Diary Entry October 3rd, 1943: It's 2:30 in the morning and I can't sleep, I have too much on my mind. I snuck into the mess a few minutes ago and had to dodge the MP's to make a cup of that spray-dried coffee crap to calm me down but I'm really not in the mood for it. We're hitting the Focke-Wulf factories in Bremen again in the morning. I tell ya, that place is cursed. The burden of having to watch over nine young men is spirit breaking. Put me in an airplane on a mission anywhere else and I'll get the job done lickety-split, but Bremen is a different beast, and I don't know if I can protect them anymore. I was able to save them when I ditched in the water, but I couldn't save Herman. Hell, who am I kidding? I nearly killed all of my boys on that ditching. We're gonna need all the luck in the world to get ourselves out of this one.
390th BG, 570th BS, 8th Airforce
AAR of "Flakaholic", SN: 42-2093
Mission #9 (This Bomber: 3)
Mission Date: 3rd October, 1943
Target: Bremen Focke-Wulf Factory, Germany
Payload: 5x 1000lb High Explosive M44 bombs
Bomb Drop Percentage: N/A
I took Flakaholic off at 0710 hours to begin assembling over Framlingham. One ship in our wing had its number 4 engine feathered and had to return to base early. Assembly was otherwise good and we joined the other groups at 25,000 feet to proceed to the target. As usual with Bremen, fighter resistance was expected to be heavy, and accordingly my crew was on full alert the moment we passed the English cliffs to the North Sea. P-47's from the 56th FG maintained a decent defensive formation with us. The weather was fairly clear once over the North Sea with thin, wispy cirrus clouds stretching hundreds of miles eastward.
With Belgium coming in to view I ordered my crew to test their weapons, which they did without error. Once passing Belgium we were presented with the Netherlands, where Göring seems to prioritize as intercept zones. Starboard waist called out specs on the horizon and this was confirmed by our Engineer in the top turret. The little friends split apart and sped towards the bandits. They did their best to keep the Germans at bay but a handful of enemy aircraft were able to break through which consisted of ME-410's and ME-109's. Two 410's began making passes at nearby ships and then targeted us.
"Here he comes, get that S.O.B!"
"Watch out tail, 6 o'clock level he's comin' right at you."
A 410 streaked in and there was a loud commotion over the radio followed by cheering and shouting which I had to silence to get everyone under control.
"Hey, hey...HEY! Settle down, get a hold of yourselves! What's going on back there?"
I was informed that Sergeant Dale Foster shot and destroyed an ME-410 with the following report:
"I hit him all over the nose and canopy and he fell into a spiral before he could get a shot off at us. I reckon I killed the pilot and the gunner."
It wasn't long before the radio burst once again to life and we had two more ME-410's on us, one at 3 o'clock high and 7 o'clock low. We began shooting at the attackers but we were unable to hit them, and the 3 high bandit opened fire and I almost lost control of Flakaholic when a large hole was opened up amidships where the port wing meets the fuselage. Immediately following this attack came the 7 low bandit which shot us to hell all over. Shells entered the nose and somehow missed the bombardier and navigator and did not deal any significant damage, the port wing sustained a few more hits but they appeared to be superficial, and the bomb bay doors were hit and jammed shut.
The two 410's returned on a second pass and opened fire, the first missing and the other scoring hits, but thankfully they amounted to pinholes on the airframe. This especially confident German returned on a third pass from 6 o'clock level where Dale was ready for him and fired a burst into it which caused the airplane to develop a fire in its number 2 engine. It returned fire with a vengeance which resulted in Dale's 50's getting blown up, but his leather flight suit protected him from any serious cuts or burns. The fighter was last seen trailing smoke with the fire out and appearing to be heading for home.
I now took the subsequent lull in the fighting as an opportunity to inform the rest of the formation that we would be dropping out and returning to base. My transmission was acknowledged and I wished them good luck.
No P-47's were able to join us on the way back as they were swamped with enemy fighters. I would have preferred escort, but it didn't matter because the Germans were too busy trying to stop the formation than to go after us. I began descending once we were over England and let the crew know we would be attempting a landing with a full bomb load, and anyone was welcome to bail from the ship since there was a chance things would go south, but the crew elected to stay on board. I began circling Framlingham and the Radio Operator let the tower know we were landing with a full bomb load and to have firefighters and paramedics standing by. Thankfully, though, Flakaholic came down gently and the bombs did not detonate.
1st Lieutenant Bernard 'Bernie' Allen, Pilot
2nd Lieutenant Lawrence Brooks Jr., Copilot
2nd Lieutenant Charles Hernandez, Bombardier
2nd Lieutenant Clyde Smith, Navigator
Master Sergeant Robert Cook, Engineer
Sergeant Francis Cooper, Radio Operator
Sergeant Clifford Walker, Ball Turret
Sergeant James 'Jimmy John' Johnson, Port Waist
Sergeant Floyd Mitchell, Starboard Waist
Sergeant Dale Foster, Tail Gunner (1 E/A Damaged) (1/2 E/A Destroyed)
- Last edited Sun Sep 9, 2018 5:04 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Sat Sep 8, 2018 4:21 am
The beatings will commence, and will continue until attitudes improve.
Memento rapinas et latrocinia ante ardere!
Thank you for another outstanding narrative.
Always "spooky" when you can't get rid of the bombs in a timely manner. Phew! Aborting with the bombs still onboard... hate having to carry
Glad to hear that Flakaholic made it back safe.
- Last edited Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:32 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:31 pm