bombers

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.

Mar

21

1943

The Tunisian ‘Left Hook’ goes in

21st March 1943: The Tunisian ‘Left Hook’ goes in

We would cut them up for dog`s meat, All around, our anti-aircraft guns and automatic fire opened up. One plane crashed immediately. I had time to watch only one other lumbering towards us on fire. A parachute blossomed, then another appeared but tangled on opening. As the poor devil, apparently on fire, hurtled earthwards and thumped into the ground to burst near us, we all cheered, and cheered again as the bomber with the rest of the crew inside also hit the ground, exploded into flame and in a single ‘whoosh’ incinerated the crew.

Mar

5

1943

The ‘Battle of the Ruhr’ begins with Essen

5th March 1943: The ‘Battle of the Ruhr’ begins with Essen

The subject of morale had been dropped, and I was now required to proceed with the general “ disorganisation” of German industry, giving priority to certain aspects of it such as U-boat building, aircraft production, oil production, transportation and so forth, which gave me a very wide range of choice and allowed me to attack pretty well any German industrial city of 100,000 inhabitants and above.

Mar

1

1943

Bomber Command revisit Berlin

1st March 1943: Bomber Command revisit Berlin

By this time we are entering the Berlin defensive ring – about 80 miles across. So long as we are only subject to barrage fire, the best bet is to grit one’s teeth and fly straight to get through as quickly as possible, but this time we are unlucky. A searchlight picks us out and almost at once we are at the dazzling centre of a cone with predicted flak coming up at us. Dropping 2,000 feet to keep clear ofthe incoming bomber stream, I turn through 180 degrees and fly north out of range of the defences. Then I swing south again to join the tail end of the attack and try again.

Feb

15

1943

Bombed by own aircraft as RAF attack Milan

15th February 1943: Bombed by own aircraft as RAF attack Milan

At that point my job was to stand on the step ahead of the main spar and put my head up into the astro hatch to assist the gunners in keeping a look out for fighters. For some inexplicable reason, I did something I had never done before; I looked directly above and got the shock of my life. In the glow from the searchlights and target I saw another Lancaster 30 feet above us on exactly the same heading and, like us, his bomb doors were open! The 4,000lb bomb looked enormous and I knew it could be released at any second.

Jan

27

1943

‘U.S. bombs, from U.S. airplanes,’ hit Germany

27th January 1943: US 8th Airforce’s first raid on Germany – ‘U.S. bombs, from U.S. airplanes, with U.S. crews’

Germany, for the first time, was bombed with U.S. bombs, from U.S. airplanes, with U.S. crews. … Ten to fifteen ME-109s were observed by the crews and about 30 encounters ensued. There were many claims for aircraft destroyed, and gunners were credited with one destroyed that crashed into the sea and one damaged. All aircraft returned safely with only a few battle scars.

Jan

17

1943

RAF Bomber Command visits the ‘Big City’

17th January 1943: RAF Bomber Command visits the ‘Big City’ two nights running

Then I thought about the message from the Chief of Bomber Command which had been addressed to us tonight and read out at Briefing, ‘Go to it, Chaps and show them the red rose of Lancaster in full bloom.’ Someone behind a desk had given an order to a great organization and here we were a few hours later, one of the pawns in the game, sitting up over the North Sea with the temperature at minus 30° Centigrade, wondering if we would ever see England again.

Dec

27

1942

The life of an ATS ‘Ack Ack’ Girl

27th December 1942: The life of an ATS ‘Ack Ack’ Girl

Fortunately I passed as a Predictor operator No.3 – which involved looking through a telescope, keeping the target on the horizon line. This demanded steady nerves under gunfire and we needed a lot of practice. At the end of the day, we were mentally and physically exhausted. We lost our voices as all orders were shouted as loudly as possible.

Dec

6

1942

Low level daylight attack on the Philips plant, Holland

6 December 1942:Low level daylight attack on the Philips’ plant, Holland

It was midday, a lovely sunny day, virtually no cloud, so I set off across the Dutch countryside at high speed. I decided not to follow the given route out which was towards the coast of Holland and out into the North Sea. I decided that that’s where the fighters would be and therefore, I turned north, to the Zeider Zee. The fighters would all be directed to the main formation.