As our crew assembles we can hardly believe that we have finally been called to tally forth and bring the war to our enemies. We look on in wonder as we see our brand new B-17 sitting in front of us, we have decided to name her the Dragon Lady. Roll Call is sounded and we soon discover that we are all present and waiting for the briefing that will send us for the first time into war against Nazi Germany.
The Sergent Major starts the roll call for the Dragon Lady:
Pilot - Captain Joe Ewing
Bombardier - Lieutenant Kirk Brenner
Navigator - Lieutenant Louis Holmes
Co-Pilot - Lieutenant Paul Allen
Engineer - Master SGT Anthony Blackwell
Radio Operator - SGT Joseph Newman
Ball Gunner - SGT Herbert Chadwick
Port Waist Gunner - SGT Harley Davis
Starboard Waist Gunner - SGT Casey Grossman
Tail Gunner - SGT Albert Ward
After Roll Call we are given our mission Assignments it will be a short jaunt over to Lille France to bomb the enemies Industry, we will leave at 0800 tomorrow morning. We will be flying in the middle position of the middle of the squadron.
The Following Day
At 0600 our crew is out at the Dragon Lady checking her over, Master SGT Blackwell found a couple of minor problems but they have been fixed and we will be on schedule to leave at 0800.
We Launch right as planned from London at 0800 and our flight proceeds along our planned route, taking us near St. Omer and our first real encounter of the the war. As we saw the Nazi wing come in, our fighter escort came in and wiped out the advancing fighter wing, allowing us to fly on towards Lille. As we arrive at Lille we are attacked by a squadron of ME-109's our fighter cover did what they could but we still had one fly in on at our 6 o'clock high. SGT Ward let loose with a burst from his tail guns and yelled out in glee when he watched the first shots slam home into the German plane... he then fell silent as it kept coming. Sgt Newman watching Ward's shot also attempted to put rounds into the advancing German fighter but missed entirely leaving all of our hopes on Master SGT Blackwell who let loose with a burst of his own, with his rounds missing off to the side of the advancing fighter. The German then let loose with bursts of his own. 8 shells slamming home into our bomber. With 2 shells hitting the radio room, one just causing some minor damage to the hull of the plane but the other one grazing Sgt Newman. 2 more shells just punched threw the nose of the plane causing no damage. 1 shell slamming into the cock pit window, then there was a report of superficial damage to the bomb bay, then we got a report from SGT Chadwick that his turrets mechanism took a shell and was no longer responding to his controls, and the last round just punched threw the tail section of the plane not doing any lasting damage. Then the fighter came back from a different course, coming in at 3:00 Level. Master SGT Blackwell fired a burst, this time making contact with the enemy fighter, SGT Chadwick unable to fire sat and watched the enemy fighter approach, and SGT Grossman takes aim and lets loose a burst of his own and watched as the enemy fighter took severe enough damage that it fell from the sky a mangled wreck, giving SGT Grossman the Dragon Lady's first kill. After the last of the German fighters have cleared away, then the Flak started to rain in amongst our bombers, we were lucky to only have light flak and the Dragon Lady flew threw it unscathed. We then released our bombs, and from the reports of the spotters on the ground, our squadron destroyed 60% of the cities industry capability.
We then turned for home were we encountered multiple waves of fighters trying to get at our bombers. We see a FW 190 coming in at 10:30 high and a ME 110 doing a vertical climb to attempt and claw at our bombers belly. Our fighter cover destroyed the Folk Wolfe, but alas SGT Chadwick could not fire at the on coming ME 110, and to his horror he see's enough kill markings to identify this pilot as an ace. he scored walking hits as he climbed up towards our bomber. Lieutenants Brenner and Holmes, both reported being wounded but that they were still mission capable. I, Captain Ewing, then had a hit score on my oxygen reserves. We then had a superficial hit to our bomb bay, SGT Newman then lets out a curse as for a second time he is hit by enemy fire entering into the radio room. SGT Grossman then turns in a report that his gun was hit by enemy fire and is inoperable, and then we were hit once more with superficial damage to our tail. The enemy fighter returned coming at us from the 1:30 level position. LT. Holmes then fired and missed at the approaching ME-110. The German fighter fired at us and missed, then he proceeded to break off and head for home. A second wave of bombers attacked us, from 6 level and 9 low, our friends in the skies drove off the ME 110 at 9 low, leaving only 1 to contend with a ME 110 attacking us from the rear. SGT Ward opens fire and the ME 110 turns into a bright fireball behind our bomber. As we near St. Omer a enemy wave fly's out of the sun consisting of 5 FW 190's, our little friends knock out 3 of them leaving us to only contend with one doing a vertical dive, and one at 6 high. Master SGT Blackwell and SGT Newman both fired at the approaching FW 190 on our tail but both with out any luck. SGT Ward then fired and the FW 190 started spraying black smoke out of its engine, the flaming FW opened fire and missed our bomber before he broke off, the diving FW then fired onto us, and to our astonishment he missed as well.
After Action Report Signed by Captain Joe Ewing Pilot of the B-17 Dragon Lady.