MISSION 8 - TURIN AARs
316th BS (LEAD)
FULL HOUSE, Lead flight, Lead aircraft, Mission Commander
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with instruments shot out (ailerons), port wing root damaged, starboard aileron holed, and three 20mm shell holes in the nose and fuselage. 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by MSgt. Miller.
No enemy aircraft attacked until the group reached the target area where a lone Fw-190 attacked and missed.
Flak was intense but very inaccurate as the enemy gunners did not have the proper range and height. Despite the 4-tenths cloud cover, Lt. Sears reported a very good strike result.
A pair of Fw-190s attacked as the group left the rally point. One was shot down while his wingman damaged the starboard wing ailerons.
The last attack occurred as the group passed the Isle of Elba (zone 4). Two of the enemy fighters missed and another one was damaged but despite taking numerous hits from the top turret, he still keep coming and this one knocked out the instruments to the aileron controls, the port wing and seriously wounded Lt. Roebuck.
Enemy attacks ceased after this point and we were the first to land for a change as Lt. Roebuck was in bad shape. As we pulled up to our hardstand, the medics were already waiting and Lt. Roebuck was taken away even before the rest of the crew could exit the aircraft. We later learned that Lt. Roebuck would pull through but he'd being going home as soon as he is able to travel.
- Captain Daniel Tanner, Pilot, Full House
FLAK TRAP, first flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with damage to starboard wing flap from flak and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 apiece by SSgt. Sears and Sgt. Lanier.
Flak Trap's third mission was pretty uneventful. No enemy action was encountered until the bomb run. Four Fw-190s attacked us from every side. Our tail gunner, Bill Lanier, shot one down at six o'clock high, and the other three missed us on their attack runs.
Flak was moderate over the target and we took three shell hits. Two were superficial hits but one put the starboard wing flap out of action. Bombardier Bob Martin was unable to place any of our eggs on target due to the poor weather condition in the target area.
No more enemy action was encountered after we left the target area until just outside of Foggia (zone 2 back) when one Fw-190 attacked us from three o'clock level but our Engineer Matt Sears shot him down with no problem.
We landed back at base with no wounded, two fighters claimed and only a damaged starboard wing flap
- 1st Lt. Joe Daves, Pilot, Flak Trap
SATIN DOLL, lead flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 50%. Returned with superficial damage to the nose compartment & waist area and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Wall (later officially confirmed by S-2).
Satin Doll had a relatively easy mission. We settled into our slot on
Full House's left wing, in the lead element of the
We didn't draw any
action from E/A until just before the target. 3 FW-190's came at us from above
at 12:00, 1:30 and 3:00.
Wally opened up on the one at 1:30 with the Stbd cheek gun and Hal Jackson took a shot at the one at 3: 00. Although they both missed, the Jerry pilots fortunately couldn't shoot much better, and broke off for the middle squadron. The one at 12:00 punched a couple minor holes in the nose and waist where a fragment grazed port waist gunner Bradley Wall in the right foot. Still hungry, this Wulf turned and made another pass from 3 level. Hal missed him with the Stbd gun, but George Turner put a few rounds into him with the top turret, throwing off his aim. He was last seen trailing light white smoke, heading toward the lower squadrons.
Flak over the target was moderate but inaccurate, probably due to the lousy weather. Despite the miserable weather conditions, PJ managed to drop an estimated 50% of the load into the factory complex.
Rallying off the target, we were bounced by 4 Me-109's. The P-38's took out the 3 attacking from above, and Brad nailed the one at 9:00 level.
We didn't see any more action until Zone 4, where 3 FW-190's made a run at us. One literally vanished into a ball of flame and smoke when he was pasted by P-38. The other two made a quick pass, missed and broke away.
The rest of the mission was uneventful, and we made a good landing before the weather closed in.
-1st Lt. J.P. McConnell, Pilot, Satin Doll
LUCKY PENNY, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with tail plane root damage, superficial damage to the tail and bomb bay sections and 5 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Allison (later officially confirmed by S-2).
No enemy attacks until just before the bomb run (zone 5) when we were jumped by 4 190's; one was driven off by fighters, one was damaged by tail gunner and missed, the third got hits on the tail and bomb bay with little damage but the last one got walking hits. Bombardier was killed outright with a head shot, radio operator took one in the shoulder and port gunner got it on the left arm. With one pass, we were down 2 men. On the 2nd pass, the German missed and flew off.
In the target area,
we were attacked by 3 109's; our gunners delivered some minor damage on the
enemy but the fighters all miss. Attacks seem to be focused on the front
of the plane as all 3 fighters were from 12 or 1:30. Eddie tries to switch
to the gun that is
needed but he is trying to get ready to man the bombsite as we approach the target area.
Flak sends one burst into the waist hitting Stbd. waist gunner, Spangler who just joined our group recently. Bombs were placed on target and we headed for home.
As we turned around, 2 more 109's came roaring in again at the front of the plane from 12 & 1:30. Rob Allison (Engineer) managed to kill one while the other was driven off.
The return trip was uneventful; we encountered fighters (zones 5 & 4) but they were all driven off by fighter cover or other B-17's.
Upon landing, the wounded were all rushed to hospital where we just learned that Alex Spangler died of his wounds and Jones will have to be sent home after his amputation of his arm above the elbow. I apologize for this stark report but loosing 4 crewman, 3 of which died has me in a very somber mood at the moment. We still got a 30% bomb run but at a very high price.
- 1st Lt. Paul Griffin, Pilot, Lucky Penny
ROCK 'EM & SOCK 'EM, second flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with wing root hits, radio room shot up with the radio out (blown to bits by three successive hits!), cannon hits to the rudder in the tail area, waist area minor damages and some small through and through damages. No casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s & 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Campbell and 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Patrella.
A fine mission for us and a perfect one for Sgt. Alan J. Campbell whose excellent shooting of his rear tail guns saved the ship from any damages by attacking aircraft. Sgt. Campbell shot down 2 Me-109s, damaged another Me109 so that it broke off its attack, destroyed a fast moving FW190 with a rear deflection shot, and damaged so badly another FW190 attacking from the rear that it broke off its attack also.
We had three waves of attacks mostly near or over the target itself, great fighter cover over the target drove off many of the swarming Me109s and Fw190s, no ME110s seen at all, we were snug in the middle of the group and got away lightly with many through and through hits, the radio operator's area was like Swiss cheese but he himself was unhurt.
A good solid hit on the target, and after some wild firing over the target zone and good gunnery from Sgt. Campbell along with brilliant fighter work from our P-38 Lightings, we were home safe with a clear card all the way to the base. Good landing by co-pilot!
- 2nd Lt. Frank Coleridge, Pilot, Rock 'em & Sock 'em
OLD YARD DOG, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with port wing outboard fuel tank holed (self-sealed), starboard aileron inoperable, 4 superficial hits on the port wing, 1 superficial hit on the starboard wing and #3 engine. No casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by 2nd Lt. Wise and 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Post.
Everything went relatively well today. We did take some dings here and there but we gave more than we got.
As soon as we got airborne and not much after we formed up a group of 4 black shrouded 109s tore into our formation from the front. We stayed in tight with Lucky Penny and that probably threw off their aim some. My engineer did manage to shoot one of the buggers down in return though. Both port waist and tail gunner can confirm the plane was leaving the area straight down on fire with the pilot bailing out.
Everything was quiet again until we made for the IP. Two 190s came at us from the front quarter again. Somehow my bombardier shot down one of them and the ball gunner can confirm the kill. Our engineer damaged the other and he left in a hurry.
Flak was light caliber, moderate density, and not very accurate. We did take a ding from a large metal object on the port wing between the engines but nothing serious. My bombardier took control of the aircraft and somehow found the target through the crappy weather. I figured the cloud cover had to at least be 8/10 or worse.
Turning for home we got jumped by a couple more black shrouded 109s. Both again attacked from the front. One took out our starboard wing aileron and flew off. The other was a veteran and he hit the port outboard fuel tanks with a lot of bullets. I was very concerned as large amounts of fuel was seen leaking from the wing damage. We were busy for a while longer as he made a couple more passes at us. We damaged him but not before he hit us superficially several more times. I got the engineer working on the fuel status and he reported that it looked like the tank had self sealed. Although we lost a good amount of fuel, we were not losing more than was now considered normal. I had my co-pilot keep an eye on the gauges anyway and it gave us no more trouble.
The weather was turning worse by the minute and we hoped we would be able to land before it got too bad. As we neared the base, 4 of those accursed black nosed 109s came in again. A P-47 drove off one but the other 3 put a couple more holes in us. Our return fire was ineffectual but they left none the less and went after someone else.
We landed in the gathering horrible weather safely although it was quite bouncy with the aileron out. Overall we did okay though.
- 1st Lt. Michael Chase, Pilot, Old Yard Dog
SPECIAL DELIVERY, third flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with with starboard wing root damaged (1 hit); inboard starboard fuel tank holed (self-sealed); ball turret heat out; and minor superficial damage and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Powell.
No enemy activity until we were about 75 miles from the target. Due to poor fighter coverage, two Me-109s broke through on us. The boys from the 14th FG weren't as alert today as they were last time. SSgt. Powell knocked out a 109 at 12:00 Level. The one coming at us at 10:30 Level hit our starboard wing root and caused some other superficial damage. When he came around a second time, Pappas got a piece of him.
Over the target 2 more ME-109s came at us. Our little friends drove off one of the planes. We couldn't hit the second one, but he couldn't hit us either.
We took a couple of flak hits over the target. Our inboard fuel tank on the starboard side got hit, but it sealed itself and didn't cause us any problems. My Ball Turret Gunner, Chavez, reported over the intercom that he heard something hit his turret, but he couldn't tell what, if anything, had been damaged.
Cloud cover made obtaining a good visual on the I.P. difficult; Pappas dropped our payload much too early.
As we turned for home, another wave of fighters came in, but they were driven off by Rockem & Sockem and Old Yard Dog. Chavez started to complain that he was getting cold. Our radio operator, Frank Villani, checked on him and found that a piece of flak had destroyed the circuitry for Chavez's suit heater. Although I knew I risked Chavez getting frostbite by staying in formation, I felt it was too risky, being still so close to Turin, to drop out of formation. Staying with the formation, we didn't see another plane for the rest of the flight.
When we finally landed, Chavez was really complaining about his right foot. Doc checked him out in the infirmary and says that he will lose his foot. I really feel bad for Chavez, but I wasn't going to risk the safety of the whole crew for one man
-1st Lt. Andrew Whitaker, Pilot, Special Delivery
317th BS (High)
BEWITCHED, lead flight, lead aircraft
Aborted during start up. Engine#2 would not turn over.
MEMPHIS GAL, lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 5%. Returned with radio shot out and light damage to pilotís compartment, and 1 casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by Sgt. Knott and SSgt. Almeda (SSgt. Alemeda's claim was later officially confirmed by S-2).
Enemy action was determined but poorly co-coordinated (lucky for us) with a good many being driven off by our fighter cover. A few Germans did manage to get through however and wounded our Sbd waist gunner, Bert Knott (The doctor says he should be OK for our next mission). Andrew Scott, our radio operator, did have a nasty moment when his radio disintegrated in front of him, the 109 who caused this damage decided to make another pass but was shot down by Roberto Almeda, our engineer.
The flak again was pretty heavy, we were hit by a few fragments though nothing serious. Unfortunately the flak put us off our aim and the weather didn't help either so our bombs landed who knows where.
Donald Tonkin and I had a close call on the way back to base when a German shell came through our windshield. Donald was quite shaken by this episode and as I write this log entry is nursing a large bottle of whisky in the OC. Bert screamed all the way back to base, the poor fellow thought his number was up, (head wounds tend to bleed a lot and seemed to get worse as we descended).
After the de-brief the crew and I visited Bert at the infirmary, at least he had stopped screaming by then.
The crew chief was beaming like a Cheshire cat (which is a rare sight) after his "inspection". It seems we brought back a bomber that was largely intact, which was much to his liking, I even heard him whistle a little ditty as he walked back to his hanger.
- 1st Lt. Ralph Flynn, Pilot, Memphis Gal
SILVER SPOON, lead flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with moderate damage to the instruments - ailerons controls, rudder, radio, # 1 engine, bomb controls, bomb bay doors, tail guns and 2 casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s by Sgt. Fielding, 1 Me-109 & 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Lowe, and 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Pancetti.
By no means as easy a trip as I thought itíd be. We were jumped soon after forming up, a 190 getting through the P-47s and taking out our instruments. We lost the ailerons through that, and I picked up several splinters in the neck and chest. More blood than damage, but still painful. The fighter boys were good hosts, chasing most of the Jerries away, but my engineer and ball gunner dispatched a number of those bandits that got too close.
We were hit again over Corsica, losing our rudder to a determined 109, who came in at 6 high. He also knocked out our tail guns, giving him a clear run at us. He walked hits along the entire length of the fuselage.
Flak wounded my engineer in the hip, nothing serious though. The weather was crappy, and Blackmore up front did well to hit anything.
The trip back was quiet until the Corsican coast, when they hit us from all sides. We lost oil from number one engine and had to shut her down just before landing, and the radio went for a burton along with the bomb bay doors and bomb controls. The crew chief isnít too happy, I gather. That will be all.
-1st Lt. Milton Forrest, Pilot, Silver Spoon
FRISCO KID, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with starboard elevator out, control cables damaged, other superficial damage and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Baty and 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. McDonough.
Took off and joined formation, then headed out over Med. The flight to target was uneventful--Little Friends kept most of the Jerries away from us, though the formation itself came under attack. One Fw-190 did dive on us from above, scoring minor hits, but on his second pass was hit hard and observed to fly away, smoking.
We were not attacked by enemy a/c over target, but were hit by flak. Flak and the poor weather hampered bombing accuracy, as we missed, with 0% of bombs on target.
We were harried by enemy a/c all the way back to base. 2nd Lt. Baty flamed one 109 and SGT McDonough got a 190 as it passed out over the tail after a head on attack. Hits were observed on one other enemy a/c. We sustained only minor damage and no casualties, and stand ready for further action.
-1st Lt. David Moody, Pilot, Frisco Kid
CARDINAL EXPRESS, second flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with damage to the Pilot's Compartment and 2 casualties.
No resistance was encountered until we hit the bombing zone. A 190 sprayed us pretty good from 12 o'clock, lightly wounding myself and the co-pilot.
The flak we encountered soon after this incident got our mind quickly off our injuries. We estimated a delivery of 20% of our bombs within 1,000 feet of the intended target.
We encountered several more enemy planes on the way back in, only taking some superficial damage towards the back of the Express. In total, we encountered 13 enemy planes. Over half of them were driven off by our 'Little Friends'. We were hit by 2 planes. We damaged 3 enemy fighters. We were lucky enough to beat what looked like to be some pretty bad weather heading our way as we approached base. Another smooth landing, and I am pleased to report that the crew seems to really be coming together as a cohesive unit.
-1st Lt. Bob Peterson, Pilot, Cardinal Express
DARKWATCH, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 30%. After bomb run, made emergency landing on Corsica with starboard wing flap inoperable, rudder damged, intercom out and superficial damage to nose and tail. 2 Casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s by Sgt. Tieger and 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Krystek.
Quiet inbound trip with excellent coverage from the formation, right up until we were bounced by four Me-109s as the group made its turn approaching (zone #5) the target area. Krystek blew one to shreds from the nose, which may have sent a message to the other three, because they didnĻt do more than flash their guns and then vanish into the clouds.
Plenty of activity over the target zone, but our P-38 angels were vigorous in protecting our virtue. Sadat damaged a 109, but we still took shots from three of 'em. We took superficial damage to the nose from one of them, then the bastard made the exact same pass a second time, and hit our new guy, the navigator, killing him instantly. I didnĻt know his name at the time. I had to look it up when we got back to base: Dick Rutan. Cheeky bastard came in for a third straight pass from 12 oĻclock, but Krystek hit him a couple of times and drove him off.
We took a couple flak hits over the target, knocked out my starboard wing flap and created a hell of a bang in the nose. Krystek started screaming, and I thought he was hit bad ≠ turns out he took a chunk of shrapnel in the leg, but what really got to him was a flak shell vaporizing poor RutanĻs corpse. ItĻs sick to admit now, but the crew got a laugh out of that. Even the dead canĻt rest in peace on the Darkwatch.
The laughter may have helped Krystek pull it together. He put his bombs on target, despite his wound and having a corpse splattered all over his compartment. HeĻs a good man, Krystek. Three more Messerschmidts took a pass as we turned for home, but our P-38s showed them the door.
The trip home was shorter than expected. Four 109s swarmed us over Corsica. Tieger blew one up from the tail (welcome back, Tieger), then got another in the second pass. Much as I would have liked to continue the fun, I saw that our intercom was out so I decided to divert for landing on Corsica, where we touched down without incident. Saw Sky Rat and King Pin already down on the strip, so I guess we're not the only crew that will be sending home a postcard from Corsica.
IĻm putting Krystek in for the Air Medal. That was some steely work, over the target zone
-1st Lt. Paul O'Connor, Pilot, DARKWATCH
GO FOR BROKE, third flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 40%. Returned with radio & tail guns inoperable, superficial damage to the port wing and nose compartment. 1 Casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by Lt. Miyata and 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Shintani (later officially confirmed by S-2).
Took off from Sterparone Field, Foggia, Italy without any problems or malfunctions.
One hundred fifty (150) miles away from target we were attacked by two (2) Me-109s coming in from 10:30 and 12 o'clock level. Both fighters were driven off by fighter escort before they were able to reach formation.
About ninety (90) miles away from target we were again attacked by enemy aircraft. This time four (4) Fw-190s came in from 12 level, 1:30 level, 3 low, and 9 high. Three planes were driven off by the fighter escort leaving only the one that came in from 12 level. He was able to hit the plane hitting the nose, radio room and port wing. The hit that came in the nose seriously injured 2nd Lt. Muraki in the shoulder. The other hits to the radio room and port wing were superficial in nature.
About thirty (30) miles from target we were again jumped by enemy aircraft. This time four (4) Fw-190s coming in from 12, 1:30, 3 low and 9 high. There of the FWs missed the plane and were driven off by machine gun fire from the squadron. The last one coming in from 9 high was hit by Sgt. Yano's fire, but it still was able to hit the plane in the nose, tail and radio room section. The hits into the nose were superficial but the hits to the radio room damaged the receiver so mayday messages could be sent and hits to the tail damaged the guns making them inoperable. This plane came back at 10:30 level but it was shot down by 2nd Lt. Miyata.
Close to target four (4) Me-109s came in from 12, 3, and 9 high and 9 level. One was driven off by fighter cover, the one coming in from 12 high missed the plane and was driven off, the one from 3 high was badly damaged by SSGT. Mukai in the top turret, and because of the damage, the plane missed and didnít return. The one coming in from 9 low was destroyed by SGT. Shintani before it was able to fire a shot.
Over target we encountered medium flak of which none hit the plane. 2nd Lt. Miyata was able to find the target through the cloud cover and was able to put about 40% of the bomb load over target.
On the turn around from target we again encountered more enemy fighters. One unidentified group coming in from 9 o'clock were driven off by fighters and didnít come near the formation. But three (3) were able to get through the fighter screen. Two that came in from 1:30 level and 3 low were being chased by the fighter screen as they approached the squadron which caused them to miss our formation. The one coming in from 12 high was damaged by the top turret manned by SSGT. Muaki and due to the damage that it sustained, the fighter missed our plane and didnít return.
Just after leaving target we again spotted enemy fighters at 3 o'clock. But before they were able to reach our group, fighter cover was able to drive them away.
About one hundred (100) miles away from the target, 2nd Lt. Muraki was moved to the rear of the plane and Sgt. Yamashita took his place manning both cheek guns.
Reached Sterparone Field and was able to land without incident.
- 1st Lt. Mark Yoshikawa, Pilot, Go for Broke
318th BS (LOW)
GOLD DRAGON, lead flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with damage to the starboard wing, radio room, nose compartment and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by 2nd Lt. Anthony.
The take off and form-up in route to Turin was uneventful but just as we formed up we were dove upon by a lone 190. We sent a lot of shells his way but appeared we missed him. He put one shell in our stbd wing. On his next pass we all missed. Just before we lined up for the bombing run another FW-190 made a vertical dive at us. I guess we both were lucky in that we all missed. While on the bombing run we saw three more 190s. Two of those 190s made a pass with no hits on either side. That third one coming at us from the 3 o'clock low position put two holes in our tail and had one shell pass completely through the radio room but missed anything vital. On his next pass Jeff Tucker sent him home with an engine smoking badly.
The bombing run was right on target with a low hit percentage of 30%. Well, beggars can't be choosers. All the FLAK missed us.
Just after we left Italian air space we were assaulted by two 190's. Dave Tucker put one shell through the canopy of one of the 190s and we saw him limping home. The other 190 made two passed at us putting two shells through our nose before he broke off. Just after the 190s left we saw two 109s. Heath Edwards took off most of the tail on one of them, but he seemed able to limp home. The other one passed by and everybody missed.
We thought we done with all the excitement until Dave Tucker pointed out three 190's coming at us from the high in the front. Again Lady Luck was with us in that two of the 190s passed on by and we all missed. That third one had a really bad day. Tom Anthony got his third KIA when we saw the 190 invert and the pilot bail out as the 190 went through the cloud bank below us.
After an uneventful landing and post flight inspection we noticed 65 damage points.
- Capt. Joe Smith, Pilot, Gold Dragon
THE RUSSIAN LADY, lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 75%. Dropped out of formation on the return leg in zone 5 due to navigator compartment heat loss. Returned with navigator heat out, port wing flap inoperable, superficial damage to #2 engine and starboard wing. No casualties.
This turned out to be pretty much a milk run for us. We didn't see any sign of the enemy until we were just east of Corsica; there we had two waves buzzing around, but none of them got through -- the Jugs were all over them and we just kept flying. We got a little scare over the target when two 109s got through and put a couple of hits on us, nothing severe, although we lost our port flap and Lt. Hawkins had his heat knocked out. The 109's came back for more but missed and went elsewhere.
Flak over the target was of medium intensity and very inaccurate, and Lt. Vachon broke his bad streak by putting 75% of the eggs in the target area. Our fighters kept the rally point clear so we could rejoin the formation in peace.
As we headed back out to sea I decided to bring the ship down to 10,000 feet to keep Hawkins from getting frostbite. I figured that opposition was expected to be light and our fighters had been effective to this point, so I brought her down. As we descended we had a pair of Jerry fighters follow us, but our P-38s distracted them and kept them off our backs. A couple of them hung with us all the way back to Foggia; we saw no fighters but our own for the rest of the trip.
- 1st Lt. Frank Andrews, Pilot, The Russian Lady
LONGHORN LADY, first flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with superficial damage to the radio room and no casualties.
We couldn't have been any happier with the fighter support. Our little friends must have driven off at least 9 German fighters. We did take a couple of superficial hits and 2nd Lt. Paul Latham was able to damaged a 109. We did take a minor flak hit to the radio room, but was still able to get 60% of the bombs on target. The landing was uneventful. We were lucky we landed when we did as you could tell some bad weather was headed our way
- 1st Lt. Landers, Pilot, Longhorn Lady
GOLDEN SPIKE, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned without damage or casualties.
Whew, that was easy for a change. Eight waves of fighters overall but only four waves made it into the formation. Of the bandits we engaged, friendly escorts chased away five and we damaged three more as they made their attack runs. Not a single German managed a hit.
We even made it through the flak unscathed. Our new bombardier tried his best through the dense cloud cover, but he missed the target. That's the fifth time in a row that we've been skunked. Some of the guys thinks were jinxed, but we made it back in one piece so I'm not complaining about our luck.
- Capt. Todd Wilson, Pilot, Golden Dragon
IRON LADY, second flight, left wingman
Fell out-of-formation zone 2 outbound from lost of an engine, aborted mission zone 3 outbound from lost of second engine and returned to base. Landed with #1 & #4 engines out, radio room heater out and oxygen out, tail wheel damaged and numerous superficial hits to rest of plane (184 damage points). 3 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by Lt. O'Donnell, SSgt. Foster, Sgts. Roberts & Malone.
Take off and formed up with rest of squadron. It was strange not seeing Bouncin' Betty in the formation and also having lost our rookie status to Longhorn Lady.
We had just crossed the coastline (zone 2) and tested guns when a lone Fw-190 came screaming in from 10:30 high. He must have sneaked past the 325th as the weather started closing in, and before our gunners could get a bead on him, he riddled the nose, fuselage and shattered engine#1. Mark Wright managed to get the prop feathered before it tore itself loose and I was shouting at the crew to find the son of a bitch before he did us any more damage. He dropped down from 12 high and poured hits into the radio room and the port wing. Phil McGann came on the intercom saying that his heating was out, but I was more concerned with maintaining control of the aircraft minus an engine. As we dropped out of formation, the Fw-190 made a third pass at us from 10:30 level. Our guns missed him again and as he came straight for us he seemed to put shells all around me and my co-pilot but, miraculously, missed us and anything else vital in the cockpit. Finally fighters from our escort group arrived and he fled pursued by them.
I radioed the Squadron C.O. and said that I felt we could still make it to the target although I could feel the cold stare of my co-pilot next to me. He tried to reason with me but I felt the mission was too important to give up just yet. WRONG CHOICE!!!!
As we headed up the coast towards Corsica (zone 3) we were bounced by four Fw-190s and 1 Me-109. Our fighters managed to get three of them as they headed in but a single Fw-190 came in from 3 o'clock low. The ball turret and starboard waist gun missed him and he raked us across the wings. Engine#4 went runaway but we managed to cut it off and feather the prop. The Lady was flying like a stuck pig and I ordered Phil O'Donnell to get rid of our load of Mark 43's. As this was going on, the Me-109 missed us from 12 level and some more little friends arrived and drove off the other Fw-190. The weather started closing in and we saw no other fighters nearby.
I turned the Lady gingerly for home (zone 3 inbound). As we settled on a heading back for Sterparone, we broke into clearer weather and were bounced by 1 Fw-190 and 2 Me-109s. We were getting special treatment from the P-38s of the 82nd FG and they intercepted all three. We didn't see any more enemy aircraft whilst they were around.
As we crossed the coastline (zone 2 inbound) again we were beginning to have trouble controlling the aircraft in the poor weather. We were attacked by a wave of 3 Me-109s. The starboard cheek gun got a hit on the one from 1:30 high but we missed the two from 12 level. They all missed us on their first pass, came around for a second pass and peppered us with various hits. They got a bit too cocky and on their third pass, Rick Malone nailed the one homing in from 6 level. The other two only made a half-hearted attack and broke off.
A second wave replaced the first but this time our gunners were warmed up. The starboard waist destroyed one on their first pass and Phil O'Donnell got one with the nose gun on their second pass. The third was more determined and hit us in the tail and the radio room. The tail gunner reported seeing what he thought was our tail wheel flying off but wasn't sure. The remaining Me-109 then broke off.
About 100 miles from base we were jumped by a Me-109 in a vertical dive on us and 1 from 12 level. Everybody missed everybody and then they came round for another attack. The first missed and swung round for a third pass whilst the second one was hit by Sgt. Foster in the top turret whilst coming in from 3 high and rolled away pouring thick smoke from its engine. On its third pass the remaining 109 hit us hard in the pilot compartment and radio room. I felt a searing pain in my left knee and when I turned to get Mark to take over the controls I saw that most of his lower right arm was missing. There was no reply on the intercom from the radio room. Sgt. Foster dropped out of the top turret as the last Me-109 broke off and headed for home. He informed me that Sgt. McGann was dead. I told him to get on the blower to base to prepare for us and inform them of our situation.
After a long forty minutes I eventually managed to get the Lady on the deck as gingerly as I could and awaited the rescue crews to help our casualties out. I should be fine the doc says. Mark is going home to get one of these prosthetic arm things.
-1st Lt. Joe Di Agostino, Pilot, Iron Lady
OLD CROW EXPRESS, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Fell out-of-formation prior to bomb run due to oxygen fire but continued onward. After bombing target made emergency landing on Corsica. Damage to aircraft: Navigator Equipment out, oxygen to tail section due to fire, tail guns out, nose gun out, #3 engine out, damage to port wing root, starboard wing aileron inoperable, fire to port wing inboard fuel tank. Total damage points = 184. 2 casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 and Me-109 by SSgt. O'Reilly.
Well it was another hard mission today; we got attacked by some fine Kraut fighters. This one Kraut came at a Vertical Dive and mange to score hits from the nose to the tail. In the Nose, it hit the Navigator's equipment, which seems to be our Purple Heart corner because itís been hit and repaired more times than I can count, and in the waist, it hit Sgt. Sumlin in the lower arm. In the tail it caused a fire knocking out the oxygen.
Then after that we dropped out of formation. We continued on even though we were out; we were almost there and it would have been a waste to turn back now.
So we continued on, SSgt. OíReilly got a kill over the target knocking out a 109. Flak was pretty accurate and we got shaken up a couple of times. The flak hit the engine #3. It started to runaway but 2nd Lt. Long acted quickly and was able to get the prop feathered and put her out. In the tail, shrapnel hit Sgt. Carter in the foot and it took out the tail guns. Our bomb run was off target with our payload missing it completely to the left.
Coming out of the target we got attacked by two 190s both scored hits. One hit in the port wing caused a fuel tank fire but we had enough time to dive and put it out. I decided then to head out and try to land on Corsica. The other 109 took the nose gun out. They came again but after one more pass they left. We were still in the target area when we got attacked by three 190s but they seemed uninterested in us or they were going back to base to refuel. Then we got attacked by 2 109s but Sgt. Sumlin managed to damage one and it missed us and the other missed.
Once over the Mediterranean Sea, while heading here Corsica, we got attacked by 3 190s; two missed and the third scored a hit in the stbd aileron causing it to fail. It came around for another pass and SSgt. OíReilly brought it down. It became a flying streamer before it hit the water.
We found the Eagleís Nest and were able to put her down, not a lieutenantís landing but good enough. The grease hounds are sure going to have their hands full fixing our big jeep; I just hope they donít blow their tops over the work they have to do. Well thatís about it, Iím going to go find some bottled sunshine while I have the time. Thank God for Corsica!
-1st Lt. Fred Anderson, Pilot, Old Crow Express
THE ANT'S HILL, third flight, lead aircraft (TAIL-END CHARLIE)
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with moderate damage to engineer's compartment, starboard waist position, and port and starboard wing roots (1 hit each). Superficial damage to tail and port inboard fuel tank. 2 Casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s by Sgt. Beane, 1 Me-109 TSgt. Weber, and 1 Me-109 by Lt. Stubbs.
We flew our second mission with the group, the first as 'Tail-end Charlie', and soon found out why this position is so feared by new and veteran crews alike. We were approached by enemy fighters as soon as our formation headed out to sea, but the escorts did their job and kept all but a lone FW-190 at a distance. He made one ineffectual pass, then headed for home.
Things were quiet from then until we passed Corsica. At that point, our
escorts were nowhere to be seen. We were subsequently jumped by three
Fw-190s diving from above in our forward arc, while an Me-109 came at us from 6
o'clock high. That position proved to be a bad choice for Gerry, because our
tail gunner Sgt. 'Jumper' Beane blasted him out of the sky before he could even
draw a bead on us. The sight of the 109 diving away in flames must have
unnerved the 190s, because they each fired a few badly aimed shots and kept on
Just as we were lining up to make our bombing run, a large group of Me109s hit us from the 6 and 12 o'clock positions. Our escorts suddenly reappeared and drove off two of the ones lining up to attack us from straight ahead; the third one fired at our nose with no effect. The two 109s attacking from our rear had mixed results. One of them was blown apart by a fuel tank explosion, caused by the tracers from Sgt. Weber's .50 cal guns. The other was damaged by Sgt. Beane and was last seen diving into a cloud bank. Before he left, however, he managed to score several hits on us, seriously wounding both our engineer, SSgt. Thymes, and the starboard waist gunner, Sgt. Kane.
Then it was time for us to hit the target. Although the flak was of medium intensity, the poor weather must have kept their gunners from seeing us clearly, because we flew right up to the target without a scratch from any of their shells. Even with the heavy clouds and drifting smoke from the flak bursts, Lt. Stubbs again managed to place about 30% of our bombs within the designated target area.
Turning for home, we were again attacked by numerous Me-109's from all points of the compass. Our escorts, who had pulled back from us during our bombing run, returned to drive off half of our pursuers. During this time, Lt. Stubbs scored his second kill in as many missions. Mst. Sgt. Weber damaged another 109, but not before he had hit our tail, port wing root and inboard wing fuel tank (God Bless the guy who invented self-sealing tanks!). The 109 was then sent packing by our escorts before he could come around on us again.
We were approached several more times by squadrons of fighters as we passed Corsica and Sardinia over open water on our way home, but each time they were driven off by concentrated defensive fire from our formation.
Coming into the Italian coast, a mixed group of Fw-190s and Me-109s made one last attempt to cull us out from the rest of our formation. The escorts returned in force to drive half of the enemy off before they could attack. Sgt. Beane got his second kill of the day when he bagged another 109 that made the mistake of approaching him from the 6:00 high spot. At that point, the remaining Fw-190s took a few shots, all of which missed us, and they finally gave up the chase.
During the remainder of the flight, Lt. Weiner tried to take care of the wounded and make Sgts. Thymes and Kane as comfortable as possible. We landed safely at Sterparone Field with the rest of the formation.
- 1st Lt. Anthony Hilliard, Pilot, The Ant's Hill
399th BS (HIGH) Flying with composite group as part of Wing Formation 'Baker'
FELL TO EARTH, Lead flight, Lead aircraft
Reached target area but was shot down by flak. No chutes.
Fell to Earth was lead plane in the high squadron of a composite combat box for this mission. Fell to Earth was observed to be under very heavy attack from enemy fighters on the approach to the bomb run. Smoke was seen to be coming from #1 engine, the starboard tail plane had been shot off and part of the rudder was missing. Captain Fell held his plane in formation to attempt his bomb run but it was bracketed by a accurate burst of flak and exploded in mid-air. No chutes are report as having been seen. It is believed that his bomb load was detonated by a flak shell bursting in his bomb bay.
- Complied from crews in the 399th BS after their mission to Turin.
HEART OF TEXAS, lead flight, left wingman
Aborted zone 5 outbound and returned early. Damage to aircraft: radio out, Engine #4 Oil Tank Leak (shutdown after 3 zone), Norden bombsight & bomb bay doors (inoperable), Stbd Wing superficial holes, and other superficial damage. No Casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 apiece by Lt. Brutvan & Sgt. Kussel, 1 Me-109 apiece by Sgts. Toney & Smith.
Mission started out ok with good flying weather and enemy fighter protection from other B-17s and friendly fighters.
About 150 miles into mission, we got zapped pretty hard by a bunch of 190's. Friendies chased off 3 but the last one did quite a number on us . . . taking out our radio and damaging our #4 engine to the point where I had to shut it down on the way back. I decided to keep going, because I didn't think I could justify an abort.
About 100 miles from the target, we got jumped by a bunch of Me-109s that all got through fighter support. Sgt. Toney got one and two of the others missed, but the fourth 109 took out the Norden bomb sight and damaged the bomb bay doors to the point where we couldn't open them. Greedy sucker got his though when he tried to turn around for a second run at us, Sgt. Smith got him. I aborted at that time, dropped out of formation and returned to base.
We avoided most trouble on the way back, although we did get tangled with 3 more Fw-190s and a single 109. Fighters took care of the 109 and one of the Fw-190s and Lt. Brutvan and Sgt. Kussel got the other two. All things considered, I think I'd much make my bomb run and get ride of those eggs then having to try landing with them ever again.
- 1st Lt. David Kuehn, Pilot, Heart of Texas
FATEFUL AMY, lead flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 0 %. Returned with inoperable tail guns damaged by flak and no casualties.
Our quietest mission yet, most fighters encountered were driven off by the generally efficient cover.
We took some flak over Turin that put out the tail guns, mercifully missing Sergeant Forbes by a whisker. The poor weather combined with the above mentioned flak put our aim way off.
On the return journey three or four 109's half-heartedly attacked close to home, but the 82nd scared most of them away. It is probably just as well, as most of the crew are fatigued by the hectic schedule, though the two new crew members acquitted themselves well.
The skipper has taken the deaths of Coates and Smith badly, this combined with his troubled sleep could mean a break is due, I shall discuss it with him later.
- Taken from the private diary of 2nd Lt. Barney Lewis, Co- Pilot, Fateful Amy
PRINCESS LILIKOI, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with rafts destroyed and rudder damaged. No casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Marlow (The Me-109 was later officially confirmed by S-2).
Early on a wave of 190s attacked and there were mostly 190s attacking us on this mission. We did not see many of them coming through the formation at our ship though, because the fighter cover and the rest of the other ships in the group took care of most of the bandits. Many of the pilots attacking seemed to be inexperienced, so there might be a rookie unit stationed somewhere.
- 2nd Lt. Clyde Wright, Navigator, Princess Lilikoi
RAW DEAL, second flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with the port wing root heavily damaged (3), radio destroyed, starboard landing brakes inoperable, #3 Engine out, #1 Engine received minor damage, 1 pilot compartment window shattered, bomb controls inoperable, control cables completely severed, and superficial damage to the nose, tail and port wing. 1 Casualty. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by shared by 2nd Lt. Shelley/SSgt. Hurley and Sgts. Irons/Avory.
Raw Deal had an uneventful run north to Turin. No enemy fighters approached the aircraft nestled deep in the formation. On the final run into the target, Raw Deal received a massive blow from an 88mm flak shell. The port wing root took damage and the starboard landing gear brakes and radio were rendered inoperable. Bombs were released off target and subsequently caused 0% damage.
Exiting the target area 2 Me109s homed in on us. One was chased off by our close escort, the other made a pass, and was damaged by 2nd Lt. Lovering before moving off to other targets. We did see another 2 Me109s over the Gulf of Gaeta, but again, they were chased off by a flight of P-38s from the 82nd FG.
I am of the opinion that the crew relaxed and let down their guard somewhat at this point. Seems the rest of the flight and our little friends must have too as we were jumped and pounded by a flight of 4 Me109's as we approached the coast. SSgt. Hurley and 2nd Lt. Shelley poured rounds into one Me-109 as he attacked us head on. 2nd Lt. Cook observed the wing separate from the enemy fuselage as it passed overhead and can confirm the kill, but credit goes to both. A second 109 attacking from 3 high, missed cleanly and headed off before causing or receiving damage. This is when things began to go wrong for Raw Deal. We were attacked by a pair of Luftwaffe pilots. Operating in tandem, they bored down on the port side. The higher of the two fired first and caused minor damage to the #1 Engine (superficial), the port wing root, shattered one of the pilot compartment's windows, knocked out the #3 Engine (which we were able to promptly feather) and peppered the nose compartment with holes. The trailing Me109 had our number and let loose with everything he had, walking a hit along the wings and across the waist. The nose, tail and waist, and radio room all received hits, damaging many important systems (listed above), the port wing root was further damaged, the flaps (port) received a few hits. The enemy then split apart and came at us again, one from 6 high and the other 12 low. Sgts. Avory and Irons drew a bead on the 6 o'clock fighter and both scored hits. There is a bit of debate about which one scored the kill (likely Irons as he has twin MGs), but the fighter turned belly up and headed down fast spewing smoke. No parachute was seen. The remaining fighter bore down on us and let loose a short burst. At this point 2nd Lt. Shelly took a 7.9mm shell and several pieces of glass shards. Shortly after he lost consciousness due to blood loss and was tended to Lt. Lovering. The Me109 came around one more time, made a quick pass and then headed off, likely low on ammo.
With no radio, we fired flares to alert the ground crew to have an ambulance meet us on the tarmac. The plane was sluggish with the control cables severed but I was able to get her on the ground. At this point, I realized that the starboard brakes were out and we had a very anxious moment until the plane stabilized and we came to an abrupt, if somewhat askew halt.
-1st Lt. Henry Mershon, Pilot, Raw Deal
MOONSHINE A-BREWIN' , second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 40%. Fell out-of-formation after target run due to oxygen fire and landed on Corsica. Both elevators inoperable due to instrument damage, nose oxygen system inoperable due to fire, radio destroyed, tail turret inoperable, damage to bomb bay doors, rudder and wing roots and 2 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by Lts. Eltman and Howell.
Mission uneventful until approximately 50 miles from target. Attacked by Me109ís, all of whom missed hitting us. Between the initial point and the target, we were attacked by two waves of Me109ís. One struck the cockpit, disabling the ability to control elevators. This same attacker disabled our tail turret. The second wave destroyed our radio and superficially damaged our bomb bay doors, rudder, and wing roots. Minor superficial damage to airframe from flak. Bombardier put approximately 40 percent of bombs within CEP.
Coming off of target, hit by many Fw190ís. We believe this was the attack that wounded the tail gunner and waist gunner. This attack also started an oxygen fire in the nose. Navigator was able to extinguish the fire, and both Bombardier and Navigator were able to use bailout bottles until we descended in altitude.
At this point, due to
being out of formation and with wounded aboard, we elected to divert to
-1st Lt. Casey Morgan, Pilot, Moonshine-A-Brewin'
SKY RAT, third flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Fell out-of-formation after the bomb run due to oxygen fire. After bombing target made emergency landing on Corsica with #2 & #3 engines out, waist gunners heaters out, partial O2 system out, multiple fuel tank leaks, starboard ailerons damaged, port wing root damaged and 2 casualties. Claims: 2 Fw-190s and 1 Me-100 by Sgt. Pender (1 Fw-190 was later officially confirmed by S-2).
The first leg of the mission was quiet and thankfully uneventful, the temperature was a lot colder than we've had to deal with so far. We never saw an inbound enemy fighter until just before we entered Turin. A group of 190's came at us hard and fast from above. Sgt Pender (tail) blew the first inbound fighter to bits. The sight of the lead plane being destroyed must have rattled them because they missed us completely and took off. Pender took a shot at the fighter that came from our 12; he was really on his game today, because he cut the port wing off of that fighter too.
We were hit by a second wave of 190's that again came at us from above. Pender downed his 3rd Nazi of the day by putting several rounds through the nose of the fighter diving in from our 6. A couple of the other boys got some licks in on the others and they left.
As we entered Turin a pair of 109's came in from our 6, my boys managed to put a few holes in one of them but they came in hard. They shot up the waist, injuring Sgt Abshire in the ball turret, tore up our #3 engine, and punched a hole in our starboard side fuel tank (it sealed, but we lost quite a bit of fuel).
It seemed like every flak cannon on the ground was aimed directly at us. We took multiple hits to the port wing roots, our starboard ailerons were damaged, our waist suit heaters were knocked out, and the oxygen system in the tail took a hit causing a fire that Sgt. Pender was able to put out, but not before he took a small piece of flak in the leg.
Our bomb run was off target and we didn't manage to put any of our bombs on target. Just after we made the turn for home we, we began our decent to 10,000 feet; when we were hit by another wave of buzzards. The 109's came at us from our 6 again. The boys tried to drive them off, but four of our guns had jammed due to the cold. They made it through and took out our #2 engine and punched a hole in our port fuel tank.
With only two engines left and barely enough fuel to make it halfway back to
base, we had no choice but to attempt to make it to
Corsica. Fortunately our little friends took good care of us on the way to Corsica, and we landed before the weather hit. Doc says Sgt Abshire won't fly anymore the bullet in his abdomen means he's headed home.
- 1st Lt. Todd Oswald, Pilot, Sky Rat
348th BS/99th BG (Lead) Flying with composite group as part of Wing Formation 'Baker'
ROYAL FLUSH, first flight, lead aircraft (Composite group leader)
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with control cables severed, radio destroyed, radio room oxygen system damaged, starboard waist gunner suit heater inoperable, port elevator inoperable, tail turret guns inoperable, port inboard fuel tank holed and 7 superficial damage to the nose, pilot's compartment, bomb bay, waist sections and to both wings. Bombardier and starboard waist gunner received light wounds. Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-109 as destroyed and 1 Fw-190 as damaged.
BELLA DONNA, first flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 30%. Returned without damage or casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190.
BELLE EPOQUE, lead flight, right wingman
Aircraft was shot down by fighters approximately 35 miles south of the Italian coast inbound to the target. Number one engine was damaged, revved up uncontrollably, and forced crew to bailout. All successfully departed the aircraft. Awaiting further word on fate of the crew, currently all MIA.
- MACR information from 348th BS and 14th FG sources.
POT o'GOLD, second flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 30. Returned with minor flak damage and no casualties.
20th BS/2nd BG (Low) Flying with composite group as part of Wing Formation 'Baker'
WHITE CASTLE, lead flight, lead aircraft
Bombed target, 50%.
Returned after falling out of formation from soon after target and bellied on
landing; a/c later written off.
Two casualties, both light, bombardier and navigator. Claimed 3 Me-109s & 2 Fw-190s with 4 damaged. Damage taken: stbd landing gear inop, both ailerons, stbd elevator, tail guns out, ball turret heat out, three O2 hits, several superficial holes.
BLACK KNIGHT, lead flight, right wingman
North of Corsica, heading towards Turin, Black Knight came under persistent enemy attacks. After a third attack by an enemy fighter, flames were seen erupting from the starboard wing of the Black Knight. The pilots managed to hold the ship steady while the crew bailed out. Ten chutes were seen floating serenely towards the sea, while the Black Knight is last seen spinning lazily down. U.S. Navy PT boats are dispatched and later four survivors are found; the pilot, the co-pilot, the tail gunner and the port waist gunner. Six other crewmembers are missing.
LUCKY LADY, lead flight, left wingman
Bombed target, 5%. Returned with radio out, nose compartment and radio room oxygen systems damaged, tail guns inoperable, Engine #4 out, port tail plane root damaged and numerous superficial hits to both wings, waist, tail, bomb bay sections, nose & pilot compartment. Both waist gunners KIA and 2 Me-109 claimed as destroyed and 2 Fw-190 and 1 Me-109 claimed as damaged.
LIBERTY QUEEN, second flight, lead aircraft
Reached target but unable to bomb due to jammed bomb bay doors. Returned with bomb bay doors inoperable, oxygen hits in the tail and the waist, pilot's compartment window damaged, tail gunner's heater destroyed, and the fire extinguisher in the nose was hit. Starboard waist gunner was KIA and 3 Fw-190s and 1 Me-109 claimed as destroyed and 1 Fw-190 as damaged.
LUCKY 7, second flight, right wingman
Bombed target, 0%. Fell out of formation after bomb run from oxygen fire. Damage to starboard wing landing gear. Oxygen out in navigation and radio room. Landed at emergency field on Corsica. In landing the plane, the undercarriage sustained extensive damage. No casualties and 1 Fw-190 claimed.
KING PIN, second flight, left wingman (TAIL-END CHARLIE)
Reached target, but bombs were jettison early to stay in formation. Heavy Damage: oxygen to radio room and pilot's compartment out, rudder, radio shot up, # 3 & #4 engines out, port elevator out, port wing aileron out, multiple wing root hits, ball turret jammed. Two casualties: radio man was KIA and 1 waist gunner was seriously wounded. Claims: 3 Fw-190s & 2 Me-190s destroyed; 1 Fw-190 and 2 Me-109s damaged.
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