Just a short one tonite. Not much to say but I’m past due at writing again so here goes. Only got 2 letters in the last three days. An old one from Sister, dated March 13th & your v-mail of the 19th.
You never did say whether you ended up with fish or eggs that nite. Now you have me curious. Would I ever love some boned herring or whitefish now. All they have over here is these darn salt water fish & they’re a little more than I can stomach. I’ll tell you what I do misss most of all, that is one of those good old delicious salads. Man, my mouth is watering half of the time
thinking about them. Continue reading →
The raid on the Skoda Works, in Pilsen Czechoslavakia, was the last raid I flew and the last major bombing mission of the war–I think it was on the 25th of April, 1945. It was strictly a visual target and one of the longest missions of the war–if I recall right, we were in the air over 11 and 1/2 hours. The Skoda works, of course had been taken over by Germany, and was making many kinds of war munitions. Just as we were leaving the Coast of England, I thought I’d tune into the BBC radio and get a little music!! Just as I did I heard, ” We interrupt this program for a special bulletin!! The American 8th Air Force has just announced that they are on their way to bomb the Skoda Works, in Pilsen and have informed the Czechs to abandon the plant to cut down on their casulities!!” For G— sake, we’re not even out of sight of England yet!!
We crossed Germany proper with no problem, but as we approached the Pilsen area–it became more and more cloudy and the Flak was getting thicker and thicker!! By the time we got there, the overcast was about 50%–remember this was a visual target only!–so we made our bomb run anyway–but couldn’t drop them, for the target was hidden by the clouds! Our “erstwhile” Leader decided that we’d make a big 360 degree turn–it must have taken 10 minutes–and make another bomb run! The Flak was more than twice as thick, as the first time!! It (the target) was still overcast, so we made another big “360”–the flak was thicker yet. But we were able to drop our bombs! — and turned away to head back for England–I looked back as we did, and about as fast as you can snap your fingers three times, —– three planes in the Group behind us were hit and started spiraling down–I saw three parachutes from the one plane–but nothing!! from the others! We(the 8th Air force) lost 16 planes on that raid—one of the highest % loss of any raid in the war(I believe there were less than 100 planes involved) and all due to Flak!!!
Just another short line again today. Have been doing much real work the last few days but have been busy enough to keep fairly well out of mishief. (almost)
Got 8 letters this morning, a darn good mail call. As usual, I owe every body at least one letter & some 3 or 4. Guess you’re the only one I’ve written to in the last week & a half. Got your letter of the 15th & 16th today, telling about the trip down to Bobs. Continue reading →
If you will excuse the pun??–a few “War” stories. I’m not sure which mission it was, but we were supposed to rendezvous–i.e. get into formation, just before dawn, North of London. We had gotten into formation with our Sqdn. and were just circling; waiting for the time we were to take our place in line as we left the coast of England. I was flying and I happened to look to the left– in the still not quite daylight light, I could just make out another Sqdn. (12 planes) that looked like they were going in a direction that would intercept our flight path!!
I kept watching them–and they kept getting closer and closer! (No need to worry though for surely that Sqdn. Leader or our Sqdn. Leader would see the other and change direction–right???) Wrong!!! It became obvious that all 24 fully loaded planes were going to try to occupy the same bit of air space–I hollered at Wade to get on the controls with me–for we were in “deep trouble”.
As a consequence, I’d see one plane about to collide with us and I’d start to dive to miss it–about the same time–Wade would see another, and he’d try to climb to avoid it! Someway—don’t ask me how? all twenty four planes got thru that small piece of air, without any of them hitting one another!!!
It was now –just daylight –and as we got in the “clear”–every place you looked–above; below; to the right; to the left; ahead or behind–scattered all over, were B-17’s!!! Luckily, that bombing mission was essentially a “milk run”–for we had, had all the excitement we needed for one day!! I’m glad to report that we had a different Sqdn. Leader for our next mission and I understand–so did the other Sqdn.!!Continue reading →