489th Veteran Sam Syracuse - Oct 2008
The following Mission Diaries, written between July and November 1944 by Samuel N Syracuse, were edited in 2008 by his friend Thomas V Banfield and appear here with the permission of Sam and Tom.
Sam Syracuse was a bombardier in World War II. He was assigned to the 489th Bombardment Group (Heavy) of Division 2 of the Eighth Air Force, operating out of Halesworth Airfield, near the East Coast of England, approximately 95 miles Northeast of London.
The 489th Bomb Group consisted of four squadrons, the 844th, 845th, 846th and 847th. The motto of the 489th Bomb Group, as shown on the Insignia, was:
Ex Tenebris Lux Veritatis
(Light is Truth out of Darkness).
489th - Sam Syracuse, Bombardier, 847th - photo 1944
Following are 26 personal mission diaries of Bombardier First Lieutenant Sam Syracuse for each of his missions flown between July 6 and November 6 of 1944. Sam was credited with 25 Combat Missions. Mission No. 15 was not credited because it was an unarmed trip taking food to the liberated French people in Orleans, France. At the end of each Diary Sam recorded any losses reported by the newspapers, which were for the entire bombing raid by all bomb groups, not just the 489th Group. A glossary has been added at the end.
Thomas V Banfield
Target – Krupp Submarine Works
Location – Kiel, Germany
Date – July 6, 1944
We’ve been waiting three days for our first raid. Yesterday had been a false alarm practice mission but at 2:OO A. M. we were awakened and somehow we all knew this was it, our first baptism under fire. We had breakfast and went through the Briefing ceremony. S-2’s talk of the target — to be the main Krupp submarine works and Sub pens. It was the Groups’ first strategic mission since before the invasion and we were anxiously awaiting Germany’s power of resistance. The chaplain said a prayer and after the special briefing went to change my clothes and go out to the ship.
We took off at 6:15 and formed at 17,000 ft. We were “tail-end-Charlie” in the lead squadron. We were routed up and over Zuider Zee, across Denmark and up to Kiel to start our 8-minute bombing run. It was then that I saw my first flak. It was a fairly heavy barrage and was just to our left. I was very excited and scared more than I cared to admit. In my excitement I dropped my bombs of some propaganda leaflets several minutes before target. Ball gunner claimed my bombs hit group of buildings, but Radio operator claimed I hit a farmhouse. As soon as we back out over North Sea I was too relieved to give a damn where they hit.
The rest of boys hit target fairly well and we landed at 12:30. We had our first taste of combat and we were excited and talkative and not a little proud. We were interrogated, given coffee by Red Cross etc. Some of flak bursts had hit fairly close to us and the sound it made was a dull phoof! Sounded just as the fellows in our barracks had told us it would sound like.
Newspapers: three bombers lost
Target – JU-88 fuselage Factory
Location – Aschersleben, Germany
Date – July 7, 1944
We were awakened at 1:30 A.M. this morning and briefed in manner similar to yesterday. We were told the Flak would be moderate and, as usual were cautioned against fighters. We were an hour late taking off due to engine trouble but caught 44th Group 14th Wing and flew with them. We were later to regret this and not without good cause. Got up to I.P. I was impressed by lack of opposition although we were over enemy territory for quite some time. We turned on I.P. and two minutes afterward was sickened by sight of enemy planes cutting through our formation. They were Ju-88s, probably thirty in all. The blood seemed to drain from me and we were all frozen with fear. I caught a glimpse of their blinking wing guns and cannon fire and it seemed to be pointed directly at me! They got the lead ship first – it blew up before my eyes — then another ship and another went down. Five went down from our Squadron alone. I was so dazed that I wasn’t fully aware of what I was doing but I suddenly realized that I had my hands on the triggers and was firing at them as they came in. It all happened so fast that I’ll never know whether I damaged any of them or not — don’t believe I did. All hell seemed to break loose at once for just then the Flak started. I just stared at it numbly and had been so frightened by fighters that I couldn’t seem to realize that the Flak was so close. Our #3 engine was hit and we had to feather it. Our hydraulics were shot out, tail-gunner’s oxygen line, gas tank and an oil line. Since most of ships in our formation had gone down we hurried over to join another formation. We never thought we would see England again but we finally made it and our prayers seemed to have been answered. Since our hydraulics were gone we rigged up two parachutes to slow us down when we hit the runway but they proved unnecessary since our emergency brakes worked. We had to be towed off runway. God had really smiled on us today for our whole crew had miraculously escaped injury.
On return to field we found that a crew composed of our friends had been shot down. We all felt bad but were still too relieved at escaping what seemed certain death.
Newspapers: Our losses – 36 bombers & 8 pursuits
German losses – 114 fighters
Target – Railroad Marshalling Yards or Airdrome
Location – Munich, Germany
Date – July 11, 1944
We were awakened at four o’clock this A.M. and went to Briefing room in hopes of practice mission. The sky was overcast and it was raining. The map was uncovered and we all went through a few moments of fear and excitement when we saw what the target was Munich, a 1150 mile round trip most of which was over enemy territory. We were briefed on target – a large Airdrome if visual – a marshalling yard in center of city if by instruments. We were told flak would be very heavy and, cautioned against fighters, but our crew had learned its lesson at Ascheresleben and were determined not to get caught unexpectedly again. We had to go down across France and way into Southern Germany for the deepest penetration ventured by our Group since it became operational.
We got dressed and went out to our ships, hoping against hope to see the red f1ares going up from the tower, which would mean the mission was scrubbed. We took off at 0815, formed and headed for enemy coast. We were over enemy territory for 6.4 hours, and the constant strain of watching for enemy fighters played hell with our nerves. We approached the city over 10/10 cloud coverage which meant P.F.F. bombing in center of city. The entire 8th Air Force was in that area so I saw more planes than I had ever seen before — about 2,000 ships in all — including our escort of about 750 fighters. Everywhere I looked there were formations of B-17s and B-24s loaded with death for Munich. We were in the air for almost nine hours and highlight of trip was my constant need to urinate, but I could not do so until we were over channel on our way back. At target Flak was very heavy but inaccurate as far as our Group was concerned.
In case of trouble we were to land in Switzerland as we passed within 30 miles of its borders. The temptation to go there must have been terrific on everyone. It was for me. Some ships that were hit could be seen making for Switzerland after we hit target. We were on oxygen for 8 hours and were very tired from our long raid. We dropped approximately 3,000 tons on Hitler’s favorite city.
Newspapers: 20 Bombers lost
Target – Marshalling Yards & Airfield
Location – Munich, Germany
Date – July 12, 1944
We were awakened at 4:30 this A.M. and went to briefing room never dreaming that this was to be a repeat of yesterday’s performance. We all groaned when we discovered we were going back to Munich. The discomforts of such a long mission were still fresh in our mind from yesterday’s raid.
I felt better however, when I learned that we had been scheduled to go to “Big B”, (Berlin) but it was scrubbed in favor of Munich raid. Our target was to be same as yesterday’s mission, so after briefing we wearily plodded to our ships. This time I took precaution of urinating as much as possible before take-off so that I would have more relief in the air. This mission itself was much like yesterdays, even to the route. The fighter escort was again much in evidence as was the entire 8th Air Force. It seems the city of Munich was scheduled for complete destruction. This mission brought the total sum to 6,000 tons rained on the city in less then 8 hours. The flak was more intense today but still was inaccurate.
On way back, while over Holland, the strain of looking into sun for 6.5 hours proved too much and I kept dropping off to sleep, although I kept fighting against it. I felt ready for a two-week rest but knew this was impossible. We all considered ourselves very fortunate, for in two days we had made two very long raids and spent 13 hours over enemy territory, and never encountered a single enemy aircraft. After landing, the smile of the Red Cross girl giving out coffee never looked sweeter, nor coffee taste better. I then went to sleep and slept for 16 straight hours.
Newspapers: 26 Bombers and 7 fighters lost
Target – Airfield
Location – Saarbrucken, Germany
Date – July l6, 1944
Wouldn’t you know it – we had ventured to Norwich (nearby city) for first time in search of wine, women, and song on the night of 15th. We got back at 12:40 and at 12:45 (we were still undressing) we were told to get breakfast and report for Briefing at 2: 15. Ah me! What a war.
The target was to be an airfield if visual, marshalling yards if P.F.F. in Saarbrucken located just inside middle German border. The flak would be heavy but not much chance of fighter opposition as lst and 3rd Divisions were going back to dear old Munich. How we gloated over those poor unfortunates who had to hit Munich for 3rd successive time.
Bombing run was to be made on a unique heading from the east. We took off at 5:00 A.M. and passed over a cold front in France. The target was covered by 10/10 cloud cover and smoke screen so, once again, we bombed P.F.F.
The group ahead of us was subjected to heavy flak barrage but we were fortunate and didn’t get too much despite our long bombing run. Our escort of P-38’s was always very close to us and it certainly was a heartening sight. We all suffered from loss of sleep night before and time after time found myself dropping off to sleep. I later found that I was not the only one guilty of this. Co-pilot confided that he had done likewise while at controls. Most vivid picture I have of this mission is the near mid-air collision we almost had. We were caught in propeller wash of formation ahead and while our ship was being tossed about another B-24, directly beneath us, loomed suddenly under our nose climbing fast. Pilot was unable to see it but I did and I yelled over innerphone. Pilot, thinking fast, pulled back on stick just in time to escape collision by inches. We were at 20,000 ft. but sweat stood out on my brow as though I were in a crowded dance hall in August.
After landing we discovered that Flak had hit closer than we realized, for we had flak hole in cowling of #2 engine and another in rear left bomb bay. Chunk of flak about 4 inches long and 1 inch wide was found by mechanic later and Brown (right waist gunner) is now possessor of the souvenir chunk. Fervently hope that we never get any more flak thrown so near that it can be saved as souvenir, about 1,000 yds, as close as I care to see it.
Newspapers: 12 bombers & 3 pursuits lost
Target – Me-109 Components Plant
Location – Kempton, Germany
Date – July 21, 1944
We awoke at 2 :00 A.M. this morning and after breakfast went to usual Briefing. Today proved to be a miserable excursion as we were soon to find out. We were briefed on above mentioned target located abot 30 miles from Munich. Bombing was to be visual, if P.F.F. we were to go over Munich again and bomb by instruments. The chaplain failed to show up to give us the usual blessing which seemed to doom the mission from the start.
Our’ ship was loaded with ten 500 lb. G.Ps.
We assembled, climbed on course and were at 22,000 ft. when we hit enemy coast. Shortly after leaving our own coast we all noticed gas leak in #4 engine. Pilot had radio operator take several readings and his reports showed we were losing fuel. For a more complete report, the Pilot ordered Radio operator to take Engineer’s place in turret and had Engineer take readings. We were now in Germany, a little N.E. of Saarbrucken. Engineer reported that 1700 gals. of our 2700 gals. was gone. Our situation seemed terribly serious and I immediately had visions of landing in Switzerland after bombing target and spending rest of war in comparative ease. Pilot, however, decided to abort and return (or try to return) to our base in England. We left the formation and as the rest of ships passed us, heading the other way, it suddenly brought home to me the fact that we were completely alone over enemy territory. We no longer had the comforting sight of formations of our own bombers and fighter escort who could support us in case of oppositon. Since we were alone it fell to me as Bombardier to select a target of opportunity inside Germany. Pilot wished me to release them as soon as possible so that our load would be lightened. I dropped them out since I had no bombsight in ship, where they hit was largely a matter of luck. Luck was supreme because pictures later showed that I completly demolished the bridge beneath us.
Now for the sad part, we discovered, too late, that Engine was all wet and that we had plenty of gasoline. We all realized we would have plenty to answer to when we returned to base. We had an escort of two P-47s to take us back and they stayed very close to us until we hit our own coast. We landed and several hours later, when entire Group returned, Pilot was called down and severly bawled out in front of entire Group for his decision. Colonel also hinted at cowardice which, to anyone who knew our Pilot and also where we aborted was downright stupid. No one in his right mind, would abort that deep in enemy territory and run risk of coming back alone, easy prey to all enemy fighters, unless he considered it imperative that he returned. Reason for Colonel’s anger (I believe) was that flak encountered by Group at Munich (where they were forced to bomb because of cloud coverage over Briefed target) was so intense that many ships were badly shot up and several men wounded. On return, lead navigator led them directly over Frankfurt (not a briefed course) and they were again subjected to heavy flak damaging more ships and complete loss of one ship. Lead ship had upwards of 300 flak holes — landed on A-5 without rudder controls or hydraulics with aid of two chutes to break its speed. Colonel inferred that new crews didn’t know what we were fighting for, this made us all angry because his dammed old crews were weaned and bred on France’s “no-balls.” (Easiest type of mission and shortest) Worst of all is that we will probably get no credit for the mission, even though we did destroy the bridge and were over enemy territory for some time.
Newspapers: no report available
July 26th: Whee! Found out today that Division gave us credit for this mission.
Target – Juvincourt Airfield
Location – Near Helms, France
Date – July 23, 1944
We arose early this afternoon, yes, I said afternoon, and reported for briefing at 1:00 P.M. We’ve had afternoon briefings before but the missions had always been scrubbed and we believed that this one might be also — we were wrong.
We took off at 3:00 P.M. and formed at 20,000 ft. Our route to target was pretty good. It was a G.H. mission (Gee-homing) and we saw no flak on the route. We bombed through 10/10 cloud coverage. We carried forty 100 lb. bombs and were to hit one of the runways. Biggest surprise was that we encountered no flak at the target. Very unusual! We had a brief scare when we saw fighters go into the sun, but a few minutes later they came out of the sun and came close enough to be identified as P-51s. Oh lovely sight! We were then routed down south of Paris, back North again, then over Invasion Coast, Beachy-Head, and back to the field. It was easiest mission we’ve been on and we all wished that we could get them all like that. Only thing that spoiled mission was the return route which was unnecessarily long, we were in the air for seven hours. We went to bed at 12:00 midnight expecting to arise in an hour. (We had been alerted. for next days mission) However, morning found us still in bed, they had decided to fly the mission without us. (the mission was one to St. Lo in support of our troops – flak was fierce and one of our ships was blown up.) Next day another was flown to St. Lo and again we were
not called. Again our Group lost a ship over target due to intense flak.
Newspapers: No report
Target – Oslebshavsen Oil Refinery
Location – Bremen, Germany
Date – July 29, 1944
We were awakened at 2:45 A.M. and were to report for Briefing at 4:00 A.M. We had been awakened at midnight for past three nights for a mission and each one had been scrubbed before take-off. Weather was still bad so we figured this one would be like-wise.
We took off at 6:40 A.M. and our target was to be an oil refinery near Bremen. The flak at the target, as outlined on map, was the heaviest we had seen. Our route was over North Sea until were just northeast of target – we were then to turn on our 189° T. C. Bomb heading. All together we were over enemy territory for only about 45 minutes, as we came back out over North Sea after bombing. We were carrying 24 – 250 lb. G.P.s and the bombing run was 31 nautical miles, lasting approximately 9 ½ minutes. As we turned on I.P. I saw the flak being thrown up at Groups bombing ahead and it certainly left me with a feeling that perhaps this was it. It was a solid wall of flak and we had to wade right through thickest part of it to bomb target. After approximately five minutes of sweating we were through the flak and our ship wasn’t even touched by it. I sure felt relieved to be out over sea again. We had escort of P-51s and, as always, the sight of them would always add to our feeling of security. We got back to field without trouble of any kind and landed at 12:47. One mission less to fly.
Newspapers: our losses 62 bombers
Target -Wismar Airfield
Location – Wismar, Germany
Date – August 4, 1944
We were awakened at 5:00 A. M. this morning. Briefing was at 6:15 A.M. Take-off at 9:45 A.M. The Primary target was the Wismar airfield located just outside town of Wismar in N. Central Germany. Friendly activity was all over the area. Kiel, Rostock,
and Pennemunde were to be hit, besides other important targets throughout the area. We carried ten 500 lb. G.P.s. Take off was as scheduled. We were routed over North Sea, made landfall at at Denmark. Met little flak – inaccurate, then passed by Kiel Harbour, into Germany proper and started our 8 minute bomb run. Flak at target was almost non-existent, a welcome change. We expected to meet heavy fighter opposition since Groups ahead of us were hit by swarms of ME-109s. We were also on alert for new jet-propelled plane which “Jerry” had started to use according to S-2 report. We thought we saw some several times but couldn’t be positive as they were about 10,000 ft. above us. It’s quite probable that they were P-51s emitting con-trails, although we’ll probably never be positive about it. We dropped our bombs and gunners saw some fall in sea while others seemed to start fires in town. On way back we saw heavy smoke arising from Kiel. Also flak being thrown up. We had a camera in ship so Bill threw a wing up so we could get picture of Kiel Harbour and city. We took many pictures on way back of anything we
thought was important. Once out over North Sea again I had Atkins come to nose while I attempted to navigate using Gee equipment. We landed at 5:00 P.M. No battle damage.
Newspapers: no report of losses except 18 fighters (German)
Some fellows heard some B-17s ditching in sea on way back, probably damaged by enemy tighters encountered.
Target – Railroad Marshalling Yards
Location – Saarbrucken, Germany
Date – August 11, 1944
We were awakened at 7:15 this morning. Beautiful day. Briefing at 8:00 A.M. Our target was the familiar marshalling yards at Saarbrucken—capacity — 4,000 cars a day and an important center for German Troop and supply movements. Take-off was at 10:50 A.M.
Today, I was to fly as Navigator so I attended Navigators special briefing. (To me, very complicated.) I was busy with my navigation for most of entire mission so did not have opportunity to relax, even while we were still over England and Channel. We went in through Holland, down through Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and finally into Germany. It was quite crowded in nose with Rudy and I both getting tangled in each others oxygen hose and innerphone wires. Also, having to stand for entire journey with a heavy flak-suit on was new experience and really tired me out. My Navigation left a lot to be desired but I managed, with my Navigator’s assistance, to know fairly well where I was at for most of the time. Somehow, the P.F.F. ship which led our Squadron missed the I.P. and as a result we came right out on the target. Several Squadrons had already bombed the target and since we were all screwed up – our Squadron just circled the city several times. The Flak was quite heavy but we didn’t get any of it because we didn’t fly right over target. Squadron lead decided to bomb an airfield on way back, which we did — it was located near Antwerp. We passed over several large cities on way back – Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, etc. and saw some flak — inaccurate and light.
We carried 12 – 500 lb. G. P.s and I guess we damaged or destroyed part of airfield and its adjacent aircraft factory. The pictures will show it tomorrow. One fellow, hit over Saarbrueken, headed for Switzerland. It was his 32nd mission. Hope he made it.
Newspapers: no account of losses
Almost suffered anoxia today. Hose became disconnected. Loss of breath and intuition combined to make me realize the truth and I suffered no ill effects — except a brief scare.
Target – Roads, Railroads, Bridges, Etc.
Location – Seine River Area
Date – August 13, 1944
We were awakened at 6:00 A.M. Went to breakfast and reported for briefing at 7:00. Situation in brief: American troops in advancing toward Seine in drive for Paris had the beginnings of giant trap which would encircle 30 divisions – 350,000 Germans — half
of all enemy troops in entire area: Our job was to destroy every bridge, road, R.R. etc. in an area covering 39 miles in length, 5 miles in width. This would make retreat of germans impossible or, at least, more difficult enabling our troops to complete the trap. Friendly activity included almost every ship in 8th and 9th Air Force! Fighter bombers were to destroy all bridges on Seine from Paris on out. At last: I was to participate in a mission in direct support of Ground Troops.
We took off at 10:15, assembled at 7,000 feet, were routed down over London (where we saw countless barrage balloons), over Sea leaving Southern England and making land-fall above Caen. I got quite a thrill to see the Cherbourg Peninsula where historic invasions had started. There was a good deal of allied ships in the various harbors. We saw where many of our fighters were now based in the newly won territory. We were carrying 52 – 100 lb. G.P.s and bombing altitude was at 18,000 ft. We were to make 5 bombing runs. We began to see Flak, thrown up with the deadly accuracy attributed only to the A.A. gunners in this area. Several burst right beneath us but we were not hit. Beardslee’s right-waist gunner was killed, we later found out. Germans must have been deep in their fox-holes, as we saw nil activity on ground. When all of our bombs were dropped we turned left and headed for the sea which had at all times been visible to us. Radio operator and tail-gunner saw our bombs completely wipe out a cross roads. In a few minutes we were out over sea and began our let-down. It was shortest mission I had been on and by all odds the most interesting. Am very eagerly awaiting results of this tremendous operation. If successful it may prove to be a deciding factor in the “Battle of France.” We landed at 2:40 p.m. Quite a few of the fellows had battle damage to ships but except for Beardslee’s unfortunate gunner everyone returned O.K.
Newspapers: 12 Bombers & 4 Fighter bombers lost
“Trap” later became known as “Falaise Gap.”
Target – Ardorf Airfield
Location – Lyon, France
Date – August 14, 1944
We briefed at 5:30 this morning. Our target was an Airfield a few miles southeast of Lyon, France. In actual miles this was longest mission we had ever been on but since we were routed in rather direct line our actual flying time was less than that required on our Munich raids. I was to fly as Navigator again which didn’t please me as I had already built up a healthy aversion to navigation. We were routed through Holland, Belgium, into France and almost straight down to our target. Bomb load was fifty-two 100 lb. G.P.s. I was busy at my navigation for most of trip but I would look out whenever gunners saw something of interest. Biggest thrill of trip was to see Swiss Alps and Switzerland itself. At one point we were only 12 miles from Switzerland and the old secret longing to go there and put the war behind us was stronger than ever. We were also not too far from Italy which I would have liked seeing. We saw very little Flak going in, none of it accurate.
We started our six minute bomb run and finally dropped our bombs. We saw no Flak at target. Our bombing over we headed back. Soon after leaving target Pilot asked time for E.T.A. to coast and I figured one out and gave it to him, much to my surprise, and the crew’s, it proved to be within a minute when we crossed enemy coast several hours later. I was very tired from Flak suit and the fact that this was our third mission in four days. Co-pilot really kidded our navigator about my E.T.A. being “on the button” while his were often wrong. Actually, of course, it was just dumb luck but it was fun to pretend otherwise. Was a beautiful day and ground was clearly visible all time. Pictures showed was best bombing done by Group in some time. All three M.P.I’s were solidly hit with very good pattern.
Newspapers: No account of losses
Target – Wittmundhafen Airfield
Location – Between Wilhelmshaven and Emden, Germany
Date – August 15, 1944
Were awakened quite early this a.m. to fly our third mission in three days. I was already very tired from flying of previous days but war is war and couldn’t stop because I was tired. The airfield we were to bomb was supposed to have between 70 and 80 jet propelled planes based there. Friendly activity was all over the area and the lowlands. We were routed over N. Sea until we got to point near our target. We then went between the two of Frisian Islands where we met our first Flak, meager and inaccurate. Our bomb run started immediately on hitting enemy coast. We dropped our bombs but could not observe results of scud-clouds. Saw great columns of smoke coming from many targets already bombed in that area. We flew out over Netherlands and Zuider Zee and wherever we looked the great clouds of smoke stood out as mute evidence of the havoc and destruction being wrought by Air Forces that day. Even R.A.F. participated and they usually confined their bombing to night bombing. Our bomb load was fifty-two 100 lb. G.P.s. It turned out to be one of our easiest missions although the superstition about flight “No. 13” (or 12-B as we preferred to call it) prevented me from being completely at ease until we landed safely. It was also one of our shortest missions lasting less than five hours. We observed Flak several times on way but none of it accurate. In fact, it was so far off that our Co-pilot did not see single burst and was not aware that we had seen Flak until we landed. At interrogation we received welcome news of a second Invasion of France – this one was in Southern France near Marseilles. Made us feel good.
Newspapers: Our losses – 16 Bombers, 5 fighters
German losses – 27 fighters
Target – Airfield
Location – Berlin, Germany (5 mi. N.W. of City)
Date – August 27, 1944
We were awakened at 6 :30 – briefing at 7 :30. Fellow in lead crew had been pre-briefed on an easy target and we went to bed feeling secure in the belief that we had an easy mission coming up. The original mission however was scrubbed at last minute. We walked into Briefing room to receive a rather severe shock. Our target was an airfield sixteen miles N.W. of the center of Berlin, “Big B” – the target we had always kidded about but prayed we would never see. We carried fifty-two 100 lb. incendaries. The prayers of the chaplain were reverently received and I knew that between the grins and witticisms of most of the boys lay the grim feeling of foreboding – perhaps, this was it! Entire Eighth Air Force – three divisions were hitting the “Big B” area. The thought of over 400 flak guns (heaviest concentration in Europe) and enemy fighter oppositton almost certain to be encountered made most of usual jokes fall flat.
We took off at 11:05. We were to be routed over N. Sea making landfall in Denmark – out over Baltic Sea – going into Germany about 35 miles east of Kiel, and on down to Berlin for our 6-minute bomb run. This was briefed course. We formed at 7,000 feet after take-off and started out over North Sea. As we came closer to land the talk over innerphone almost ceased – everyone was thinking of the hell ahead. The airfield we were
briefed to hit had over 70 jet-propelled planes in operation. Now most important part. We were nearing land and I had just put on my Flak suit. Up ahead we saw huge cloudbombs building up to 26,000 or 27,000 feet. While Command-Pilot debated whether to turn back or try to find a way around the stuff we circled in a huge pattern for about 20 minutes. Everywhere you looked were formations of bombers in the huge circle – hundreds of them as far as eyes could see. Finally it was decided that weather made visible bombing impossible so we turned back with great relief in our hearts and, strangely enough, a little disappointed too. We returned to base after about five and a half hours flying. We had met Flak at Danish Coast and were given credit for the mission – a break we deserved but were surprised to get. Co-Pilot, with usual cynical philosopy said, “Isn’t war foolish, Sam?” We prayed and hoped we wouldn’t have to hit “Big B” and Krauts also prayed for same thing.
I agreed with him, “War is indeed a very stupid and foolish game – Nobody wins, everyone loses.”
Target – French People ..
Location – Orleans, France
Date – Sept. 1, 1944
For past few days our Group and several other Groups have been engaged in hauling food to France to alleviate desperate need of French people. This morning we were awakened at 3:30 to make the trip. We were eagerly Iooking forward to it. My preparations for the trip consisted of gathering together as much candy, cigarettes, gum, etc. as I could to trade with the French people for souvenirs. We were to take off at 6:00 A.M. and go to an airfield about 40 miles N.W. of London to pick up the food. Pilot, Co-pilot, Navigator Radio operator and myself were only ones allowed to go. No gunners were taken as added weight of gunners, guns, and ammunition would cut down an amount of food we could carry.
We arrived at the English airfield about 8:30 A.M. Most of food carried was flour, beans, canned pork, etc. Our own cargo was a load of canned pork. At 3:30 P.M. we took off
for our 2½ hour flight. We were to fly at 1,000 indicated – which meant that we were to fly at a few hundred feet above the ground and would be able to see the battle-scarred
villages and country of France very easily. We left southern England and were over the channel. We flew in 3-ship elements. I had one of best feelings I’d ever experienced for instead of carrying a cargo of death and destruction we were carrying food for the starving people of France. There was a great deal of allied shipping in the channel.
We made landfall a little west of Cherbourg. Now the interesting part of the mission began. Flying at such a low altitude we could see everything very plainly. Everywhere we looked we saw bomb craters, wreckage of planes, both ours and Nazi’s, villages in complete ruin, sites of great tank battles, dead cattle killed by terrific artillery and aerial
bombardment, prisoner-of-war camps, behind-the-line hospital camps composed mainly of great tents with huge red crosses painted on them, Nazis tanks and trucks by the hundreds left behind in their retreat, Falaise – completely in ruins (site of famous
Falaise Gap where thousands of Nazis lost their lives or were captured), newly established fighter bases in the newly liberated territory and etc. On every road, as far as the eye could see, were American and British trucks carrying supplies to front lines or wounded men to rear lines. At last we arrived at the Airfield at Orleans which still showed signs of terrific aerial bombardment suffered by Nazis at our hands. Hundreds of French people and children were right in center of runway waving to us as we came in. They scattered like geese as we came nearer. We landed and and taxied over to where trucks could unload the food we carried. I got out of the plane and set foot on soil of France. Happy Day!
The French people are like simple, lovable children. We all took a great liking to them immediately. I pulled out a pkg. of cigarettes and when taking a cigarette out of pkg. accidentally dropped one. There was a mad scramble by the workmen for it. We then offered cigarettes to those Frenchmen nearest us. They were very grateful and offered to pay for them. They were very polite and the word “Merci” could be heard everywhere. We wandered around, mingling with crowds of people admiring some of the girls (very pretty). We took several snap shots with some of the girls. They were all friendly and
treatment at hands of Jerry had made many of them an adult before their time. For a pkg. of cigarettes or some candy (bon-bons) you could sleep with any of them. They were all enthusiastic, waved their arms and hands when they talked, and were very expressive. My co-pilot and I then wandered off in search of some souvenirs. We met an eager guide — an attractive girl of about 18 or 20 — and started on our tour. At first we could not converse at all but the longer we talked the more our high school French came back to us. It was really fun to see Pete and I talking to her in our faulty French, making gestures when we weren’t understood, etc. We found German JU-88 and a Me-109 which had been taken intact but were practically stripped now by souvenir hunters. Going back to ship we asked the girl where we could get some wine and she took us to a Frenchman who had about 8 bottles with him. I had a bar of soap with me, and from what the girl said I gathered that it was impossible to get any decent soap. I offered her the soap and Pete and I got a laugh out of her squeal of de1ight. We then went to the fellow who had the wine and for 2 pkg. of cigarettes, two bars of candy and few sticks of gum we were able to get two bottles of very good wine. We looked up to see that our plane was taxiing so we made a mad dash to catch it. We had to run like blazes against wind from props but finally managed to climb in camera hatch. Trip back was much the same – over same route.
We got back to base at 10:00 P.M. My first trip to France was over – a grand experience. Snipers were still in town of Orleans so we didn’t go into town itself — we carried our forty-fives as a precaution against snipers around the field. Proved unnecessary. No enemy fighters were encountered which also was cause for thanks as we had no guns aboard to defend ourselves.
Target – Ammunition Depot
Location – Magdeburg, Germany
Date – Sept. 11, 1944
We were awakened this A.M. at 4:00. Briefing was at 5:00. Our target was an ammunition dump in heart of Magdeburg – one of better-known “rough targets.” The Flak at target was briefed as being heavy, barrage type. Greatest amount of sweating on this mission was the threat of fighters in this area. It was in this vicinity where we were hit by fighters before. We flew the lead position of the slot element of the high squadron. This made us the deputy to the deputy of the squadron. Russell (Sqdn. Bomb.) gave me the folders given to lead bombardiers – always good for a laugh, that boy. We were briefed to be routed into Belgium, then south of Brussels to Koblenz, about ten miles north of Frankfurt, then up to our Primary target.
We took off at 0815, left England at 0930, and were over the target at 12.30. We saw our first Flak when crossing the Rhine River. Cotton got his #3 engine knocked out and returned to base. Shroyer, flying our left wing, also got Flak damage here but was able to continue. Just before arriving at the I.P., Pete (our V.H.F.) told us that enemy fighters were in the area. We were carrying 52-100 lb. incendiaries, and since Flak hits would set them afire, I told Krausler to stand by the Bomb bay doors if Flak hit in bomb bay. We started our bomb run and Flak was again thrown up at us. (Barrage type, inaccurate as far as our own ship was concerned.) Bill called my attention to a B-24 in trouble. It was smoking heavily, spiraled crazily, then went into a dive. We saw four chutes come out. Then the ship burst into flames and after a few seconds, exploded into bits. I then saw a fighter in a flat spin, a huge ball of flame and black smoke — it drifted slowly to the ground. Then saw another fighter in a spin, saw parachute come out of it, however. Pete saw a fighter get on another’s tail and follow it until the first fighter exploded. Bill and I also saw another smoking B-24 heading for the deck. Hope they made it.
By this time we had dropped our bombs and were on our way out, using evasive action to avoid the Flak. We passed near Hanover and saw a huge column of black smoke rising to a height of 15,000 ft. presumably from an oil refinery or oil dump. We again got some Flak in Rhine River area either from German front lines or from stationary Flack installations in this area. My heated suit gave out near the Zuider Zee and I nearly froze before we got down to a warmer altitude. Temp. at 23,000 ft. (bombing level) was 32°. Harry (Capt. Wagnon) feathered #3 on way out and started loosing altitude and lagging behind. Beardslee took over Group lead. We watched Harry for as long as we could but he disappeared before we hit the enemy coast going out. We started to let down and finally landed at 3:20 P.M. Sure was tired. Harry had already landed and was okay. Irv (Sqdn. Navigator) told us later that we were routed over the front lines to strengthen morale of our troops and also to discourage the Jerries.
This was greatest day for fighters in E.T.O. The Luftwaffe, after weeks of hiding, came out in full force, we were later told. They lost 130 fighters to our fighters and the bombers’ total of enemy planes knocked down has yet to come. Some of Luftwaffe formations were 100 strong, and the mighty aerial battle ranged all over Central Germany from Hanover to Leipzig. We were one of few Groups in entire 8th. Air Force not attacked that day. Lucky us.
Newspapers: our losses 57 bombers, 15 fighters – their losses – over 130 fighters
Target – Aircraft Components Factory
Location – Kiel, Germany
Date – Sept. 12, 1944
We were awakened at 3:15 A.M. Briefing at 4:15 A.M. Our target was to be a components factory – “The Walthers Co.” making parts for the new Nazi jet-propelled planes. We were to return once more to the scene of our first raid. We were carrying incendiary bombs again. We took off at 7:20 and left England at 9:30. We climbed on course over the North Sea and were to bomb from 23,000. At 10:40 we made landfall at Danish peninsula. At 11:05 we started our bomb run. A group was going in ahead of us and no Flak was being thrown up at them. I noticed this and became suspicious of it so I called my gunners and told them to be especially watchful of fighters as no Flak was coming up. Just after this the first bursts came up and it was a vivid red color. Then I really started to worry about fighters. The Flak kept coming up and some of the boys were getting hit but everyone kept on. We dropped our bombs and Pritchard (who was leading us) made a very sharp turn to avoid some of the Flak. In a short time we were back over the North Sea and in comparative safety once again. We started our let-down soon after leaving the enemy coast. We were again flying in the lead of the slot element only today we were also in the lead squadron. We landed at 1:05. A pleasantly short mission. We had picked up a flak hole on left bomb-bay – no one hurt. We found out that fighters had again been up in force although we had again not been hit by them. We had close support of P-38s and P-51s.
Newspapers: our losses 47 bombers, 17 fighters – their losses over 60 fighters
Target – Dropping Supplies To Air Borne troops
Location – Near Arnhelim, Holland (Grossbeck)
Date – Sept. 18, 1944
This morning we went on our most unusual raid. Situation in brief: Allied Parachutists and Air-Borne troops had been dropped near Anaheim and Eindhoven and since they were isolated we had to drop them supplies by air. Also, more glider landings were to take place. We had flown a practice mission the day before in preparation for this special raid. We were to go in at tree-top level and were carrying ammunition, guns, stretchers, blood-plasma etc. to be parachuted to allied troops isolated in the area. We flew deputy lead of low squadron. Flying at such a low altitude we were vulnerable to all the small arms fire of the Germans in this area. We expected to be met with enemy fire at the coast but received no opposition. We flew over a large area flooded by Dutch when Germans invaded. Then we began to see the people of Holland – we were flying low enough to see expressions on their faces and when we came to a steeple or a tower we had to go up to avoid hitting it. Everywhere we looked the Dutch people were having a regular holiday, they were cheering us with every flag and banner they had. The children, especially, were having a field day — even they seemed to realize that they were being liberated. Gave us a nice feeling. Then the Jerries started shooting and we were on our drop run. I dropped our stuff okay and as we turned we could see our troops wildly waving to us. The entire area was jammed with gliders, some cracked up in landing. There were also hundreds of parachutes dotting the countryside, truly a sight to remember. We got back to field and saw many ships firing red flares — wounded aboard we knew. Capt. White had gone down and also Lt. Lovelace, Pledge and another crew failed to return, but we later found out that they landed at Woodbridge. Quite a few of men were wounded, all from small arms fire – one gunner even had a .22 slug in his leg. Was an exciting although rather rough day.
Target – Marshalling Yards and Locomotive Works
Location – Kassel, Germany
Date – Sept. 27, 1944
We were awakened at 2:15 A.M. Briefing was at 3:15. Our target was the marshalling yards and Locomotive Works, manufacturer of Tiger tanks, in Kassel, Germany. Take-off was at 6:15 —assembly at 14,000 ft. We left England at approximately 7:45 A.M. and went in through Holland and Belgium, north of the Ruhr, and into the target in Central Germany. The 3rd Div. was hitting Frankfurt and the lst Div. was going to make an attack on the Ruhr (Happy Valley) in conjunction with about 200 Lancasters from the R.A.F. Going in, another Group came through our formation and scattered us all over the sky. We finally got reassembled and continued on to the target. At approximately 0930 we started our bomb run. The Flak was heavy, intense, barrage type at the target. We were fortunate in flying high to the right of 446th Group and went in at almost 25,000 ft. so most of it was beneath us. We had some ships hit but everyone managed to get through OK. One boy had #4 feathered and lost several thousand feet of altitude, but got back okay. At bombs away, Kransher called me and told me we had a hung bomb in the right rear rack. We were carrying 1,000 lb. GPs. Brown quickly went out on cat-walk and knocked the bomb out. A ship from the lead squadron, almost out of control, almost crashed into us and Capt. Wal1 leading the squadron. We flew lead of trail element again. We were routed down by Frankfurt over our own lines and back to base. I was feeling quite ill, had bad cold and upset stomach. It was sitting on flight deck when we got back over England when Kransher suddenly yelled for me to look out his window. I felt too ill to take a look and I’m thankful now that I didn’t see it. Culkin peeled off and went right into Fulks — they both blew up and went down in a flaming mass of wreckage. We circled again and I looked down and saw the burning parts scattered all over the field below us. I was almost ready to throw up – Fulk’s crew were our friends, had lockers next to ours and slept in hut next to ours. I felt pretty bad about the whole deal and no one said much on our way to chow. At the mess hall one of the boys told me that the 445th Group (I had most of my friends there) had been wiped out by over 100 enemy fighters. 33 ships out of 40 had gone down and of the remaining seven none of them returned to the home base. I really felt like crying then — immediately rushed to the phone to see if my Buddies were okay, received very bad news: Pearson had gone down, McCann (who had been with me since civilian life) had also gone down. Hendrickson also went down. Lee, my best buddy in E.T.O. had fortunately not flown that day and I thanked God that he at least had been spared. I am feeling very bitter tonight. Damn “armchair generals” had said that missions were so much easier now that we should all be made to fly 35 missions. Phooey!
Newspapers: 46 Bombers lost
Target – Tiger Tank factory
Location – Kassel, Germany
Date – Sept. 28, 1944
We were awakened at 2:15 this morning for pre-briefing. It was our first pre-briefing. We were flying deputy lead of low squadron. Our target was ths same as yesterday’s. We then went to breakfast and, after breakfast, went to regular Briefing. We took off at 0815, made landfall in Holland, went south over Ghent and Brussells – over the battle line and up to our target. Bomb load was same as yesterday’s. Bomb altitude was 22,000 ft. Because of clouds we had to bomb P.F.F., and were over target at approximately noon. The flak at target was much rougher than yesterday — stuff was really close and fairly heavy. We were pretty lucky though, we got away with one small hole back by tail. No one hurt. Didn’t meet any fighter opposition although six jet-propelled jobs were observed to be looking us over. Other Groups were hit, however. We got back at 3:00 P.M.
Newspapers: 54 bombers & 7 fighters lost
Their losses – 23 fighters
Target – Motor Transport Works – Oil Dumps
Location – Cologne, Germany
Date – October 15, 1944
We were awakened at 2:30. Briefing at 3:30. Our target was the Cologne Motor Transport Works and Oil Dumps at Cologne. It was our first raid to the dreaded Ruhr Valley – called by all airmen in E.T.O. “Happy Valley” or “Flak Valley.” Main purpose
of the raid was to knock out Cologne since it was main supply center from which supplies streamed to the front lines, 35 miles to the west. If P.F.F., we were to knock out the marshalling yards there. The entire 8th Air Force was on the target, the lst and 3rd Divisions going in first, the 2nd Division going in last with our Group leading the Division. We took off at 0705. We had trouble with our ship so at last minute had changed to another ship. We flew Deputy-Lead of our Squadron on Walthers right wing.
We bombed from 23,000 ft. and carried 24 – 250 lb. G.P.s. We were over the I.P. at 0930 and started our 10 min. bomb run. Walthers had pulled slightly ahead of our Group so we led the Division into the target. The flak was very accurate and we had several scares on the run. Once when a shell exploded right beneath our nose the ship was tossed up. I figured that as long as I wasn’t hit that Rudy must have gotten it. Everyone else thought I had been hit. Actually no one was hit although we continued to pick up holes. The bombing was done PFF and results were supposed to have been quite good. McMann’s Radio Op. was hit in leg, it was his 33rd mission. Almost everyone came back with plenty of flak holes but no one went down, although several men were hurt. We landed at 12:20.
Our losses: 37 Bombers & 9 fighters
Enemy losses – 6 fighters, 1 jet propelled
Target – Ford Plant Motor Works
Location – Cologne, Germany
Date – October 17, 1944
On the 16th we were awakened at 7:00 A.M. for a practice mission in which we flew as a lead ship. I went to bed at almost mid-night and was awakened at 1:30 to attend lead crew pre-briefing. My cursing was increased when we found that we were returning to Cologne – “Happy Valley,” it seemed, was slated for complete destruction. Once again we would be bombing the important marshalling yards if it was PFF. The lst and 3rd Divisions were going in again also, preceeding us as they did on the previous raid. Our own Group was going in last — “Tail-end Charlie” of the entire 8th Air Force. We flew as lead ship giving me a job for a change. Take-off was at 0730, we were routed across
channel making land-fall about ten miles north of Dunkerque, across Belgium, into France and crossing battle line just south of Aachen, where all the fighting was going on and what we were supporting. On our way over Groups ahead of us were going too slow so Bill pulled our Squadron past about 20 other Squadrons on our Division. As we approached the I.P. I realized that I would not be able to bomb visually because of the 10/10 cloud coverage, so had Bill pull as close as possible to a PFF ship in 467th Group. On the bomb run the flak was again accurate and we had our “sweating” periods. However, we were not touched. I told Bill to start taking evasive action. We finally pulled in fairly close to the PFF Group and at Bombs away I called my nose gunner and had him toggle off the PFF’s smoke bomb. My Squardon toggled off me and turned around and headed for home. Once past the battle line I went back on the flight deck and
Kransher got us some good music. Temp. at altitude was supposed to be 39 degrees but was only about 28° cold. All in all, a pretty good mission.
Newspapers: Our Losses 13 Bombers & 3 Fighters
Target – Marshalling Yards
Location – Hamm, Germany
Date – October 22, 1944
We were awakened at 5:00. Take-off was at 9:00 A.M. A “Gentleman’s Hour,” to go to war. I was sure we weren’t flying as I had talked to Mitch and Major Harper the night before and they had assured me that we would not fly since we had no six-ship squadron to lead. Somehow, no one had been able to explain it yet, we were still on the list although Mitch swore that he had scratched up himself. I even bet Pete 10 shillings that
we wouldn’t fly — I lost, of course. The yards at Hamm had been hit quite often in previous weeks but once again it became necessary to cripple Jerry’s transportation of supplies to the front. We were in the air approximately six hours, assembled at 14,000
ft. The flak at target was moderate and inaccurate. All-in-all a pretty good mission. Munster, Hanover, and Brunswick were also hit by the 8th Air F’orce. We carried 24—250 lb. G .P.s. Bombed PFF.
Newspapers: two fighters believed landed in friendly territory.
Target – Railroad Marshalling Yards.
Location – Bielefeld, Germany
Date – November 2, 1944
We were awakened at 5:00 A.M. Briefing at 6:00. Our target was the yards which were supplying ammunition, equipment etc. to front lines. It was on a main line from Berlin and was considered quite important. We were carrying 16-250 lb. G.P.s and 4-M.M.s. Take-off was at 9:00, assembly altitude 19,000 ft. Capt. Pritchard was leading, a good deal always, and we were back in our favourite spot of lead of the slot. My cold was worse so I called “Doc” up from drying room and made him leave his poker game long enough to come over to clear my head etc. We were briefed — no flak at target! Terrific! We left England 10:40, crossed North Sea, over Zuider Zee, then on to I.P. at 12:10. Just before we reached I.P. we noticed a fighter falling from about 30,000 ft. – on fire — it went into a dive and just went straight into the ground. Saw no chute, don’t know if it was a Jerry or one of ours. At I.P. there was a dog-fight at (3:00). Bomb-run was uneventful and bombs went away at 12:20.
Soon after we left target a jet-job started making passes at Rutledge, who had lost an engine and was straggling. It was closest I’d been to a jet-job (enemy’s) and its speed amazed us. Some of boys shot at him but apparently didn’t hit him. He crippled Rutledge’s ship — he was forced to go to Woodbridge — ship a loss. Two P-47s dove at the jet and a short dog-fight ensued. All 3 ships disappeared below clouds. Reports are that over 400 Jerry planes came up to meet us today. Tomorrow’s paper will give me a more complete story. The mission lasted only 5½ hours and wasn’t bad. Appearance of enemy fighters really made our boys sock that formation in tight.
As we suspected reports showed that largest air battle in history of 8th Air Force went on the raid.
Our losses – 40 Bombers & 19 Fighters
Their losses – 130 fighters destroyed in the air by our fighters. – 53 fighters destroyed in air by our bombers. – 25 planes destroyed on ground by strafing.
Target – Misburg Oil Refinery
Location – Hanover Germany
Date – November 4, 1944
We were awakened at 4:30 this morning. Briefing at 5:30 A.M. We had been awakened yesterday morning at 5:00 A.M. for this same mission but it was scrubbed just before take-off. The target itself was one of the most important in Germany and it enjoyed a reputation, among 8th Air Force Crews, as being one of roughest targets in the Reich, both because of its heavy flak defenses and because it was the fighter control point of
the G.A.F. The 2nd Bomb Division was making the deepest penetration today, mostly I believe, because of the heavy losses suffered by 1st and 3rd Bomb Divisions in the huge air battle of two days previous. The lst Div. went to Brunswick and 3rd Div. To Hamburg — also some diversionary raids to the south.
We took off at 8:30 loaded with 12- 500 lb. G.P.s and were to form at 10,000 ft. Weather however, forced us to form at 18,000 ft. We left England at 9:50 and headed out over North Sea going almost to Danish Peninsula before turning into the mainland. We saw flak at least seven times along the route at places other than the target. The heaviest barrage was at Hamburg where the 1st was bombing, we passed near it but were not damaged by it. The fighter cover was best I’ve ever seen. We were assigned 8 groups for protection — they were as thick as bees in every direction — very reassuring, especially since we were the logical ones to bear any of the Luftwaffe’s unpredictable attacks. At I.P. we ran into a front which scattered the formation somewhat. The flak at target was very heavy and intense. It was not very accurate, as far as our Group was concerned, until two minutes before Bombs away. Then it became very accurate — had our altitude right on the nose. We all sweated plenty and were hit several times. We went into a dive and the tail-gunner began babbling incoherently over innerphone. I tried to keep my voice calm and told him to take it easy — that we were okay. We got back in formation and flew the long, uneventful trip back. Saw more flak by Zuider Zee but it was inaccurate. We had just painted the name on our new ship — it was cut up by flak. Also had one hit in the nose, near my left elbow. Several more hits in the wings, waist, and in #3 engine. Bill and Ronning got themselves several souvenir chunks of flak from the ship. Hot water tonight, am going to shave and shower despite my cold, can’t seem to get rid of it anyway. Landed at 2:45.
Saw a B-24 and a fighter go down in flames just before bombs away.
Target – Industrial Center
Location – Sterkrade, Ruhr Valley, Germany
Date – November 5, 1944
We were awakened at 4:30 this morning, briefing at 5:30, take-off at 8:30. Our target was an industrial target and was located in center of “Happy Valley”. We were carrying 2,000 lb. G.P.s and were leading the slot behind the G.H. ship. We formed at 18,000 ft. and took off across the sea to make landfall at Holland. 0ur I.P. was to be in friendly territory. We were climbing over the Continent and were at 19,500 ft. when we lost #2 engine. We were at I.P. so we decided not to turn back, to go in anyway. Since we couldn’t climb any more we were forced to go in at 19,000 ft. Our Group kept climbing and pulling away from us. When we approached the Ruhr we were quite alone in the sky and began to sweat out Jerry fighters since we couldn’t get any fighter support over V.H.F. I told Bill to head for the smoke flares and as we got close I tried picking up the target in my sight. Target was obscured by clouds but I manged to pick up a factory which Rudy pin-pointed at Wesel. We dropped our bombs and then decided to come out the same way we went in instead of going up by Zuider Zee. Rudy’s D.R. was bawled up from the circling we did so I had to pick up a pilotage point. I finally picked up Eindhoven through a break in the clouds. From then on I was able to do pilotage all the way back to Brussels where Rudy and his “GEE BOX” took over the Navigation. The flak was pretty intense but we took evasive action and avoided most of it. We picked up several small holes in tail and waist. We were first ones back to field. Major Harper bawled us out for going in alone but we knew he was pleased because “old man” had been giving him hell for abortions in his Sqdn. past few days. “Schultzie” watched rest of ships come and when he didn’t see us land began to feel bad and thought we’d gone down. Was a laugh to see his face when he walked into hut and we were peacefully reading our mail. This proved to be my last combat mission in E.T.O. WHEE!
Chaff – Metalic strips droped from aircraft to create false signals on radar.
DR – Dead Reckoning, a method of navigation to determine position by projecting course and speed from a known past position.
ETA – Estimated Time of Arrival
ETO – European Theater of Operation
Flack – German anti-aircrast fire. Derived from German title “Fleiger Abwehr Kanone.”
GEE – British developed radar system utilizing an airborne transmitter that interrogated two ground beacons and was used for crude aerial navigation and bombing through the overcast.
GP – General Purpose, usually referring to a type of bomb.
IP – Initial Point of bomb run.
JU-88 – twin-engine German aircraft built by Junkers, used for dive-bombing and level bombing.
Mickey – Code name for Pathfinder Force (PFF) radar system.
Me-109 — A single-engine German fighter aircraft built by Messerschmitt.
MPI – Mean Point of Impact, the mean or geometrical center of the bomb pattern.
P-47 – A single-engine American fighter aircraft.
P-51 – A single-engine American fighter aircraft built especially with longer range for use in escorting bombers.
PFF – Pathfinder Force, a radar system and crew [with code-names Mickey and Mickey-men] designed to aid navigation in overcast conditions order to improve bombing accuracy. The radar receiver and antenna were in a dome that replaced the ball turret. Usually only a lead plane was equipped with PFF and other planes would drop according to the lead plane’s drop.
VHF – Very High Frequency, radio signals of short-range.