rudder and tail plane, several (9) superficial damage throughout the aircraft (104 Peckham damage points) and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-110 & 1 Fw-109 by Lt. Austin, 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Weaver, and 1 Me-109 by TSgt. Brubaker.
Takeoff and form up went off without a hitch.
On the way out things seemed to be going relatively well. Our bombardier Kenny Austin shot down a couple of Jerrys and for the most part the other enemy fighters were either driven off by our fighter boys or simply made one pass at us and kept going. The 'ol Panther kept right on going . . . not so much as a scratch on her so far.
When we entered the target zone things appeared to be getting a little tense as we saw a LOT of flak bursts. But they all seemed to be going off above us except one burst did punch a few holes in the starboard wing root. So despite being knocked around a little Kenny was feeling good . . . I mean with already shooting down a couple of planes . . . and he dumped our bombs right on target.
After turning around to head home things went all to hell. We got jumped by four (4) 109s and with the fighter boys busy elsewhere they were able to put a bunch of holes in the aircraft. But the nose took the brunt of it and we couldn’t raise either station on the intercom. During this attack Ron Brubaker, our Radio Op, managed to shoot down one of those 109s. But the concern for the boys up front was on all our minds I'm sure as we continued to fight off the Jerrys.
Finally we left the target zone behind and things quieted down so I told Ron to head up front to see what had happened. Well both of the boys were still alive but in bad shape. Ron stayed up there to man the guns to help get us home.
We did run into some more trouble about halfway back but the Jerrys only did some minor damage to the old girl and we kept the nose pointed home. But then one of the enemy fighters got lucky and stitched us with a walking hit in the fuselage. The nose got hit again . . . and so did Bruce our navigator . . . and this time Ron told us he was gone. The #2 engine got knocked out . . . but I was able to feather the prop so that didn’t effect things too bad. Continuing on we ran into 4 more Jerrys and Bill was able to take one down from the ball turret . . . but although hit some more nothing serious happened.
Upon reaching base we landed safely and Kenny was rushed to the infirmary where we later learned he would survive but get a ticket stateside.
I don’t know what to think. It seems like we are riding a roller coaster. We have easy missions . . . hard missions . . . on target . . . off target. Things are smooth and bam . . . somebody dies. Sometimes I wonder if I'm getting too used to this as the deaths aren’t affecting me like they used to. Maybe I'm just waiting for my number to come up.
- 2nd Lt. Jim White, Pilot, Prowling Panther, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
DAKOTA QUEEN, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 10%. Returned with port waist and starboard cheek guns inoperable, damage to bomb release mechanism, tail wheel, port and starboard wing root (1 each), starboard flap, radio, numerous superficial hits including one to #3 engine and one to port waist gunner oxygen system (estimated 150 Peckham damage points) and two light casualties. Claims: 3 Me-109s by Sgt. Janusiak and 1 Me-109 and 1 Fw-190 shared with 2nd Lt. Dagel, 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Dagel, 1 Fw-190 by 2nd Lt. Hageman, 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Chrisp and 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Cotton.
Mission briefing went well. For our second mission we were going to Munich, Germany to bomb aircraft manufacturing plants. Take off was at 6:00 AM and was uneventful. We formed up with our squadron at 4000 ft and climbed to 20000 ft to fly to our rendezvous with the 301st and 463rd Bomb Groups.
After our rendezvous, we flew out over the Adriatic and encountered no enemy aircraft.
As we flew further up the Italian coast, we encountered our first enemy fighters. The first group was driven off by the P-38's of the 1st Fighter Group. T he second wave consisted of four ME-109s, three of which were driven off, but the fourth made a run at us from 12 high. It scored two superficial hits on the nose and starboard wing before being shot down by tail gunner Janusiak on a passing shot! Our first kill!
As we crossed into Italy, we were met by two more waves of enemy fighters. The first wave consisted of a FW-190 from 10:30 high and a ME-110 in a vertical climb. Both were shot down by Lt. Hagman and Sgt. George Cotton respectfully. The second wave consisted of five ME-109s. One was shot down by our fighters. Two others were shot down by SSgt. Crisp and Sgt. Janusiak. That makes two kills for Janusiak! A fourth fighter was hit by 2nd Lt. Dagel and broke off his attack. The fifth fighter hit our port wing causing structural damage to the wing root. On successive attacks this fighter put a shell thru our radio and starboard cheek gun before breaking off his attack.
As we crossed the Alps, we were again assailed by the enemy. This time it was a ME-109 from 12 high, a ME-109 from 12 level and another ME-109 from 1:30 low. Our gunners missed all three fighters as they approached. The fighter from 12 high missed our plane. The fighter from 12 level hit the pilots’ compartment, and a piece of shrapnel grazed 2nd Lt. Rafferty’s arm. On his successive attack, he approached again from 12 level but his bullets missed our plane. The third fighter hit the starboard wing causing structural damage to the wing root. As this plane passed to our rear, Sgt. Janusiak opened up and scored another hit, sending the enemy fighter down in flames. We were not yet to the target, and had already encountered 13 enemy aircraft.
As we neared Munich, we were blasted by 3 waves of enemy fighters. The first wave consisted of three FW-190s. One was driven off by our fighter cover. The second came at us from 12 high. Our gunners missed, but perhaps threw his aim off just enough as he missed us as well. Janusiak again opens up with a passing shot and hits home, sending the Jerry home trailing smoke. The third fighter came at us from 3 low, and even though he was hit by Sgt. Cotton, continued his attack, causing superficial damage to the #3 engine and causing a light wound to starboard gunner Sgt. Saabe. On successive waves the this fighter approached again from 3 low. After misses from our gunners, his shots jammed our bomb release mechanism and caused superficial damage to the starboard wing. On his 3rd pass, he approached from 12 low. Lt. Dagel got a piece of him and he began to trail smoke. His return fire was way off this time, and as he passed, Sgt. Janusiak let him have it. He was last seen spiraling out of control toward the Bavarian countryside. Credit Dagel and Janusiak for half a kill each for that one. The second wave of fighters consisted of three more FW-190s that were all driven off by the P-51s of the 52nd Fighter Group. The last wave of fighters we encountered before our bomb run was four ME-109s. Three were taken care of by the P-51s. The fourth approached us from 12 level. Lt. Dagel in the chin turret again showed his shooting skill by hitting this fighter sufficiently to cause him to miss our craft entirely with his return fire.
Flak over the target was heavy. Most of it fortunately missed us. We were hit in the waist section, however, causing superficial damage to the port waist gunner’s oxygen supply.
As we approached our bomb run, SSgt. Crisp climbed down to the bomb bay to manually release the bombs on 2nd Lt. Dagel’s command. Even with the flak hit and manual bomb release, we still managed to get 10% of our bombs on target. I credit 2nd Lt Dagel and SSgt. Crisp for this effort. We then banked our plane and began the trip home.
SSgt. Crisp had no more then returned to his post in the top turret when we were met by four ME-109s. One approached from 9 high and was fired upon by Sgt. Hovey. His aim was not sufficient and he missed the target. Fortunately, the Jerry was no better shot and he also missed our craft. The second fighter came at us from 12 high. Both our gunners and the enemy fighters missed. The third Me-109 came at us at 12 level. 2nd Lt. Dagel blasted him with a long burst and sent him down in flames. The fourth fighter approached from 12 low. Sgt. Cotton missed his shot and the fighter hit our waist compartment, knocking out the port waist gun and causing superficial damage to the radio room. On his successive pass, he approached from 10:30 level and 2nd Lt. Dagel hit him with the chin turret, forcing him to break off his attack. As he passed the rear of the plane, Sgt. Janusiak laid into him. The enemy fighter exploded as Janusiak’s bullets hit his fuel tank. Credit Dagel and Janusiak with another half a kill each.
As we approached the Alps, we saw no sign of enemy aircraft. Our good luck held as we entered Italy. As we passed over the Adriatic, we were met by a single FW-190 approaching from 10:30 high. Our gunners opened up but missed the target. The enemy pilot did a bit better, hitting our port wing and causing superficial damage. On his successive attack he approached from 6 level and caused damage to our tail wheel and starboard flap. He then came at us from 9 high and caused light damage to the radio room. He had no sooner left our company when another FW-190 appeared from 10:30 high. Our gunners missed their mark as did the German, and he hightailed it out of there after but one attempt.
As we flew on southward, we were attacked by four ME-109s. Two were quickly dispatched by the fighter escorts. The other two were fired upon by our gunners but with no effect. The enemy fighters then fired in return and missed us entirely.
We encountered no further aircraft and landed safely at Sterparone Field.
- 2nd Lt. Steve Murphy, Pilot, Dakota Queen, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
BROWN SUGAR, Second flight, Left aircraft (Tail-End Charlie)
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with structural damage to the port elevator and the tail and no casualties. Claims: 1 E/A, unknown type.
Second mission for our bomber -- very dangerous because we are Tail-end Charlie. Take off was okay.
Inbound, saw many wave of enemy fighters. We took some damage to the airplane but all was okay. More attacks from Me-109 and 190, maybe one of them was shot down by our gunners.
We are on target, opened bay bomb, started bomb run and we achieved a 20% result (very good).
Now we are on the return trip home. The Alps from this altitude are very beautiful. Another attack from a fighter caused a lot of damage to the port elevator, the tail and engines.
We arrive at base and the landing was okay. Our second mission is over! We are ready for the next one.
- 2nd Lt. Larry L. Bogarde, Pilot, Brown Sugar, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
Return to Sterparone Field