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Subject: Pathfinder Mission to Innsbruck rss

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Lou Correia
United States
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80th Bomber Squadron, 509th Bombardment Group
Low Squadron - Middle
MISSION NBR. 172 (6th Mission this Bomber)
TARGET: Innsbruck, Austria - Marshalling Yard

AFTER ACTION REPORT – Flying Target For Today

The crew was debating what was worse – our previous night mission, where we were blind for the most part; or today’s mission where for the most part we were looking at the tops and sides of angry thunderheads, boiling up to swat down our bombers. Thankfully the PFF Good Shepherd guided us there and back. Without the Pathfinder we might still be circling through the maze of clouds over the Alps. In this morning's briefing we were told that, "Innsbruck is the regional hub of the Tyrol in western Austria and its railyards link Germany to the Brenner Pass and Italy, and its also the main railroad route towards Vienna and towards where they are holding back the advancing Soviet forces." It was our job to cut this supply line in spite of the clouds.

Soon after entering Yugoslavian airspace we saw our first bandits. Though the resistance was light, our bomber seemed to attract an above average number of enemy fighters. Two Bf-109s and one of those newer ME-210s converged on us, and no escort in sight. The 210 was trying to come in at 6 o’clock high, and it was cut apart by the Tail Guns, with help from the Radio Room .50. At the same time the Ball Turret turned the 109 trying to climb under us into a fireball. That left one more Kraut, with Ace markings on his tail, coming in at 9 o’clock. He avoided our defensive fire and put a number of shells into Blue, wounding our Radio Operator and removing a chunk of our tail. He tried for a second pass and ran into five streams of hot lead coming from our Top Turret, Ball Turret, and Port Waist Gunner. Scratch one German Ace. (All three claims were confirmed.)

(In Zone 6 I rolled the Random Event, Ace for a Day for my Tail Gunner - Didn’t make a difference.)

TARGET ZONE: About five minutes before making our final turn at the I.P. we had three Bf-110s try to molest Blues. Two of them were cut to pieces by the combined firepower of our squadron’s combat box. The surviving one put some bullets through the cockpit, missing anything or anyone of importance. It looked like he tried to come back and our Top Turret damaged him. Flak was close enough to make us all sweat, but not close enough to cause damage. Our bombardier toggled the moment he saw the Pathfinder release its bombs and we are confident that our bombs followed the Good Shepherd’s through the clouds. (50% on target)

The journey back to Southern Italy was anti-climatic after we got back over the Alps, at least for us. The E/A nipping at the edges of the formation didn’t get close enough for us to fire. (Rolled 61, 41, and 31 for enemy waves – all no attackers with Light or Moderate Resistance.)

A smooth landing back at Guilia.

Les Brown, 1LT, USAAF, Commanding
B-17: BLUES IN THE NIGHT : B17G-50-44-V8059
80th Bomber Squadron, 509th (H) Bombardment Group

Bomb Run: On Target 50%

SGT Chick Webb- LW – cuts to face – RTD 17 NOV 44

B-17 Damage:
Superficial x5 (5)
Rudder (10)
Light Wound (2)

Peckham Points: 17

Landing: Safe landing at Guilia

Attackers: 1
2x ME-109: 2 Claims – both confirmed
3x ME-110: 2 Claims – only 1/3 credit confirmed for each claim, 1 Damaged
1x ME-210: 1 Claim - Confirmed
3x FW-190: 1 Claim – Denied, 2 Damaged

Confirmed Kills: 3 + ⅓ + ⅓

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John C
United States
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Fantastic. Great stuff, thanks for sharing the report.
Chick Webb!
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