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

Subject: Flakaholic (4) rss

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Addison Edgar
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Letter from 8th Army Airforce airbase, dated 7th October 1943:
Hello Darling,
I’m terribly sorry I have not written you for so long, your poor man is busy these days. How are you, my love?
Last night (October 6th) we celebrated the birthday of one of the men in my command. He’s the Ball Turret gunner on my B-17 - y’know what airplane I’m talkin’ about right? He’s a real short n’ skinny fellow, freckled on the face and ginger hair. Dying to know his age? Well, I’ll tell ya! He has just turned 23 and he was jumping out of his socks at the thought of it. Don’t worry about me, I hardly drank anything, just enough to leave me wanting more.
I know, boring boring. I wish I had more to tell you, but there isn’t anything I can really share even if I wanted to.
Flying higher than the birds on our feeder is a surreal experience. Everything is so tiny, even the tallest chapels are maybe the size of half of your thumb! Calm down, I have not and probably won’t ever be in any real danger, believe me. Besides, we do not go out on a mission EVERY day you know. There’s a lot of down time, so I use it to explore the nearby hamlets if I pester my commander hard enough. You would love some of these cottages, and the people here are so resilient. It’s as if the blitz never happened. The grass is so green here, but the weather, oh jeez, the weather! It’s abysmal! If it’s not pouring rain then you can hardly see 10 feet in front of you with all the fog. I can’t wait to come home and see you again.
I hate to say goodbye, you know me… so, I won’t! See you soon my love.
XOXOXO
-Bernie

390th BG, 570th BS, 8th Airforce
AAR of "Flakaholic", SN: 42-2093
Mission #10 (This Bomber: 4)
Mission Date: 9th October, 1943
Target: Marshalling Yards at Amiens, France
Payload: 16x 250lb General Purpose M57 Bombs
Bomb Drop Percentage: 30


On this mission we carried on board an extra guest, an army airforce photographer, Pvt. Marvin Leon. He took his position in the radio room with Sgt. Francis Cooper and would be allowed to roam the ship freely after takeoff as long as he did not interfere with the flight. After solving some manifold pressure issues with my ground crew chief, I began to taxi Flakaholic along for this rather short mission. We endured a minor delay due to someone’s brakes failing and skidding the ship into the tail of another.

Once the way was clear, I took Flakaholic off at 0920 and began formation assembly over Framlingham. Assembly was good and we began the climb to a medium altitude of 15,000 feet. Our P-47 escort rendezvoused with us near Dover and stayed very close with the formation. Over the Channel the photographer politely moved around the engineer and came into the pilot’s compartment.

”Hello sirs, I’m going to the nose to take some photographs.”

“OK.”


Upon nearing the IP close to the French coast someone called out that they had seen fighters and the little friends turned to intercept them.

”Bandits, 12 o’clock high. There’s a helluva lot of ‘em...eighty...no, ninety maybe.”

A swarm of German Messerschmitts and Fock-Wulfs began making passes on our formation. A few JU-88’s were seen attempting to drop bombs on top of the formation. Our escort provided adequate protection, but they could use some focus, it seemed like at times they forgot what their job was. A flurry of FW-190s descended on Flakaholic and the whole ship started vibrating when nearly all of the guns on board began firing at once. My crew claims to have damaged and driven off several of our attackers.

The Germans let up and began to shadow the formation once heavy and accurate flak opened up. Some of our ships were hit and sustained battle damage. I saw one ship with the top of its tail missing, but it kept up with us just fine. The flak was quite frightening, the thickest I’d ever seen. You could walk on any of those puffs no problem. We turned on to the target and flew all the way through the onslaught of flak until bombs away, where we dropped with fairly good accuracy. Some of our bombs were on 48 hour time delayed fuses. We then took evasive action to avoid being hit by flak.

After we had turned around and evaded the flak the skies were clear and the bandits came back to harass us all the way to the coast. We drove off a little bit of everything; an ME-109, FW-190’s, and an ME-410. One Focke-Wulf got through our defensive fire and peppered Flakaholic from the nose to the tail in a dive. The nose had been shot up, but missed all of the occupants inside. There were a lot of holes on the starboard wing, shells tore into the bomb bay and waist but were just small superficial hits, and our tail was shot up pretty bad. I ordered the R/O to radio the ship next to ours to ask to take a look and see what kind of damage we’d taken and he said the rudder was still intact but any more hits like than and we’d probably lose it. I then noticed the oil pressure dropping in our number 3 engine. I called up the engineer to take a look out of the side window.

”Yeah chief, doesn’t look good. If ya keep lettin’ it run like it is that engine’s gonna burn out. Go ahead and feather it.”

I feathered the prop and we were now running on three engines, but it wasn’t cause for concern since Flakaholic seemed to able to keep up with the rest of the formation without any issues.

The 190 that had inflicted all of that damage to us came back for a second pass from 6 o’clock high and was thwarted off by the radio guns, and in the roll to dive away was damaged by the tail guns on the underbelly. The aircraft trailed fuel and smoke and quickly got out of range pursued by P-47’s.

Things were suddenly quiet when we got over the coast to the Channel. The weather had remained clear all throughout the mission with very sparse cloud cover. Sergeant Dale Foster pointed out that he could make out the burning marshalling yards in the distance with jet black smoke at a ceiling of 2,000 feet. I was abruptly reminded that we had the photographer on board when he popped out from behind us with a “coming through, sirs!” on his way to take some photographs of the smoke.

The formation began descending near Dover and we were soon over Framlingham. We circled the field for a while since one ship bellylanded with two engines out and the fire had to be extinguished. Once it was our turn, though, I brought Flakaholic in on three engines and touched down safely. The photographer thanked both me and 2Lt. Brooks for a smooth flight.

Bernard Allen,
1st Lieutenant

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Crew List
1st Lieutenant Bernard 'Bernie' Allen, Pilot (Promoted to Captain)
2nd Lieutenant Lawrence Brooks Jr., Copilot
2nd Lieutenant Charles Hernandez, Bombardier (Promoted to 1st Lieutenant)
2nd Lieutenant Clyde Smith, Navigator (Promoted to 1st Lieutenant)
Master Sergeant Robert Cook, Engineer (1 E/A Damaged) (Promoted to Flight Officer)
Sergeant Francis Cooper, Radio Operator (Promoted to Staff Sergeant)
Sergeant Clifford Walker, Ball Turret (2 E/A Damaged) (Promoted to Staff Sergeant)
Sergeant James 'Jimmy John' Johnson, Port Waist (1 E/A Damaged) (Promoted to Staff Sergeant)
Sergeant Floyd Mitchell, Starboard Waist (Promoted to Staff Sergeant)
Sergeant Dale Foster, Tail Gunner (1 E/A Damaged) (Promoted to Staff Sergeant)
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Ken
United States
West Palm Beach
Florida
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'When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning' - Dr. Reiner Knizia
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These are great.
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Addison Edgar
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thank you!
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Gil Hansen
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Ok, Add Man...so now we're adding personal letters to the AARs?! That's just great...now you can really rip our hearts out. I'm thinkin' I will have my fingers crossed every time I see you've posted a new one. "Come on, Bernie ol' boy, you can do it! Just bring your ship back in one piece." I just hope you've not given Flakaholic the proverbial kiss of death...
Regards,
Gil
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Addison Edgar
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thanks for your comment! im glad youve grown attached to the crew - especially Bernie. as for that kiss of death, i hope i haven't cursed the ship and its crew either, especially with a certain "black" day that is about to make history...
 
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