Journal of Sgt. Roy Winders
I arrived in England a few days ago ready to throw in my part against the evils of fascism and puppy-killing and whatever else they're doing out on the continent. I was introduced to my crew the day before our first time up......our B-17 is called The Flying Asylum....and I'm a little worried about why.
Capt Earl Hunter - Pilot
Lieut John Smith - Copilort
Lieut Mike Murkel - Navigator
Lieut Steve Pander - Bombardier
Mst Sgt Toby Eller - Engineer
Sgt Lance Solar - Ball Turret
Sgt Gordon Green - Port Turret
Sgt Norm Weldon - Starboard Turret
Sgt Melvin Gold - Tail Gunner
We suited up for our first trip
Shakespeare: We few, we happy few, we band of brothers
We were assigned to the middle position in our formation...hopefully keeping the Luftwaffe off us for the whole trip. Then I heard that we're in the low point in the formation. Probably too much to ask for a completely safe spot I guess. Our target is the Abbeville airfield. The higher ups have decided that doing some damage here will cut back on Luftwaffe interceptions when we're forced to go deeper into the continent. My question is what do we do about the Luftwaffe when they come now?
Zone 2 Inbound:
Despite a shaky takeoff the Captain managed to follow the bomber in front of us and we left beautiful England behind us. Luckily they kept a strong fighter escort with us for crossing the channel. I just hope they can keep enough of them off of us to do our job. Luckily the Luftwaffe didn't come out and play.
Zone 3 Inbound:
We're nearing the target. The weather is good and cheery, making the target easier to hit but leading to an increased likelihood of interception.....bad for the target, bad for us.....I've decided symmetry sucks.
Despite the dropoff in escort you'd think they could keep us protected but no, in comes a 109 in a Vertical Dive. Eller and I both took shots at him but I was unable to get a decent shot and Eller wasn't able to line up well at all.
Luckily the enemy pilot broke off to engage other targets without hitting us. Unfortunately, another wave hit us. Luckily our escort peeled 2 fighters that looked like they were headed in at 10:30 but a single 109 came at us from dead ahead, straight and level.
This time it was Eller and Pander trying to take out the pest but they both missed spectacularly. Luckily the enemy's aim was off and he vanished into the crazy melee around us. Gold issued off a war cry and tried to take him down but he missed as well. I've decided that in terms of missing each other in the air, symmetry is a good thing.
A third wave all broke off due to fire from the surrounding bombers...I'm beginning to think the danger on these missions is mostly hype.
The Bombing Run:
Luckily it appears that the Germans are still not used to our boys unleashing death upon them and the flak is light over the target.
Hit by a burst, superficial damage to my section and the left wing.
LEAVE US ALONE!!!
A hit to the bomb bay but we're lucky it appears to have done no damage. The other shrapnel from the same burst...not so good. We took a hit to the autopilot mechanism, our chances of a successful bomb drop are not so good.
Wow....Pander is a genius at work. He knows his stuff. Despite the damage, the bombs hit on target in a spectacular once in a lifetime way. Virtually the entire package hit on target. Now if we can just make it home.....
Zone 3 Outbound: Guess they aren't gonna let us just waltz away. Where are our vaunted escorts? Five 190's looking to rip us apart. Hanzel scored our first kill knocking out the plane in front of us with a beautiful burst.
The 190 in a vertical dive tore us to pieces. What was seconds ago a terrified but intact bomber crew is now a scene of carnage. I can barely move and I'm just hoping to make it back before I bleed to death. Pander is complaining of minor wounds but insists he's fine. Now comes wailing from the back. Green just found Weldon with half his scalp ripped off. Gold reports minor rudder damage but it doesn't look too bad. Green appears to be keeping it together but I know he and Weldon went out for drinks a few days ago toasting their 25th Mission and how they were both going home aces. Now one of them is going home in a box.
Zone 2 Outbound:
We're on our way home but it looks like our fighter cover has gotten really sparse.
One 110 tried to mess with us doing a vertical climb but Solar sent him packing with substantial damage, hopefully someone will pick him off before he finds home again.
Our Captain brought us in for a safe landing....looks like I'm out of here, my injuries are bad, I'm going home, probably on the same plane with Weldon's box.........War is hell. My stint was long enough.
Amazing luck on bombing run. Rolled a 5 for on target barely remaining on target with a -2 penalty and then rolling boxcars on % roll ending up with a 96% hit.
This was compensated by light flak getting both a 2 and a 12 on approach to the target though all but the Autopilot hits were superficial.
On the way out, all but one 190 missed but that one was on a Vertical Dive, unable to be shot at and got a walking hits shot in, resulting in 1 each of light wounds, Serious wounds, and instant kill along with a rudder hit. I was beginning to think I'd make it back scot-free, no such luck. Oh well, see you until the Flying Asylum takes to the sky again.