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B-17: Queen of the Skies» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Flight Two- Amiens rss

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Phil Davies
United Kingdom
Shrewsbury
Shropshire
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The story of the Wailin' Jennie and her crew continues:

************

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Dear Mom,

Following my first mission with the crew of the Wailin' Jennie I feel like I’m starting to settle in a little more- nothing like seeing a bit of action to make you feel like one of the team! Most of the guys here have flown a few missions together now so it’s easy to feel like a little bit of an outsider at first. I decided to make more of an effort to get to know some of them a little better and, after Sammy Whelan’s comment about Tailend Charlie being superstitious, I took the opportunity to have a smoke and a chat with him about things.

It turns out Charlie is superstitious about a lot of things- I suppose being in the back end of a flying hunk of metal can do things to a man. Choosing my moment, I asked him about that noise that Engine 2 makes on take off. After a deep drag on his ciggie he explained how he believes it is caused by the ghosts of German pilots that the various crew members have shot down.
‘Ya know, Sammy has had the ground crew pull that engine apart a few times now. And none a-them has found a good God d____ mechanical reason for that unholy scream.’
He touched the crucifix he had around his neck. Although I didn’t believe a word of it it still brought a shiver to my spine and I don’t think I’ll ever hear that ‘unholy scream’ in the same way again.

This time we were going to hit a railyard in Amiens. This is a French town a little south of our previous target. Teddy (or ‘Ginger’ as we tend call him) had been looking over the maps and told us all that there was another cathedral in the town that would be worth looking out for. ‘And it’ll give you something easy to aim at!’ Gonny shouted to our bombadier, Benny. Both of them laughed even harder at Ginger’s disappointed headshaking.

Mac and Gille once again got the Jennie up off the runway and with Dave Hampson on the radio relaying positions, we were soon in a safe pattern in the middle of the squadron. We crossed the channel and Hampson shouted out that some of the squadron had seen a small force of 109’s heading our way. However the capable fighter escort flying with us soon saw them off.

This good fortune continued over target as the bad weather we’d previously met at Lille seemed to have cleared up and reports suggested the weather was to set to stay good. Tiny, that enormous mountain of a man, stood next to me at the starboard waist gun and seemed almost annoyed when allied fighters once again drove away a wave of attacking 190s. However, whilst our escort saw off the last of the first wave a second one found their way through to us and the Jennie was soon filled with the rattle of gunfire and Tiny’s foul language.

Three enemy planes hammered in toward us from the starboard side. Benny and the 109 flying toward him exchanged bullets and angry glances but both widely missed their target. Ginger tore into the 190 at our 12.00 o’clock poistion. It flew away, smoke trailing behind it.

Despite Tiny’s best efforts, he missed the enemy plane coming at us from the side. ‘Leave it to me big man!’ Gonny said from his ball turret position and another plane was sent limping back home.

Tiny cursed, exasperated: ‘It is almost as though Herr Hitler isn’t bothered about this target! Even the AA batteries aren’t putting on much of a show today.’

As he had done so on our previous run, Benny the Bomb started whistling as he dropped the Jennie’s payload and, most probably due to the relief we all felt from another easy run, we all found ourselves joining in. Some good hits on target and we were soon returning to England.

‘Weather reports good for homebound’ Our radioman said. ‘Minimal enemy sighted’.
I felt myself relax.
‘Hey Sammy?’ Gonny shouted up to the engineer ‘Seeing as it looks like we’re gonna be quiet on the way back and you don’t look to be doing anything- how about you try fix that d___ second engine?’

Your loving son,

Petey

PS: I found out how Gonny got his nickname. I won't worry you with the details but just make sure Sis is out if he ever comes calling for her!
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