MISSION 100 - Munich AARs
316th BS (LEAD)
GINGER SNAP, Lead flight, Lead aircraft (Group Leader)
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with flak
damage to tail wheel, life raft destroyed by flak, superficial damage to port
wing and tail and 1 light casualty. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by 1st Lt. McClain, 1
Me-110 by Sgt. Westcott, and 1 Me-109 shared by 1st Lt. McClain and SSgt.
Jumped by two ME-109s nearing the northern Italian coastline (zone-4 outbound); escorts chased one off, McClain and Sikorsky exploded the second fighter as it attempted a head-on pass.
As we lined up for the bomb run over Munich, 4 single engine fighters attacked. McClain got his 2nd kill of the day (an FW-190) and Sgt. Hodge damaged an ME-109 with an excellent passing shot from his tail gun position. Our Mustangs ran off the other two FWs.
Immediately following this action we were attacked by three more fighters – a 109 leading a pair of ME-110s! Sgt. Westcott dispatched one of the ME-110s with a long burst from his port waist position; the other 110 broke off its attack with several Mustangs on its tail. The ME-109 made an errant firing pass from dead ahead and continued on through the squadron behind us.
Flak over the target was brutal – heavy and accurate. We took at least six hits, which fortunately only lightly wounded TSgt. Clellan and caused minor damage to our B-17. Visibility over the target was good, but all the flak threw off Lt. Clellan’s aim, and our bomb load apparently missed the target.
The return flight was uneventful and landing at Sterparone was routine
- Capt. Harold Snakenburg, Pilot, Ginger Snap, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
ICE QUEEN, First flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 5%. Returned with port flap
& bomb release mechanism inoperable, 30% damage to starboard wing root, 33%
damage to rudder, and ten hits of a superficial nature (93 damage points)
and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Burmeister, 1 Me-109 apiece
by SSgt. Pumphrey and Sgt. Stiffler.
We were airborne by 0643 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 0720 hours.
Over the Adriatic we were harassed by the German fighters. Most were driven off by our little friends. Those that managed to get past the fighter screen made single halfhearted attacks, braking off combat for the trailing groups. The mix of fighters was made up of Me-109s and FW-190s.
This all changed over the Alps. A group of twenty-five fighters pressed an attack. Our attackers consisted of one Butcherbird and three Me-109s, they it us hard. Over two attacks our fighter cover took one out, our boys downed two, an Me-109 and a Fw-190. Three fighters knocked out the port flaps, bomb release mechanism and damage our starboard wing root.
Over I/P, three Butcherbirds made uncoordinated attacks that only resulted in our boys damaging one Fw-190 and our little friends flaming another. The Krauts quickly disengaged combat as we entered the flak. This was heavy and fairly accurate. Of the five fragments that hit the "Queen" with only one manages any real damage. Burmeister reported a huge thud above his head, which we found out later, was a hit to the rudder. The combination of damage to the bomb release and the turbulence from being hit by flack, we are surprised any of our bombs hit near the target. But, Sgt. Holst and Corey (Burmeister) claim we managed to get some of our eggs in the target.
As we were forming up at the rally point two Me-109s came out of the sun. Thankfully Lieutenant Young’s crew sent them both packing for safer quarry. A second wave of bandits were seen franticly trying to get away from our P-51s. Sgt. Stiffler reported seeing a Zertörer fall apart as one of our Red-Tailed angles put a concentrated burst into its wing.
Prior to reaching our safe zone a lone Me-109 was observed lining up to attack just prior to a P-51 bouncing him. Unfortunately the Kraut escaped with his skin.
Back at Sterparone Field we made a routine landing.
- 1st Lt. Loren Zurn, Pilot, AC# 43-9007, Ice Queen, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
WENTZVILLE WIZ, First flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with flak damage to the wings, to the nose and tail compartments (75 damage points) and 1 light casualty.
Gerry was leaving the mess hall with the chatter still in his ears about this next mission being called “100A” . . . since the last mission 100 didn’t count. What a crock! Besides that, this fella Becket, Donald Becket, was stirring the pot. He was telling us that he thought we would be on another long run after the aborted run 3 days ago. Been too much time between runs was his reasoning . . . so something big must be planned.
Gerry was a replacement crew fresh from training school and most all the crew were from the St. Louis, Mo area. When they heard that the Wentzville Wiz went down not long ago, well, they decided to name their plane after her, too. Some of the fellas in Gerry’s crew knew a couple of the Wiz’s crew from high school. Ger pulled Granbury’s flight jacket elbow and asked while walking to the briefing room, “You get the Wentzville Wiz II painted on our bird last nite?”
“Yep, Cap”, he replied. “Even got a guy to come over and paint a nice lookin blonde just below your window. Had to give him the rest of the stash from the states to get him to do it, last nite. But the crew think it was worth it.” Ger, smiled, and quipped, “Hope she won’t be distracting.”
Becket wasn't far off the mark . . . mission today will be to Munich. Heard about those long hauls over the Alps were tough . . . guess we’ll see what the crew is really made-of on this one.
We got up in the air some time after 0700 and got formed-up real tight . . . much tighter than we’d ever flown in school. Gerry didn’t particularly like the comment, “Look Kid, we fly tight up here. If you don’t like it, you can drop to the fanny end of the Group.” Satin Doll’s pilot was long in the boots . . . he had lots of experience, so he just sucked it up.
The crew was just getting settled in and thinking what the other crews had told them about not seeing any enemy bogeys till they approached the Alps, when the ball gunner Donald Smile (called Donny boy) yelled out that he had a 109 comin in at 1:30 low! He got in pretty close before he broke-off when the a couple of the P-51s of the 52nd showed-up. Damn that was scary, exciting, and sobering all at the same time. Wasn’t supposed to happen so close to base!
The Alps were just beautiful, picturesque. No enemy fighters, but we on our toes. Got into the target zone and saw no enemy fighters goin after us. Lots hitting everyone else. We got near the target and we got our first taste of flak . . . Jesus, we got bounced around like a ping pong ball in a bucket. Baldy Fromme got hit and the wings & tail section took a beating. Baldy, despite the light wound, got us on target and a 30% hit probability. Didn’t get jumped on the way out . . . we were thinking to the man, including the Cap . . . that this wasn’t nearly as bad as the fellas in the Mess hall had cajoled us into thinking.
Near Venice in northern Italy (zone-4) on the way home saw another Me-109 approach us from 1:30 high, but he didn’t get close enuf to send any bullets into us . . . the boys of 31st chased ’em off.
More fatigued after getting out of the cockpit than I expected . . . this was not a bad run . . . long, but not as bad as others had told us about. “Cap, you did really good today”, said Newkirk, the flight engineer. Ger always took what Newkirk with some heart. He was a good pilot in his own right . . . just got washed out due to a nasty divorce that caused him to loose concentration on the flight test and got washed-out to the engineering part of this bird. All the crew called Gerry “Cap” even though he was still a 1st Louie. They all thought he was their captain and guide thru this dangerous enterprise.
- This was the first entry in 1st Lt Gerald Young’s war diary
SLEDGEHAMMER II, Second flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with damage to the radio compartment, superficial damage to the fuselage and superficial flak damage to the bomb bay compartment, and no casualties. Claims: 2 Bf-110s by Sgt. Rafferty, 1 Bf-109 and 1 Bf-110 by 2nd Lt. Gilmour, 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Parsons and 1 Bf-109 by Sgt. Fleetwood
Mission #100 started off with the crew in a concerned mood . . . this was the first time they’d flown over the Alps.
Two enemy waves were encountered prior to hitting the Alps, however, they were driven off by our little friends and one was damaged by our crack top turret gunner, Alan Parsons.
Crossing the Alps was uneventful, although beautiful. Upon reaching the target extremely heavy flak bracketed the plane, causing no real damage (other than a terrified look upon our faces when we saw the hole caused by a flak fragment that sliced through the bomb bay while it was still loaded). It was, however, heavy enough to throw off our bombardier’s aim and we are not sure of any effect to our bombing.
All hell broke loose after the bombing run, with no less than six enemy fighter waves hitting us while our fighter cover became progressively worse. Still, the ball and nose gunners made excellent work of the attacking 110s, shooting down three of them, with Alan Parsons bagging an FW-190 and the nose and tail each getting a Bf-109. The enemy only caused some inconsequential damage across the ship, although the radioman’s heat was knocked out. Since this happened while we were almost home, it also had no effect on us.
The landing was perfect. All in all, it was an extremely tense mission, mainly due to the high amount of contact. Only the enemy’s poor shooting and our good shooting resulted in our return, we concluded, as the ship took probably the lightest damage it ever has taken on a mission.
On the run in to the target, AC#43-9019, No Worries, was caught in three successive boxes of flak. It was last seen turning out of formation and away from the target; the #2 Engine was feathered and the port wing was on fire. Five chutes were seen before it was lost from sight.
- 1st Lt. Rick Springfield, Pilot, Sledgehammer II, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
NO WORRIES, Second flight, Right aircraft
Did not bomb target. Shot down by flak; plane crashed 3m south of Munich; 5 KIA & 5 POWs.
On the run in to the target, AC#43-9019, No Worries, was caught in three successive boxes of flak. It was last seen turning out of formation and away from the target; the #2 Engine was feathered and the port wind was on fire. Five chutes were seen before it was lost from sight.
- Missing Aircraft Report submitted by the 88th Bomb Group Intelligence Officer, Major James Jefferson
399th BS (MIDDLE)
DIMESTORE GIRL, Third flight, Lead aircraft\
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with pilots’ compartment heating system inoperable, damage to the starboard elevator, seven misc. holes to patch and two minor cases of frostbite.
Quite a number of enemy fighters down at the mid level where we were assigned to fly. Our escort fighters chased a few of them away, but about a dozen Jerries made a run at us. Our defensive gunnery was not good; we believe we hit three enemy fighters. Fortunately, Jerry was not shooting too well either, but we still were hit a number of times, doing minor damages to aircraft and crew.
Hit by flak on target approach. OFF TARGET on bomb run.
Flight back similar to outboard leg of mission. Both Lt. Ketchum and I got frostbite. We took turns flying DIMESTORE GIRL; one of us keeping hands covered, one flying the plane. Still our hands froze. Flight surgeon believes we will recover rapidly and be able to resume duties.
Crew Chief Waltrip will have DIMESTORE GIRL ready for her next mission.
- 1st Lt. Palmer Stanford, Pilot, Dimestore Girl, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
317th BS (HIGH)
SQUAWKIN’ CHICKEN 2, First flight, Left aircraft
Did not bomb target. Shot down by flak; plane crashed 3m SE of Munich; 1 KIA & 9 POWs.
“It looked to be a good day for 1st Lt. Bennett’s return as pilot. The Squawkin' Chicken 2 made it successfully to the target area. The plane encountered 4 ME-109s approaching Munich, but our little friends in the P-51s chased most of them off. One managed to do some superficial damage to Squawkin Chicken’s nose, but everything looked good for dropping some heat down on the Jerries. However, the flak ended Lt. Bennett’s good day. Five shells made it through. Although four of them were superficial, the last one caused #4 engine to runaway. Bennett tried to feather it, but the engine went out of control. Everyone bailed out. Radio Operator Tech Sgt. Mike Perrone appear to hit the wing and is presumed dead. All other crew members made it to the ground, but they were immediately captured and are presumed to be held at Stalag 17B, which we believe to be extremely overcrowded and dangerous for our airmen.”
- From the War Diary of the 88th Bombardment Group (H), July 19, 1944
EAGLE ONE, First flight, Right aircraft
Did not bomb target. Aborted mission (zone-3) and returned alone back to base. Landed with bomb bay doors inoperable (10 damage points) and no casualties.
After a successful take-off and forming up we turned towards the target. However, east of Rimini (zone-3) a fighter got through and got a single hit on us. It didn’t seem too bad until we noticed the bomb doors were inoperable. At this point I decided to abort the mission and we dropped out of formation and turned inbound where we landed safely.
While it’s always good when everybody comes home . . . I could sense some real disappointment in the crew.
- 2nd Lt. Tom Decker, Pilot, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
FARMER'S DAUGHTER, Second flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Fell out-of-formation (zone-5
inbound) and returned alone. Landed with navigator’s
heating system, elevator controls, starboard aileron, auto-pilot inoperable,
port elevator shot away, structural damage to the starboard tailplane root,
numerous superficial hits and no casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by
2nd Lt. DeBlonk and SSgt Henry Herrick.
Take off at 7 AM and form up at 4000 feet went as planned. We then flew at 21,000 feet to San Marcos to rendezvous with the 301st and the 463rd BG before heading to our target for today, Munich.
We headed out over the Adriatic, keeping a close eye for enemy fighters. The few that came at us were driven off by our little friends or made only one pass at us and then left. As we crossed back into Italy, an Me-110 got on our tail and shot us up pretty good, damaging the starboard tailplane and aileron and shooting out the port elevator.
We encountered no more enemy fighters as we entered the target zone. Flak, however, was heavy. Luckily we took no flak hits and put our eggs 30% on target.
As we headed for home, we encountered more enemy fighters. Most were driven off by our fighter escorts. One Me-109 was shot down by 2nd Lt. DeBlonk firing from the chin turret. Any others fired ineffectively at our bomber.
After recrossing the Alps, we encountered more fighters, most of which were again driven off. One Fw-190 did get thru and shot us from one end to the other, causing mostly superficial damage. The worst of it was the damage to the navigator's heat forcing us to drop out of formation. Thank God that happened after crossing the Alps.
We encountered a few more fighters as we raced home. Even tho we were “a lone duck”, and the enemy pressed his attacks more aggressively, we suffered no more serious damage. We landed back at base without further incident.
- 1st Lt. Eugene Larsen, Pilot, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
399th BS (HIGH)
HIT N RUN II, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with ball turret heating system, port wing flaps, port elevator, port wing landing gear and tail wheel inoperable; oil fire damage to #4 engine; superficial damage to the bomb bay doors (2 hits), to the #3 engine (1 hit), to the waist compartment and 1 severe case of frostbite. Claims: 2 Fw-190 by Sgt. Spencer and 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Murf
Smooth sailing till the Alps came in view. Fighter cover took care of
three 109s but a fourth 109 got through and did some damage,
superficial damage to bomb bay doors, port waist, and hitting the oil tank of engine number four causing a fire. It took two attempts to successfully extinguish the fire. John Murf damaged a 109 over the Alps, then tail gunner Sean Spencer killed it, sending it spiraling down into the mountains.
We took a few flak hits approaching the target, damaging the tail wheel, causing superficial damage to engine number one, and knocking out the heat for our ball gunner, John Sheeron. Murf dropped 30 percent of the bombs on the factories.
Before leaving Munich, we tangled with a pesky ME-110 to knock out the wing flap on the port wing. Sheeron (FCA -1) and Spencer (FBOA -2) gave him a taste of his own medicine.
Sheeron developed frost bite over the Alps on the way back to base.
WE were jumped by a 190 after clearing the Alps, taking out the landing gear on
the port wing. Spencer promptly blew him out
of the sky in a spectacular explosion. Murf got his first official kill, an FW-190, and Spencer damaged (FBOA -2) a 109, causing him to break off, after he took out our port elevator. He also did some superficial damage to the bomb bay doors.
We landed safely, despite being without our port side landing gear. After a thorough examination by the base doctor, John Sheeron was sent home due to wounds from frostbite. He will be replaced by Robert Mitchell, from Salt Lake City, Utah.
- 2nd Lt. Al Papai, Pilot, Hit 'N Run II, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
LAURALEE II, Third flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 20%. Returned with bomb bay doors
inoperable; minor damage to #1 engine; superficial damage to wings and fuselage
and 1 light casualty. Claims: 1 Me-110 by Capt. Pipes and 1 Fw-190 by
Fairly light opposition on this mission, thanks to our Little Friends. We saw only a few enemy a/c on the approach to the Alps, and most of those attacked other Forts in our formation. A lone 110 came at us over Italy, but Capt. Pipes flamed him with the chin turret.
Quiet trip over the Alps; lots of enemy fighters over the target area. A pair of 190s came at us from head on, wounding M/Sgt. Ross and doing some minor damage, but the heavy flak did more to us than the fighters, putting holes in the plane and causing the #1 engine to run a little rough (it kept functioning all the way back).
We hit the target and turned for home, with enemy fighters continuing to try and harry the formation. M/SGT Ross knocked down one of them, a revenge of sorts.
Enemy pursuit continued over the Alps, and out over the Adriatic, as our fighter cover seemed to weaken. Fortunately we did not suffer further damage, and regained our base.
- Captain Shaun Hill, Pilot, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
MAURY'S RAIDERS, Third flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 75%. Returned with damage to the
ball turret and 1 casualty. Claims: 1
Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Boyton.
As the one of the newest member’s of the 399th Squadron, and having just flown over from the States as a replacement aircraft, not much was expected from the Maury’s Raiders crew. Well, to say the least their first mission was a big success. Reaching the northern Italian coastline (zone-4) untouched, the crew encountered a couple of ME-109s of which one was chased off by the escort fighters. However, our navigator, 2nd LT. Dustin Boyton, got a hit and downed the remaining ME-109 with the twin turret chin guns.
It was quiet until the target zone over Munich when the plane was jumped by an ME-110 on a vertical climb. Fortunately, it was driven off by our "little friends". During the run-in to the target, we encountered heavy flak that seriously wounded our ball turret gunner. However, we were rewarded with an on target bomb run of 75%.
Turning for home we got a little company from the Germans both in the target zone as well as over northern Italy (zone-4) again. In both cases, our escort fighters and our onboard gunners chased off the attackers before any add’l hits were taken.
After landing, it was determined that no damage was apparent on the aircraft except for the shot that wounded Sgt. Roger Young our ball turret gunner.
All in all, not a bad day's work and look forward to future successful missions in the 399th.
- 1st Lt. Ted Stenberg, Pilot, Maury's Raiders, 399th Squadron, 88th Heavy Bombardment Group
NO FEAR II, Third flight, Right aircraft
Did not bomb target.
Aborted mission (zone-4) and returned alone back to base. Landed
with engine #4 and both ailerons inoperable, the starboard wing fuel tank holed
(self-sealed), damage to the radio room oxygen system, superficial damage
to the starboard wing and no casualties. Claims: 2 Me-109s by SSgt. Smoker
and 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Fastnacht.
An early wave of fighters was driven off but a second wave, just before Venice at the northern coast of Italy, (zone-4) did not turn out nearly so well. On the first pass the top turret shot down a high 109 and the ball gunner damaged one, while another high 109 almost damaged the starboard wing fuel tank. Thank God it was able to self-seal! The 109 came back for a second pass, filling the tail with bullet holes and again went for the starboard wing taking out engine #4. With one engine out we were forced to abort and turn around, since we would not be able to make it to target on the other side of the Alps. The crew was disappointed in having to abort without reaching the target.
On the return we encountered two waves of fighters. An Me-109 took the starboard side aileron out, but the starboard cheek gunner managed to hit him on the second pass as he filled the starboard wing again with holes. On the third pass the nose turret gunner took out another 109 as it damaged the oxygen and again filled the starboard wing with holes.
As we neared home the last wave of enemy fighters attacked. The top turret scared one off as the radio room oxygen took a hit. On the second pass a 109 took out the port side aileron as the top turret got another 109. The tail gunner shot down a 109 as it came around for a third pass.
Landing was a bit hairy without ailerons but the rookie pilot performed well and returned crew and aircraft safely.
- 2nd Lt. Gad Jones, Bombardier, 399th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
318th BS (LOW)
SILVER GHOST, First flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 10%. Returned with intercom inoperable,
6 superficial damage holes in fuselage and wings and no casualties.
Claims: 3 Me-109s by Sgt. Dawson and one Me-109 by Sgt. Gibson.
The low squadron saw intense enemy action over the course of the mission. For the most part our escorts covered us superbly. The few enemy aircraft that got through the screen were hit hard by the squadron. The only noticeably damage during the mission was that the intercom system was hit before we made landfall in North Italy. I decided to stay with the squadron rather than abort at that point. My crew is claiming four kills and one probable, all ME-109s.
Flak buffeted the
aircraft over the target zone and probably contributed to Lt. Smith’s low
estimate of coverage (10%). Weather over the
Alps was good, no problems with visibility or aircraft malfunctions.
The crew chief, MSgt. Masters, reports minor damage to the fuselage and starboard wing.
- 2nd Lt. Mark Romero, Pilot, Silver Ghost, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
RAIDEN MAIDEN, First flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 30%. Returned with ailerons, tail and port waist heating systems inoperable, navigation equipment destroyed, structural damage to the port wing and port tail plane roots, damage to the rudder (2 hits), superficial damage to the nose, bomb bay, waist, and pilots’ compartments, and 3 casualties. Claims: 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Mathis.
Our first trip to Germany and we are dreading going over the Alps. Took off and formed up fine. Saw several bandits over the water en route to Italy, but after Sgt. Haverty hit one of them they broke off their attack, and they kept their distance.
Crossed the Alps inbound to the target and there was a loud bang heard in the rear of the plane. Sgt. Hooper said the aileron cables had snapped and Lt. Beall commented that the controls were acting funny. Malfunction right after we crossed into Germany was not good, and just in time for a hot reception.
A mass of 109s hit us over Germany, most from dead ahead. Three (3) focused on our plane, with one at 12 high that made some hits on our midsection. SSgt. Mathis hit a 109 very solid with the pilot bailing out after he made his pass. SSgt. Gilbert checked it out and said the bomb bay was full of holes, but couldn’t tell if the mechanism was effected. Luckily no bombs were hit. The fighters just cleared out as we were hit with VERY HEAVY flak, 3 salvoes hit us directly, the first killing our newest member, Sgt. Kirk Foray at the starboard waist gun. 1st Lt. Walt Beall was seriously wounded and the port wing was hit. The second salvo hit the tail, doing significant damage to the tail plane and knocking out the tail heater. Sgt. Hooper decided to stay at his gun through the bomb run. A third salvo hit the midsection and nose, knocking out the navigation gear, injuring 2nd Lt. Harold Fink in the left leg, and knocking out the port waist Heater.
I handed control of the Maiden off to 2nd Lt. Fink and he dropped a good pattern on the target (30%).
We left the target and I turned in formation and still had VERY HEAVY flak as we left the target area. We were hit by 2 more salvoes, 1 hitting the tail again, and the port wing. We saw the #1 engine smoke a bit but it kept running and appeared to be fine. We were attacked by 2 waves of fighters, the first being run off by friendlies and the second pass of three 109s all were unsuccessful and left after the first pass. 2nd Lt. Beall got a hit on one, and Sgt. Decker hit one but could not tell what damage they had done.
I had no choice and kept in formation over the Alps, despite Hooper’s Heater being out. Sgt. Haverty moved over to the starboard side and hooked up to that heater which prove to still be operable.
After clearing the Alps, I felt I could no longer chance the frostbite possibility, and dropped out-of-formation over the Italian countryside, all alone. We flew alone at 10,000 watching the other planes of the column high above us, keeping on their azimuth since we only had very rudimentary navigation equipment working (a hand held escape compass was the best we could do, and we simply couldn’t trust the bearing inside the plane). We were over the water and were attacked by a lone 109 that broke off a higher gruppe that went after the main column, but a friendly P-51 managed to chase him off before he could make a gun run.
We continued unmolested until we joined the larger formation just over the Italian coast, and flew with them in landing formation. I had TSgt. Gilbert fire the red-green flares and we got a free runway to land with casualties on board. The tail was extremely slushy when I landed because of the ailerons malfunction, but I managed to get the Maiden down in one piece.
- 2nd Lt. Tom Rice, Co-pilot, Raiden Maiden, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
JOLLIE ROGER, Second flight, Lead aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with superficial damage to the #4 engine and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by 1st Lt. Olsen.
This was the day our fighter cover really came through for us.
We saw our first bandits over water just before going feet dry over northern Italy. Three 109s moved in our direction but the escorting P-51s chased them all away.
I noticed that the formation seemed to get really tight. Really, great flying by those around us.
After going feet dry we were approached by a motley crew of just about every aircraft the Germans had. A 109, some 190s and a 110. The fighter jocks chased away the 109 and 190s leaving us to deal with the lone 110 coming from the rear. SSgts. Fitzgerald and Havens both opened up on him from the ball and tail turrets respectively. The 110 flipped over on his back and flew down and away from us trailing a lot smoke. He disappeared into some low clouds before we could see if he crashed or not.
Felt like we were going to scrap the bottom of the plane on the Alps as we flew by. Didn’t see any enemy aircraft.
Flying towards the target we saw some more 110s moving our way but once again the fighters chased them away. Flak was all around but we only took a glancing blow off Engine #4. Didn’t actually know we had been hit until we got home. Despite not receiving any real damage the buffeting and intensity of the flak was enough to throw our aim off at bomb release. Not sure where the bombs landed but we are pretty sure they did not hit the target.
Turning for home we once again saw two 110s making for us. Could these be the same two as we saw minutes before on our way to the target? No matter as the P-51s once again chased the Jerries away from us.
Felt a little better over the Alps this time. Not having our bombs made it feel as if we had more clearance this time.
Just after clearing the Alps a group of five 190s made for us. Three of the enemy made it through the fighter cover. Lt. Olsen nailed one of them with his nose guns. MSgt. Holmes blew a large piece of wing off another. This one still made for us but did not hit us. T he third 190 made his pass but did not hit us.
We did not see any other enemy aircraft on the way home.
Not too bad a mission. Wish they were all like this (except of course we would like to actually hit the target).
- Capt. Dodge, Pilot, Jollie Roger, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
LUCKY BUCK, Second flight, Left aircraft
Bombed target, 0%. Returned with bomb controls and ball turret guns inoperable, several superficial fuselage hits and to tail plane, and no casualties.
Sgt. O’Reilly damaged a 109 that attacked and missed (zone-3). Sgt. Tillotson damaged a 109, while two other 109s were driven off by fighter coverage.
Flak was heavy over the target, but we did not receive any flak damage. The bomb run was off target with 0% in the target area.
Two 109s were driven off by fighter coverage (zone-7). We were attacked (zone-4) and the ball turret guns were inop, bomb controls are inop and several superficial fuselage hits. T he fighter miss on it’s next pass.
Landing at base was uneventful.
- 2nd Lt. Stanley Clemons, Pilot, Lucky Buck, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
FIRECRACKER, Second flight, Right aircraft
Bombed target, 60%. Returned with superficial damage (3 hits) and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. Gates.
This wasn’t an easy mission for me. A new plane and a lot of new faces, though fortunately there were a lot of guys from the old Storm Runner too. For a mixed crew made up of new replacements from the States and veterans who had never worked together, this mission fortunately turned out to be an relatively easy one. On our way to the target we ran into multiple Jerries though fortunately most were driven off by our escorts or hit by the other B-17s before they could actually get to us.
A few did get through, fortunately the great targeting by the crew damaged several of them and we only received superficial damage, didn’t even realized we had been hit until we had landed. While we were over Italy, Sgt. Gates managed to destroy (zone-5) one Jerry and we continued on to the target generally unmolested.
We finally reached Munich and flew carefully through the very thick flak, though we did get bounced around a bit, and dropped out bombs on target.
Our flight back home was generally very quiet though we did see a few more Jerries but our escorts cleared most of them out of the way. Landing was uneventful and what damage we did receive will just require a bit of paint. A quiet mission is nice from time to time.
- 2nd Lt. Paul Stinson, Pilot, Firecracker, 318th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)
316th: Satin Doll
317th: AC#43-8987 & Indiscreet
318th: Pale Rider & Screwbird’s Gifts
Return to Sterparone Field