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fabianfred
12-30-2007, 09:33 PM
CHAPTER IX Mission: Airfield in Belgium1
September 9 - Airfield in Belgium Aircraft 765
Nip and Tuck
Buck Rogers was back with us again and that made me feel better. I felt safer with Rogers in the tail than any tail gunner in the 381st. Ray¬mond Legg, who had been flying in the tail while Buck was recuperating, was a nice kid. I liked Raymond, but Buck was the best I had seen in that position at that point.
Now that Carqueville was a first pilot with his own crew, Lt. John M. Kels, from Berkeley, California, was assigned as our copilot. He was easy going and relaxed, quite a contrast to Gleichauf's tense concentration. Kels was twenty-three years old, a large, well-proportioned man who made a good appearance. We could not expect him to be another Car¬queville right off. It would take a while for him to know the crew, and what he could expect from each man. Kels was an excellent replacement and I had no doubts about him from the first mission with us.
There was an atmosphere of excitment at Operations. No one ac¬tually said what was about to happen, but it was hinted that something big "” real big "” was about to break. Gleichauf was visibly excited when he arrived at the aircraft.' * The long-awaited Invasion may be on this morn¬ing. They don't say so for sure, but all crews are warned to make no comments on the intercom about anything they may see crossing the Channel. We will have an escort all the way in and out. The mission should be short. When we get back, leave your gun positions set up for another raid. Report to interrogation quickly and be ready for a second mission if they call it.''
Takeoff time was early. Before dawn the planes were lined up on the taxi strips. A night takeoff was a fascinating sight. The darkness was
'The official roster of missions shows Lille-Nord on this date. My diary shows an airfield in Belguim. Perhaps different formations hit both targets that date.
.............................................
spotted with moving lights as the aircraft moved steadily into position. There were sudden stabs of bright illumination as pilots hit a landing light to hele outline a tricky turn. The aircraft pulled up close together near the end of the runway and the throb of engines dwindled to a steady rumble. The lead ship was in place. One minute. . . two minutes. . . three minu¬tes ... there was the signal flare. Four engines opened up with a deafen¬ing roar. The ship trembled. Brakes were released and the aircraft sped down the runway appearing as a series of fast moving lights, the turbo superchargers gleaming blue-white from the heat, an eerie glow under the wings. The next plane followed, then another. Eventually our turn came. When we pulled into place Kels put the cowl flaps in trailing posi¬tion. On takeoff I stood between and slightly behind the pilot and copilot where I could see the instruments clearly. I did not get into the turret until we were nearing the Channel or North Sea.
"Tail wheel locked "” light is out,'' said the copilot.
Gleichauf glanced at me and I nodded. A last look at the controls and the four engines opened up. Paul held hard brakes until the engines reached full takeoff power of twenty five hundred R.P.M.s.
"Brakes off."
The ship lurched forward as the four engines grabbed the air "” Paul jockeyed the throttles momentarily for control, then commanded, * * Lock throttles!"
' 'Throttles locked," replied the copilot moments later.
My eyes were glued to the engine instruments. They jumped rapidly from one engine to another until I was satisfied they were going to hold. Then a hasty look out of the right and left side windows at the gas tank vents. Sometimes they siphoned out fuel into the air on takeoff. Back to the instruments: still OK. I had time now for a fleeting look at the run¬way. By this time speed was coming up and I started calling out the air speed, "Sixty . . . sixty-five . . . seventy . . . seventy five . . . eighty . . . eighty-five. . .ninety . . " so the pilots would not have to look at the air speed indicator.
Gleichauf pulled back the wheel and released it, starting a series of gentle bounces, that would tell him when there was enough lift on the wings to pull the plane into the air.
' 'Ninety-five . . . one hundred. . . one-oh-five. . ."
The aircraft lifted smoothly from the runway.' 'Wheels up."
"Wheels coming up," responded the copilot.
* * Hundred and ten ... hundred and fifteen . . .'
The aircraft was gathering speed. We hit some propeller wash from a preceding aircraft and there was a risky moment or two- Kels said,
' 'Wheels are up "” lights out.
'' Hundred twenty . . . hundred twenty-five . . .", I relaxed because there was nothing to worry about for the present. It was still dark but in the East there was a faint hint of dawn. Far ahead were lights we must follow carefully. Gradually darkness gave way to pre-dawn light. The Squadron formed in proper order, ready for Group rendezvous. I was keyed up for this raid, expecting big things to open up. After the climb to high altitude we headed out to sea toward the target. I suspected that the object of the raid was not so much bombing damage to a target as a diversionary action to draw off enemy air interference with the naval craft if indeed the invasion was underway.
* 'Navigator to Bombardier.' * "Go ahead."
*' Look at all those ships.''
'' Pilot to crew "” Pilot to crew, make no comments about anything you see below. Sometimes intercom talk leaks through to Jerry." (By freak electronics).
Sure enough, ships were strung out in a long line from the British Coast half way across the Channel. It looked like the invasion was on, but I could hardly believe we were strong enough then for an all-out attempt against the Continent. It was an exhilarating view, but I had to cease sightseeing and turn my attention to the business at hand.
* * Navigator to Pilot! Navigator to Pilot!'' Kels motioned to Gleichauf to switch to intercom. "This is the Pilot." ' 'Enemy Coast in five minutes." ' 'Pilot to crew "” keep alert." ' 'Bombardier to crew, oxygen check.'' "Tail, rajah." "Ball, OK." "Radio, rajah." "Turret, OK." "Cockpit, OK."
"Ball to Copilot "” Ball to Copilot." "Go ahead, Ball." "Flak, eleven o'clock low."
Boom! A real close one! I heard fragments strike the aircraft hard, but could see no damage from my position. "Copilot from Ball.'' "Go ahead Ball." '' Sir, I am wounded.''
There was a momentary lag on the intercom. I was not certain I had heard Nick correctly.
"Copilot to Ball, will you repeat that?"
"Sir, I am wounded."
We never used the word "Sir" on the intercom and Nick seldom used it on the ground unless a high ranking officer was present. What induced Nick to become so formal when he was wounded?
Kels motioned Gleichauf to get on intercom. ' 'Nick was hit by that heavy burst of flak.''
"Pilot to Ball "” Pilot to Ball! Where were you hit? How bad is it?"
"Got me in the leg an' foot. Coin' numb, but hurting some."
"Can you move your foot?"
"I can move it OK."
* 'We are just now enterin' enemy territory. Think you can stay on the guns until we get back over water? It won't be long.''
"Yeah, I think so."
"Good! We'll get you out of the ball as soon as we're back over water.''
"OK, Pilot-I can make it."
"Radio to Ball, turn your heated suit up high to hold down shock.''
"OK."
' 'Bombardier to Ball, use pure oxygen Nick. We got plenty today.''
"OK, Bombardier."
"Pilot to Ball, if you start feeling dizzy let us know an' we'll get you out of there quick."
"OK "”I'll make it."
' 'Navigator to Bombardier. There is the I.P. "” be on the bomb run in five minutes."
"Waist to Turret."
"Go ahead, Waist."
"Number three engine is throwin' a little smoke."
"OK, Jim."
"Turret to Copilot "” is number three on autolean?"
"No, it was runnin' a little hot, so I put it on autorich."
' 'Suggest put it back on autolean and open cowl flaps enough to keep it about two fifteen. "(215 degrees cylinder head temperature.)
"OK, John."
A few minutes later the Waist called,' 'Number three has quit smok¬ing."
'' Good! Remind me to tell the crew chief when we get back.''
' 'Bombardier to Pilot "” we're on the bomb run."
"Tail to crew. Flak five o'clock low."
' 'Waist to crew, flak three o'clock low."
The flak was mild and not very accurate which was welcome *- me, and no fighters were in sight, which was unusual.
"Bombs away."
I felt the load drop off and the aircraft surge slightly upward.
* 'Radio to Bombardier, bomb bay clear.
' 'OK, Radio, doors coming up.''
"Doors are up."
" Pilot to Ball "” Pilot to Ball."
"Go ahead."
'' How are you feeling?
"Foot's hurtin' worse. Get me out soon as you can."
1 'We'll have you out in a few minutes now.''
' 'Bombardier to Radio, get the blanket ready to wrap up Nick when we get him in the radio room."
"Bombardier to Ball, Til be back as soon as we leave the Coast and help you out of the ball. I can see the Coast up ahead now.''
The fighter escort was perfect. No enemy planes were sighted. Flak was meager. Nick was unfortunate to catch a flak fragment from the only burst that was close to us. The formation began letting down and Purus went back to help Nick, who was in pain but not enough to justify a morphine shot. Purus decided it would be best to leave the foot and leg wrapped in blankets and not try to bind the wound. The bleeding seemed to have stopped. It was much too cold to expose the foot to outside air temperature. All they could do for Nick was keep him warm and as com¬fortable as possible. Gleichauf broke from the formation to get fast medi¬cal help for Nick. At lower altitudes the intercom was unneeded in the cockpit. Paul turned to me. "Fire a red red flare on the approach."
When I was sure they could see it, I fired the flare that signalled wounded man aboard. Shortly afterward I saw an ambulance head for the taxi strip we were expected to use.
As soon as the aircraft stopped Nick was lifted gently onto a stretcher and into the ambulance. As it pulled away I had a depressed feeling. I had come to admire Nick. He was a brash young man, but he had been a mainstay down in that ball, where none of the rest of us would have ventured by choice. It took a special kind of man, with a tough mental attitude, to handle the anxieties of that position amid the bursting flak. Herb Carqueville was waiting when we climbed out of the ship and very much upset about Nick. Capt. Ralston, the Flight Surgeon, was also there. I knew Nick would get the best of care and treatment.

fabianfred
12-30-2007, 09:33 PM
CHAPTER IX Mission: Airfield in Belgium1
September 9 - Airfield in Belgium Aircraft 765
Nip and Tuck
Buck Rogers was back with us again and that made me feel better. I felt safer with Rogers in the tail than any tail gunner in the 381st. Ray¬mond Legg, who had been flying in the tail while Buck was recuperating, was a nice kid. I liked Raymond, but Buck was the best I had seen in that position at that point.
Now that Carqueville was a first pilot with his own crew, Lt. John M. Kels, from Berkeley, California, was assigned as our copilot. He was easy going and relaxed, quite a contrast to Gleichauf's tense concentration. Kels was twenty-three years old, a large, well-proportioned man who made a good appearance. We could not expect him to be another Car¬queville right off. It would take a while for him to know the crew, and what he could expect from each man. Kels was an excellent replacement and I had no doubts about him from the first mission with us.
There was an atmosphere of excitment at Operations. No one ac¬tually said what was about to happen, but it was hinted that something big "” real big "” was about to break. Gleichauf was visibly excited when he arrived at the aircraft.' * The long-awaited Invasion may be on this morn¬ing. They don't say so for sure, but all crews are warned to make no comments on the intercom about anything they may see crossing the Channel. We will have an escort all the way in and out. The mission should be short. When we get back, leave your gun positions set up for another raid. Report to interrogation quickly and be ready for a second mission if they call it.''
Takeoff time was early. Before dawn the planes were lined up on the taxi strips. A night takeoff was a fascinating sight. The darkness was
'The official roster of missions shows Lille-Nord on this date. My diary shows an airfield in Belguim. Perhaps different formations hit both targets that date.
.............................................
spotted with moving lights as the aircraft moved steadily into position. There were sudden stabs of bright illumination as pilots hit a landing light to hele outline a tricky turn. The aircraft pulled up close together near the end of the runway and the throb of engines dwindled to a steady rumble. The lead ship was in place. One minute. . . two minutes. . . three minu¬tes ... there was the signal flare. Four engines opened up with a deafen¬ing roar. The ship trembled. Brakes were released and the aircraft sped down the runway appearing as a series of fast moving lights, the turbo superchargers gleaming blue-white from the heat, an eerie glow under the wings. The next plane followed, then another. Eventually our turn came. When we pulled into place Kels put the cowl flaps in trailing posi¬tion. On takeoff I stood between and slightly behind the pilot and copilot where I could see the instruments clearly. I did not get into the turret until we were nearing the Channel or North Sea.
"Tail wheel locked "” light is out,'' said the copilot.
Gleichauf glanced at me and I nodded. A last look at the controls and the four engines opened up. Paul held hard brakes until the engines reached full takeoff power of twenty five hundred R.P.M.s.
"Brakes off."
The ship lurched forward as the four engines grabbed the air "” Paul jockeyed the throttles momentarily for control, then commanded, * * Lock throttles!"
' 'Throttles locked," replied the copilot moments later.
My eyes were glued to the engine instruments. They jumped rapidly from one engine to another until I was satisfied they were going to hold. Then a hasty look out of the right and left side windows at the gas tank vents. Sometimes they siphoned out fuel into the air on takeoff. Back to the instruments: still OK. I had time now for a fleeting look at the run¬way. By this time speed was coming up and I started calling out the air speed, "Sixty . . . sixty-five . . . seventy . . . seventy five . . . eighty . . . eighty-five. . .ninety . . " so the pilots would not have to look at the air speed indicator.
Gleichauf pulled back the wheel and released it, starting a series of gentle bounces, that would tell him when there was enough lift on the wings to pull the plane into the air.
' 'Ninety-five . . . one hundred. . . one-oh-five. . ."
The aircraft lifted smoothly from the runway.' 'Wheels up."
"Wheels coming up," responded the copilot.
* * Hundred and ten ... hundred and fifteen . . .'
The aircraft was gathering speed. We hit some propeller wash from a preceding aircraft and there was a risky moment or two- Kels said,
' 'Wheels are up "” lights out.
'' Hundred twenty . . . hundred twenty-five . . .", I relaxed because there was nothing to worry about for the present. It was still dark but in the East there was a faint hint of dawn. Far ahead were lights we must follow carefully. Gradually darkness gave way to pre-dawn light. The Squadron formed in proper order, ready for Group rendezvous. I was keyed up for this raid, expecting big things to open up. After the climb to high altitude we headed out to sea toward the target. I suspected that the object of the raid was not so much bombing damage to a target as a diversionary action to draw off enemy air interference with the naval craft if indeed the invasion was underway.
* 'Navigator to Bombardier.' * "Go ahead."
*' Look at all those ships.''
'' Pilot to crew "” Pilot to crew, make no comments about anything you see below. Sometimes intercom talk leaks through to Jerry." (By freak electronics).
Sure enough, ships were strung out in a long line from the British Coast half way across the Channel. It looked like the invasion was on, but I could hardly believe we were strong enough then for an all-out attempt against the Continent. It was an exhilarating view, but I had to cease sightseeing and turn my attention to the business at hand.
* * Navigator to Pilot! Navigator to Pilot!'' Kels motioned to Gleichauf to switch to intercom. "This is the Pilot." ' 'Enemy Coast in five minutes." ' 'Pilot to crew "” keep alert." ' 'Bombardier to crew, oxygen check.'' "Tail, rajah." "Ball, OK." "Radio, rajah." "Turret, OK." "Cockpit, OK."
"Ball to Copilot "” Ball to Copilot." "Go ahead, Ball." "Flak, eleven o'clock low."
Boom! A real close one! I heard fragments strike the aircraft hard, but could see no damage from my position. "Copilot from Ball.'' "Go ahead Ball." '' Sir, I am wounded.''
There was a momentary lag on the intercom. I was not certain I had heard Nick correctly.
"Copilot to Ball, will you repeat that?"
"Sir, I am wounded."
We never used the word "Sir" on the intercom and Nick seldom used it on the ground unless a high ranking officer was present. What induced Nick to become so formal when he was wounded?
Kels motioned Gleichauf to get on intercom. ' 'Nick was hit by that heavy burst of flak.''
"Pilot to Ball "” Pilot to Ball! Where were you hit? How bad is it?"
"Got me in the leg an' foot. Coin' numb, but hurting some."
"Can you move your foot?"
"I can move it OK."
* 'We are just now enterin' enemy territory. Think you can stay on the guns until we get back over water? It won't be long.''
"Yeah, I think so."
"Good! We'll get you out of the ball as soon as we're back over water.''
"OK, Pilot-I can make it."
"Radio to Ball, turn your heated suit up high to hold down shock.''
"OK."
' 'Bombardier to Ball, use pure oxygen Nick. We got plenty today.''
"OK, Bombardier."
"Pilot to Ball, if you start feeling dizzy let us know an' we'll get you out of there quick."
"OK "”I'll make it."
' 'Navigator to Bombardier. There is the I.P. "” be on the bomb run in five minutes."
"Waist to Turret."
"Go ahead, Waist."
"Number three engine is throwin' a little smoke."
"OK, Jim."
"Turret to Copilot "” is number three on autolean?"
"No, it was runnin' a little hot, so I put it on autorich."
' 'Suggest put it back on autolean and open cowl flaps enough to keep it about two fifteen. "(215 degrees cylinder head temperature.)
"OK, John."
A few minutes later the Waist called,' 'Number three has quit smok¬ing."
'' Good! Remind me to tell the crew chief when we get back.''
' 'Bombardier to Pilot "” we're on the bomb run."
"Tail to crew. Flak five o'clock low."
' 'Waist to crew, flak three o'clock low."
The flak was mild and not very accurate which was welcome *- me, and no fighters were in sight, which was unusual.
"Bombs away."
I felt the load drop off and the aircraft surge slightly upward.
* 'Radio to Bombardier, bomb bay clear.
' 'OK, Radio, doors coming up.''
"Doors are up."
" Pilot to Ball "” Pilot to Ball."
"Go ahead."
'' How are you feeling?
"Foot's hurtin' worse. Get me out soon as you can."
1 'We'll have you out in a few minutes now.''
' 'Bombardier to Radio, get the blanket ready to wrap up Nick when we get him in the radio room."
"Bombardier to Ball, Til be back as soon as we leave the Coast and help you out of the ball. I can see the Coast up ahead now.''
The fighter escort was perfect. No enemy planes were sighted. Flak was meager. Nick was unfortunate to catch a flak fragment from the only burst that was close to us. The formation began letting down and Purus went back to help Nick, who was in pain but not enough to justify a morphine shot. Purus decided it would be best to leave the foot and leg wrapped in blankets and not try to bind the wound. The bleeding seemed to have stopped. It was much too cold to expose the foot to outside air temperature. All they could do for Nick was keep him warm and as com¬fortable as possible. Gleichauf broke from the formation to get fast medi¬cal help for Nick. At lower altitudes the intercom was unneeded in the cockpit. Paul turned to me. "Fire a red red flare on the approach."
When I was sure they could see it, I fired the flare that signalled wounded man aboard. Shortly afterward I saw an ambulance head for the taxi strip we were expected to use.
As soon as the aircraft stopped Nick was lifted gently onto a stretcher and into the ambulance. As it pulled away I had a depressed feeling. I had come to admire Nick. He was a brash young man, but he had been a mainstay down in that ball, where none of the rest of us would have ventured by choice. It took a special kind of man, with a tough mental attitude, to handle the anxieties of that position amid the bursting flak. Herb Carqueville was waiting when we climbed out of the ship and very much upset about Nick. Capt. Ralston, the Flight Surgeon, was also there. I knew Nick would get the best of care and treatment.

fabianfred
12-30-2007, 09:34 PM
September 13
Sam Spivak was one of the early crew chiefs in the 381st and a good one. He was the brother of Charlie Spivak, a well-known orchestra leader of that period. When Sam and Gleichauf got together it was old friends meeting again. It was reassuring to have that kind of man in charge of keeping our aircraft in top condition.
One bitterly cold day Sam was working alone, high up on an engine stand with his head in the nacelle space behind the engine. Electricians, armorers, and other specialists were coming and going. Sam heard another vehicle stop but paid no attention to it. An English voice said, '' Yank, how do you like our English weather?''
No American liked the miserable winter-spring weather of 1943 in England and Sam thought he was talking to one of the English runway workers. His reply was a volley of profanity that clearly expressed what he thought of English weather in very definite and colorful terms. When he did not hear any reply, Sam stooped down to where he could see to whom he was talking. He got the shock of his life: there stood King George VI,
flanked by British and American military brass! Sam tried to stutter an apology but the King cut him short. George VI was laughing heartily and said, ' 'Forget it, Yank. I had it coming. And I've heard better profanity than that many times. I' m an old navy man, you know.' *

fabianfred
12-30-2007, 09:35 PM
CHAPTER X Mission to Nantes
September 16 - Nantes, France Aircraft 765
Carqueville was flying his initial mission as a first pilot with a crew
newly put together. He would be on the right wing and we would be on
the left wing of the second element of the squadron.
'
I saw Carqueville at Operations early that morning and he said, * 'John, my men are nervous and scared, as all of us are on our first raid. We may need some help if fighters hit us hard. Keep your eye on us.' *
Jim cut in, ' 'Keep tight formation and the fighters won't pick you out as a green crew.''
The target was submarine installations at Nantes, on the Loire River, a few miles from the Bay of Biscay, on the West Coast of France. Takeoff and wing assembly was smooth and on schedule. A short time before we reached the enemy coast Purus called me.
' 'Bombardier to Turret "” pull the bomb fuse pins.''
"OK, Bombardier."
"Ball to crew, fighters six o'clock low "” can't make out what they are."
"Tail to crew, they are P-47's."
The escort flew criss-cross patterns above us and for an hour nothing happened. Then the Navigator spotted trouble.
"Navigator to crew, 109's eleven o'clock low "” looks like about fifty of them."
Reliable Jerry had timed the range of the escort perfectly and ap¬proached the formation at the time when the 47's would have to turn back. When the Thunderbolts were gone the enemy interceptors pulled up to our altitude and began the usual circling tactic to pick out the best angles for attack. We could never be certain what they looked for, but a ship with signs of mechanical trouble or a straggler was sure to be high on the hit list. We also knew they looked for the weakest formations and suspected that they tried to spot green crews. Perhaps certain groups had earned a reputation of being rough to attack. Other groups may have been easy targets in the past and when they recognized the opposition by the insignias, they may have changed their tactics.
* 'Bombardier to crew, fighters are hitting the high squadron.''
The attack screamed by us at about two hundred yards and we let go with burst after burst. There were seven fighters attacking in a single file.
"Tail to crew"” 109comin' in six o'clock high."
I whirled around to help Legg and we hammered hard at the 109 and another right behind him.
"Ball to Turret."
((Go ahead."
''I think you an' Tail got one "” I can see it going down smoking.
I saw us hit it with a dozen bursts, but I think Legg did the most damage. That was the kind of fight I liked. We were never swarmed by fighters but there were enough attacks to keep us busy. By that date I had enough combat experience to be keyed up to maximum performance by fighter action.
The fight slowed down, but ten or twelve interceptors were still buzz¬ing around the formation. A fighter was leading three other Bogies and circling us at about twelve hundred yards.
('Navigator to Turret.''
('Go ahead."
"Hey, John, think we could hit that sonnuva***** at four o'clock high?"
"He's a little out of our range, but we might fire high an' lob a few rounds into him if we're lucky."
"Let's dust him off for the hell of it.''
"OK "”fire away,"
I set my elevation several degrees above his flight path and took a long lead. Both of us squeezed off three or four bursts. We picked the wrong man to mess with. He was not bothering us and we should have left him alone. His wings wiggled as if out of control for a few seconds then he went into a dive and came straight at us with the other three fighters following his lead. We had a full thousand yards to fire and the nose and turret guns poured a deadly hail of lead and steel all of the way. We were assisted by other gun positions in adjoining ships. One after another those fighters barrel-rolled under our right wing, and I heard Jim open up as they flashed by his position. Then Legg cut loose as they dived down out of range. The 109's were so rugged they could absorb a lot of punishment and keep right on coming in. Well, one of us did hit the lead ship with an improbable shot.
* 'Navigator! This is the pilot. That was damned stupid! That fighter wasn't botherin' us an* you and John made him mad. Those four 109*s
could' ve knocked us down. Don't either of you ever pull a stunt like that again."
Gleichauf was really hot and he had a right to be. We should not have instigated that attack. Fortunately, he did take effective evasive action while the four of them were coming in on us. That was probably why we did not take any damage.
As soon as the fighters dived past us I whirled around to see how Herb was doing. Two fighters were zooming by his aircraft and severe damage was clearly evident.
"Turret to crew, Herb's been badly damaged. His ship is riddled from the waist back an* looks to me like the Copilot and Top Turret are wounded."
* * Waist to crew, Herb is all right as far as I can see."
It was typical of Jerry tactics to mount two or three simultaneous attacks to divide the defensive fire. In this case it worked well because we were tied up with our own problems. When Herb needed some help we could not give it to him.
"Navigator to Pilot."
"Go ahead"
* 'The I.P. is just ahead of us.''
* 'Bombardier to crew, flak twelve o'clock high."
The fire was light and inaccurate, which was great with me. I hated that damn flak. The bombs released on time and the formation made a right swing out over the Bay of Biscay. Two aircraft had release problems but they got rid of their bombs as we passed over a harbor nearby. I watched the boats making frantic movements in an attempt to avoid the bombs they could see falling directly on the harbor.
' 'Bombardier to Pilot. I think Herb is goin' to be able to hang on. His Copilot is sitting up in his seat now."
The flight back to England was long and tiresome. When we landed Major Hendricks, the Squadron Commanding Officer, sent for Shutting and me. The Major was usually a mild mannered man, but when we reported he was steaming.
"I've seen some asinine things in my day, but you two men drawing four fighters in on our squadron for no sensible reason takes the prize for stupidity. Don't you have sense enough to leave fighters alone who are not bothering us? If I ever hear of any such irresponsible action from either one of you again there will be severe disciplinary measures!''
When we were out of range of the Major's hearing Shutting whis¬pered, *' I never knew Hendricks had such a temper. Good thing we both kept our big mouths shut."

Sharpe26
12-31-2007, 04:47 AM
This looks familiar. Is this from John Comer's combat crew?

fabianfred
12-31-2007, 08:34 PM
Yes....I am just reading it...
fantastic book...detailing each of his 25 combat missions as engineer/gunner...during a most difficult period.... before they got the P51's..