PDA

View Full Version : A True Story of My best Friend Dewayne Bennett In World War 2



XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 01:08 AM
S! all,

I would like to share with you a story about a really good friend of mine and true American B-17 Flier. Dewayne and I used to work together at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Arizona. Dewayne loves to recount his stories and exploits to friends and co workers because he has lives the true World War 2. i warn you this is quite lengthy, but you will enjoy reading it.

So Here is the story:

My name is Dewayne Bennett, and I flew as a pilot in WWll, 8th Air Force, 384th Bomb Group, 545th Squadron. I flew 31 missions, all in B-17s.

I went to pre-flight at Santa Ana, California, Primary at Thunderbird 11, Phoenix; Basic at Marana Army Air Force Base near Tucson, Az.; and Advanced at Douglas Army Air Force Base, Douglas, Az. We flew Stearman trainers at Primary, Bt-13s (Vultee Vibrators) at Marana, and the UC-78 (Bamboo Bomber) at Douglas. After graduating and getting my wings (43-H) August of l943, at Douglas Army Air Force Base in Douglas, Arizona we were sent to Roswell Army Air Force Base, Roswell, N. M. for transition in the B-17.

The B-17 was such a huge change it took a little getting used to, however we survived, and after 9 weeks of training I was a qualified lst pilot on a B-17, the Flying Fortress. It was off to Salt Lake city to pick up a crew. Nine young men who were going to climb in a big bomber with me and trust me to get them home. The crew would be complete except for the Navigator who would join us later in training at Dalhart, Texas. Paul Spiers was the Co-pilot, a hansome young man from Sodus, N.Y. good natured, and most of the time with a big smile on his face. Eugene Burcham, from an easter state was of small stature, and inclined to go by the book. He was the Bombardier, and serious by nature.

Jim Holland was the Engineer and Top Turret Gunner. Jim was from Oklahoma, even tempered, with a sense of humor. He had a little Oklahoma drawl, was very young, and I came to lean on him a great deal. Mike Perrone was the Radio Operator, and was from Brooklyn. He was easy going, and had a wild time when he had a pass. He was known to fight with cab drivers, but he was good with the radio. Bernard Zelazoski, was the Bal Turret Gunner, a handsome young man from Wisconsin, steady and dependable. He could spend long hours in the cramped quarters of the Ball Turret, with never a complaint. He was very dedicated to his job, and did it well. Verlin Gale was the left Waist Gunner. Verlin was from Iowa, and was the steady prop for the rest of the crew. He was not excitable, very good at his job, and never lost his cool. Kenny Wyatt was the right waist gunner, from Los Angeles, and very young. He was only 19 years old, and had gotten married just before we left the States. The war was not for him, and he suffered horribly on the combat missions where we ran into trouble. He left us after 7 missions, and was shot down with another crew. He became a POW.

James Trumbo was the Tail Gunner, and was from Oklahoma. Jim was quiet by nature, and never said much. He handled his job with dispatch, and was a good tail gunner.



"Last Man Standing"
The Raid On Schweinfurt April 13, l944

The daylight bombing raids on Germany by units of the 8th U. S. Army Air Force, which intensified in early 1944 were becoming increasingly dangerous missions for U. S. bomber crews. Nobody knew this better than Lt. Dewayne "Ben:" Bennett whose B-17G "Squawkin ' Chicken" was the only survivor of the 545th Bomb Squadron after the raid on Schweinfurt on April 13, l944.

Ben who, along with his crew, had been assigned to the 384th BG came from Newton, Iowa. He had finished his flight training in the U. S., soloed, was assigned a copilot and in Ben's words, "Away we went." After arrival in Europe Ben first flew a few relatively uneventful missions. Then on April 13th came a day that he and his crew would remember clearly for a lifetime, for during the next hours they would experience horror unfolding all around them.

By this time the Germans had been refining their tactics in the destruction of the bombers. Although the jet fighters would not bother the bomber streams until November l944, the Germans were at an advantage fighting over their homeland enabling them to fly multiple missions in a single day. They could be shot down and still get back into the air with another plane in a matter of hours. The German flak guns were numerous and powerful and one shell hit in the right place could bring down a four engined bomber in an instant.

When the enemy coast was crossed at 1123 hours on this fateful April 13 the 384th Bomb Group had assembled 23 aircraft for a raid on the heavily defended target, a ball bearing factory in Schweinfurt. The Luftwaffe had abeen alerted that there was a bomber formation heading across France towards Germany. Coordinated by the radio bunker in Stade, the Germans assembled FW-190s and Me-109s of three 'Gruppen' of JG-1 to intercept the B-17s.

After the U. S. fighter cover had cleverly been drawn off by another small group of enemy fighters, the "Box Breakers" as they were called were forming up for the attack when it was less than 10 minutes to the target. An ideal time for the Germans to attack. These men were the best at their trade. Time had run out and as Ben recalls, suddenly all hell broke loose.

The box breakers came in from dead ahead and above with a closing speed of more than 500 mph. In the lead were three or four heavily armed FW-190s backed up by at least a dozen fighters of standard configuration. They came in at three or four abreast rolling over inverted while firing. Then they would split-S out, building up even more speed, get back into position for yet another head- on pass.

The bombers responded with a hail of fifty caliber guns firing in the few seconds they could see the enemy fighters. These attacks only lasted three to four minutes before the P-51 escort arrived back on the scene and broke up the attacks, but the damage had been done.

The carnage in the group was unbelievable. The German fighter planes had mauled the bombers with deadly accuracy. Many of the planes were in serious trouble or already plunging to earth.

Still the remaining heavies of the 384th BG pressed on, and the bomb run was made under good visual conditions with bombs away to hit the target at 1409 hours, while the flak fire came up intensly and accurately.

When they left the target area Ben noticed that there were no other planes left in his squadron. He still remembers the moment like a nightmare in slow motion. Everyone in his crew knew that the Germans would have time to land, rearm and refuel for another attack before the slower bomber could reach the coast. The trip would still take more than two hours over enemy territory.

The smell of cordite from the guns was even in the oxygen masks of the crewmen. It was now quiet except for the engines and air rushing past the plane and whistling through the openings where the guns were located. Burned into the minds of the survivors were the voices over the intercom of somebody being hit or going down, the calls to crew to bail out of a plane in its death throes, the counting of parachutes as they appeared behind a stricken plane. Each man was soaked in sweat even though it was below freezing at 21,000 feet. Everything still seemed so unreal.

Ben and his crew finally made it back to England, but not before more attacks had taken another heavy toll. Just shortly before they reached the coast, Ben's wingman, a survivor from another squadron who had moved into a position off of Ben's wing exploded in midair after a direct hit from a flak shell.

The drama and action unfolding with the B-17 badly battered and the top gunner firing at the enemy fighters while the air battle between the P-51 escort and elements of JG-1 is in full swing is set against a masterfully lit deep background. This is without a doubt aviation art at a standard second to none. a true work of art.

The Dewayne Bennett crew all survived their missions to come home.


"The Toilet Stool Ace"

by:
Dewayne "Ben" Bennett
"The Squawkin' Chicken Skipper"
545th Squadron


Americans are an ingenious lot. They look for ways to do things better and easier. Some might construe that Americans are lazy, but I like to think it's common sense, learned through years of hard won freedom. Freedom to think and a strong entrepreneurial streak in their makeup that wants to improve on any project that needs to be improved upon. Give an American a nail, hammer and a piece of bailing wire, and watch out, he's liable to improve a procedure, or piece of equipment that has been in use for a thousand years.

I'm talking about a period of time before and during WWII, up to and through the 50s. Modern educational methods had not yet taken hold, and the public schools still educated young people. I ended up with a ninth grade education, came right off the farm and became a heavy bomber pilot in the US Army Air Corps (how I got in the U S. Army Air Corps is another story to be told later). At Douglas, Az. Army Air Force Base in August of 1943, they put the Second Lieutenant's bars on my shirt collar and shoulders. I was a commissioned officer and a gentleman according to the standards off the US Army. I was also a good candidate for a POW or KIA tag after my name on some unknown list in the future. It was inevitable that I was bound for a foreign shore to fight the enemy, Germany or Japan, and no matter how I schemed, malingered, vacillated, or just plain screwed off, my destiny was assured. I was an Old Plow Boy, and 1 was headed for Combat.

After I got my 2nd Lt.'s bars and wings, they gave me a 10 day leave, and I reported to Roswell Army Air Force Base in Roswell, New Mexico for transition into the B-I 7, The Flying Fortress. She was loaded with gun turrets, radios, switches and dials, and huge gasoline tanks. I could imagine when you loaded this thing with 2800 gallons of high octane gasoline, thousands of rounds of 50 caliber machine gun bullets, and five thousand pounds of high explosive bombs, and you were setting in the pilot's seat (which is where I'd be setting) your *** was in great danger. It looked to me like a risky, dangerous business, and I asked if I could be transferred to cooking school. However, they said there was more applications from pilots than there were openings.

I finished up at Roswell, learned to fly that big Flying Fortress (I never did learn to start the engines, but that's another story), and was sent to Salt Lake City to pick up a crew. They were all extremely young men who looked at me with questioning eyes, "Can that stupid looking Plow Boy fly that big Flying Fortress?" I did my best to look professional and to assure them that I was a competent pilot, and no longer a corn picker. To this day I wonder if I succeeded.

We boarded a troop train in Salt Lake City, and meandered down through Colorado to the little town of Dalhart, Texas. Dalhart is in the panhandle of Texas, and is flat prairie grass lands with some big ranches, little towns, and blizzards like I had never seen before. In the cowboy books I had read as a kid, the cowboys had dreaded the blue northers, and I can understand why. There were a thousand pictures with the cowboy in the wind-driven snow with a calf draped over the saddle. I came to dread that winter in Dalhart, the snow blowing and the howling wind. We were housed in primitive Quonset huts with a pot-bellied stove that burned wood or coal. It was tough getting up in the early morning and starting a fire, especially if the flap of your long winter underwear had accidentally unbuttoned in the restless nightmare (usually B-17s crashing in flames with the pilot still strapped in the seat) filled sleep. There was no let up in the training. The air war in Europe was heating up and the 8th Air Force had lost 60 bombers on one day in October. It was hailed as a great victory for the U.S. Army Air Forces, but the requests to transfer to cooking school went up dramatically among the future combat pilots.

We were now a combat crew. We were through with training, ready to go and fight the Hun. I can't say we were rearin' to go, but we were on our way. They issued us a new airplane, jungle packs, and sent us on our way from Kearney, Nebraska. We were to fly from Kearney to Manchester, N.H., to Goose Bay, Labrador, Iceland, Scotland, and then England. It was a sweat flying over the forbidding, wind whipped Atlantic Ocean; looking down from 20,000 feet it looked lik bone chilling cold, and certain death to fall into its clutches

We were assigned to the 384th Bombardment Group, 545th Squadron, at Grafton Underwood, England. We were a new crew, the first one into this squadron in some time and no one went out of their way to welcome us. I flew a couple of missions as a co-pilot, and on our first mission as a crew, all of the old crews in our squadron were shot down. They brought in three crews with experience (10 missions or more) and three new crews to fill out the squadron. Two weeks later our squadron lost the three experienced crews, including the Squadron Commander, Captain Langlois, and I was the most experienced pilot in the Squadron with six missions.

One of the tactics used by the German fighter pilots against heavy bombers was mind-blowing and murderous. Our crews considered it unsportsmanlike and down right dirty. We had seen several B-17s go down from this dastardly maneuver and had been thinking and talking about ways to sting the Hun when he tried it on us. The German fighter would circle the formation paying particular attention to the ball turret gunners. They were hoping to find a plane with the turret inoperative, out of ammunition, or maybe with the gunner wounded and out of the turret. Finding his prey with an inoperative turret, the Hun would snake his way up under the wounded B-17, pull up sharply, hanging the fighter on the prop, and pour deadly 20mm fire into the unprotected belly. When the B-17 blew up, the fighter would fall off and dive straight down. The Germans called it "Der Unterbelly Caper".

This incensed our crew, and we scratched our heads trying to come up with a method that would protect the underbelly even though the ball turret was inoperative. We had ideas about dropping a large hook attached to a cable, and try to snare the fighter. We thought about dropping chains into the prop, but nobody would volunteer to stand on the bomb bay catwalk and drop the chains at the right time. It was difficult to get anyone to stand in the frigid cold bomb bay with the doors open, the wind and air stream shrieking and howling like a wounded banshee. Especially at 20,000 or 25,000 feet, then it was downright terrorizing with the bomb bay doors open. One crewman suggested we drop used engine oil on the fighter thereby fouling up his windshield, and if he couldn't see he couldn't fire, but how do we get the stuff on the Hun's airplane?

The latter suggestion straightened out our thinking, and we came up with the jellied gasoline idea. It was known at that time that oil-drilling mud (Bentonite) would gel gasoline. Could we rig up a five-gallon can of jellied gasoline, hinged in the bomb bay with a bailing wire running into the cockpit so the pilot could dump the can on command? The ball turret gunner could fire into the gob of jellied gasoline with 50-caliber tracer ammunition, and it would burn the fighter just before he started shooting. It was a bodacious idea; it was doable and we were setting around congratulating ourselves for a great idea.

Our first test came on a mission to Berlin, May 7, 1944. The weather was marginal, but we got through to the target and dropped our bombs. The five-gallon can rested in the bomb bay undisturbed, but not for long. Several Me-109s came sniffing around the formation so we told the ball turret gunner to track the fighters but not to fire. Sure enough one of the fighters started ducking in and out to see if the ball turret gunner was going to shoot at him. We held off until suddenly he was below us pulling up to hang on his prop. When the gunner yelled "Now!", I pulled the wire and the jellied gasoline went out. In one big gob. The slipstream tore the gob apart, but some of it hit the fighter's windshield, and he was startled by the mass coming at him. He fell into a dive without firing. We were disappointed by our lack of success, but not discouraged. We increased the Bentonite on the next try, and put in a quart of sorghum that my Grandmother had sent me. The results out of a five-gallon can were again unsuccessful, and we came back from Saarbrucken; Germany on May 11, 1944, a mighty unhappy crew. We had managed to set this gob on fire, but it was so scattered that it did no harm to the fighter. It scared the hell out of the pilot of the fighter; he thought the B-17 had exploded and was coming down on him.

Now then, here's where American ingenuity comes into the picture. This is what I was talking about at the beginning of this article. A young man, hardly 20 years old, and one of the waist gunners, (we'll call him Verlin), came to me, and said he had an idea about dropping the gobs of jellied gasoline. He told me he was hesitant to make the suggestion for fear the rest of the crew would laugh at him.

"I think I've figured out a way to drop that jellied gasoline in one big gob," be said, "but I'm afraid everyone in the crew will laugh."

"Well, what the hell, if it's a good idea we'll try it. We sure need to improve on that five-gallon can," I replied.

"Well, I got the idea setting on the crapper," he hesitated.

"Go on," I urged.

"When I flushed the stool I noticed that the water rushed out of the tank into the bowl, and it swirled and fell out of the bowl in a mass. If we could rig up a toilet stool in the bomb bay, close to the bottom of the plane, it would fall in a gob. In addition, if we could drop it slightly before the fighter pulled up the gob would travel with the speed of our plane, and fall in a curve. Don't you see, Sir, it would be just like a bomb falling out of the bomb bay only our target would be closer." He was animated and his face was flushed with excitement. "If our mixture was just right the gob would spread like a blanket, and engulf the whole fighter plane."

I was excited, as dumb as it sounded, the logic behind the idea had merit. It warranted a trial run. I told him to get the rest of the crew and start hunting up a toilet stool and tank. My actual orders to him were, "Find a stool, and I won't ask any questions."

I went to work with a five-gallon can mixing the gasoline and the Bentonite, until the mixture was right, and then added another quart of my Grandma's sorghum. We put the sorghum in the mixture to make it sticky, and by the time I had stirred all that sorghum in our mixture was fluid but sticky. We thought about mixing in a quart of peanut butter, but that would have made it so thick and sticky it wouldn't flush. We made copious notes of our mixture so we could duplicate it.

By this time the crew had returned with a toilet stool complete with a tank. They had thoughtfully covered it with a canvas tarp. I really wasn't anxious to have the crew chiefs know what we were doing to their airplane. I certainly didn't want the other crews knowing and damn sure didn't want the commanding officer to know. He probably would have taken a dim view of our idea. While we were mounting the toilet in the bomb bay my crew started calling me Captain Sticky; that name stuck to me for some time.

After we had the toilet mounted, and the bailing wire was threaded to the cockpit, we notified the crew chief what we had done, and asked him to keep quiet about it. Because I was the senior pilot in the squadron, he said it was OK, and was anxious to know how it worked. After a while he started calling me Captain Sticky.

The big day for the test came on May 13, 1944; on a mission to Stettin, Germany. Stettin was north of Berlin, and was a long drawn out mission with hours spent over enemy territory. We were not going over the North Sea, across Denmark then down to Stettin. The line on the map showed us going straight across Germany, right through the fighters and the flak. With that much time, probably about 8 hours, spent over enemy territory we were bound to run into fighters, and we were ready. There was five gallons of jellied gasoline, buttressed with a quart of my Grandma's sorghum, in the toilet tank, with the lid tied down so it wouldn't flop off in evasive action. The bailing wire was rigged from the flush valve to the cockpit on the pilot's side. We even tied a red rag to the wire loop in the cockpit so the pilot could find it in a hurry. We were ready. It was a go.

Our Group put up 18 airplanes, and the take off and forming into Group formation was uneventful. We got into Wing formation and struck out across France in pretty tight formation. As the mission progressed and the pilots got tired the formation tended to scatter or open up, and our position, number 5 in the low squadron of the low group, put us the lowest B-17 on the left side of the 56-ship Combat Wing. We were in an ideal position to test our theory, and the ammunition was ready and waiting.

Over Denmark we saw the first unfriendly fighters. They flew past us, circled ahead and made a half-hearted pass from head on. They disappeared behind us, probably to attack another wing, but five fighters continued to trail us looking for an opening to shoot somebody down. We had pulled our formation together, and they finally left us.

After dropping the bombs and turning north for our return we again became complacent. It was a beautiful sunny day, there was a lower overcast, and we were flying above the clouds; no fighters; and no flak. Everyone tended to relax, if relaxing is possible in a combat situation 500 miles into enemy territory.

The unexpected happened when two Me-109s came up through the clouds, and in a climbing position shot down two B-17s in our group. Lt. Thomas R Frances in plane 42-97404 SU-L (544th Squadron) with one crewman ki1led in action, and nine prisoners of-war. Lt. Charles W. Baker was the pilot in the second B-17, 43-102548 with 3 killed in action and 7 prisoners.

B-17 43-97414 Crew:
Pilot: 2nd Lt.Thomas R Francis - KIA
Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Maurice S. Mahoney - POW
Navigator: First Officer Herbert (NMI) Polansky - POW
Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Raymond E. Bowkley - POW
Top Turrett: S/Sgt. A. F. Brannigan - POW
Radio Operator: S/Sgt. C W Barnum - POW
Ball Turrett: Sgt. William J.J. Fiory - POW
Left Waist: Sgt. Joseph H. Palladino - POW
Right Waist: Sgt. Joseph (NMI) Petrillo - POW
Tail Gunner: Sgt. W. G. Zordel - POW

The pilot, 2nd Lt. Thomas R. Francis, probably went to his death, holding the airplane in a steady position so his crew could jump, and he stayed a few seconds longer than he should have. He probably wanted to make sure they were all out. I mention his name here because the name should be remembered.

B-17 SO-M (547th Squadron) Crew:
Pilot: 2nd Lt. Charles W. Baker - POW
Co-Pilot: First Officer Leonard F. Koos - POW
Navigator: 2nd Lt. Phillip L. Carlin - POW
Bombardier: 2nd Lt. William M. Shaner - POW
Top Turret: Sgt. Harry L. Gutierrez - KIA
Radio Operator: S/Sgt. William A. Sneed - POW
Ball Turret: Sgt. Carroll D. Swartzendruber - KIA
Left Waist: S/Sgt. Harry T. Hamilton - POW
Right Waist: Sgt. George (NMI) Sabo - POW
Tail Gunner: Sgt. Salvatore (NMI) Soto - KIA

In a few seconds, 4 men are dead, some of the other crewmen wounded, and the prisoners were in for almost a year of suffering in prison camps. The Generals say that it's a small price to pay for putting the bombs on the target, but the names of Harry I. Gutierrez, Carroll D. Swartzendruber and Salvatore Soto should be enshrined in stone and remembered forever. They were brave young men and they made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Me-109s had darted up through the overcast and fired into the bellies of the B-17s sending them spiraling down trailing smoke and fire. The German fighters had ducked right back into the undercast and disappeared. I told the crew to be alert; our plane being so low in the formation was a natural prey for the fighters. They would be anxious to add to their score, and we looked like easy pickings.

We opened our bomb bay doors, alerted the ball turret gunner to point his guns down and keep his eyes open. I let the copilot fly the airplane, and reached down and grabbed hold of the bailing wire that was threaded back to the toilet stool flush valve. The whole crew was tense, and apprehensive. In about a minute, the ball turret gunner reported on the intercom, "Get ready, here comes one."

My hand tightened on the bailing wire trigger, and regardless of the cold (minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit) I was sweating. The fighter didn t have to be teased into position. He was climing, coming at our belly, when the ball turret gunner yelled "Now!"

I immediately jerked the bailing wire, and the ball turret gunner started firing. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a tremendous orange flash and knew the jellied gasoline had been ignited. Looking down, I saw the German fighter with all the fabric burned off the control surfaces and the pilot wiggling the stick wondering what had happened to his control. The bombardier had a beautiful view of the pilot, and he reported there was a puzzled look on his face. As the German fighter fell off on its wing, the pilot bailed out.

The crew was excited and happy, and they all started talking on the intercom at once. I warned them to be quiet and not let down their guard; there were still German fighters in the area. We closed the bomb bay doors and moved back into formation. Being low man in the formation, it was obvious that no one else had seen our downing of the German fighter and I didn t figure we could get a confirmation. As it turned out, two different planes claimed they had shot down a German fighter, and one of them got credit for it.

The ball turret gunner told us that the jellied gasoline had come out perfectly, and he had been quick to ignite it with his tracer fire. The explosion had caused him to lose sight of the German fighter temporarily, but he also had seen the plane with its scorched skin and the fabric burned off the control surfaces. He said the control surfaces were being rapidly moved in every direction as the pilot wiggled the stick, wondering what had happened.

Back at the base, we didn't talk much about it. The crew chief of the airplane was aware of what we were doing, and a few other enlisted men were privy to our secret. After we had gotten our third enemy fighter, our crew chief painted three small toilets up under the pilot's window. They were not prominent, but they could be seen from the ground. We were elated at our success, and were very proud of the fact that we burned off the control surfaces of the German fighters, and down they went with a puzzled pilot wiggling the stick around, wondering why he didn't have control of the airplane. The West Pointers on the base were not aware of our success, and we thought they would probably frown at our method of delivering the lethal dose of jelliued gasoline. However the secret was getting harder and harder to contain. Most of the enlisted men on the base knew about our toilet, and thought it a pretty good joke.

In a couple of weeks we had our fifth enemy fighter down. We had five, which entitled us to call ourselves the Ace Crew, but the bloom was off the rose, and I was called to Headquarters to see the Commanding Officer. I expected a warm welcome, and congratulations, but instead I got my *** chewed out. He ordered me to take the toilet stool out of the bomb bay, and in no uncertain terms told me that I was a disgrace to the Army Air Corps Officers Corp. I was a disgrace to all the officers, who faithfully served, followed orders, used Government equipment that was issued to fight the Hun and did not embarrass the Commanding Officer. "That was my toilet your crew took. I've had to use the regular officers' latrine." His face was red and his eyes were bulging. "What if the General heard about this, fighting the enemy with a toilet stool," he shouted. "He probably would have my gawd damn eagles."


l was crestfallen, but the crew and I quickly took out the bailing wire trigger, and put the plane back in shape to fight the Hun in a more conventional manner. The tall old Colonel got his revenge. He must have been amused while he signed the order to give me the DEATH SENTENCE. He had given me an extra combat mission, (not the crew), and I few 31 instead 30 missions

Permission Given By Dewaynee Bennett to reproduce these articles for your reading enjoyment.

I met Mr. Bennett when I was working at the 390th Memorial Museum In Arizona. Mr. Bennett and I sat long days of the museum being open discussing the Different air battles he was in in WW 2. I still remember going home dumbfounded about his exploits bragging to my family that I have met a true American Hero. Dewayne and I became the best of friends and Still correspond to this day after me leaving the 390th Memorial Museum to pursue other endeavors. Dewayne is a wonderful person to know, I tell you it is amazing what the B-17 crews had to endure during that period. I to this day wish I could be back in that time period to actually live it as he did. I am proud to say that Capt. Bennett and I are friends to this day.

Thank you Dewayne for your service and your sacrafice.

I cannot wait till the B-17 comes out for IL-2 FB. I will havea repaint done of his aircraft to honor him.

S! Viper

<table style="filter:glow[color=red, strength=3"><tr><td> <font color=white>Viper
Commanding Officer VMF-513
http://www.vmf513.com
"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"
Ubi Movie Maker Forum Moderator
Virtual War Cinema Admin

</font></td></tr></table>

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 01:08 AM
S! all,

I would like to share with you a story about a really good friend of mine and true American B-17 Flier. Dewayne and I used to work together at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Arizona. Dewayne loves to recount his stories and exploits to friends and co workers because he has lives the true World War 2. i warn you this is quite lengthy, but you will enjoy reading it.

So Here is the story:

My name is Dewayne Bennett, and I flew as a pilot in WWll, 8th Air Force, 384th Bomb Group, 545th Squadron. I flew 31 missions, all in B-17s.

I went to pre-flight at Santa Ana, California, Primary at Thunderbird 11, Phoenix; Basic at Marana Army Air Force Base near Tucson, Az.; and Advanced at Douglas Army Air Force Base, Douglas, Az. We flew Stearman trainers at Primary, Bt-13s (Vultee Vibrators) at Marana, and the UC-78 (Bamboo Bomber) at Douglas. After graduating and getting my wings (43-H) August of l943, at Douglas Army Air Force Base in Douglas, Arizona we were sent to Roswell Army Air Force Base, Roswell, N. M. for transition in the B-17.

The B-17 was such a huge change it took a little getting used to, however we survived, and after 9 weeks of training I was a qualified lst pilot on a B-17, the Flying Fortress. It was off to Salt Lake city to pick up a crew. Nine young men who were going to climb in a big bomber with me and trust me to get them home. The crew would be complete except for the Navigator who would join us later in training at Dalhart, Texas. Paul Spiers was the Co-pilot, a hansome young man from Sodus, N.Y. good natured, and most of the time with a big smile on his face. Eugene Burcham, from an easter state was of small stature, and inclined to go by the book. He was the Bombardier, and serious by nature.

Jim Holland was the Engineer and Top Turret Gunner. Jim was from Oklahoma, even tempered, with a sense of humor. He had a little Oklahoma drawl, was very young, and I came to lean on him a great deal. Mike Perrone was the Radio Operator, and was from Brooklyn. He was easy going, and had a wild time when he had a pass. He was known to fight with cab drivers, but he was good with the radio. Bernard Zelazoski, was the Bal Turret Gunner, a handsome young man from Wisconsin, steady and dependable. He could spend long hours in the cramped quarters of the Ball Turret, with never a complaint. He was very dedicated to his job, and did it well. Verlin Gale was the left Waist Gunner. Verlin was from Iowa, and was the steady prop for the rest of the crew. He was not excitable, very good at his job, and never lost his cool. Kenny Wyatt was the right waist gunner, from Los Angeles, and very young. He was only 19 years old, and had gotten married just before we left the States. The war was not for him, and he suffered horribly on the combat missions where we ran into trouble. He left us after 7 missions, and was shot down with another crew. He became a POW.

James Trumbo was the Tail Gunner, and was from Oklahoma. Jim was quiet by nature, and never said much. He handled his job with dispatch, and was a good tail gunner.



"Last Man Standing"
The Raid On Schweinfurt April 13, l944

The daylight bombing raids on Germany by units of the 8th U. S. Army Air Force, which intensified in early 1944 were becoming increasingly dangerous missions for U. S. bomber crews. Nobody knew this better than Lt. Dewayne "Ben:" Bennett whose B-17G "Squawkin ' Chicken" was the only survivor of the 545th Bomb Squadron after the raid on Schweinfurt on April 13, l944.

Ben who, along with his crew, had been assigned to the 384th BG came from Newton, Iowa. He had finished his flight training in the U. S., soloed, was assigned a copilot and in Ben's words, "Away we went." After arrival in Europe Ben first flew a few relatively uneventful missions. Then on April 13th came a day that he and his crew would remember clearly for a lifetime, for during the next hours they would experience horror unfolding all around them.

By this time the Germans had been refining their tactics in the destruction of the bombers. Although the jet fighters would not bother the bomber streams until November l944, the Germans were at an advantage fighting over their homeland enabling them to fly multiple missions in a single day. They could be shot down and still get back into the air with another plane in a matter of hours. The German flak guns were numerous and powerful and one shell hit in the right place could bring down a four engined bomber in an instant.

When the enemy coast was crossed at 1123 hours on this fateful April 13 the 384th Bomb Group had assembled 23 aircraft for a raid on the heavily defended target, a ball bearing factory in Schweinfurt. The Luftwaffe had abeen alerted that there was a bomber formation heading across France towards Germany. Coordinated by the radio bunker in Stade, the Germans assembled FW-190s and Me-109s of three 'Gruppen' of JG-1 to intercept the B-17s.

After the U. S. fighter cover had cleverly been drawn off by another small group of enemy fighters, the "Box Breakers" as they were called were forming up for the attack when it was less than 10 minutes to the target. An ideal time for the Germans to attack. These men were the best at their trade. Time had run out and as Ben recalls, suddenly all hell broke loose.

The box breakers came in from dead ahead and above with a closing speed of more than 500 mph. In the lead were three or four heavily armed FW-190s backed up by at least a dozen fighters of standard configuration. They came in at three or four abreast rolling over inverted while firing. Then they would split-S out, building up even more speed, get back into position for yet another head- on pass.

The bombers responded with a hail of fifty caliber guns firing in the few seconds they could see the enemy fighters. These attacks only lasted three to four minutes before the P-51 escort arrived back on the scene and broke up the attacks, but the damage had been done.

The carnage in the group was unbelievable. The German fighter planes had mauled the bombers with deadly accuracy. Many of the planes were in serious trouble or already plunging to earth.

Still the remaining heavies of the 384th BG pressed on, and the bomb run was made under good visual conditions with bombs away to hit the target at 1409 hours, while the flak fire came up intensly and accurately.

When they left the target area Ben noticed that there were no other planes left in his squadron. He still remembers the moment like a nightmare in slow motion. Everyone in his crew knew that the Germans would have time to land, rearm and refuel for another attack before the slower bomber could reach the coast. The trip would still take more than two hours over enemy territory.

The smell of cordite from the guns was even in the oxygen masks of the crewmen. It was now quiet except for the engines and air rushing past the plane and whistling through the openings where the guns were located. Burned into the minds of the survivors were the voices over the intercom of somebody being hit or going down, the calls to crew to bail out of a plane in its death throes, the counting of parachutes as they appeared behind a stricken plane. Each man was soaked in sweat even though it was below freezing at 21,000 feet. Everything still seemed so unreal.

Ben and his crew finally made it back to England, but not before more attacks had taken another heavy toll. Just shortly before they reached the coast, Ben's wingman, a survivor from another squadron who had moved into a position off of Ben's wing exploded in midair after a direct hit from a flak shell.

The drama and action unfolding with the B-17 badly battered and the top gunner firing at the enemy fighters while the air battle between the P-51 escort and elements of JG-1 is in full swing is set against a masterfully lit deep background. This is without a doubt aviation art at a standard second to none. a true work of art.

The Dewayne Bennett crew all survived their missions to come home.


"The Toilet Stool Ace"

by:
Dewayne "Ben" Bennett
"The Squawkin' Chicken Skipper"
545th Squadron


Americans are an ingenious lot. They look for ways to do things better and easier. Some might construe that Americans are lazy, but I like to think it's common sense, learned through years of hard won freedom. Freedom to think and a strong entrepreneurial streak in their makeup that wants to improve on any project that needs to be improved upon. Give an American a nail, hammer and a piece of bailing wire, and watch out, he's liable to improve a procedure, or piece of equipment that has been in use for a thousand years.

I'm talking about a period of time before and during WWII, up to and through the 50s. Modern educational methods had not yet taken hold, and the public schools still educated young people. I ended up with a ninth grade education, came right off the farm and became a heavy bomber pilot in the US Army Air Corps (how I got in the U S. Army Air Corps is another story to be told later). At Douglas, Az. Army Air Force Base in August of 1943, they put the Second Lieutenant's bars on my shirt collar and shoulders. I was a commissioned officer and a gentleman according to the standards off the US Army. I was also a good candidate for a POW or KIA tag after my name on some unknown list in the future. It was inevitable that I was bound for a foreign shore to fight the enemy, Germany or Japan, and no matter how I schemed, malingered, vacillated, or just plain screwed off, my destiny was assured. I was an Old Plow Boy, and 1 was headed for Combat.

After I got my 2nd Lt.'s bars and wings, they gave me a 10 day leave, and I reported to Roswell Army Air Force Base in Roswell, New Mexico for transition into the B-I 7, The Flying Fortress. She was loaded with gun turrets, radios, switches and dials, and huge gasoline tanks. I could imagine when you loaded this thing with 2800 gallons of high octane gasoline, thousands of rounds of 50 caliber machine gun bullets, and five thousand pounds of high explosive bombs, and you were setting in the pilot's seat (which is where I'd be setting) your *** was in great danger. It looked to me like a risky, dangerous business, and I asked if I could be transferred to cooking school. However, they said there was more applications from pilots than there were openings.

I finished up at Roswell, learned to fly that big Flying Fortress (I never did learn to start the engines, but that's another story), and was sent to Salt Lake City to pick up a crew. They were all extremely young men who looked at me with questioning eyes, "Can that stupid looking Plow Boy fly that big Flying Fortress?" I did my best to look professional and to assure them that I was a competent pilot, and no longer a corn picker. To this day I wonder if I succeeded.

We boarded a troop train in Salt Lake City, and meandered down through Colorado to the little town of Dalhart, Texas. Dalhart is in the panhandle of Texas, and is flat prairie grass lands with some big ranches, little towns, and blizzards like I had never seen before. In the cowboy books I had read as a kid, the cowboys had dreaded the blue northers, and I can understand why. There were a thousand pictures with the cowboy in the wind-driven snow with a calf draped over the saddle. I came to dread that winter in Dalhart, the snow blowing and the howling wind. We were housed in primitive Quonset huts with a pot-bellied stove that burned wood or coal. It was tough getting up in the early morning and starting a fire, especially if the flap of your long winter underwear had accidentally unbuttoned in the restless nightmare (usually B-17s crashing in flames with the pilot still strapped in the seat) filled sleep. There was no let up in the training. The air war in Europe was heating up and the 8th Air Force had lost 60 bombers on one day in October. It was hailed as a great victory for the U.S. Army Air Forces, but the requests to transfer to cooking school went up dramatically among the future combat pilots.

We were now a combat crew. We were through with training, ready to go and fight the Hun. I can't say we were rearin' to go, but we were on our way. They issued us a new airplane, jungle packs, and sent us on our way from Kearney, Nebraska. We were to fly from Kearney to Manchester, N.H., to Goose Bay, Labrador, Iceland, Scotland, and then England. It was a sweat flying over the forbidding, wind whipped Atlantic Ocean; looking down from 20,000 feet it looked lik bone chilling cold, and certain death to fall into its clutches

We were assigned to the 384th Bombardment Group, 545th Squadron, at Grafton Underwood, England. We were a new crew, the first one into this squadron in some time and no one went out of their way to welcome us. I flew a couple of missions as a co-pilot, and on our first mission as a crew, all of the old crews in our squadron were shot down. They brought in three crews with experience (10 missions or more) and three new crews to fill out the squadron. Two weeks later our squadron lost the three experienced crews, including the Squadron Commander, Captain Langlois, and I was the most experienced pilot in the Squadron with six missions.

One of the tactics used by the German fighter pilots against heavy bombers was mind-blowing and murderous. Our crews considered it unsportsmanlike and down right dirty. We had seen several B-17s go down from this dastardly maneuver and had been thinking and talking about ways to sting the Hun when he tried it on us. The German fighter would circle the formation paying particular attention to the ball turret gunners. They were hoping to find a plane with the turret inoperative, out of ammunition, or maybe with the gunner wounded and out of the turret. Finding his prey with an inoperative turret, the Hun would snake his way up under the wounded B-17, pull up sharply, hanging the fighter on the prop, and pour deadly 20mm fire into the unprotected belly. When the B-17 blew up, the fighter would fall off and dive straight down. The Germans called it "Der Unterbelly Caper".

This incensed our crew, and we scratched our heads trying to come up with a method that would protect the underbelly even though the ball turret was inoperative. We had ideas about dropping a large hook attached to a cable, and try to snare the fighter. We thought about dropping chains into the prop, but nobody would volunteer to stand on the bomb bay catwalk and drop the chains at the right time. It was difficult to get anyone to stand in the frigid cold bomb bay with the doors open, the wind and air stream shrieking and howling like a wounded banshee. Especially at 20,000 or 25,000 feet, then it was downright terrorizing with the bomb bay doors open. One crewman suggested we drop used engine oil on the fighter thereby fouling up his windshield, and if he couldn't see he couldn't fire, but how do we get the stuff on the Hun's airplane?

The latter suggestion straightened out our thinking, and we came up with the jellied gasoline idea. It was known at that time that oil-drilling mud (Bentonite) would gel gasoline. Could we rig up a five-gallon can of jellied gasoline, hinged in the bomb bay with a bailing wire running into the cockpit so the pilot could dump the can on command? The ball turret gunner could fire into the gob of jellied gasoline with 50-caliber tracer ammunition, and it would burn the fighter just before he started shooting. It was a bodacious idea; it was doable and we were setting around congratulating ourselves for a great idea.

Our first test came on a mission to Berlin, May 7, 1944. The weather was marginal, but we got through to the target and dropped our bombs. The five-gallon can rested in the bomb bay undisturbed, but not for long. Several Me-109s came sniffing around the formation so we told the ball turret gunner to track the fighters but not to fire. Sure enough one of the fighters started ducking in and out to see if the ball turret gunner was going to shoot at him. We held off until suddenly he was below us pulling up to hang on his prop. When the gunner yelled "Now!", I pulled the wire and the jellied gasoline went out. In one big gob. The slipstream tore the gob apart, but some of it hit the fighter's windshield, and he was startled by the mass coming at him. He fell into a dive without firing. We were disappointed by our lack of success, but not discouraged. We increased the Bentonite on the next try, and put in a quart of sorghum that my Grandmother had sent me. The results out of a five-gallon can were again unsuccessful, and we came back from Saarbrucken; Germany on May 11, 1944, a mighty unhappy crew. We had managed to set this gob on fire, but it was so scattered that it did no harm to the fighter. It scared the hell out of the pilot of the fighter; he thought the B-17 had exploded and was coming down on him.

Now then, here's where American ingenuity comes into the picture. This is what I was talking about at the beginning of this article. A young man, hardly 20 years old, and one of the waist gunners, (we'll call him Verlin), came to me, and said he had an idea about dropping the gobs of jellied gasoline. He told me he was hesitant to make the suggestion for fear the rest of the crew would laugh at him.

"I think I've figured out a way to drop that jellied gasoline in one big gob," be said, "but I'm afraid everyone in the crew will laugh."

"Well, what the hell, if it's a good idea we'll try it. We sure need to improve on that five-gallon can," I replied.

"Well, I got the idea setting on the crapper," he hesitated.

"Go on," I urged.

"When I flushed the stool I noticed that the water rushed out of the tank into the bowl, and it swirled and fell out of the bowl in a mass. If we could rig up a toilet stool in the bomb bay, close to the bottom of the plane, it would fall in a gob. In addition, if we could drop it slightly before the fighter pulled up the gob would travel with the speed of our plane, and fall in a curve. Don't you see, Sir, it would be just like a bomb falling out of the bomb bay only our target would be closer." He was animated and his face was flushed with excitement. "If our mixture was just right the gob would spread like a blanket, and engulf the whole fighter plane."

I was excited, as dumb as it sounded, the logic behind the idea had merit. It warranted a trial run. I told him to get the rest of the crew and start hunting up a toilet stool and tank. My actual orders to him were, "Find a stool, and I won't ask any questions."

I went to work with a five-gallon can mixing the gasoline and the Bentonite, until the mixture was right, and then added another quart of my Grandma's sorghum. We put the sorghum in the mixture to make it sticky, and by the time I had stirred all that sorghum in our mixture was fluid but sticky. We thought about mixing in a quart of peanut butter, but that would have made it so thick and sticky it wouldn't flush. We made copious notes of our mixture so we could duplicate it.

By this time the crew had returned with a toilet stool complete with a tank. They had thoughtfully covered it with a canvas tarp. I really wasn't anxious to have the crew chiefs know what we were doing to their airplane. I certainly didn't want the other crews knowing and damn sure didn't want the commanding officer to know. He probably would have taken a dim view of our idea. While we were mounting the toilet in the bomb bay my crew started calling me Captain Sticky; that name stuck to me for some time.

After we had the toilet mounted, and the bailing wire was threaded to the cockpit, we notified the crew chief what we had done, and asked him to keep quiet about it. Because I was the senior pilot in the squadron, he said it was OK, and was anxious to know how it worked. After a while he started calling me Captain Sticky.

The big day for the test came on May 13, 1944; on a mission to Stettin, Germany. Stettin was north of Berlin, and was a long drawn out mission with hours spent over enemy territory. We were not going over the North Sea, across Denmark then down to Stettin. The line on the map showed us going straight across Germany, right through the fighters and the flak. With that much time, probably about 8 hours, spent over enemy territory we were bound to run into fighters, and we were ready. There was five gallons of jellied gasoline, buttressed with a quart of my Grandma's sorghum, in the toilet tank, with the lid tied down so it wouldn't flop off in evasive action. The bailing wire was rigged from the flush valve to the cockpit on the pilot's side. We even tied a red rag to the wire loop in the cockpit so the pilot could find it in a hurry. We were ready. It was a go.

Our Group put up 18 airplanes, and the take off and forming into Group formation was uneventful. We got into Wing formation and struck out across France in pretty tight formation. As the mission progressed and the pilots got tired the formation tended to scatter or open up, and our position, number 5 in the low squadron of the low group, put us the lowest B-17 on the left side of the 56-ship Combat Wing. We were in an ideal position to test our theory, and the ammunition was ready and waiting.

Over Denmark we saw the first unfriendly fighters. They flew past us, circled ahead and made a half-hearted pass from head on. They disappeared behind us, probably to attack another wing, but five fighters continued to trail us looking for an opening to shoot somebody down. We had pulled our formation together, and they finally left us.

After dropping the bombs and turning north for our return we again became complacent. It was a beautiful sunny day, there was a lower overcast, and we were flying above the clouds; no fighters; and no flak. Everyone tended to relax, if relaxing is possible in a combat situation 500 miles into enemy territory.

The unexpected happened when two Me-109s came up through the clouds, and in a climbing position shot down two B-17s in our group. Lt. Thomas R Frances in plane 42-97404 SU-L (544th Squadron) with one crewman ki1led in action, and nine prisoners of-war. Lt. Charles W. Baker was the pilot in the second B-17, 43-102548 with 3 killed in action and 7 prisoners.

B-17 43-97414 Crew:
Pilot: 2nd Lt.Thomas R Francis - KIA
Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Maurice S. Mahoney - POW
Navigator: First Officer Herbert (NMI) Polansky - POW
Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Raymond E. Bowkley - POW
Top Turrett: S/Sgt. A. F. Brannigan - POW
Radio Operator: S/Sgt. C W Barnum - POW
Ball Turrett: Sgt. William J.J. Fiory - POW
Left Waist: Sgt. Joseph H. Palladino - POW
Right Waist: Sgt. Joseph (NMI) Petrillo - POW
Tail Gunner: Sgt. W. G. Zordel - POW

The pilot, 2nd Lt. Thomas R. Francis, probably went to his death, holding the airplane in a steady position so his crew could jump, and he stayed a few seconds longer than he should have. He probably wanted to make sure they were all out. I mention his name here because the name should be remembered.

B-17 SO-M (547th Squadron) Crew:
Pilot: 2nd Lt. Charles W. Baker - POW
Co-Pilot: First Officer Leonard F. Koos - POW
Navigator: 2nd Lt. Phillip L. Carlin - POW
Bombardier: 2nd Lt. William M. Shaner - POW
Top Turret: Sgt. Harry L. Gutierrez - KIA
Radio Operator: S/Sgt. William A. Sneed - POW
Ball Turret: Sgt. Carroll D. Swartzendruber - KIA
Left Waist: S/Sgt. Harry T. Hamilton - POW
Right Waist: Sgt. George (NMI) Sabo - POW
Tail Gunner: Sgt. Salvatore (NMI) Soto - KIA

In a few seconds, 4 men are dead, some of the other crewmen wounded, and the prisoners were in for almost a year of suffering in prison camps. The Generals say that it's a small price to pay for putting the bombs on the target, but the names of Harry I. Gutierrez, Carroll D. Swartzendruber and Salvatore Soto should be enshrined in stone and remembered forever. They were brave young men and they made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Me-109s had darted up through the overcast and fired into the bellies of the B-17s sending them spiraling down trailing smoke and fire. The German fighters had ducked right back into the undercast and disappeared. I told the crew to be alert; our plane being so low in the formation was a natural prey for the fighters. They would be anxious to add to their score, and we looked like easy pickings.

We opened our bomb bay doors, alerted the ball turret gunner to point his guns down and keep his eyes open. I let the copilot fly the airplane, and reached down and grabbed hold of the bailing wire that was threaded back to the toilet stool flush valve. The whole crew was tense, and apprehensive. In about a minute, the ball turret gunner reported on the intercom, "Get ready, here comes one."

My hand tightened on the bailing wire trigger, and regardless of the cold (minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit) I was sweating. The fighter didn t have to be teased into position. He was climing, coming at our belly, when the ball turret gunner yelled "Now!"

I immediately jerked the bailing wire, and the ball turret gunner started firing. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a tremendous orange flash and knew the jellied gasoline had been ignited. Looking down, I saw the German fighter with all the fabric burned off the control surfaces and the pilot wiggling the stick wondering what had happened to his control. The bombardier had a beautiful view of the pilot, and he reported there was a puzzled look on his face. As the German fighter fell off on its wing, the pilot bailed out.

The crew was excited and happy, and they all started talking on the intercom at once. I warned them to be quiet and not let down their guard; there were still German fighters in the area. We closed the bomb bay doors and moved back into formation. Being low man in the formation, it was obvious that no one else had seen our downing of the German fighter and I didn t figure we could get a confirmation. As it turned out, two different planes claimed they had shot down a German fighter, and one of them got credit for it.

The ball turret gunner told us that the jellied gasoline had come out perfectly, and he had been quick to ignite it with his tracer fire. The explosion had caused him to lose sight of the German fighter temporarily, but he also had seen the plane with its scorched skin and the fabric burned off the control surfaces. He said the control surfaces were being rapidly moved in every direction as the pilot wiggled the stick, wondering what had happened.

Back at the base, we didn't talk much about it. The crew chief of the airplane was aware of what we were doing, and a few other enlisted men were privy to our secret. After we had gotten our third enemy fighter, our crew chief painted three small toilets up under the pilot's window. They were not prominent, but they could be seen from the ground. We were elated at our success, and were very proud of the fact that we burned off the control surfaces of the German fighters, and down they went with a puzzled pilot wiggling the stick around, wondering why he didn't have control of the airplane. The West Pointers on the base were not aware of our success, and we thought they would probably frown at our method of delivering the lethal dose of jelliued gasoline. However the secret was getting harder and harder to contain. Most of the enlisted men on the base knew about our toilet, and thought it a pretty good joke.

In a couple of weeks we had our fifth enemy fighter down. We had five, which entitled us to call ourselves the Ace Crew, but the bloom was off the rose, and I was called to Headquarters to see the Commanding Officer. I expected a warm welcome, and congratulations, but instead I got my *** chewed out. He ordered me to take the toilet stool out of the bomb bay, and in no uncertain terms told me that I was a disgrace to the Army Air Corps Officers Corp. I was a disgrace to all the officers, who faithfully served, followed orders, used Government equipment that was issued to fight the Hun and did not embarrass the Commanding Officer. "That was my toilet your crew took. I've had to use the regular officers' latrine." His face was red and his eyes were bulging. "What if the General heard about this, fighting the enemy with a toilet stool," he shouted. "He probably would have my gawd damn eagles."


l was crestfallen, but the crew and I quickly took out the bailing wire trigger, and put the plane back in shape to fight the Hun in a more conventional manner. The tall old Colonel got his revenge. He must have been amused while he signed the order to give me the DEATH SENTENCE. He had given me an extra combat mission, (not the crew), and I few 31 instead 30 missions

Permission Given By Dewaynee Bennett to reproduce these articles for your reading enjoyment.

I met Mr. Bennett when I was working at the 390th Memorial Museum In Arizona. Mr. Bennett and I sat long days of the museum being open discussing the Different air battles he was in in WW 2. I still remember going home dumbfounded about his exploits bragging to my family that I have met a true American Hero. Dewayne and I became the best of friends and Still correspond to this day after me leaving the 390th Memorial Museum to pursue other endeavors. Dewayne is a wonderful person to know, I tell you it is amazing what the B-17 crews had to endure during that period. I to this day wish I could be back in that time period to actually live it as he did. I am proud to say that Capt. Bennett and I are friends to this day.

Thank you Dewayne for your service and your sacrafice.

I cannot wait till the B-17 comes out for IL-2 FB. I will havea repaint done of his aircraft to honor him.

S! Viper

<table style="filter:glow[color=red, strength=3"><tr><td> <font color=white>Viper
Commanding Officer VMF-513
http://www.vmf513.com
"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"
Ubi Movie Maker Forum Moderator
Virtual War Cinema Admin

</font></td></tr></table>

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 01:41 AM
bump



<table style="filter:glow[color=red, strength=3"><tr><td> <font color=white>Viper
Commanding Officer VMF-513
http://www.vmf513.com
"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"
Ubi Movie Maker Forum Moderator
Virtual War Cinema Admin

</font></td></tr></table>

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 01:47 AM
well that was quite the read i dont know wether to salute or laugh or both /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

http://images.ar15.com/forums/smiles/anim_sniper2.gif
U.S INFANTRY 1984-1991

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 01:49 AM
Very nice! Thanks for sharing!/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

47|FC
http://rangerring.com/wwii/p-47.jpg

T_O_A_D
10-23-2003, 02:12 AM
TY enjoyed it. Took a bit sneaking in here at work LOL

<Left>
131st_VFW_CO_Toad (http://www.geocities.com/vfw_131st/index.htm)

<Left>
/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif MY Track IR Fix (http://forums.ubi.com/messages/message_view-topic.asp?name=us_il2sturmovik_ts&id=zwqtg)


<Center>http://home.mchsi.com/~131st_vfw/Mad_toad.jpg </a>

After eating an entire bull, a mountain
lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a
hunter came along and shot him...
The moral: when you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 02:40 AM
Great read...i love these stories.

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 02:51 AM
Nice post I enjoyed it. Thank you for posting it.
BUMP/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif
S~

http://www.flightjournal.com/fj/articles/p-38_lightning/images/p-38_spread_large.jpg

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 03:10 AM
Great story. Improvisation is the key to success. I hope these guys lived a long life.

<center>http://www.skalman.nu/worldwar2/bilder/su-airforce.gif

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 03:24 AM
Great Read!

Thanks!

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 03:24 AM
Good stuff

Hey HaVoK

Have you read the rules on sig picture size?

Obviously not

<center>http://www.gamespy.com/legacy/top10/movievillains/hal9000.jpg </center><center>http://www.bloggerheads.com/mash_quiz/images/mash_hotlips.jpg (http://www.bloggerheads.com/mash_quiz/)</center>

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 06:58 AM
VMF513_Viper wrote:
-
- I immediately jerked the bailing wire, and the ball
- turret gunner started firing. Out of the corner of
- my eye I saw a tremendous orange flash and knew the
- jellied gasoline had been ignited. Looking down, I
- saw the German fighter with all the fabric burned
- off the control surfaces and the pilot wiggling the
- stick wondering what had happened to his control.
- The bombardier had a beautiful view of the pilot,
- and he reported there was a puzzled look on his
- face. As the German fighter fell off on its wing,
- the pilot bailed out.
-
-

An interesting Story, overall...but some things didn't seem to quite ring right.... What is the Fabric which burned off? And where would the bombardier have been sitting to be able to see the Fighter pilot's face (below and to the rear of the B17 I would presume)?

There are a few other aspects that I just can't seem to be able to visualize, in terms of the physics of the situation...it almost sounds as if it would have to have been occurring in very slow motion for the situation to be so 'manageable".... It also seems somewhat strange that this particular B17 crew would have repeatedly experienced Exactly the same sort of attack/set of tactics on several missions....... I guess I've always understood that the B17 versus LW fighter combat(s) to have occurred with startling closing Speeds (relative) and with unpredictable variety from case to case, mission to mission, dependent upon many changing factors/situations, not the least of which is the complexity of the 3D physics of aerial combat....

But, again, it Is an interesting story as Dewayne recalled it...certainly humorous... More power to him for his Service in WWII.

Thanks for passing it on, Viper...

<center>Wiley</center><center><font color="#FF0000";font size="3pt">Click HERE to visit Wiley'sWWIIGunCameraWorld (http://people.ee.ethz.ch/~chapman/flightsims/oberstguncam/Frameset/)</center>
<center>http://imagehost.auctionwatch.com/preview/wi/wileycoyote2/IwoJimatiny2.gif (http://people.ee.ethz.ch/~chapman/flightsims/oberstguncam/Movies/SandsOne.WMV) </center>
<center><font size ="2pt">Click Flag-Raising for the Full-Size(4.2Mb) Version</center>

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 08:24 AM
I enjoyed the stories also. The last story reminds me when of I was a kid. A bunch of us decided to build a raft and float down a Wisconsin creek to the Mississippi River and then down to the Gulf of Mexico. The smartest guy in our gang was clever enough to saw a hole in the middle of the raft's deck, He said we could wait unti a turtle popped his head up through the hole and we could hit the beast on its head. We all agreed that that would solve the problem of not having any money to buy food along the way!

The toilet weapon really is one of the tallest of "tall tales"! I've studied B-17s of the 8th AF for over thirty years and that was one the most preposterous ones yet. I wouldn't even know where to begin on just how absurd that was. "Gee, let's block the only route between fore and aft in our aircraft with a bucketful of highly flamable sludge"

109's did have fabric surfaces, of course, so did the B-17. The rudder and ailerons surfaces, for example.

Good one, man. You almost had me going there, for a minute!

<center> <img src=http://www.uploadit.org/files/231003-f-843.jpg> </center>

<center> "..And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of Howdy Doody."</center>

Message Edited on 10/23/0309:26AM by Clyde_N_Burns

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 10:24 AM
S! all,


I didnt write this nor was it untrue. This was told by a dear friend of mine and was reprinted with permission from the website of the 384th BG The link is below:

Go read it for yourself

http://www.384thbg.iwarp.com/rs_ben2.htm

also

http://www.angelfire.com/az/SquawkinChicken/

Also

https://ssl.kundenserver.de/www.aviation-art-mart.com/page/US/frame.htm

I have a print personally signed by Capt. Bennett

And finally

https://ssl.kundenserver.de/www.aviation-art-mart.com/data/pictures/last_man_standing/standard/start.htm

God Bless ya Dewayne!

S! Viper



<table style="filter:glow[color=red, strength=3"><tr><td> <font color=white>Viper
Commanding Officer VMF-513
http://www.vmf513.com
"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"
Ubi Movie Maker Forum Moderator
Virtual War Cinema Admin

</font></td></tr></table>

Message Edited on 10/23/03 09:26AM by VMF513_Viper

Message Edited on 10/23/03 09:27AM by VMF513_Viper

Message Edited on 10/23/0309:29AM by VMF513_Viper

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 10:35 AM
lol, got any pics of you 2 at the museum dan?

<center>http://www.freewebs.com/leadspitter/LS1.txt
Good dogfighters bring ammo home, Great ones don't. (c) Leadspitter</center>



Message Edited on 10/23/0305:21PM by LeadSpitter_

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 11:06 AM
Well leadspitter,


It wasnt at the base dude! I worked with him at the Pima Air and Space Museum. He worked on restoring aircraft while working in the toold crib there. As for pictures of me and him, no, I dont have any.

I do have his email address if you care to write him? He is on AOL. Ask Him about Dan...He will know. It kinda seems folks are looking at me as if we were war buddies. I know of Capt Bennett only while I was Volunteering at the 390th Memorial Museum: Link Is below

http://www.390th.org

Any other questions Lead?

S! Viper

<table style="filter:glow[color=red, strength=3"><tr><td> <font color=white>Viper
Commanding Officer VMF-513
http://www.vmf513.com
"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"
Ubi Movie Maker Forum Moderator
Virtual War Cinema Admin

</font></td></tr></table>

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 11:31 AM
http://www.angelfire.com/az/SquawkinChicken/


Bennett, Dewayne ("Ben")
384th Bombardment Group
545th Squadron
Crew Position: Pilot
31 Missions Over Europe
E-Mail: SQUKNCHCKN@aol.com


http://www.384thbg.iwarp.com/images/Ben1943.jpg http://www.384thbg.iwarp.com/images/Ben_Feb_2000.jpg

http://www.384thbg.iwarp.com/index.html


____________________

Vengeanze

Message Edited on 10/23/0312:36PM by Vengeanze

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 11:37 AM
S! Ven,

Yep thats him.


http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

S! Viper

<table style="filter:glow[color=red, strength=3"><tr><td> <font color=white>Viper
Commanding Officer VMF-513
http://www.vmf513.com
"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"
Ubi Movie Maker Forum Moderator
Virtual War Cinema Admin

</font></td></tr></table>

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 12:57 PM
Thanks! Great read.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 01:49 PM
nice one.

Boosher-PBNA
----------------
<center>It's your fault... <center>
Boosher-ProudBirds-VFW
http://www.uploadit.org/files/220903-Boosher%20Sig.jpg

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 01:55 PM
Nice read ! Thanks for posting it !


Brazil Salutt !!

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 04:46 PM
Cool Story!! I can't wait til the B-17 comes out either! I love that aircraft! /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

http://www.coltec.ufmg.br/~moc/phpBB2/images/smiles/salut.gif
http://www.goobage.com/pics/smilies/redblob.gif http://www.goobage.com/pics/smilies/rainbow.gif http://www.goobage.com/pics/smilies/ninja.gif http://www.goobage.com/pics/smilies/hat.gif http://www.goobage.com/pics/smilies/bump.gif http://www.goobage.com/pics/smilies/armed.gif

http://www.goobage.com/pics/smilies/ttiwwop.gif
ProudBirds of North America. Were here when you need us! /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif
<center>Golden Eagle-ProudBirds-VFW<center>
http://proudbirdswing.tripod.com/menu_files/logo_sm.jpg (http://proudbirdswing.tripod.com/proudbirds.htm)
<center><marquee><FONT COLOR="RED"><FONT SIZE="+1">"The ProudBirds..Fly High and Proud..~S~"<FONT SIZE> </marquee>

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 05:14 PM
Editing a post in such a way it completely changes the original msg is...gay.

____________________

Vengeanze

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 06:31 PM
VMF513_Viper wrote:
- I immediately jerked the bailing wire, and the ball
- turret gunner started firing. Out of the corner of
- my eye I saw a tremendous orange flash and knew the
- jellied gasoline had been ignited. Looking down, I
- saw the German fighter with all the fabric burned
- off the control surfaces and the pilot wiggling the
- stick wondering what had happened to his control.
- The bombardier had a beautiful view of the pilot,
- and he reported there was a puzzled look on his
- face. As the German fighter fell off on its wing,
- the pilot bailed out.

Yeah, well, stories do tend to get better over the years....

Freycinet
<center>
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/delfin/SD/2001/flight/spitbf109/ellehammer-crop-for-il2-forum-reduced.jpg</center>
<center>My Il-2 web-site:</center><center><BIG>"Za Rodinu!"</BIG> (http://perso.wanadoo.fr/delfin/SD/2001/flight/il-2/index.htm)</center>

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 07:42 PM
I wonder if the 'gasoline toilet' will be available when arming the B-17 in FB http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif The VAP bombs on the IL2 produce a very similar effect.

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 08:09 PM
Salute

I think this old guy is pulling a lot of gullible people's legs... /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

I have never heard of the "unterbelly attack", or any other description of an attack technique such as this.

As far as belly turrets being shot out, even if one planes turret was shot out, there are all the other planes in the formation.

If a German fighter was stupid enough to hang on its prop underneath and very low speed, it would be a very easy target.

That is not to say Dewayne didn't fly as a pilot, I think he did. But I think his sense of humour is quite obvious in all his stories.

The possibility of hitting a fighter plane with a blob of jellied gasoline... A B-17 travelling at 180 mph. Enemy fighter closing at an oblique angle... Don't think so.

The practical aspects of opening the bomb bay in response to the attack by the enemy fighter.... doors take some time to open, and the B-17 couldn't fly the whole mission with the doors open. That would reduce speed and fuel efficiency to the point that the plane might not finish.

I think Dewayne is putting one over all those dim witted city boys.

Cheers RAF74 Buzzsaw

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 09:20 PM
Heuristic_ALgor wrote:
- Good stuff
-
- Hey HaVoK
-
- Have you read the rules on sig picture size?
-
- Obviously not
-
- No need to highjack a thread to whine/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif PM your concerns to a mod. When I get the message from them I will remove it. Until then call the hotline 1-800-WAA-WAAA....Sorry for that Viper I couldnt help myself, wont happen again/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif
S~


http://www.flightjournal.com/fj/articles/p-38_lightning/images/p-38_spread_large.jpg

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 09:41 PM
A great story. Some parts were a little off though. Too bad we don't hear more of these on the forum. /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif


The Young Lions in the Forest suffer and lack, But thoser who know the Lord Shall not want of any good thing. Keep your tongue from Evil and your lips from speaking deciet. Depart from evil, do good and pursue it!

>Psalms

XyZspineZyX
10-23-2003, 11:35 PM
My father flew in B-17s in the 91st BG. He had a foot locker full of saved mimeographed tall tales and "dirty jokes" that were well known to air crews all over England. He would've gotten a kick out the toilet launching air to air weapon. I'm sure he could've topped it with some other "absolutely true" stories he was familar with.

It's a great story from a Greatest Generation pilot, but rest assured that it is told with his tongue firmly inserted in his cheek! In fact, most guys freely exchanged such hogwash and avoided talking about the horrors they lived through.

I was recently talking with my father-in-law about his time as a rifle platoon leader in the South Pacific. He joked about some of the weird characters he knew and recounted some amazing and funny things , but when I asked him a direct question once, he froze for a moment and said, "I remember the smell....". He slowly got up from his chair and mumbled, "I still have nightmares about it" He walked away and I haven't brought it up since. He's 85 now.

<center> <img src=http://www.uploadit.org/files/231003-f-843.jpg> </center>

<center> "..And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of Howdy Doody."</center>

XyZspineZyX
10-24-2003, 12:47 AM
Great shaggy dog story - very well written!