bombers

Jul

3

1943

A new bomber pilot encounters the skies over Germany

Lancaster engines


3rd July 1943: A new bomber pilot encounters the skies over Germany

The bombs dropped. McLaughlin swung the wheel to port as the bomb-doors closed. Gradually the searchlights and the barrage fell behind us. A sense of relief pervaded me; elated phrases bubbled in my thoughts, and I put my hand to the microphone switch on my mask to utter them. I turned to McLaughlin. His posture was unchanged, his eyes looked back serenely, pale blue, slightly bloodshot. I left the mike switch off, the thoughts unspoken, and bent to take the readings on the fuel gauges.

Jun

28

1943

A USAAF bomber crew waits for an Op.


28th June 1943: A USAAF bomber crew waits for an Op.

They sip the at, tasteless beer. One of them says, “I saw a paper from home at the Red Cross in London.” It is quiet. The others look at him across their glasses. A mixed group of pilots and ATS girls at the other end of the pub have started a song. It is astonishing how many of the songs are American. “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home to,” they sing. And the beat of the song is subtly changed. It has become an English song. The waist gunner raises his voice to be heard over the singing. “It seems to me that we are afraid to announce our losses. It seems almost as if the War Department was afraid that the country couldn’t take it. I never saw anything the country couldn’t take.”

Jun

25

1943

Guyanian navigator blasted into the sky over Holland


25th June 1943: Bomber navigator blasted into the sky over Holland

The German fired a long volley and a jet of tracer spat out towards us. Addison, from his tail turret, returned fire immediately. The fighter climbed a little and veered off to the right, bringing him into the field of fire of the mid-upper gunner, Sergeant Geoffrey Wallis, who immediately opened fire. Everything was happening very fast. All hell had broken loose.

Jun

24

1943

Australian Lancaster crew bale out over Belgium


24th June 1943: Australian Lancaster crew bale out over Belgium

We could see Wuppertal, ablaze, in front of us and still ten miles away. Dozens of searchlights speared skywards around the familiar box barrage of exploding anti-aircraft shells. Green and red target indicators confirmed the presence of our Pathfinder force. Heavy bombers were as thick as flies, thankfully all going in somewhat the same direction.

Jun

14

1943

Nightfighter vs nightfighter over Germany

14th June 1943: Nightfighter vs nightfighter over Germany

‘Keep a good check on the equipments, Sticks. There arc plenty of Huns about.’ Up ahead was another fire in the sky, gradually sinking lower and lower to crash in a sheet of flame, marking the grave of another aircraft. Things were getting hot. We were close to the flaming ruins of Oberhausen and the sky above us was filled with bursting anti-aircraft shells and the flares released by the Pathfinders to show the main force where the bombs should be dropped.

Jun

13

1943

USAAF suffer heavy losses in attack on U-Boat yards

3th June 1943: USAAF suffer heavy losses in attack on U-Boat bases

The main Group formation of 20 B-17s of the 358th, 359th, and 427th Squadrons was led by 359th BS(H) CO Maj. William Calhoun, pilot, and Lt. Col. Eugene Romig, Operations Officer, co-pilot, in The ‘8’ Ball MkII. Maj. Lewis Lyle, CO, 360th BS, led seven of the 360th’s B-17s as part of a composite Squadron with the 379th BG(H). The 303rd BG(H) dropped 57 1/2 tons of 500-lb. bombs from 26,000 feet on the target area. Flak was reported as moderate, but accurate.

Jun

3

1943

Roosevelt to Stalin – No ‘Second Front’ this year

3rd June 1943: Roosevelt to Stalin – No ‘Second Front’ this year

With Africa firmly in our hands, it was decided that it was now feasible to resume the concentration of ground forces in England … there should be a sufficiently large concentration of men and material in the British Isles in the spring of 1944 to permit a full-scale invasion of the continent at that time. The great air offensive will then be at its peak.

May

23

1943

Dortmund: heaviest tonnage of bombs yet dropped

23rd May 1943: Dortmund: heaviest tonnage of bombs yet dropped

It was not often that I had a virgin target to aim at with no other bombing except the Oboe marker, but of course this also meant that we were way out front, an ideal target for the gunners below and, moreover, making life easy for them with the prolonged straight and level photo run. We had been getting a bumpy ride as the flak intensified almost to the point of realisation of the old line shoot, ‘The flak was so heavy you could get out and walk on it.’

Apr

16

1943

Parachuting out of bomber shot down over France

16th April 1943: Parachuting out of bomber shot down over France

Then the pilot came on pleading, “Please get out!” and so forth. We went down to about 7,000 feet I think at that time. And so I quickly unbuttoned my intercom and my helmet and I just stood up and I jumped on the edge of the door and out it went and I went out too. And my first impression was just the black tail of the aircraft going over the top of my head.

Apr

4

1943

B-24 bomber ‘Lady Be Good’ takes off on first operation

4th April 1943: B-24 Bomber ‘Lady Be Good’ takes off on first operation

At 2:50 PM on April 4,1943, 25 B-24’s of the 376th Bomb Group took off from their base at Soluch, Libya for a high altitude bombing mission against harbor facilities at Naples,Italy. All planes but one returned safely to Allied territory that night – the one missing plane was the “Lady Be Good”, on the crews first mission.