14th Mission “Stay on Target”
“What's the mission captain?” asked the Co-Pilot Dan Griffin.
“Brass seems to think we have quite a plane and crew here” replied Mike Bell.
“Why do you say that?” Dan shot back.
“They want us to take up a new group of bombers and their crews on their first mission. It’s a short run to St Omer and the airfield, but we will be the lead bomber” Mike said matter-of-factly.
“Taking the lead and showing the way…. The Mighty Eighth and the Iron Maiden…Those Nazis don’t stand a chance!” Dan rallied up.
“Tell me again when were back home and safe” Mike retorted.
They were up first, being in the lead space, and milled around a bit before the rest of the bombing group was formed up.
With that, the Iron Maiden led the way for the mostly green crews behind them.
Midway out over the Channel the Germans brought in a sizeable wave of Me-109s after their group.
Leading a group of green crews they had very good air cover and 3 of the nasty 109s were driven off before they hit the group.
The German fighters that were left came in for the kill of the green crews.
Two Me-109s came for the Iron Maiden in her lead position.
The first came in 1:30 out of the sky and high.
The starboard check and waist guns fired away hitting nothing. Steve Miller with his Twin Guns in the Top Turret scored a direct hit on the plane moving in.
Bullets ripped into the 109, including the pilot compartment, and the fighter dropped from the sky.
The second also came out of the sun at 6:00 high.
The Radio Room fired away, but being partially blinded by the sun, he missed.
This was not true for Fadi Awed in the Tail Gun. He peppered the plane with hit after hit as it tried to press home the attack. The plane eventually started to smoke, then had a sudden fuel burst and caught fire. A long smoke trail towards the water below was the final signal of the planes demise.
“That makes five” called out Steve Miller
“But who’s counting” Fadi responded over the intercom. Of course he was, as Fadi had attained ace status.
As the bomber group headed near the target another small wave of German fighters tried to hit the bombers.
“Seems like our little friends are everywhere” called out the new Navigator Ron Walters.
All the enemy planes were easily driven off by the British Hurricanes.
As they settled over the target the Iron Maiden flew in level and slow. The flak was light as more of the Germans AA guns were being moved to cover the inland industry targets the 8th Air Force had been starting to hit.
“Just a bit further” could be heard throughout the intercom from the bombardier Ron Duke.
Through his bomb sites Ron Duke could see that the target was well hit.
“Follow our lead” Mike Bell said into the radio for the other bomber crews to hear.
After all the bombers had dropped their payload they were back on their way home.
The Germans tried to send up one more wave to try and hit the bomber group, but could not get anywhere near with the good cover.
“We should lead these training missions more often” muttered Dan Griffin.
The weather in England and their home airfield was clear. It was another perfect landing for the crew of the Iron Maiden.
“Taking the lead and showing the way…. The Mighty Eighth and the Iron Maiden…Those Nazis don’t stand a chance!” Dan repeated as they touched down.
Mike Bell did not look at him.
• The Iron Maiden had put 40% of her bombs on the target.
• The Iron Maiden had taken 0 damage points.
• Fadi Awed destroyed an Me-109 and became Iron Maidens 2nd ace.
• Damage to enemy planes: (destroyed 2x109)