We put up 812 heavy bombers (504 B-17s and 226 B-24s) and 474 B-17s and 198 B-24s made it to their targets, but the bombing results were not too good. Photo’s indicate that no bombs hit their assigned targets. And the losses were staggering – at least 80 aircraft (53 B-17s, 16 B-24s and 11 fighters), a new 8th Air Force record for any one mission – even greater than Schweinfurt.
Three FW 190s came in from the rear and cut my elevator cables. I snap-rolled with the rudder and jumped at 18,000 feet. I took off my dinghy-pack, oxygen mask, and helmet in the air; and then, as I was whirling on my back and began to feel dizzy, I pulled the ripcord at 8,000 feet. An FW 190 dove at me, but when he was about 2,000 yards from me a P-51 came in on his tail and blew him to pieces.