bombing

Oct

20

1943

Bomber on fire and under attack over Leipzig


20th October 1943: Bomber on fire and under attack over Leipzig

was hit. lt came through the fuselage and hit me low, down through the top of my legs, and lifted me up and smashed me right across the soft edge of the structure. I fell down onto the floor, ending up underneath the navigator’s table which was only a short distance away. Afterwards I pulled myself up, because everything below my waist was in a hell of a pain. Because it was dark I didn’t know how it had happened or really where I was.

Oct

18

1943

Carrier Pigeon “GI Joe” wins medal


18th October 1943: Carrier Pigeon “GI Joe” wins medal

message contained information that the British 169th Infantry Brigade, of the 56th Infantry Division, had captured the village of Colvi Vecchia at 10:45 hours just a few minutes before a unit of the Allied XII Air Support Command was due to bomb the town. The pigeon made the trip of some twenty odd miles, from the 10th Corps Headquarters, in the same number of minutes.

Oct

10

1943

Londoners enjoy spectacle of air raid

10th October 1943: Londoners enjoy spectacle of air raid

Lots of people watching. Ladbroke Square gun cracking out. Donned my tin hat — courage returned and I joined the sightseers. All London was doing the same. Shells bursting and amazing fireworks filled the air above us. Went in for the News — then came another wave of bombers. Our bombers were on the way out as the Germans came in — sometimes the searchlights caught one of ours, and sometimes the enemy.

Oct

9

1943

USAAF raid the Marienburg Focke-Wulf plant


9th October 1943: USAAF raid the Marienburg Focke-Wulf plant

conditions at the target were perfect for an attack. There was no flak and no fighters were encountered in the target area. The weather was superb with no clouds and unlimited visibility. Bomb results were clearly visible and results were excellent. The lead bombardier, 1Lt. Byron K. Butt reported, “A damn well-planned, well-executed mission by all concerned.” The 303rd BG(H) dropped 27 tons of 1,000-lb. bombs and incendiaries.

Oct

8

1943

On a damaged bomber with nowhere to land


8th October 1943: On a damaged bomber with nowhere to land

Meanwhile, throttle back and reduce speed one-third flap and to the wireless op, ‘Bud’, who had already sent out distress signals, ‘Let the trailing aerial out.’ I needed his instant warning when the aerial touched the water at 20 feet as the signal to cut the engines, pull back on the control column and stall C—Charlie in tail-first. We were down to 500 feet and Norman was still fumbling around. ‘Norman, strap me in quickly and hold the strap across my chest.’

Oct

4

1943

USS Ranger planes attack German ships in Norway


4th October 1943: USS Ranger planes attack German ships in Norway

As I got closer and closer to the tanker, all the ship’s gunners stopped firing except one. The tracers that flashed by made a complete circle of the cockpit. Then, just before I pushed the bomb release over the ship, my engine took a direct hit. There was a small explosion with a brief flash of fire and smoke over the cockpit as I pushed the pickle releasing the two remaining bombs. One 500-pounder landed on the deck of the tanker. The ship exploded and ran aground as it burned.

Aug

30

1943

The Soviet airforce fights back


30th August 1943: The Soviet airforce fights back

The Stormoviks immediately went into the attack, followed by the Hurricanes. Bombs and rockets exploded. The dispersal area was enveloped in flames. Again and again, our aircraft passed over it. One after another, the enemy machines burst into flames. ‘Take that for Nizino! That for Bolshaya Vruda! That for Leningrad!’ I shouted. Four Messerschmitts tried to taxi out for take-off. Two Hurricanes brought down a squall of fire on them. Pilots leaped from their cockpits, ran across the aireld, fell and lay motionless.

Aug

25

1943

A letter from a Bomber Command Group Captain


25th August 1943: A letter from a Bomber Command Group Captain

Experience up to the present has shown that quite a fair proportion of our flying personnel who are reported missing in operations against the enemy have managed to make a safe descent by parachute or in the aircraft itself. Therefore I am able to assure you that there must be some hope that your son is safe and a prisoner in enemy hands.
 Your son was very well reported on by his Squadron Commander, and I am sure that he and his companions gave a very good account of themselves under whatever circumstances prevented them from bringing their aircraft back.

Aug

23

1943

Bomber Command crews are briefed for Berlin


23rd August 1943: Bomber Command crews are briefed for Berlin

Two hours later, the main brieng hall was packed. This time the gunners, wireless operators and flight engineers were in the big room. The wing commander, a billiard cue in his right hand, traced on the map the course and heights they were to fly at, the estimated time of arrival at their turning points. He told them — and there was a sigh of relief at his words — that twenty minutes before they crossed the enemy coast 22 aircraft from the OTUs would make a dummy feint a hundred miles from their landfall.

Aug

17

1943

Bomber Command smashes secret Nazi weapons site


17th August 1943: Bomber Command smashes secret Nazi weapons site

I stared at the German pilot. You’re no good, I thought. You’re a damned poor shot and a bloody awful pilot. Why the hell doesn’t the mid-upper fire? I snapped the mike switch on. ‘For Christ’s sake, George, shoot that bastard down!’ At once, the guns chattered, and a stream of orange sparks curved slowly down and through the fighter’s nose. He rolled over on his back, and dived straight down, disappearing into a sheet of stratus thousands of feet below.