bombers

Mar

18

1944

Friedrichshafen – disaster for the 392nd Group

Consolidated B-24 'Liberators' in the close formation that was intended to give them mutual protection from the Luftwaffe.

The navigator, being dazed from the exploded 20mm shell and his wounds, which cost him his eye, wanted to bail out. The bombardier was struggling to restrain him, and Stupski misinterpreted the action. The navigator soon quieted down and was given a shot of morphine to ease his pain.” Time “whizzed” by and there they were again at three o’clock and climbing. Their sleek-nosed silhouettes identified them as Messerschmitt 109s or Folke-Wulf 190s. All we could do was to sit there and wait. Then – here they came again!

Mar

3

1944

USAAF raid all the way to Berlin – escort ambushed

Lt Moncur chose the name Thunderbird for his plane  and the nose art incorporated "an Indian symbol for luck and we sure will need it."

In a practically vertical dive we hurtle into the midst of the Yanks, and almost simultaneously we open fire. We take them completely by surprise. In great spirals the Mustangs attempt to get away. Several of them are in flames before they can reach the clouds. One literally disintegrates under fire from my guns. Yells of triumph echo over our radio.

Feb

24

1944

“Big week” – daily USAAF raids on German factories

Named "War Horse"
Ford B-24H-1-FO Liberator s/n 42-7479 579th BS, 392nd BG, 8th AF

This aircraft was lost on the January 4,1944 mission to Kiel,Germany. It is believed that she went down over the North Sea and the entire crew was KIA.

The Group was faced with the decision to follow the lead units of the Air Division to a questionable target and maintain the integrity of the Division formation or to pursue a separate course that might later prove to be erroneous and which would expose the Group formation to even greater enemy attacks. The Group chose the latter, and maintaining perfect formation, valiantly fought its way through the flak defenses to bomb the target with pin-point accuracy, virtually destroying it.

Dec

28

1943

Disaster on Vicenza ‘milk run’ for a B-24 Liberator

An air-to-air left side view of four B-24 Liberator aircraft in formation.

As Jefferies pulled the red handle to salvo the bombs, I banked the plane to the right and left the formation, at the same time giving the order on interphone to the crew to bail out, and ringing the alarm bell. There was another fire under the co-pilot and one in the nose wheel cornpartnent and the cock pit was fast filling with smoke. The number three engine was smashed and there was another fire in the rear of the ship forward of the ball turret

Dec

26

1943

The Scharnhorst is sunk in ‘Battle of the North Cape’

The Sinking of the 'Scharnhorst', 26 December 1943
by Charles David Cobb

We were thus able to watch as Duke of York came up, reducing speed and at 1901 fired a broadside at an easy target. It was an awe-inspiring sight. At five miles, the trajectory was comparatively flat and the 14 inch ‘tracer’ shells leaped across the sea and all of them appeared to smash into her in a colossal explosion. Some of them may have gone over and hit the sea some miles further on, but they were not visible.

Dec

20

1943

Damaged B-17 spared by German Me-109 pilot

B-17s in formation en route to Germany.

The German pilot nodded but Pinky and I were in a state of shock and did not return the greeting. Although the German pilot appeared relaxed, I was most uncomfortable and felt that at any time he would unleash some type of new German weapon to destroy us and our aircraft. Somehow, all of the briefings and combat training sessions had omitted to inform us as to the proper protocol or reaction when a German ghter pilot wanted to fly close formation with us.

Dec

9

1943

B-17G Flying Fortress 42-31420 fails to arrive

A B-17 silhouetted against the con trails of other planes.

I particularly remember S/Sgt. Moss Mendoza (engineer) on the floor of the radio room in a very awkward position and asking for help. He had what appeared to be a serious head injury. The impact had tossed him from his regular station (starboard side) across the plane to the radio operations post (port side) with a force that resulted in his left leg breaking through the bulkhead. When I tried to help him, I discovered that both of my arms were broken and I was unable to assist.

Dec

8

1943

The trials of a new USAAF Bomber Group in England

The con trails of USAAF  B-17 Flying Fortresses  on their way to bomb Germany.

Vulnerability to German fighters. The early planners had so admired the B-17, which, when first designed, could defend itself quite well, by its speed and altitude, that fighter escort was assumed to be unnecessary. They forgot that fighters could improve too. During the first year of combat, American bomber forces took tragic losses. Available fighters were too “short-legged” to follow the bombers all the way in to far away targets that had to be destroyed.

Dec

3

1943

‘Orchestrated Hell’ – Murrow reports from over Berlin

Lancaster B Mark III, LM449 ‘PG-H’, of No. 619 Squadron RAF based at Coningsby, Lincolnshire, in flight.

I looked down, and the white fires had turned red. They were beginning to merge and spread, just like butter does on a hot plate. Jock and Buzz, the bomb-aimer, began to discuss the target. The smoke was getting thick down below. Buzz said he liked the two green flares on the ground almost dead ahead. He began calling his directions. And just then a new bunch of big flares went down on the far side of the sea of flame and flare that seemed to be directly below us. He thought that would be a better aiming point. Jock agreed and we flew on.

Nov

23

1943

Terror of devastating air raid on Berlin

One of the attacking RAF Avro Lancaster bombers over the target area during the night raid on Berlin on 22-23 November 1943

We had hardly got there when we heard the first approaching planes. They flew very low and the barking of the flak was suddenly drowned by a very different sound – that of exploding bombs, first far away and then closer and closer, until it seemed as if they were falling literally on top of us. At every crash the house shook. The air pressure was dreadful and the noise deafening. For the first time I understood what the expression Bombenteppich [‘bomb carpet’] means – the Allies call it ‘saturation’ bombing.