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B-17: Queen of the Skies» Forums » Play By Forum

Subject: [Forum Campaign 4] Mission 79 – Heligoland rss

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Jim P
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But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you… And I will beat you.
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151st BS ......... 152nd BS ......... 153rd BS ......... 154th BS

BG...................BB...................GB..................GG


“Gentlemen at ease. Our trip to Kassel was a resounding success. This was the first time we returned with all Fortresses making it home. Rreconnaissance photos show we increased our ordinance on target. Let’s see if we can keep this up on today’s target… ” Sgt. Murphy Pull the curtain please…”

We are still accepting new planes to join the group, as we start a second tour. For those of you just joining us, here is a summary of the "rules," as they are:
* I will be rolling up the mission parameters, fighter support, flak cover, weather and date for all missions.
* There is no required format for reporting your results, but the more info you present the more entertaining it is for everyone. If you track who gets injured, how many fighter kills, etc., then I can summarize that info at the end of the mission period for all bombers.
* All flights must be flown by the following Sunday (in this case, 12/01/08 ), and I will prepare an After Action Report the following Monday. If you happen to miss a week or two, no big deal, just join back in when you can.
* All planes are assigned to a squadron. If you are new, just post a response in the thread giving your plane name and you will be assigned a squadron. Squadrons are being given a position (High, Middle, Low or Low- Low.) by jasta6, as recorded here.
* Lead and Tail positions are still being assigned to volunteers. Please note that only bombers in MIDDLE position can be lead, and only bombers in LOW-LOW position can be tail. So if you are in one of those squadrons, and nobody has yet volunteered for a position, roll 1d6. If you get a 6, you are the lucky winner.
* Some optional rules can be found here.


”… Kiel!” “as the men followed the red line towards Northern Germany, a rumble of voices amplified in personal protest.....” Good luck and Gods speed boys!”

MISSION Seventy-nine:
Date: Thursday, July 29, 1943 (1 day from last mission)
Primary Target: Kiel, Germany - Naval Dockyard
Secondary Target: Flensburg, Germany - Shipyard
Last Resort T/O - Heligoland Island, Germany - Air fields


Bomb Load: 20 x 250 lb British Incendiaries Bombs
Bombing Altitude: 29,500 ft (High Group)

Gazetteer:
Outbound / Inbound: Zone 2: –2 W / Zone 3: -1 W / Zone 4: -1 W / Zone 5: -1 W / Zone 6: -1 W / Zone 7: 0 G / Zone 8: 0 G

Primary Target Flak O/B: Moderate (inaccurate only roll twice on flak table)
Primary Target Flak I/B: Light (inaccurate only roll twice on flak table)

Primary Target Weather: Stormy (b) 8/10 Cloud Cover (proceed to secondary)
Secondary Target Weather: Stormy (b) 10/10 Cloud Cover (Proceed to Last Resort targets)
Last Resort Target Weather: Poor (b) 6/10 Cloud Cover (T/O modifier -1 on O-6 & B-1)
Base Weather: Good 1/10 Cloud Cover (No modifiers)

(56th FG’s P-47 outbound and 4th FG’s P-47 inbound)
Zone 2 outbound: good
Zone 3 outbound: poor
Zone 4 outbound: good
Zone 5 outbound: poor -1 Modifier to die roll
Zone 5 inbound: none
Zone 4 inbound: fair
Zone 3 inbound: poor
Zone 2 inbound: fair

Note: Gents, don’t forget to add your Squadron Positions modifiers to the above Gazetteer values.

Mission Special Rules:

Due to the problematic characteristics of the YB-40 Gun Ship these Airframes have been pulled from service.

(I would like to thank all those who have volunteered to fly this ”Beast” into the jaws of the Luftwaffe.)

A) The “Custards Last Stand” (YB-40-30-VE 42-5925), has been returned to the 92nd BG (H) for processing home.

B) Your flight path will be to Kiel today. Due to unexpected heavy cloud cover over the primary target, Kiel, and secondary, Flensburg, the 281st BG will not be able to bomb these targets. You will return roughly the same way you came, just a bit North, to the target and attempt to bomb the air fields on the Heligoland Islands in Zone 7 inbound just off the coast. (i.e. Zone 8 O/B sequence: GAF combat (B-2 Table); Flak; NO Bomb Run / Zone 8 I/B sequence: Flak; GAF combat; (B-2 Table) / Zone 7 I/B sequence GAF combat (B-1 Table); Bomb Run Attempt [see below])

Before attempting the Bomb Run in Zone 7 I/B roll 2d6:
2 = Bombs Returned (a); 3 = Bombs Jettisoned (b); 4-12 = Bombs dropped on Target of Last Resort (c).
(a) You can’t acquire a target, you opt to bring back your bomb load
(b) You can’t acquire a target, you opt to jettison your bomb load.
(c) Target acquired drop bombs as normal.

PS: Weather over the Islands will be "poor" -1 Mod both table B-1 & O-6.

Mission Map:



-Historical Mission: (from “The Mighty 8th War Diary by R.A.Freeman) Mission 79 flew to Kiel and Warnemunde. The 1BW flew to Kiel with the 4BW bombing Warnemunde. The 303rd followed the lead group, the 379th BG, to the Target of Last Resort as the primary and secondary targets were under heavy cloud cover. 249 Fortresses sortied with only 193 making their targets. There were ten planes lost and two crewmen killed in returning Fortress’s. Eight men were wounded with 101 men listed as MIA.

The 303rd operation notes, for their mission mission 55, The 303rd followed the 379th BG to the secondary target and then to the Target of Last Resort when the secondary was found socked in too.
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Jim P
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**Please read and follow as it will help me collate the information for the roster thread** Thank You!

Again, please remember I would like players to, at a minimum, list the Crew (pilots name with rank and Planes name of their Fortress at the beginning of all AAR post to help me facilitate updating the Roster List? Please use the format below as this will help me create the list in a timely manor.

If this format is not followed I may have to pass over your record as it takes more time to compile than it should have to. Adding this information will make it much easier to assemble this extra fluff for our campaign. Please remember to also add your pilot’s rank.

Thank You!

EXAMPLE wrote:
Pilot: 1st Lt.. Andy Anybody
B-17: "Bombs Alot/Miss Alot"


Also please add your Bombardment Squadron somewhere at the top too. This will help me in data entry. i.e. 154th BS

Jim P cool
Thanks....
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Jim P
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281st BG (V) Aircraft Roster for Mission 79 [Heligoland, Germany. A/F]

- Player's Squadron Assignment can be found at this thread: Squadron Assignment

- Squadron Positions for this mission can be found at this thread: Squadron Positions

Mission : (Volunteers)
---- Lead: Lt Patterson's Crew in 'Breakin' Away'
---- Tail: 1st Lt. John Dillinger's Crew in "On Parole"


151st BS - BG:
1st Lt. Robert Schoens Crew in "Silver Dollar" [AAR]
2nd Lt. Charles Skordalias Crew in "Nymph" [AAR]

152nd BS - BB:
1st Lt. John Dillinger's Crew in "On Parole" 1st Report Tail A/C (Cat-E)
1st Lt. Frank Vincent's Crew in "Green Machine" (B17F-65-BO 42-111111) [AAR] Aborted
2nd Lt. Lee Miller's Crew in “Old Nick” (B-17F-80-BO 42-299346) [AAR]

153rd BS - GB:
Capt George Anderson's Crew in "Big Red Machine" [AAR]
Capt. Benjamin Willard's Crew in "The Crystal Ship" [AAR]
Capt. Broderick Young's Crew in "Here We Go Again" [AAR] Aborted
2nd Lt Laurie LaPorte's Crew in "Anna's Touch" (B-17F-115 42-30669) [AAR]
2nd Lt. Harold Talavera's Crew in "WILD HORSES" [AAR], 1st Reports

154st BS - GG:
1st Lt. Walter Zabalaoui's Crew in "Tru Bella II" (B-17F-65-B0 42-29697) [AAR]
2nd Lt. Carson Critchlow's Crew in "HONEY STAR" [AAR] Aborted
2nd Lt. Dennis Patterson's Crew in "Breakin' Away" [AAR] Lead A/C (Pilot SWIH)


Lt. Col. Chase Pfalzstaff
Deptuy Commander
Elveden Hall, UK
3rd Bombardment Wing HQ

(edits; Crews added)
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Iain
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"Sir; Lt Patterson volunteers the crew of 'Breakin' Away' for the Lead position".

2Lt Patterson 154th BS
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Johnny Mustang

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Off topic, but this forum made me go buy "Mighty Eighth War Diary". I already had the "The Mighty Eighth" from a yard sale. I have to say I'm impressed with the War Diary. Not a light read, but if you are into it, it is worth it.
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Jim P
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But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you… And I will beat you.
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johnnymustang wrote:
Off topic, but this forum made me go buy "Mighty Eighth War Diary". I already had the "The Mighty Eighth" from a yard sale. I have to say I'm impressed with the War Diary. Not a light read, but if you are into it, it is worth it.


Exactly! You should try:
Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany
by Donald L. Miller
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 2007

This is a good read, easy to sit down and spend an few hours and not notice the time. I like this book a lot! As well as Roger Freeman's books too. Got to Love History!

check out my thread on books here.

Jim P cool
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Jim Rose
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Another good one from Roger Freeman is "The Mighty Eighth War Manual". It goes into detail about EVERYTHING: Formations, Fighters, Munitions, Training, Logistics, Support Services, Armament and lots more....
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David Grabiner
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After Action Report

B-17: Green Machine, B17F-65-BO-42-111111
Pilot: 1st Lt. Frank Vincent
Squadron: 152nd
Mission: 79
Date: July 29, 1943
Target: Kiel, Naval dockyard
Position: Low-low squadron, middle

Crew Status:
Pilot 1st Lt. Frank Vincent (3)
Copilot 2nd Lt. Arthur Christopher (3)
Bombardier 2nd Lt. Jesse Franklin (3)
Navigator 2nd Lt. Oscar Romero * (3)
Engineer MSgt. Andrew Victorian ** (3)
Radio Operator Sgt. David Oxford (3)
Ball Gunner Sgt. Boris Alexandrovich (3)
Port Waist Sgt. Leslie Farnsworth (3)
Starboard Waist Sgt. Harold Black (3)
Tail Gunner Sgt. Carl Majors * (3)
* = 1 kill
# = 5 kills

Bomb Run: DNB
Fighters claimed:
None

B-17 Status:
#4 engine out

Replacements:
none

Debrief:
This was a very short mission. The first fighter we saw took a shell to
its engine, but then put one in our #4 engine, which stalled over the
North Sea. We jettisoned the bombs to keep our speed, but without
bombs, there was no point in flying three hours with the formation
rather than thirty minutes back home. After aborting, we faced three
more fighters and drove all three off (two with damage and one with
spray fire), and returned home with no further damage to the plane.

1st Lt. Frank Vincent
152nd BS, 281st BG(H)
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David Lanphear
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Intercom chatter on 153rd Squadron lead....

"Pilot to Bombardier, switching to autopilot, find us that airfield and let em go"

"Bombardier, taking control, beginning run in now"

"Tail to Pilot, looks like Pushover Able just lost her second engine, she's smoking pretty bad...... and starting to fall back."

"Pilot to Radio, find out what their status is"

"Radio, negative contact on Pushover Able. We've had no contact with them since outbound over the North Sea"

"Tail to Pilot, Pushover Able is losing altitude but it looks controlled, engines appear feathered"

"Tail to Pilot, the Jerries are going after her."

Knowing there is nothing the formation can do, a silent "Good luck" goes quickly through this crew's thoughts but then it is pushed aside as they get back to the business of keeping themselves alive.





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John Kovacs
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Lt. Col. Pfalzstaff:

The crew of On Parole volunteers for the Tail End Charlie slot.

1st Lt. John Dillinger, Pilot
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John McDonald
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After Action Report #C3M78
July 29th 1943

A/C name (number): "Anna's Touch" (B-17F-115 42-30669)
Pilot: 2nd Lt. Laurie LaPorte
Unit: 153rd Bombardment Squadron, 218th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
Callsign: Pushover Dog
Mission #: 79/5/9
Primary Target: Navy yard, Kiel, Germany
Secondary Target: Shipyard, Flensburg, Germany
Tertiary Target: Airfields, Heligoland Islands, Germany
Position P/S: Middle/High


Crew/Status/Actions:
Pilot: 2Lt. Laurie LaPorte/OK
-Home: Zap, North Dakota
-Serial Number: O-7974083 (DC)
-Missions Completed: 9
Co-Pilot: 2Lt. Frank Erskine/OK
-Home: Schenectady, New York
-Serial Number: O-9852662 (OCS)
-Missions Completed: 4
Bombardier: 1Lt. Melvin Sullivan/LW
-Home: Leesburg, Virginia
-Serial Number: O-2315381 (OCS)
-Purple Heart w/ two clusters
-AC Total (mission inclusive): 3
-Missions Completed: 10
Navigator: F/O Robert Choi/LW
-Home: Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
-Serial Number: T-60957
-Purple Heart
-AC Total (mission inclusive): 2
-Missions Completed: 3
Flt Engineer: T-4 Nelson Husbands/OK
-Home: Los Angeles, California
-Serial Number: 39506396 (DRF)
-Air Medal w/ two clusters
-AC Total (mission inclusive): 13.5
-Missions Completed: 8
R/O: T-3 Norman Hall/OK
-Home: Frederick, Maryland
-Serial Number: 13199771 (RA)
-Distinguished Flying Cross
-Air Medal w/ cluster
-Purple Heart
-AC Total (mission inclusive): 6
-Missions Completed: 12
Ball Gnr: Sgt. Lionel Riederer/LW
-Home: Farmington, New Mexico
-Serial Number: 20893468 (NMNG)
-Distinguished Flying Cross
-Purple Heart
-Air Medal
-AC Total (mission inclusive): 11
-Missions Completed: 6
Port Wst: Sgt. Allan Hempel/OK
-Home: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
-Serial Number: 32714715 (DRF)
-Air Medal
-AC Total (mission inclusive): 2.5
-Missions Completed: 2
Strb Wst: Sgt. Simon Aydelott/OK
-Home: Belgrade, Montana
-Serial Number: 19376393 (RA)
-Purple Heart w/ cluster
-AC Total (mission inclusive): .5
-Missions Completed: 6
Tail Gnr: Sgt. Hugo Dewaard/OK
-Home: Plainfield, New Jersey
-Serial Number: 32749975 (DRF)
-AC Total (mission inclusive): 0
-Missions Completed: 2


Medal/Promotion Recommendations:
Second Lieutenant Melvin Sullivan: Purple Heart
Flight Officer Robert Choi: Purple Heart
Technician Fourth Grade Nelson Husbands: Air Medal
Sergeant Lionel Riederer: Purple Heart, Air Medal
Sergeant Allan Hempel: Air Medal
Second Lieutenant Melvin Sullivan to First Lieutenant

Enemy Aircraft Claimed:
Second Lieutenant Melvin Sullivan: 1 x Me-109 probable
Flight Officer Robert Choi: 1 x Ju-88 probable
Technician Fourth Grade Nelson Husbands: 1 x Ju-88, 1 x Fw-190, 1 x Me-109, 1 x Fw-190 probable, .5 x Ju-88
Sergeant Lionel Riederer: 1 x Me-109
Sergeant Allan Hempel: 1 x Me-109, 2 x Me-109 probables

Enemy Aircraft Encountered:
Single Engine: 12
Twin Engine: 8

Bomb Drop: OFF
Bombing Accuracy: 5%
Bomb Load: 20 x 250 lb. British Incendiaries
Bombing Altitude: 29,500 ft.

B-17 Status:
Bomb controls inoperable, rafts destroyed, superficial damage to the bomb bay, port flap inoperable, superficial damage to the port wing, damage to the starboard wing root, superficial damage to the nose


Mission Description:
We hit some fighters right off the channel; the fighters hadn't arrived on station yet so we were forced to fight them off on our own. After getting over the North Sea we really didn't have any more trouble over water. Over Germany the weather only got worse until we reached Kiel; despite the heavy cloud cover that obscured the target, the Luftwaffe still sent up 109s and 190s to chase us around the loop. On the backswing we really caught it, with a whole pack of fighters harrying us back off the coast. Mel was able to find our tertiary objective, the military airfield on Düne Island. Unfortunately, strong winds blew most of our drop into the sea.

We encountered two further Ju-88s over the channel, but the gunners finally got their act together to land fatal bursts. Mel, Rob, and Sgt. Reiderer all three were slightly wounded during the mission but are expected to return to action by tomorrow. Good thing too, because Lt. Sullivan plans to continue his recent tradition of buying drinks for the men of the 153rd by footing tonight's celebration of his 10th mission. All crews are welcome to join us at the Lark's Arms (in difference to the honoree's preference for their Bourbon Whiskey).

2nd Lt. Laurie LaPorte, USAAF
Anna's Touch
153rd BS, 281st BG (H)


Replacements:

2Lt. Irving Hardge: RTD two days
2Lt. Samuel Binder: RTD seventeen days
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Jim P
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Infomanohio wrote:
Lt. Col. Pfalzstaff:

The crew of On Parole volunteers for the Tail End Charlie slot.

1st Lt. John Dillinger, Pilot


It's all yours Lieutenant, Good luck and Gods speed!

Lt Col Pfalzstaff
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After Action Report
A/C name: “Here We Go Again”
Pilot: Captain Broderick Young
Unit: 153rd Bombardment Squadron, 218th Bombardment Group
Mission #: 79
Primary Target Weather: Stormy (b) 8/10 Cloud Cover (proceed to secondary)
Secondary Target Weather: Stormy (b) 10/10 Cloud Cover (Proceed to Last Resort targets)
Last Resort Target Weather: Poor (b) 6/10 Cloud Cover (T/O modifier -1 on O-6 & B-1)
Base Weather: Good 1/10 Cloud Cover (No modifiers)
Position P/S: Middle/ High Squadron

Crew/Status/Actions:
Pilot: Captain Broderick Young (32)
Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt Robert Humprhies (4)
Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Steven Bishop (6)
Aircraft Claimed - 1
Navigator: 2nd Lt Johnson Holland (1)
Aircraft Claimed - 1
Flt Engineer: T Sgt Curt Trotter (7)
Aircraft claimed - 10
R/O: Sgt. Kerry Barrett (7)
Ball Gnr: Sgt. Hogan Sharpe (7)
Aircraft claimed - 3
Port Wst: Sgt. Samuel Jones (2)
Aircraft claimed -
Strb Wst: Sgt. Ricardo Gonzalez (6)
Aircraft claimed - 1
Tail Gnr: Sgt. Barry Hester (2)
Aircraft claimed – 2
() – Number of missions completed inclusive
Recommendations:

Bomb Drop: Aborted
Bombing Accuracy: 0%
Bomb Load: 20 x 250 lb British Incendiaries Bombs

Enemy Aircraft Claimed:

B-17 Status:
Bomb site inoperable, bomb bay doors inoperable, radio oxygen out, #2 engine out

Mission Description:
This turned out to be a quick mission. We were hit by a flock of enemy fighters right away. The made a pass and knocked out the bomb doors and bomb sight. A second pass took out oxygen for the radio operator. A third knocked out the engine.

With so much damage right away we aborted and returned to base.
Respectively submitted,
Captain Broderick Young

Replacements:
Notes:

I had really bad luck on this one. I couldn't hit them and they couldn't miss me. At least everyone came back alive though.
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Pilot: 2Lt Dennis Patterson
B17: Breakin' Away


Sqdn: 154th
Mission: 79 (this bomber 2)
Target: Kiel - Naval Dockyard
Position: Middle - Lead


Crew Status:

Pilot: 2Lt Dennis Patterson (2) SW UTF
Copilot: 2Lt Neville Hope (2) LW LW
Bombardier: 2Lt Brian Busbridge (2) * SW UTF
Navigator: 2Lt Barry Taylor (2)
Engineer: Mst Sgt Wyman Norris (2) LW
Radio Operator: Wayne Norris (2)
Ball Gunner: Sgt Albert Moxey (2) *
Port Waist: Sgt Arthur Pringle (1)
Starboard Waist: Colin Latham (2)
Tail Gunner: Sgt Ally Fraser (2)


(Mission Number)
* = fighters claimed
LW = Light Wound
SW = Serious Wound
UTF = Unfit to Fly




Bomb Drop: 0% Off Target



Fighters Claimed:
2Lt Busbridge - ME 109
Sgt Moxey - FW 190



B17 Status:

Engaged with 22 German fighters
FW 190's x 8
ME 109's x 12 (1 driven off by fighter cover)
ME 110's x 2

29 hits from fighters, 2 from flak



Peckham Points = 280 - B-17 irrepairable replaced by the 'Havana Dancer'



Replacements:
Grainger, Jeffrey 2Lt Pilot
Blackburn, Harry 2Lt Bombardier



Mission Description
This was a mission of two halves. We had a relatively uneventful trip over to Kiel, engaging twice with enemy fighters whose shooting was poor to say the least - not one shell hit the plane.

This didn't last. As we approached the target in terrible weather we were attacked by a number of ME 109's & FW 190's who peppered us with shellfire causing severe damage to the starboard wing. Sgt Moxey in the Ball turret took the wing off one of the FW 190's for a confirmed kill.
As the bad weather continued to reduce visibility to virtually zero we took some flak, damaging the tail. Lt Patterson took the decision not to bomb the dockyard but to make an attempt on the alternate target.

Yet more enemy fighters appeared and the plane juddered under the barrage of hits. A particularly aggressive ME 110 pilot keep on coming back at us. due to him we lost No.1 engine on the port wing but Lt Patterson managed to feather it back despite losing heat to the pilots compartment. We had to drop out of formation and descend to a safe altitude.

As we sped across the sea we were attacked yet again by the Luftwaffe. A burst of fire swept across the pilots compartment wounding Lt Patterson & Lt Hope. The skipper was in a bad way drifting in and out of consciousness; Lt Norris managed to move him from the pilots seat and make him as comfortable as possible.

We experienced further sporadic attacks as we neared England but with no further damage incurred. I started to believe that we had seen the last of the enemy as we crossed the Channel; alas this hope was dashed as 6 enemy fighters appeared from out of the blue. Luckily we managed to evade most of them and Lt Busbridge shot down a ME 109 that was heading straight at us.

It was all horribly familiar as a lone German pilot came at us again and again. Fortunately for the plane most of the damage that he inflicted was superficial, although he did manage to damage the elevators. Worse, was the burst of fire that riddled the front of the plane and badly wounded Lt Busbridge. Eventually the FW 190 flew off to our heartfelt relief.

As we approached base I warned the crew to expect a bumpy landing after the pummeling the plane had been taking. I was grateful to get her down in one piece, although we were missing several bits of the plane by this time.

The medics got quickly to work on the skipper and Lt Busbridge who were rushed off to hospital.

I regret to inform you that due to their injuries both men have been declared unfit to fly further combat missions and will be returning home once they are well enough to travel.

I also regret to inform you that due to the severe damage sustained to the 'Breakin' Away', the ground crew have decided that she cannot fly again.

Respectfully Yours
Lt Neville Hope - Co Pilot
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Alexandros Boucharelis
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After Action Report (AAR) #78

Pilot: 2nd Lt. Charles Skordalias
B17: Nymph (B-17F-BO-43-6553) - BG
Sqdn.: 151st
Target: Flensburg - Shipyard, Germany
Position: Low
Bomb Load: 20 x 250 lb British Incendiaries Bombs
# Missions: ¡¡¡¡¡¡
A/C Claims: +++++++++++++++++++++++

Crew Status

Pilot: 2nd Lt. Charles Skordalias, (6)
Copilot: 2nd Lt. Vrasidas Vrikolakas, (6), KIA
Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Giannis Doukas, (5), SW, I.H
Navigator: 2nd Lt. Michael Ksenopoulos, **(5)
Engineer: MSgt. Michael Chilarinos, ####½ (15)
Radio Operator: Sgt. Ippourgos Ksipolitos, (6)
Ball Gunner: Sgt. Crisos Petrelaiou, #, (6), 1 x Me 109
Port Waist: Sgt. Petsas Kalopsimenos, * (6), KIA
Starboard Waist: Sgt. Aristomenis Falainas, (6), 1 x FW 190
Tail Gunner: Sgt. Giannis Soldatos, ***½ (7)

() : missions completed
: personal rabbit foot
½: half fighter previously claimed
*: 1 fighter previously claimed
#: 5 fighters previously claimed = ACE


Bomb Drop : OFF / 0%

Fighters Encountered: 16 (0 Experts / 1 Aces / 0 Greens)
Fighters Driven off: 1
Claims: Damaged: 1 - Propable: 2 - Kills: 2
Flak Hits: NIL

B-17's Disposition: Landed ok, will be ready for the next mission
Total Superficial Damages: 7/15 Hits
Peckham Damage Points: 102
PORT SIDE: wing root 20% damaged, multiple superficial hits
STBD SIDE: inboard fuel tank hit=self sealed, wing superficial hits
MAIN BODY: control cables 100% destroyed, bomb bay superficial hit, & pilot compt S.F hits
HEAT OUT: NIL
O2 OUT: navigator's 50% damaged

Recommendations:
Air medal to the following: 2nd Lt. Giannis Doukas, 2nd Lt. Michael Ksenopoulos.
Purple hearts to wounded and dead crew members.

Promotions
NIL

Mission Description:

Another one mission to the hell's gates. The flight started as always easily, but our luck wasnt our ally this time. We lost 3 comrades, 2 of them for ever and one is being recovering at the hospital for a long period of time as i was told. My next-seated Vrasidas took a huge bullet in his chest which killed him instantly and his blood was all over the cockpit, i 'm telling you, the sight of his inner organs on the panel made the flight and the landing a very difficult task, but with the help of the 'old one' Chilarinos, we managed to land my girl easily. Cant say much more sir, we 've lost the target completely 'cause of my bombardier's wounds, the mayhem and the screams... even my 'old one' didnt score any German kills, don't know, the spirit i mean the morale was low since the beginning, at least we landed with most ofmy crew safe and sound.
Sincerely,

2nd Lt. Charles Skordalias
Pilot of B17F "Nymph"
151st Squadron, 281st Bomb Group (V)

Game notes:
Charilaos was very accurate at last! scored a walking hit with his ace pilot which caused me a lot of trouble since zone 4. I even had Achilleas rolled some defensive dices which scored 1 FW190 kill for my stbd waist gunner!
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ian morris
United Kingdom
Birmingham
West Mids
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Heligoland AAR




Mission 79/Bomber 3
Squadron : 153rd
Pilot : Captain Willard
B-17 : The Crystal Ship

Crew :-

Pilot Cptn Willard (3)
CoPilot Lt Morrison (3)
Navigator Lt Manzarek * (3)
Bombardier Lt Kurtz * (3)
Engineer Mstr Sgt Phillips **** (3)
Radio Operator Sgt Krieger * (3)
Ball Turret Sgt Johnson #*** (3)
Waist Gunner Sgt Miller * (3)
Waist Gunner Sgt Hicks (3)
Tail Turret Sgt Densmore ** (3)


() : missions previously completed.
# : 5 fighters previously claimed.
* : fighters previously claimed.
^ : half fighter previously claimed.

Fighters claimed : 5 x Me 109, 1 x FW 190.
Bombing results : 50 % on target.
Injuries : nil.


Debrief



It wasn't supposed to be Heligoland, but these missions have a way of going tits up.

The mission started quietly for us, although we saw Here We Go Again dropping out of formatiom. Until we reached Kiel, only one 109 had a go at us. We scared off a 190 near Kiel, and took some minor damage from a 109 - Hicks's suit heater and the port wing flap were knocked out.

Kiel was in the grip of a raging tempest, and we were riders on the storm to Flensburg, which was socked in by cloud. Krieger knocked down one of two 109s there. Rather than carry our bombs home, the Group leader had us divert to kraut airfields at Heligoland, where Kurtz excelled himself with a very successful incendiary drop, muttering all the while to himself : "we must incinerate them, pig after pig..."

We lost Jerry for a while, but picked up another half-hearted attack in zone 5, where both 109s were torched by Johnson and Densmore. The krauts didn't seem to want to fight us today.

In zone 3 we picked up a 109 and three 190s. Two of the latter were damaged and forced to break off, while the third was engaged by a P-47. The 109 was a persistent nuisance, knocking out Densmore's suit heater and damaging his oxygen lines. He pushed his luck once too often, though, and Phillips splashed him.

With two suit heaters out and fighter cover available, I decided to drop out of formation to save Hicks and Densmore from frostbite. Of course, the Germans then decided to make a late show, and we were attacked by two 109s and two 190s in the Channel. Another P-47 took down one, and Johnson's .50s took the wing off a 109. The other two were persistent, until Johnson flamed the 190. The remaining 109 took off, out of fuel, ammunition or courage.

We had a textbook landing. With six kills, a fantastic bomb drop, and no injuries, this is our most successful mission yet.


Captain Benjamin Willard


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Johnny Mustang

Ashland
Kentucky
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Pilot: Capt George (Sparky) Anderson
Plane: Big Red Machine

Mission: 79(4)
Target: Kiel – Naval Docks, Bombed Air Fields in Germany
Sqdn: 153rd
Position: High - Middle
Bomb run: 0% (Perez killed before bomb run)

Crew:
Pilot – Capt George (Sparky) Anderson (4) -
Copilot - 2nd Lt. Fred Norman (4) - KIA
Bombardier - 2nd Lt. Tony (Big Dog) Perez (4) - KIA
Navigator - 2nd Lt. Joe Morgan (4) * –
Engineer - SSgt. David Concepcion (4) * –
Radio Op.- TSgt. Pete (Charlie) Rose (4) -
Ball Gunner - Sgt. Ken Griffey *** ½ (4) –
Port Waist - Sgt. Darryl Chaney ½ (3) –
Strbd Waist - Sgt. Dan Driessen (3) -
Tail Gunner - Sgt. Johnny Bench ** (4)- Me109, Me110
A/C Claims: #+++ (2 this mission)

* one enemy fighter
# five enemy fighters
( ) missions

Peckham Points - 179.

Aircraft Status – Brakes out, light damage to both wings, radio room shot to hell. Ball and Top guns are inoperable. Too many bullet holes to count.

Mission Report – Heading to Kiel, we were jumped by a lone Me109 and Bench dropped him before he could line us up. Found Kiel socked in and couldn’t bomb, flak was light. On the way out of Kiel we were attacked by a Me110 and Me410, we traded shots and eventually damaged both of them. They knocked out our Ball Guns, shot us up some and killed Perez (Bombadier). Rose came up from the Radio Room and dropped his bombs when he saw “Anna's Touch” drop his bombs. Pretty sure we hit nothing.

Quiet until Zone 4 when a Me110 made it past the P-47s. It came at us dead on and shot up the pilot compartment and radio room. Co-Pilot Norman died instantly. Rose had vacated the Radio Room to man the nose guns and he would have died too if he’d been in the radio room. It was shot to pieces by cannon fire. Bench in the tail nailed the Me110 as he was coming around for a second pass. Glad he didn’t get another shot at us.

We didn’t have much time to think about Perez and Norman as three Me109s made it lively for us. The P-47s didn’t give us much help this time and we traded rounds for several passes. They finally left us alone and we didn’t hurt them any. We found our brake lines were leaking bad and the top guns are useless.

Just as we could see England a lone FW-190 dove out of nowhere at us. He made one pass and kept going. We saw the P-47s give chase, but he got away. No damage, just scared the crap out of us.

Landing was pretty dicey and we had trouble getting stopped. But no more damage just knocked us around a bit. Only 6 of the original gang left now.

Total for the mission 2-2-0 (killed-probable-damaged)

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Jim Rose
United States
Boise
Idaho
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After Action Report (AAR)
Pilot: 1st Lt. Robert Schoens
Mission: 79 (2)
B-17: Silver Dollar
Squadron: 151st Rapture Time
Target: Heligoland (AF)

Crew Assigned:
Bombardier 2nd Lt Manny Sanchez (1)
Navigator 2nd Lt Raymond Hanson (2) *
Pilot 1st Lt Robert "Bob" Schoens (2)
Co-Pilot 2nd Bill Petso (1)
Engineer Msgt Calvin Roberts
Radio Operator Tsgt John Griffith (3)
Ball Gunner Sgt Edward Silverstone (2)
Port Waist Gunner Sgt William "Billy" Wright (2)
Starboard Waist Gunner Sgt George Roach (3)
Tail Gunner Sgt Donald Blair (1)


* one enemy fighter
# five enemy fighters
( ) missions


Claims: Navigator R. Hanson (1) ME 109

Crew Injuries/Casualties: Engineer C. Roberts (KIA), Starboard Waist gunner G. Roach (2 LW)

Bomb Drop: - Off Target - 10%

B-17's Disposition: Port Waist gun jammed beyond repair, Port Elevator inoperable, Radio Room oxygen out, Bombardier's heat and oxygen out, Control Cables damaged in waist compartment.

Mission Description: At briefing, we were told that enemy resistance was most likely to be fairly light. Outbound that was indeed the case as we didn't see the enemy until just before the bomb run. (3) FW190's seriously injured our engineer and knocked out the radio room oxygen system. Just as the 190's made off, we dropped to a lower altitude. Flak missed us, but the soup was too thick to acquire the target. We headed to the secondary target, and flak was not an issue on the way out of Kiel. Flensburg, too, was covered in clouds and there was no sighting the shipyards. As a last resort, we were briefed to hit an airfield on Heligoland Island where the weather was somewhat better.

No flak being present, we lined up and gave it our best but our bombardier couldn't nail the drift readings and we were off target. However, two of the bombs did strike the far end of the runway.

We made for home watching for fighters to pick on us, but incredibly, none were there to do so until zone 4. That's where we picked up most of the damage to the Silver Dollar, including the death of our newly assigned engineer. (Guess that's why we don't make friends easy anymore) (2) 109's hit the control cables in the waist, knocked out the bombardier's heat and oxygen and finished off Calvin. Ray got one of them for his first kill, and the other ME was too badly damaged to attempt another run. Our Sparky, John, moved Calvin to his compartment and took over the top mount. Since Cal was gone, we pushed the ship back to a higher altitude to try and reattach to the formation, but couldn't locate them.

In zone 3, (3) more FW's showed up. The only scary moment was when one of the shells went right through the #2 engine cowling. I thought for a second she lit up, but it must have been a tracer round. I told Bill to keep an eye on the sky and controls while I watched the fan for signs of trouble. After a couple of minutes I took over from Bill and we made landing preparations. I'm beat and, for the first time, took two shots of whiskey before the debrief. That old biscuit mattress never looked so good.
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Marco K
Netherlands
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Mission 79/28/4


After Action Report (AAR): Mission 79/28/4
This Bomber: #7
Date: Thursday, July 29, 1943
Primary Target: Kiel, Germany - Naval Dockyard
Secondary Target: Flensburg, Germany - Shipyard
Last Resort T/O: Heligoland Island, Germany - Air fields

Plane: “Old Nick” (B-17F-80-BO-42-299346-BB-E)
Sqdn: 152nd Bombardment Squadron, 218th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
Position Sqdn: Low-Low
Position Plane: Middle
Bomb Load: 20 x 250 lb British Incendiaries Bombs
Bombing Altitude: 29,500 ft (High Group)

Crew:
Pilot: 2nd Lt. Lee Miller (3)
Co-pilot: 2nd Lt. Brian Bradley (1)
Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Greg Dawson (2)
Navigator: 2nd Lt. Jack Tibbets (3) * * SW IH PH
Engineer: MSgt. James Kirby (3) *** SW DOW PH
Radio-operator: TSgt. Neil Wimble (12) LC FB RR ***
Ball Gunner: Sgt. Mart Palmer (3) ****
Port Waist Gunner: Sgt. Tony Martelli (1)
Starboard Waist Gunner: Sgt. Bob Ackland (12) LC
Tail Gunner: Sgt. Paul Heidelberger (6) ***

(): missions completed
* fighter claimed previous missions
*: fighter claimed this mission
#: Ace (5 fighters clamed)


SW = Seriously Wounded
IH = Invalided Home
DOW = Died Of Wounds
FB = Frost Bite
RR = Rapid Recovery
LC = Lucky Charm
PH = Purple Heart

Air Crew Replacements: Navigator: 2nd Lt. Matt Anderson, Engineer: MSgt. Lucas Grey.

Bomb Drop: Off Target
Bombing Accuracy: 0%

Destroyed E/A: 5
Probable enemy shot down: 1
Damaged E/A: 3

Number of Hits sustained: E/A (29), Flak (2)

Peckham Damage Points: 183

Mission Debrief:

A rather cruel one this mission. Three guns were taken out of action even before we reached the primary target. The port waist gun went first, swiftly followed by the top turret both in zone six and in zone eight just before we’ve got a glimpse of what we should be bombing our tail guns were silenced. The navigator and the enigineer were by that time also seriously injured and our radio-man was frostbitten.
Despite the intell, the flak hit us twice but without any further heavy damage. We found our way to the islands, dropped the eggs and raced for home. Sometimes nearly escaping death due to being overwhelmed with large numbers of jerry fighters but we kept on track. More limping than flying we made it back to base. A wonder it was.

Respectfully submitted,

2nd Lt. Lee Miller


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Daniel K. Edwards
United States
El Centro
California
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Pilot: Lt. Carson Critchlow
B17: HONEY STAR
Sqdn.: 154th
Target: KIEL - Naval Facilities / Fkensburg -Shipyards / Heligoland - Airfields
Position: Middle
Mission: 2
A/C Claims: Damaged: 1x Fw190 Destroyed: 1x Fw190

Bomb Run: DNB -- 0%

Crew Status

Pilot: Lt. Carson Critchlow - (2)
Copilot: Lt. John Koltek - (2)
Bombardier: Lt. Robert Douglas - (2)
Navigator: Lt. Gustav Mortensen - (2)
Engineer: MSgt. Stefen Talek - (3) (+)
Radio Operator: Sgt. Leonard Edwards - (2)
Ball Gunner: Sgt. Harold Barbour - (2) (+) (+)
PWG: Sgt.Sean O'Harra - (1)
SWG: Sgt. David Brandt - (2)
Tail Gunner: Sgt. Rolando Fallchichi - (3)

Aircraft Status: Minor damages to be repaired in time for next mission

Mission Summary: Jerry FW's made runs at us not long after we got out over the North Sea, Our P-47's went after several of them, but two got through. One Jerry coming at us from 12 high was hit by TT gunner Sgt. Talek and that FW burst into flames, missing us by about 50 feet as he flamed down toward the North Sea. The second Jerry was diving from straight above us and hit us, punching holes in our port wing inboard fuel tank. Sgt, Talek, engineer, informed me that at the rate we were losing fuel, we wouldn't even have enough to make it to Germany, much less to target and home. So, radioed others in squadron, dropped out of formation, bombed some fish and headed for base. Landed safely.

Respectfully Submitted,

Carson Critchlow, 1LT., USAAF
Pilot - B-17 HONEY STAR
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Jim P
United States
Sterling Heights
Michigan
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But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you… And I will beat you.
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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF WAR
HEADQUARTERS 281ST BOMB GROUP (H) VIII BOMBER COMMAND EIGHTH AIR FORCE
EIGHTH AIR FORCE STATION 200 ELVEDEN HALL ENGLAND APO 667




Pilot: 1st Lt. Walter Zabalaoui
B-17: Tru Bella II (B-17F-65-B0 42-29697) GG-A
Squadron: 154th Bombardment Squadron, 218th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
Mission: 79 (Bomber 3)
Date: July 29, 1943
Target: Heligoland, Germany. A/F
Position: Middle

Crew Status:
Pilot: 1st Lt. Walter Zabalaoui (6)
Copilot: 2nd Lt. William C. Lemay (4) SW-IH
Bombardier: 2nd Lt. John N. Mahood (1)
Navigator: 2nd Lt. Lawerence J. Picklesimer * (1)
Engineer: MSgt. Jack J. Page (4) *** * SW-IH
Radio Operator: TSgt. Tyler R. Savino * (1)
Ball Gunner: Sgt. John Krieger (6) #* *
Port Waist: Sgt. Wayne A. Grier (1)
Starboard Waist: Sgt. Joe F. Price (3)
Tail Gunner: Sgt. Jorge M. Erving (4) # ** SW + KIA = DOW

Key:
½ = Half an Enemy A/C KIA
* = 1 Enemy A/C KIA
# = 5 Enemy A/C KIA

Bomb Run:
---- Bomb Drop; Off Target
---- Accuracy; 0%

Enemy Fighters Encountered: (5=KIA / 2=Prob / 1=Damg)
---- Me109: 1-KIA / 2-Prob / 1-Damg (8 Attacked)
---- Me410: 2-KIA / 0-Prob / 0-Damg (2 Attacked)
---- FW190: 1-KIA / 0-Prob / 0-Damg (7 Attacked)
---- Driven-off: none

Claims:
2nd Lt. L. Picklesimer: 1X Me410
MSgt. J. Page: 1x Fw190 (Prob = 190)
TSgt. T. Savino: 1x Me109
Sgt. J. Krieger: 1x Me410 (Prob = 2x109; Damg = 109)

Medals and Promotions:
Purple Heart: Sgt. Jorge M. Erving (posthumously), 2nd Lt. William C. Lemay, MSgt. Jack J. Page

B-17s disposition:
Msgt. Cory Berkely “Tru Bella II” Sustained moderate to heavy damage.
Damage report as follows: Number one engine out, Starboard wing root 40% damaged, rubbe rafts destroyed, cables cut in bomb bay, tail wheel destroyed, rudder root 33% damaged and starboard elevator out. Four hits causing wounds, one fatal, two were serious and none of a light nature. Twenty-one of Thirty-four hits were of a superficial nature (289pts Peckham Points)

Replacements:
Copilot: 2nd Lt. Graham D. Faircloth
Engineer: MSgt. Christopher M. Ritter
Tail Gunner: Sgt. John C. Revis

Mission Description:
Subject: Heligoland, Germany. A/F
29-July-43 Mission Report C4M79-697A

Mission Debriefing:
Pending

Mission Note: TBD
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Alexandros Boucharelis
Greece
Drama
Macedonia
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jasta6 wrote:

Tail Gunner: Sgt. Jorge M. Erving (4) # ** SW-IH + KIA


??? which is right? invalided home or died of wounds?
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Jim P
United States
Sterling Heights
Michigan
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kastrologos wrote:
jasta6 wrote:

Tail Gunner: Sgt. Jorge M. Erving (4) # ** SW-IH + KIA


??? which is right? invalided home or died of wounds?


Actually both! He took a SW and then two attacks later a KIA.... Forgot to remove the "-IH"

Ta!
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David Lanphear
United States
Stockton
California
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Pilot: 2nd Lt. Harold Talavera
Plane: WILD HORSES

Mission: 79(3)
Target: Heligoland - Airfields
Sqdn: 153rd
Position: High
Bomb run: 0%

Crew:
Pilot - 2nd Lt. Harold Talavera (6)
Copilot - 2nd Lt. Joshua Hickey (6) - LW
|▐██▌| w/cluster
Bombardier - 2nd Lt. Kenneth Pak (3) - LW, claims 1xBf109 ½xBf110
Navigator - 2nd Lt. Robert Quinlan (3)
Engineer - SSgt. Stephen Irons **½ (4) - claims ½xBf110
Radio Op.- TSgt. Juan Rowlett * (6)
▌██▐ |▐██▌|
Ball Gunner - Sgt. George Risley *** (3) - claims 1xBf109 1xBf110
Port Waist - Sgt. Alan Brian (3) - claims 1xBf109
Strbd Waist - Sgt. Wayne Nieman * (6) - SW
|▐██▌| w/cluster
Tail Gunner - Sgt. James Crite *½ (3) - KIA
|▐██▌|

½ shared credit
* one enemy fighter
# five enemy fighters
( ) missions

Aircraft Status - Aircraft returned with damage to control cables, radio inoperable, port cheek gun inoperable, damage to Radio Compartment O2, #3 engine damaged, bomb release controls inoperable, starboard elevators inoperable, intercom inoperable, tailguns inoperable, #1 engine damaged, tail compartment O2 damaged, cockpit window damaged, Bombardier heater system inoperable, port wing aileron inoperable, 35 shell holes in fuselage and wings (234 Peckham points), claims of 3 Bf109s and 2 Bf110s, probable damage to 1 Bf109 and 3 Fw190s, 4 casualties (2 LW, 1 SW, 1 KIA).

Mission Report

I felt it in my bones when the curtain was pulled back that this was going to be a tough mission. Coupled with expected poor weather over the target was the fact that once again we were going back to Germany. Hopefully the Germans wouldn't be able to put up much resistance in such lousy weather or maybe we would get lucky and catch them by surprise and it wouldn't be so bad after all.

Takeoff and formup went well given the conditions. Soon as we began our route over the channel we were intercepted by some 109s. Our escorts were johnny-on-the-spot and drove them off. So much for surprise.

Next a group of Bf110s rose up to engage us. Sgt. Risley in the ball turret reported flaming one of the 110's engines forcing the crew to bail out, but his comrades inflicted their revenge. Sgt. Rowlett reported that our radio had been hit and was inoperable, Lt. Pak reported being clipped by some shrapnel as shells were coming through the fuselage in the nose compartment. Sgt. Brian reported that Sgt. Nieman had been hit in the leg and was bleeding heavily, but that Sgt. Nieman had gotten a tourniquent on it and had stemmed the bleeding. We lost contact with our tail gunner and Sgt. Brian reported that he couldn't see any movement from the tail section through the structural struts.

Things quieted down after that until we were almost to Germany when a mixed grouping of 109s and 190s rose to engage us. Sgt. Brian reported damaging one 109 but Lt. Quilan reported the port cheek mounting had been damaged and the gun was out of commission. The aircraft's handling also become a little sluggish at this point.

Crossing Germany, things were quiet, but when we made the target area the Germans were waiting for us again with many 109s. In the ensuing fight, Sgts. Risley and Brian each reported one destroyed 109, but we were also hit ferorciously by the pack. Our #3 engine began to sputter and lose power. We quickly got it shut down and feathered successfully but with a full load, the drag would soon find us falling behind the squadron. I ordered Lt. Pak to try and locate a target if possible through the clouds, but to dump them anyway even if he was unable to find anything. He reported he couldn't see anything and was going to drop as ordered. After a few minutes, and without feeling the plane respond normally after a drop I got on the comm and asked Lt. Pak and Sgt. Risley if the drop had occurred. Lt. Pak reported that he had toggled but Sgt. Risley reported that the doors had opened but there had been no drop. Sgt. Rowlett reported that he had looked into the bomb bay and the bombs were still hanging on the racks. I immediately ordered him to release them manually and he complied. Being free of the weight we were able to regain and maintain our position.

The squadron turned for the run in and the flak began to burst around us. Sometime during the flak our intercom system went down. Sgt. Rowlett appeared at my right shoulder, an oxygen bottle on his mask and with some yelling through his mask near my ear confirmed that the system was down. I gave him instructions to go through out the plane and let everyone know and then return to his station and man his gun.

There was no bomb dropped over Kiel that any of the crew could see, and the squadron turned away. Looks like we were going for our secondary target which were the shipyards at Flensburg. But when we got there the cloud cover was just has bad as over Kiel. Apparently the group lead couldn't find a target either and so no one dropped as well. The squadron then turned for home. In circumstances as this, the group will seek out any targets of opportunity to bomb. Looks like the group lead was going to take us over the Heligoland island. There is a known airfield there and while the Germans are known to get damaged airfields up and running quickly, hopefully it might knock them down for a day or two which would give them one less place to launch intercepts.

The squadron must of found a hole because we saw them drop. Cloud cover was pretty bad here too, I hope the strike does some damage. Once we left the area we were hit again by the Germans. A grouping of Bf110s were giving us a farewell sendoff. During the fight my engineer dropped down to quickly tell me #3 engine was smoking before returning to his turret. With some loud talking and some hand signals I was able to inform Joshua and had him watch the engine's indicators. For fifteen minutes the indicators were normal but then Joshua signalled me that the oil pressure was beginning to fall. I had to make a quick decision, shut her down and get her feathered now which would cause us to fall back and descend or keep her going as long as possible before she gave out and at which time we might not be able to feather it. Either way we going to lose the squadron's protection. I opted to do a controlled shutdown now. Once completed we began to fall away, and I began to descend to try and maintain some airspeed for as long as possible before having to level out and slow down. We were going to be alone and vunerable for a very long time.

Sgt. Rowlett appeared in the cockpit and informed me that he had checked on the crew aft, Sgts. Risley and Brian were at their stations although the port waist gun was jammed, so Sgt. Brian was manning the starboard position. Sgt. Nieman was still alive but in a bad way. Sgt. Rowlett had also reported that he had made his way through the stuctural struts to the tail but he's pretty sure Sgt. Crite is dead. The compartment appears to be a mess and it appears the gun mounting is damaged. "Looks like a flak burst was close enough to shred the compartment" he said.

I told him to go back to his station, he's now got to cover our six.

Without an intercom, all I could do was maintain our last known heading and fly onward. We finally had to level off, which meant our airspeed dropped. We weren't in danger of falling out of the sky, but we were just slower. We were a target and a slow one. Some of the German pilots who had seen us drop had obviously followed us down as I would see them zip by us with their guns or cannons spouting flames and I could feel Sgt. Irons twin 50's in the top turret through the bulkhead. All I could do was fly on and try to be as small as possible when the fighters made their headon runs at us. Occassionally I'd see an enemy aircraft smoking as it went by, I'd give a muted cheer into my mask knowing one of my crew had scored a hit. One enemy fighter burst into flames as it passed over us from front to back. Someone had gotten a kill!

We flew on and on, and the Germans kept coming. Soon the 109s became 110s, We had survived one enemy assualt and had been passed off to another fresh group who wanted to take us down. But on we flew. Suddenly our cockpit window spidercracked as an enemy shell had passed through it and embedded itself in the bulkhead behind us. It was a mircle that neither Joshua or I had been seriously wounded or killed by it. Joshua only received a small gash on his gloved hand where some of the cockpit window had cut through. If that shell had been six inches either way, one of us would of been killed. I felt then that we might have a chance, perhaps Lady Fate was smiling upon us today. Instead of taking us into eternity, she had let us smell her scented hair as she gave us a faint kiss and then was on her way.

A Bf110 passed over us, an engine on fire. Ole Wild Horses still had some kick in her. My crew was still fighting, if we were to fall, we would not fall alone. A few minutes later, Sgt. Irons dropped from his turret and took off his mask, I did the same as we had no need for oxygen at this altitude.

"Looks like they had enough sir. They turned tail and ran!"

"Sgt., you know the Jerries never run, they just send reinforcements, better man your station again."

"Sir, the turret is out of ammo and with the intercom down, I figure I could be your runner if you need to send a message."

"Sgt., make a run through the plane and check on the crew, but first check with Lt. Quinlan on our position and get any course corrections."

Sgt. Irons went through the forward hatch and came back a short while later. "Sir, Lt. Quinlan says turn to 230 and start praying we don't run into anymore Jerries!"

He had a smile on his face as he talked.

I laughed back and told him "Right, I wonder if the lieutenant thinks all I do back here is sit and fly!"

"No Sir, I figure you're like the rest of us and ask a silent prayer when we can find the time while shooting at those Jerry pilots. I'll check aft on everyone."

I stopped him and told him of Sgt Crites in the tail as they had been buddies. He simply paused and said "He was a good man and friend." and then turned and headed aft.

A plane suddenly shot past our port side and then another. Dammit! we still weren't home free. The planes suddenly banked in front of us and we could see the markings. Those were our guys! We had been found by friendlies. Our odds of living another day had gone up. One plane each positioned itself on either side of us and stayed with us until we made the English coast, They then formed up, waggled their wings and took off, hopefully in search of other lost souls who were probably praying for their own angels to show up and lead them home.

The rest of way over land to home was uneventful. Our landing was somewhat dicey though as the plane was slow to respond. Looks like the ground crews will be busy working on the avionic controls. Medics took off Sgt. Nieman, it appears the shell shattered his bone in his leg. His war is over. Sgt. Crites was indeed killed in action. The tail section will need extensive repairs. I know he went down fighting for us. Lt. Pak and Lt. Hickey are being treated onsite for their minor wounds. My crew is home, most of us safe, those gone are missed and remembered for the men they were and the sacrifice they made. I light up a smoke and walk to the jeep waiting to take me to the debriefing hut.

2nd Lt. Harold Talavera, Pilot, 153rd Bomber Squadron, 281st Bomber Group (H)
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