MISSION 88 - VIENNA AARs
316th BS (LEAD)
FOUR-OF-A-KIND, Lead flight, Lead aircraft (Group Lead)
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with #1 engine and port elevator inoperable, starboard wing inboard tank holed (self-sealed), damaged to the rudder and control cables, superficial damage to the port wing, starboard flaps, to the fuselage, nose and radio compartments, and no casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s by Sgt. Perrins, 1 Me-109 apiece by 2nd Lts. Fletcher and Gilbert.
GINGER SNAP, Lead flight, Left aircraft
Did not bomb target. Aborted zone-3. Returned alone with #2 engine operable and superficial damage to the bomb bay and waist compartment and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by 1st Lt. McClain.
A flight of 4 FW-190s made a coordinated attack on us from several different angles shortly after we entered Yugoslavian airspace. Escorting P-51s drove off two, and Lt. McClain destroyed one making a head-on pass. The FW-190 attacking our 6 o’clock was seriously damaged by our top turret and radio compartment gunners. It continued to press home its attack before breaking off, trailing smoke. Our #2 engine was knocked out and I immediately feathered the prop.
I radioed Col. Lamb to inform him we were turning back, jettisoned our bombs over what appeared to be an uninhabited area, and left the formation. Almost immediately we were jumped by three 109s. The escorts chased off one; the other two made ineffective passes and dove away.
After landing, we discovered the waist compartment and bomb bay had both been hit by cannon fire, which inflicted minor structural damage. We were very fortunate that the bomb load did not detonate and that we suffered no casualties.
- Captain Snakenburg, Pilot, Ginger Snap, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
SATIN DOLL, Lead flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with #4 engine and starboard wheel brakes operable, control cables damaged, structural damage to the port wing root, and superficial damage both wings, both ailerons, to the horizontal stabilizer, to the cockpit and radio room, and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Walker.
Once more to Vienna. Relatively smooth run in for the Doll thanks to the P-51s of the 31st group. Didn’t have any E/A get close until just before the target. A pair of FW-190s swept in from 12 high and low. One of the Mustang jockeys flamed the one below us, while his Kamarade stitched a few new holes in the radio room. TSgt. Davidson called in that a shell fragment had nicked the control cables in the overhead, but everything looked OK. A Me-109 boring in from 1:30 level was ushered out of the fray by a P-51 welcoming committee. Sgt. Walker hammered away with the tail .50s and scratched a Me-110 trying to sneak up from 6 low.
Just like the last time here, the Krauts threw everything at us including the kitchen sink. Heavy accurate flak burst all around us, riddling the Doll’s wings and ventilating the cockpit. One burst knocked a couple of jugs of number 4 engine. Thankfully, we got the prop feathered before all of the oil was gone. In spite of the flak induced aerial ‘Viennese Waltz’, Lt. Douglas managed to pick up the target and put 30% of the load into the refinery area.
Coming off the target, the Krauts threw up another wall of flak, not as heavy but still accurate. More holes appeared in the wings and tail. Rallying off the target, the P-51s of the 52nd FG scored a 190 above and to our left, and a 110 climbing up from below.
The rest of the trip was fairly calm, with the escort keeping everything off us.
Landing was a little dicey, as the ailerons were shot up, and the port wheel brakes were shot up.
- 1st Lt. William M. Patrick, Pilot, A/C 42-11806 Satin Doll, 316th BS 88th BG (H)
VENGEFUL HARLOT, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with minor flak damage to the #3 engine and no casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s by Lt. Flynn and 1 Me-109 shared by MSgt. Ohms and SSgt. Brumeister.
We were airborne by 0602 hours with a load of 3500 gallons of gasoline, 8 x 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 0629 hours.
Well, the old girl took us in to the Devil’s Den and brought us back once again. Today the bad guys waited till we made the target to come up and play. Just prior to the I/P the group was attacked by a formation of around fifteen German birds. Two Messerschmitts singled us out and came in from the front and tail to distract our gunners. But the boys would have nothing to do with that. Lt. Flynn filled the cockpit of a Me-109 boring down from 11:30 level. Lt. Zurn saw the canopy explode and the fighter flipped over and nosed down to earth.
While this was going on in front, MSgt. Ohms and SSgt. Brumeister paired up to shred the wing of the Me-109 coming in from six o’clock high. The port wing was seen to flutter down as the rest of the plane tumbled to the ground. SSgt. Piano recorded the fighter’s demise.
As we approached the drop point, the flak batteries opened up. Quite heavy and concentrated on the middle squadron. We took minor damage to the number three engine. It trickled smoke most of the way home, yet causing no decline to performance. Lt. Flynn was spot on with his drop, putting 60% of the load in the designated target zone.
As we pulled away from the target the flak resumed. This flak was moderately heavy, but inaccurate. We didn’t take any damage form this round of burst. Shortly after the flak ceased the fighters were back. One more Me-109 attempted to make a run on us from 11:30 low, but Lt. Flynn was on his game and dropped his second enemy fighter of the day. Five other enemy aircraft endeavor to shoot us up no avail, as our little friends were ‘Johnny on the spot’ to shoot them down or chase them off.
Our landing was near perfect, and everyone made it home safe. Can’t argue that.
- Captain Gary Tines, Pilot, B17G-10-VE 43-8870, Vengeful Harlot, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
MINNESOTA MINX, Second flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with the starboard waist MG destroyed, damage to the radio room and tail compartment oxygen systems, damage to the control cables, numerous superficial damage throughout the aircraft and 3 casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s by Sgt. Jones and 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Wilson.
Things were beginning to settle down again for the crew after the horrors of our aborted mission to Ploesti. Loosing the skipper, Bas and Art had removed all but myself from the original officers that had trained together and we had a whole new bunch of guys now. We had a milk run to Sete which allowed us to learn to work together, we missed the target but we got back in one piece and rubbed some of the corners off each other. We still have a lot to do before we are a team. I have moved into the pilot seat with Peter Williams moving in as co-pilot. Chris Wilson and John Thorpe are settling in the nose, but it is early days yet as to how they work out. So a mission to Vienna against heavy opposition was not what I had wanted to see, another like Sete would have given us more time. So my heart sank when the target came up.
There were the usual grumbles going out to the Minx, a tightening of tensions as we went through check and then double checking everything and then waiting. We taxied out in the queue of other aircraft lining up for take off, then off and away climbing up to altitude to join the rest of the formation. For the crew once we had got away from ground the tension eased as we all concentrated in getting up into the formation, testing our guns, watching out for other aircraft, radio checks, navigation and the small tasks that had to be done right so that we would come home. We pulled in behind Tines in Vengeful Harlot and closed up.
We saw our first FW not long afterwards it came out of nowhere but did not come after us but after Mundall’s crew in Sledgehammer. It shot past and then disappeared. We were not able to engage as it was too far away. As we entered Yugoslav airspace we saw Ginger Snap get hit by more FWs. It was hard to tell what happened as it was almost over in an instant and not only were there FWs but also our little friends. We say at least two of the attacking aircraft go down, one was smoking badly, the other appeared to be breaking up. Ginger Snap was not so lucky she had lost her number 2 and we watched as she turned away and ran for home. We closed up the hole that she left and hoped we’d see Snakenburg’s crew when we got back.
The rest of the run in to the target had us in the position of observers as we heard of and saw enemy fighters but were not attacked ourselves. Once over the target our little friends seemed to disappear and for the first time we were attacked. The first attack was by an FW-190. In his first engagement with an enemy fighter John managed to hit it with the cheek gun, it was a hit but the enemy aircraft kept on coming. It was lucky that he was no as good a shot as John was. Coming onto the IP we got caught by a couple of ME-109s. Craig managed to crease one with the waist gun and we took some hits. Apart from losing the starboard waist gun there did not seem to be any damage. The second attack missed entirely coming in head on but Davey managed to finish him off as we broke away. Suddenly we went from a sky full of fighters and bombers to just bombers and dense black clouds of smoke with angry red centers. The flak came up late and only caught the rear of the aircraft we had one burst just out side the starboard waist window, both Fletch and Craig got taken down by that one hit, the oxygen supply was also hit in both the radio room and tail. However the rest of the plane seemed okay, however it was enough to put our bombs away off the target and as we turned away we ran into another wall of flak followed by continued fighter attacks until we had almost got out of Yugoslavia.
I don’t have much recollection of the trip back as everything past the shock of loosing Pete is just a blur. Pete was sitting right next to me. Chris had just knocked down a 109 with the chin guns, Pete had been calling passing shots to Davey in the tail and then he just went quiet. Another fighter flashed passed and he said not a word I looked across to see him slumped, he didn’t move, nothing, he was just gone. I reached across but he was dead.
Fletch is in the infirmary and will recover and rejoin the crew. Craig
will also get patched up but he is heading home. Pete was killed by a single
bullet which punctured the fuselage entered the right side of his chest and into
his heart. This was his second mission sitting in my seat.
- 2nd Lt. Jeff Dunlop, Pilot, Minnesota Minx, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
SLEDGEHAMMER, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with the ball turret inoperable, superficial flak damage to the nose, waist and tail compartments and 1 light casualty.
Mission #88 started off with a scare as an FW-190 came out of nowhere and attacked us soon after we crossed into enemy territory. However, the port cheek gun appeared to have damaged it and it left us.
Things continued uneventfully until we arrived at the target, when all hell broke loose. The extremely heavy flak at the target seemed to have us bracketed and we were rocked by no less than 8 explosions, before and after the drop. Our tail took the brunt of the damage along with the ball turret guns being knocked out. Greg Tanner took a flak fragment in his right thigh but the bleeding was minimal. Despite the heavy flak, the bombs appeared to hit pretty well on target. Just after the drop we were engaged by 2 FW-190s but again our defensive fire drove them away after a single pass.
The return trip home was extremely quiet, which suited us fine since we had no ball turret, and the landing was perfect despite the weather.
- 2nd Lt. Mike Mundell, Pilot, Sledgehammer, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
399th BS (MIDDLE)
LAURALEE II, Third flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with structural to the starboard tail plane root, damage to the tail compartment oxygen system, superficial damage to the #1 engine, numerous superficial damage to both wings and the fuselage, and 1 light casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 by Capt. Pipes.
Quiet, at least for us, until we got to target. One 190 did break through and make a pass at us over Yugoslavia, but he broke off without scoring any hits; it looked like he was trailing smoke as he passed us.
Lots of flak over target--very heavy, both going and coming. The Germans also laid a smoke screen or something, making it very hard to see the target. We took flak damage, mostly minor (bumpy ride for all of us), but that and the smoke caused us to miss the target.
Capt. Pipes nailed one 109 over target with the chin turret, and we shot up another 109 pretty good. They did some damage to us--Lt. Hill got nicked, but should be okay. The Germans chased us most of the way home, breaking through the fighter cover, but fortunately they missed us.
Landing in the soup over base was fun, to say the least.
- 2nd Lt. Mark Washburn, Co-pilot, Lauralee II, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
CROSSTOWN BUS, Third flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with light damage to the port wing, to the radio room and no casualties.
Group assembly and the flight up to Vienna went as planned. On the way into the target we had several FW-190s attack. Two were driven off by escort fighters and two made runs at us with no hits scored on the aircraft. No other fighters made runs at us.
The flak going into the target was heavy and our port wing took some damage all of it superficial or light.
We were able to stay in formation and drop our load. In the trip out of the target area we took more flak, not as heavy as going in, but we did take a couple of hits in the radio compartment. No casualties or damage noted.
The return leg of the mission had some tense moments as two ME-109s headed for us. Our escorts made short work of that idea and drove them off. We returned to base and landed with no problems.
- 2nd Lt. George Fishman, Pilot, Crosstown Bus, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
AIRBORNE LADY, Third flight, Right aircraft
Runway abort. Did not take part in mission. There was no replacement.
317th BS (HIGH)
AC#43-8941, First flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with tail compartment heating system and tail guns inoperable, damage to the bomb release mechanism, to the rudder, to the tail wheel, structural damage to both wing roots, superficial damage to the fuselage, cockpit, radio room, waist, tail compartments and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-110 by SSgt. Furutani.
Crossing in the Yugoslavia coastline (Checkpoint 3) Boggies were spotted coming in from 12 o’clock but didn’t come in to attack the formation.
Northwest of Zagreb (Checkpoint 4) One wave of two (2) ME-109s attacked coming in from head-on and both were chased off by fighters from the 31st Fighter Group before they were able to attack.
At the Yugoslav/Austrian border (Checkpoint 5) One wave of Four (4) FW-190s approached. Two were chased of by the 31st Fighter Group before they were able to attack. One came in from 12 o’clock level hit the plane in the waist causing superficial damage. Another came in from 3 o’clock low also was able to hit the plane in the tail causing the heater unit in the tail section to be inoperable. Both planes were able to return and attacked the bomber again. The one came in from 12 o’clock level was shot down by the SSGT. Furutani before it was able to attack. The second one coming in from 3 o’clock level missed the bomber and didn’t return.
Over target area: One wave of ME-110s came attacked the bomber. One came in from 6 o’clock level hit the bomber 5 times: three (3) of were superficial damage to the fuselage and the other two (2) superficially wounded Sgt. Tanaka and the other rendering the tail guns inoperable. The one coming in from 9 o’clock low was able to hit the starboard wing and the tail causing damage to the wing root area of while the hit to the tail caused damage to the tail wheel. The planes were able to attack again; one came in from 12 o’clock level was destroyed by SSGT. Furutani before it was able to attack. The other one attacked from 9 o’clock level missed the bomber and didn’t return.
Flak was heavy and we took five (5) hits causing damage to the rudder, to the bomb release mechanism, and the port wing root and superficial damage to the tail compartment and radio room.
Even with the heavy flak damage and having to operate the bomb release manually we were able to put 30% of the bombs on target.
We still were still being shot at by flak on the outbound route but didn’t sustain any hits or damage.
After leaving the flak zone south of Vienna (Checkpoint 6) we encountered three (3) wave of fighters. The first consisted of one (1) ME-109 that was chased of by fighters from the 52nd Fighter Group before it was able to attack. The second (2) wave consisted of five (5) FW-190s coming in from head-on and and one doing a vertical dive. One was quickly chased off by fighters from the 52nd Fighter Group before it was able to attack. Three FWs all missed the bomber and didn’t return but one came in from 10:30 level hit the plane three (3) times: once (1) in the waist and twice (2) in the pilots’ compartment. The two hits to the pilots’ compartment were superficial, while the hit the the tail hit the turret again. The plane was chased away by fighters from the 52nd Fighter Group before it was able to re-attack. The final wave consisted of two (2) FW-190s coming in from 10:30 high and 3 o’clock level. The one from 3 o’clock was chased away by fighters from the 52nd Fighter Group and the other one missed the bomber and didn’t return.
Near Zagreb (Checkpoint 4) one wave of two (2) ME-109s attacked from head-on; both missed the bomber and didn’t return.
Just before the reaching the Adriatic (Checkpoint 3) Bogies were spotted coming in from 12 o’clock but didn’t attack the bomber.
Was able to land the plane, but suffered additional damage when landing the plane in Foggia.
- 1st Lt. Harry Honda, Pilot, AC# 43-8941, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
DOUBLE TROUBLE, First flight, Left aircraft
Did not bomb target. Aborted (zone-4) and returned alone with engine #3 and tail turret inoperable, numerous superficial damage throughout the aircraft and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by 2nd Lt. Shoemaker and 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Courtney.
We got up and formed up with the Group with no problems.
The group of 3 Me-109s we met entering Yugoslavia (zone-3) gave us a pretty big scare. Even when Sgt. Courtney shot one out of the sky the others kept on coming. As bad as it was northwest of Zagreb (zone-4) when we got jumped by 3 FW-190s it was time to pay the piper. As fast as it all happened I feel that we are lucky to be able to report that we landed safely. Sgt. Jones, the starboard waist gunner, was hit twice once serious enough to send him hone after only one mission. Our navigator, Lt. McHugh, suffered 2 wounds but not serious enough to send him home and he will be with us on our next mission.
The plane took some damage but the ground crew says that they can have our tail gun repaired and Engine Number 3 fixed and ready for us to take part in the next mission. I know when we got down and had the wounded taken care of I did a walk around the plane and stopped counting when I got to over a hundred or more shell holes and the damage report from the ground crew.
We will give it another shot next time and hope to pay back for all the damage we received this time by dropping our bombs on the target instead of who knows where.
- 2nd Lt. Paul Schultz Jr., Pilot, Double Trouble, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
CARDINAL EXPRESS, First flight, Right aircraft
Group Spare - Replaced Hammer and Anvil. Bombed target, 20%. Returned with ICOM inoperable, damage to the rudder (1 hit), superficial damage to both wings (1 hit each), to the fuselage (5 hits), the cockpit (1 hit), nose (1 hit), bomb bay (1 hit), radio (1 hit), waist (1 hit) and tail (2 hits) compartments 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. McKay.
TAILS A'DRAGGIN', Second flight, Lead aircraft
Group Spare - Replaced Special K. Bombed target, 0%. Damaged by flak and enemy fighters, fell-out-of formation after leaving target area. Lost somewhere over southern Austria (zone-5); 10 POWs. Claims: 2 Me-109s.
AC#43-8943 under the command of 1st Lt. Harry Flashman was a group spare taking the place of a formation abort. The aircraft was last seen shortly after the rally point. The engine #3 was feathered and the starboard wing was on fire as it left the high squadron and dove to lower altitude and beyond visible sighting.
The International Red Cross reports the following are now Prisoners of War:
1st Lt. Flashman, 2nd Lt. Eugene Montrose, 2nd Lt. Edward Mannock, 2nd Lt. Alfred Murphy, SSgt. Eric Falkenhayn, TSgt. Steven Decatur, Sgt. James Summerville, Sgt. David McKnight, Sgt. Ramon Cambridge and Sgt. Richard Wright.
- Missing Aircraft Report submitted by the 88th Bomb Group Intelligence Officer, Major James Jefferson
CHARLENE, Second flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 50%. Returned with tail guns inoperable, the radio shot out, superficial damage to both wings, to the nose, pilots and tail compartments (55 Peckham points) and 3 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Carmody.
Take off was at 6:00AM without incident. We formed up at 4000 feet before climbing to 24000 for the flight to Vienna. The rendezvous with the 301st and 463rd Bomber Groups over San Marcos was uneventful.
We encountered no enemy aircraft until we entered the target zone. An Me-110 climbed at us from below but was driven off by the P-51s. Four ME-109s came at us next and two were dispatched by the fighters. One of the remaining enemy aircraft lined up on us from 3 o’clock level and was hit by the ball turret gunner. That fighter broke off his attack. The last remaining fighter came at us from the opposite side and was shot down by SSgt. Carmody in the top turret.
Flak over the target was heavy and we sustained several hits, all causing only minor damage. Our bombs were on target and we estimate 50% hit the target area. Flak was lighter as we left the target, but much more deadly. A burst near the waist of the plane sent shrapnel that wounded port waist gunner Sgt. Paulsen in the calf and killed starboard gunner Sgt. Ernest Pesicka. Sgt. Paulsen should recover in a few days.
A tight formation as we left the area, despite losing the Zoo Gang and Lady Light, provided excellent protection from the enemy fighters and they were driven off. We were then met by four more ME-109s. Two of the E/A were driven off by our fighter cover. One got thru and came at us from 12 low. A burst from his guns shot out our radio and wounded 1st Lt. Charles Van Eck in the right forearm. Our tail gunner, Sgt. Pischke, took a shot at him as he passed but missed. Subsequently, he came at us from 10:30 level and was hit by bombardier 2nd Lt. Langdon. The fighter pressed his attack, causing superficial damage to the pilot compartment before breaking off. The other fighter came at us from 9 high and both our top turret and port waist gunners missed. His guns were more true to their mark and he knocked out our tail guns. He was then driven off by our fighter cover.
As we moved toward the Austrian/Yugoslav border, we were attacked by three FW-190s. Two were driven off by our fighters. The third came at us from 12 high and was shot at by our chin and top turrets, which both missed. He also missed and broke off his attack.
We encountered no more enemy fighters as we flew home. Flight engineer SSgt. Carmody moved to the pilot compartment to help fly the plane as our pilot was incapacitated. Tail gunner Sgt. Pischke took over in the top turret as his guns were inoperable. We landed at Sterparone Field without incident. Ambulances met our plane upon landing to take 1st Lt. Van Eck to hospital and to remove the body of Sgt. Pesicka.
- 2nd Lt. Richard Sunde, Pilot, Charlene, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
THE ZOO GANG II, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Shot down by fighters 5 miles south of Vienna from fuel tank fire; 4 KIA and 6 POWs.
Over the target The Zoo Gang II was seen bracketed by heavy flak and taking numerous hits. It appeared the #1 engine was out and the propeller was not feathered. The aircraft . . . although falling behind the formation . . . continued to the target. As we were egressing the target area . . . The Zoo Gang II was seen releasing its bombs with apparently good accuracy.
Lt. Cavall came up on the radio and very calmly announced they had a fuel tank fire caused by an Me-109 and they were bailing out. We were just close enough to count 6 parachutes.
The International Red Cross reports the following are now Prisoners of War:
2nd Lt. Kenneth Cavall, 2nd Lt. Jeffery Downey, 2nd Lt. Kenneth Pinkney, 2nd Lt. Donald Dillion, SSgt. Keith Jarvis, Sgt. Richard Bedford.
- From debriefing reports of 317th Bomb Squadron crews.
HAMMER AND ANVIL, First flight, Right aircraft
Runway abort. Did not take part in mission. Replaced by group spare.
SPECIAL K, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Formation abort. Did not take part in mission. Replaced by group spare.
399th BS (HIGH)
LADY LIGHT, Third flight, Lead aircraft
Did not bomb target. Shot down by an Me-110 fighter 2 miles SW of Vienna. 10 KIA.
Report forwarded to the 88th BG, 5th BW, 15th AF by RAF Communications Intercept Office, London:
Report copied from Radio Berlin 27 June 1944 (1000 GMT broadcast)
“Yesterday, in the blue skies over the Alpen-Donau-Reichsgaue, Leutnant Karl Richter of the Luftwaffe shot down an American bomber as it approached the peace loving residents of Vienna. Leutnant Richter, flying with several other of his Luftwaffe brethren, approached the enemy B-17 from below, and despite his Messerschmitt Bf-110 being damaged by enemy gunfire, he pressed home his attack in the defense of the Reich. Leutnant Richter reported his bullets and cannon shells hit the enemy bomber, and before his very eyes, exploded. Leutnant Richter was forced to dive away quickly and narrowly avoided colliding with another aircraft. Leutnant Richter joined the Luftwaffe in 1942 and has proudly served the Reich in North Africa and Russia prior to his squadron being assigned to the defense of the Fatherland. All young men of the Reich should strive to follow Leutnant Richter’s example . . . (more propaganda and glorification of the defenders of Germany, etc.)”
It is believed that the B-17 shot down by Leutnant Richter was AC#43-8949, nicknamed LADY LIGHT.
Communications Officer, RAF Communications Intercept Office, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
PASSIONATE WITCH, Third flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with minor structural damage to the port wing root, damage to the rudder, superficial damage to the ship (3 hits) and no casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s by SSgt. Hill and 1 Fw-190 shared by Sgts. Baynes and Little.
Our departure and form up went without any issues, we had an uneventful ride to the target and then things started to happen.
As we approached the target our section came under heavy attack. Most of
the damage was minor and the boy gave better than the
enemy did. Sgt. Hill shot down an Me-109 as he came at us from 12 o’clock on the way into the target and he flamed another upon
departing the target area. While we were under attack another group of enemy fighters came at Lady Light and the ship just disappeared
in a ball of flames. I don’t believe it is possible anyone survived.
Over the target Lt. Hill dropped at least 30% of our bombs in the target area.
As we departed another group of enemy fighters tried a run at us. Both Sgt. Baynes and Sgt. Little shot up a Fw-190 coming in from below. Sgt. Baynes got a good burst off first, followed by Sgt. Little. We saw enemy aircraft on the way home, but our escorts did a good job of keeping them way.
- 2nd Lt. Ralph W. Knight, Pilot, Passionate Witch, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
HARDBALL HEROES, Third flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with engine #1 inoperable, superficial damage to the bomb bay, radio room, and tail compartments and 1 light wound. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Smith.
Another "Milk Run"? Not quite, but it was clear sailing into Austria.
The first set of flak towers inflicted superficial damage to the tail and bomb
bay, and a light wound to Lieut. Mulcahay, that I didn’t
find out about till we landed. He took two shards of flak in his
barely broke the skin.
As soon as we cleared the flak, a pair of 109s dove on us. The first scratched up the radio room, scared the hell out of Sgt. Appling. He’s a real screamer. The second 109 knocked out engine number one on the port wing. Despite the bomb run being on target, we dropped only 30% of the bombs on the refinery. More flak scratched the tail again before heading for home.
The ride home was a lot more exciting. Four 109s approached us after we cleared the flak but were driven off by our "little friends." As the fighters were driving off the 109s, a 190 broke through and was hit by SSgt. Smith, and Sgt. Appling shot up a 109 as he dove on us. SSgt. Eddie Smith downed an ME-109 who was diving on us in the area of Zagreb, Yugoslovia. Some other bogies attacked us, but were driven off by the other B-17.
Grateful for a smooth landing.
- 1st Lt. Ted Williams, Pilot, Hardball Heroes, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
318th BS (LOW)
ZEBRA’S REVENGE, First flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with the Norden bombsight and radio destroyed, the intercom, chin, top and ball turrets, port flaps and ailerons inoperable, and numerous superficial damage throughout the aircraft (157 Peckham damage points) and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 & 1 Me-110 by SSgt. Mitchell and 1 Me-109 apiece by 2nd Lt. Brame and TSgt. Gouch.
This mission - rough. FLAK hits were devastating. Lost: Norden bombsight, port flaps and ailerons, chin guns, radio and intercom, top and ball turret controls and many superficial hits.
Landing was hairy but no additional damage to the aircraft.
- Major Mick Mikula, CO, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
JOLLIE ROGER, First flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 5%. Returned with superficial damage to the tail plane, to the nose and tail compartments and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by 1st Lt. Olsen and 1 Me-110 by MSgt. Holmes.
This mission was almost as easy as our previous mission.
Even though we started seeing enemy fighters soon as we went feet dry of Yugoslavia, not much got through the other fighters and bombers to give us any trouble. The couple of fighters that did get through made passes but didn't cause any damage.
Over the target we encountered a lot more enemy aircraft. Again, we came out with only one fighter getting any hits on us and those hits were only minor (so minor that we didn’t discover them until we landed).
We saw a lot of flak around us but came through it without taking any hits.
We got flummoxed on the bomb run. Lt. Olsen had us all lined up on the target when we suddenly bounced about 30 feet. Besides all of our stomachs being in our mouth, the bounce also bounced Lt. Olsen’s hand on the bomb release. Bombs were dropped early. We think a few may have hit the edge of the target but can’t be sure.
Once again we were routed over flak on the way home, and once again we did not take any hits.
Encountered more fighters on the way out and while we got our second kill of the mission, they did no damage to us.
Landing was a bit rough due to the weather but caused no additional issues.
We will be ready to go on the next mission.
- 1st Lt. Jeff Dodge, Pilot, Jollie Roger, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
STORM RUNNER, First flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 50%. Returned with landing brakes inoperable, superficial damage to the starboard wing (1 hit), to the tail fin (3 hits), to the radio room (1 hit) and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 shared by 2nd Lt. Stone and Sgt. Gates.
“Overall this was a very successful first mission deep into Jerry territory, though unfortunately Tech. Sergeant Renko didn’t make it.”
“We spotted our first enemy fighters as we crossed over into Yugoslavia. One 190 jumped us, but missed and disappeared into the clouds. We saw a few more but our escorts managed to drive them off. As we were crossing over into Austria another 190 slipped through the escorts but Lt. Stone and Sgt. Gates were able to destroy it.”
“Soon enough we were over the target and the flak was very rough, though we managed to avoid getting hit and were able to line up on target and drop the bombs, it looked like a lot of them dropped on target. Unfortunately as we turned to head home we got hit by the surrounding flak. Our tail looked like Swiss-Cheese, but fortunately no major damage and we got it in the wing, and the brakes were out.”
“We saw a few more fighters on the way back while we were still over Austria, but the escorts got them. Things were quiet on the way back until we were almost outside of Yugoslavia. A 190 slipped past everyone and dived on us hitting our wing and unfortunately killing Tech Sgt. Renko. The 190 returned to attack but missed and disappeared.”
“We landed successfully and were promised that Storm Runner would be ready for the next mission.”
- 2nd Lt. Paul Stinson, Pilot, Storm Runner, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
AUSTIN NIGHTS, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with the starboard ailerons and elevators inoperable and several superficial damage and no casualties.
Fighter coverage was okay, but a few fighters got thru. A 190 got in a couple of superficial hits (zone-4). A 109 damaged the starboard wing aileron.
Flak hit over the target damaged starboard elevator causing it to be inoperable. The bomb run was on target with 20% in the target area. We were lucky and didn’t run any enemy fighters on the way back to base.
Landing was uneventful.
- 1st Lt. Gary Hertel, Pilot, Austin Nights, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
HOWLING MAD, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Lost at sea (zone-2) attempting to ditch off the island of Vis. No survivors. Claims: 1 Fw-190.
AC#43-8981 took off and rendezvoused with its squadron and the group on schedule, under the command of 2nd Lt. John Davis.
The aircraft was attacked by enemy fighters during entire outbound route. It was hit numerous times by flak while approaching the target which caused a fuel tank leakage and caused several serious casualties and one KIA (later reported by radio near Vis). Fighter cover kept enemy aircraft at bay most of the inbound route. However, due to fuel loss, the plane was unable to reach Italy. Because of several seriously wounded crewman, Lt. Davis choose to attempt to ditch in the Adriatic near the British garrisoned island of Vis. Upon entry into the water the plane broke apart and quickly sank. Search and rescue boats from the island did not locate any survivors.
- Missing Aircraft Report submitted by the 88th Bomb Group Intelligence Officer, Major James Jefferson
RAIDEN MAIDEN, Second flight, Left aircraft (Tail-End Charlie)
Bombed target, 30%. Fell-out-of-formation after bomb run (zone-6) and returned alone. Landed with the #1 engine, ball turret inoperable, the starboard outboard fuel holed and leaking, superficial damage to the port wing, tail section, fuselage, radio and waist compartments and light casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 apiece by Lt. Pyle and SSgt. Mathis and 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Gilbert.
Our first Mission. We waited as the rest of the squadron was airborne and formed at the tail of the formation. Everything on plane was in operational order. Headed out toward Yugoslavia.
We saw lots of little friends flying P-51s as we headed toward Austria. Halfway to the target, we were attacked by a group of 109s, most were run off by the escort, and 2 others made unsuccessful passes on our bomber. Sgt. Hooper in the tail says he got a piece of a 109, but may have been just first mission over excitement. Just prior to the I/P we and the rest of the group was attacked by about fifteen-to-twenty enemy fighters. Three Messerschmitts attacked us from both front and tail. The enemy fighter that attacked from the front made 3 passes and hit each time. He was obviously well versed in his trade as all our gunners failed to get a hit on him. He managed to get a hit on our ball turret and put it out of action, but Sgt. Decker was unhurt. Intelligence needs to mark that area as having an Ace in the area.
The fighters broke off just in time for us to hit a heavy flak barrage that shredded our port wing and tail. Lt. Pyle managed to drop on the lead plane and put 30% of the bombs on target.
We made the turn toward home and were hit again by fairly heavy flak. We were hit again in the port wing, which knocked out #1 engine and in the starboard outboard fuel tank. #1 was successfully feathered, but we quickly fell out-of-formation, and our fuel leak continued to plague us. We didn’t know if we were going to make it back, so Lt. Beadle watched the fuel closely for the rest of the mission. Immediately after the flak stopped, we were attacked by a lone FW-190 in a vertical dive, which our gunners couldn’t manage to counter. He hit us several times but caused no significant damage. He then made a feeble pass and was chased off by the tail and top turrets.
We were significantly slowed by the #1 prop and watched the rest of the formation continue on to home. We were trailing a thin stream of fuel but no smoke, so the bandits left us alone for quite a while. Then a mixed section of 3 Fw-190s and a lone Me-109 found us and made an attack; the 190s attacked our 12 and the 109 came in at our 6. Sgt. Gilbert in the radio room managed to score some major hits on the 109, and Sgt. Decker in the ball turret saw the pilot bail out as he lost control of the aircraft, which was on fire and exploded shortly after he hit the silk. The 190s appeared to be unsure of their attack angles and both Lts. Pyle and Swartzenbach managed to get some hits on them as they made a single pass. They disappeared as fast as they appeared.
About 30 minutes later we were jumped by 2 more groups of Fw-190s, the first group attacked again from dead ahead, but Lt. Pyle managed to hit the lead fighter, and the remaining planes broke off after the first pass. Again, Sgt. Decker in the inoperable ball turret saw the 190 that Pyle hit explode immediately behind and below the Maiden. The second group came in from the port and starboard at the same time. SSgt. Mathis filled a 190 at 9 o’clock high with bullets and he too exploded before making his gunning pass. The 3 remaining 190s made a second pass and managed to hit the radio room, wounding TSgt. Gilbert in the right hand. He managed to stay at his guns despite the wound.
We were attacked one more time by 3 Me-109s, but were forced off by fire from the top and chin turrets. Some hits on our tail and fuselage, but very minor damage.
Our landing was a bit shaky due to the poor weather and my exhaustion, but we made it home safe. Completed our first mission! (137 Peckham Damage).
- 1st Lt. Mark Mathis, Pilot, Raiden Maiden, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
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