- Lou CorreiaUnited States
B-17: BEOWULF : B17G-70-44-V8568
80th Bomber Squadron, 509th Bombardment Group
Low Squadron – LEAD
MISSION DATE: 2 May 45
MISSION # 200 (11th mission this bomber)
TARGET: Inn River, Germany - Troop Concentrations and Gun Positions
Final mission (#200) of WW II for the 509th (H) Virtual Bombardment Group. Next mission the 509th Play-by-Forum Group will be returning to 1942 North Africa and fighting for freedom all over again.
"Good morning, gentlemen, the war in Europe is almost over. Our armies have been shaking hands with soldiers from the Red Army, partisans are claiming the credit for capturing and hanging Mussolini and there are unconfirmed reports that Hitler is dead.
"You might think that it is all over. You would be wrong. Units of General Patton's 3rd Army have pinned down one last battlegroup in Braunau-am-Inn and the general has called on the USAAF to help.
"The Nazi battlegroup is made up of SS Units, other fanatical Nazis still loyal to the Fuehrer, the last planes of the Luftwaffe and what remains of the Third Reich. This town is the spiritual home of the Nazis and they will not surrender it. As well as being the border between Germany and Austria, it is also the birthplace of Adolf Hitler.
"Patton's directive is simple. 'Wipe them out. All of them'. To put it more tactfully, go in, drop your 500lb bombs on the target, eliminating as many of their troops and gun positions that you can. Be careful not to veer off target and bomb the 11th Armoured Division who are on the west bank of the river.
"The mission involves going over the Alps. You know the drill on this. If you can't get above 20,000', don't even try.
"There is fighter cover available from the 5th Fighter Wing and some resistance is possible. If rumours are to be believed, there are a few of Hitler's 'wunderwaffe' jet fighters still operational.
"Although the war is almost over, be careful on this one. Fortune should favour the brave. Good luck and I hope to see you all back in time for dinner."
AFTER ACTION REPORT (TFT):
OUTBOUND: The crew were a bit uneasy, this being the 13th mission for seven of the crew, but my co-pilot surprised me. Usually he is steady as a rock, but he was downright spooked this mission.
The trip up the Adriatic was enjoyable, with the news that the German army in Italy had surrendered as of this morning. We were still watchful, with the warning that pockets of German units were still resisting the Partisans over in Yugoslavia. It wasn't until we were leaving the Alps that the Group began to see resistance. In our case it was some rockets suddenly flashing through the formation. One exploded close enough to do some cosmetic damage to our tail.
TARGET ZONE: Three waves greeted Beowulf to the Target Zone. The first wave was driven off by our escort and other B-17s, but that meant our Little Friends were preoccupied when the next two waves impacted the formation. Second wave featured an Ace in a 109 that concentrated on our starboard wing root and wounded our Port Waist gunner. He should have quit while he was ahead, because he tried a second pass at 3 o'clock level and he ran into the combined firepower of both the Top and Ball Turrets. The bandit turned into a fireball and there was no chute. The third wave followed immediately and this time the Ace was in a FW-190. He made a Vertical Dive on us, wounded both our Ball Gunner and myself, and wisely kept on going. It was in this frenzy that both Windy City and Passes Cancelled exploded. Our Bombardier dryly remarked that the RDX must be in a bad mood today, and then he took command of the bomber and calmly deposited 50% of our bombs on the SS positions.
Leaving the target we again faced three waves of bandits. It was deja vu all over again as the first wave didn't get near us, but did diminish our escort for the next waves. Second wave and another Ace heading our way in the mix; this time piloting a ME-210. While the 109s were driven off the 210 took some superficial defensive fire and continued boring in towards us. Streams of shells hammered into our bomb bay, freaking out my spooked co-pilot who was convinced that we were going to explode like Windy City and Passes. I had to remind him that we had already dropped our bombs. (Bombers flown by two other players already had their bomb loads detonate onboard and I freaked out until I remembered that I'd already dropped my bombs.) Then we heard the report that our Ball Turret gunner had been wounded and it was back to business. Like on the outbound leg, the Ace returned for a second pass and it seemed like most of the squadron opened up on him and proceeded to dismantle the E/A. (My Ball Gunner claimed this kill but the credit was denied.) Minutes later a ME-163 Komet dove at us, but missed; while another 109 was driven off.
INBOUND: The Germans had one last gasp as we approached Austria. The two TA-152Hs were run off by our little friends while the 109 was damaged by our Chin Turret and seemed happy to make a beeline towards Austria.
The doctors say that a 1/4 inch difference in the neck wound to our Ball Gunner was the difference between a light wound and bleeding out from a nicked jugular.
I'm requesting some R&R for my co-pilot. He needs a week in Rome before our next mission.
Jacob Brown, Captain, USAAF, Commanding
B-17: Beowulf : B17G-70-44-V8568
80th Bomber Squadron, 509th (H) Bombardment Group
Bomb Run: ON Target 40%
Casualties: Captain Jacob Brown: LW, chest grazed, RTD 6 May 45
S/SGT Max Waller: LW -thigh grazed, RTD 4 May 45
S/SGT Koby Wright: LW -torn neck muscles, RTD 16 May 45
Superficial x3 (3)
Light Wound x3 (6)
S. Aileron inop (10)
S.Wing N/E (5)
Bomb Bay N/E (5)
S. Wing Root x2 (50)
Peckham Points: 79
B-17 Disposition: Safe at Giulia
Purple Heart: Captain Jacob Brown, S/SGT Max Waller, S/SGT Koby Wright
- [+] Dice rolls