October 6, 1943: The 670th Bomb Group's mission is to marshalling yards in Amiens. Take off is in poor weather which results in a bad formation during assembly, and it will affect the formation flying on the mission. The group reaches the RV point for the fighter cover, which should be fair close escort with top and high cover, but no fighters are seen anywhere so the 670th continues for 25 miles to see if the Little Friends will RV over the Channel...
They are not to be seen. The Mission Commander has to decide whether to abort or continue now. The opposition is heavy and flak is expected to be heavy over Amiens. He decides to continue.
Two waves of enemy fighters attack the low flight in the lead box when the formation is half-way between England and France. The B-26 gunners are very busy today as the Little Friends are nowhere to be seen. First up are two 190-A6s coming in from 6 high and 6 low. Both have another bomber then Lucky #13 as their target. Corporal Engle in the to turret fires and damages one seriously. Not long there after he damages another fighter, a 109F-4, which is one of three attacking from 12. Corporal Morris in the tail hits an F-4 at 6 high.
As the box nears the French coast three waves attack. There are 109F-4s and later G-6s attacking from 12, 6 and 5 o'clock. Lieutenant Borden damaged an F-4 and Morris another and a G-6. One of the fighters, a G-6, hit Lucky #13. The raft was destroyed, plus he hit the rudder and the Aft Bomb Bay.
The weather had improved somewhat over the target, The forecast was poor, but it was now fair. The low flight tried its best to fly a good formation from the IP, but with fighters all around the pilots were far from each others in a loose formation. Three waves took the opportunity to attack. They come in from 3, 9, 6 and 12 o'clock. Three are shot down by the gunners on Lucky #13 before the bomb run.
Flak was heavy, strong and fair in accuracy. Even though the weather had improved the lead bombardier could not find the aim point so the box commander decided to break off and return to England...
The enemy fighters continued to swarm like bees around the 670th, and they were around the B-26s all the way across the Channel. The low flight met one wave after leaving the target, Me 109G-6s. Two waves followed. FW190A-4s in the first and G-6s in the second. The engineer and armorer in Lucky #13 damaged two or three and drove off others. The armorer Corporal Edwin Morris was killed when the group was attacked by three waves over the English Channel. Corporal Pete Engle, the engineer, was seriously wounded. The navigator-bombardier lieutenant Hyman Borden was also killed.
Lucky #13 landed safely, but was damaged. It will be repaired in time for the next mission.
After Action Report
514th Squadron, 670th Bomb Group
B-26B-4 Crew Chief: Msgt Nick Hammond/+2
Pilot: 2Lt Gabriel Cahill - 1x109 KIA
Co-Pilot: 2Lt Gene Rossiter
Bombardier/Navigator: 2Lt Hyman Borden - KIA - 1x109 FBOA
Radio Operator: Corp Neil Marlow - LW
Engineer: Corp Pete Engle - Scratch - SW-Crit - DOW - 3x109FBOA; 2x190FBOA; 1x190KIA; 1x109 KIA
Armorer: Corp Edwin Morris - KIA - 4x109 FBOA; 1x190FBOA; 1x109KIA
Damage Report: Left main gear hydraulic line cut; Window hit; Greenhouse hit; Left tail gun ammo track hit; Right package gun destroyed; Nose, cock-pit and Radio Room heat out; Raft destroyed; Aft right oxygen bottle out; Rudder hit; Bomb release mechanisk destroyed; nose wheel punctured; Aft bomb bay door mechanism destroyed; Left aileron destroyed; Emergency hydraulic tank destroyed; Radio operator oxygen regulator destroyed; Radio destroyed; Right tail plane root hit; Right wing root hit; Bomb bay door manual closing mechanism destroyed; Pilot compartment right oxygen bottle out; Left tail gun ammo box hit; Left elevator destroyed.
2Lt Gabriel Cahill
How did you land that lady? They're difficult enough to land when they're intact!-:)-Al.