Young - #15
Rear L-R: Young, John A. (P); Gulis, Alexander G. (P); Griggs, William M. (E); Wisehart, Willard J. (B); Casey, Robert T. (N)
Front L-R: Crook, Warren M. (BG); Winchester, Charles T. (RO); Ashton, Jennings L. (TT); Comingore, Leonard (NG); Hall ,William R. (TG)
Partial ID from Herb Frank:
Back Row L-R: Young, John A. (P); Wisehart, Willard J. (B); Gulis, Alexander G. (CP); Casey,Robert T. (N); Hall,William R. (E)?
Mission Summaries for the Young Crew
Thanks to Charlie Crook
Missions #1 and #2, Sortie #1
October 23. Target: Munich, Germany. Flying time: 8 hours, 30 minutes. Flak - low and in front of our formation. However, the group behind us really caught it. Lt. Crinkley flew as co-pilot in this group and his pilot had a piece of flak hit his seat armor. The pilot was sweating out his 50th mission, too! As if this wasn't rough enough they lost their formation and had to tack onto another group after they had made their bomb run. This took them over the target for the second time. All this on the last mission!
Missions #3 and #4, Sortie #2
November 4. Target: Augsburg, Germany. Flying time: 8 hours. This time the flak was heavier but it still was inaccurate. Our nose gunner, Comingore, almost was the victim of an accident. When the plane in front of us test fired its guns their tail gunner didn't wiggle his turret to inform out pilot that he was going to fire. So Young didn't move from the path of their spent shell casings. They hit our ship in the nose turret, missing Comingore's face by 6 inches, in the left wing, and in the bomb bay. Carelessness almost lost a life. After we completed the bomb run Will Wisehart, my bombardier, called on the plane's interphone system to tell us two bombs had hung up in the racks and we still had to get rid of them. Will then climbed into the narrow bomb bay and proceeded to kick the remaining two bombs out, all this with the bomb bay doors open, flak coming up, and the plane 5 miles above Germany. He earned his flying pay today.
Mission #5, Sortie #3
November 5. Target: Vienna, Austria. Flying time: 6 hours 45 minutes. This turned out to be one mission where the navigator really sweated. Our plane couldn't keep up in the formation because one of the superchargers was out and the engine was drawing excessive manifold pressure. About 68 miles from Vienna Young decided to abort and he asked me for a mag heading home. I gave him one but the co-pilot didn't like it for it wasn't going to take us home the way we came, via Yugoslavia. Young took my heading and we flew along until I picked myself up at Dravograd, a town on the Austrian/Yugoslvian border. We still had some bombs left so we decided to hit a fat looking little marshalling yard a little west of Dravograd proper. Wisehart had to toggle the bombs out so we may not have hit the target too well. By the way, two of these bombs were boobie traps and wouldn't explode until evening. We then continued on home by way of Venice
Missions #6 and #7, Sortie #4
November 6. Target: Vienna, Austria. Flying time: 6 hours 30 minutes. Well, we went down flak alley today. When we got half way to the target our plane couldn't keep up so we jettisoned three bombs over Yugoslavia and stayed in formation. The target was covered by an overcast so we bombed by radar. The flak was very heavy and the group in front of us caught hell. However, we were lucky and only one flak burst hit our formation. The ship on the left wing was hit in their wing but it didn't bother them. (P.S. Had some bad news - Merritt and J. B. Wright were killed. They bailed out over the Adriatic and probably drowned. Merritt's body was recovered but Wright's is still missing.)
Mission #8, Sortie #5
November 11. Target: Linz Benzol Refinery, Austria. Flying time: 6 hours 30 minutes. Hi, ho, off to the Fatherland we go. They have 150 heavy flak guns to protect this target plus 75 fighters in the target area and 25 other fighters in northern Italy. We had 55 P-38's to combat the fighter menace. On the way to the target Hall, our tail gunner, passed out at 26,000 feet due to anoxia. Thank heavens we caught him in time on a routine crew check. Over the Alps the overcast went up to 27,000 feet and we climbed to 28,000 feet to go over it. At this altitude the temperature was minus 50° C. I never want to be that cold again but Cest la Guerre and I probably will be with winter coming on. About ten minutes from the target we had to turn around. The Mickey on the lead ship went out and we couldn't bomb visually. After we landed we learned that the number of missions required for a tour of duty had been changed. From now on no more double credits. Instead you must fly 35 sorties. Milk runs to Yugoslavia now count as much as a trip to Jerry heaven.
Another little item about this mission. The Air Corps has two types of parachute harnesses. One snaps onto the chute and the other has the chute snap onto the harness. Well, someone got mixed up and we had one chute that would not fit any harness in the ship. I don't know how it happened but I got stuck with this chute. At this point I said to hell with navigation and fooled around until I got the chute attached to my harness by using a spare harness. I hooked the spare onto my chute and tied the leg straps onto this. I'll always wonder if this makeshift would have worked if I had been forced to bail out.
Mission #9, Sortie #6
November 16. Target: West Marshalling Yards in Munich. Flying time: 7 hours 10 minutes. Today we had a nice juicy marshalling yard as our target. It was 5 miles long and 200 feet wide. Twenty-eight planes from our group which was the mission normal effort. For escort we had 52 P-51's and S-2 said the Germans had moved fighters into the Udine area. The group navigator said we might face mobile railroad ack-ack guns in this same area. It took us the usual two hours to rendezvous over the local area and we bucked a head wind going up. At the initial point someone messed up and several planes dropped their bombs. Then to top that the lead ship turned and started back home so we jettisoned our 5 500 lb bombs. Still some of the planes had their bombs and about five minutes later a formation directly above us started to kick their bombs out. One came so close to us that our nose gunner claimed he could read the serial number of the bomb. Al Gulis, my co-pilot, became sick to his stomach after we landed. His sinuses were blocked up and the changes in altitude gave him a severe headache. He certainly will tell you that flying feeling as he did was no joke.
Missions #10 and #11, Sortie #7
November 17. Target: South Oil Refinery, Blachhammer, Czechoslovakia. Flying time: 8 hours 30 minutes. The target was an oil refinery five miles long and one and a half miles wide. The Fifteenth Air Force sent out two forces today. The first went to Vienna and the second followed a short while later on the same course as the first. The idea was to make the Krauts believe both forces were to hit Vienna. Then the second force could continue on north and surprise the Germans at Blachhammer. The mission seemed to work out perfectly but ten miles from the target the Mickey went out. So we dropped our bombs short. On the way back we sweated gasoline out. We were so short that we almost had to land at an emergency stop on the island of Vis of the Yugoslavian coast. We didn't pick up any flak but Hall, our tail gunner, reported that the flak was heavy and on the spot we vacated three minutes ago. We picked a good time to rally.
Missions #12 and #13, Sortie #8
November 20. Target: South Oil Refinery, Blechhammer. Flying time: 8 hours 45 minutes. Well, we didn't hit the target on our last sortie so being stubborn we went back. This target is number one on the European Theatre's priority list. They make 20,000 tons of gasoline per month and we certainly will help the war effort if we can knock it out. The Fifteenth Air Force has hit or rather tried to hit this target sice last summer and until today they have been unsuccessful. On the way to the target the cylinder head temperature ran too high and we had to jettison six out of seven bombs. Two of these bombs blew hell out of a farm house near Papa. We had to go past the initial point to avoid clouds and as a result our axis of attack took us over too damn much flak. Ah yes, this flak. It was accurate and oh so precise. Coming into the target it seemed to hit the fuselage like rain on a tin roof. Crook, our ball gunner, said he could see the flashes of red from the guns below us. They were heavy caliber guns, 105's and 120's. The flak was all over our formation; in front of us, in back of us, on the sides and in our boxes of B-24's.
Just as we reached the point where we were to release our bomb we received a hit in the nose turret. Comingore was hit in the right leg and in the head. However, he was wearing his steel flak helmet and outside of minor cuts on his face from the Plexiglas his head was unhurt. The helmet had a big dent in it but it probably saved his life. However, he wasn't so fortunate with the hit in his leg. It got him in the front of the leg and between the knee and the ankle. Wisehart helped him out of the turret and gave him first aid; 100% oxygen, all the heat he could get from Comingore's heated suit, sulfa powder and a tourniquet to stem the flow of blood. Excellent job. Later I went down to the nose and Will and I splinted his leg and moved him out of the nose to below the flight deck for safety in landing.
Then we landed shooting red flares and the meat wagon took poor Comingore to the hospital at Foggia. This boy sure has guts. Not once did he complain and as they lifted him into the ambulance he smiled at me and gave me the high sign that everything was okay. This in spite of all the pain. He's a brave man. At critique in the evening we learned that we hit the target but good. This is poor consolation for the loss of such a good crewmember for the flight surgeon said, "His flying days are over."
Missions #14 and #15, Sortie #9
November 22. Target: West Marshalling Yard at Munich. Flying time: 8 hours 30 minutes. Today we had the number one priority communications target in western Germany. The metro data was excellent today and my pre-flight plan worked out well. The ground speed over the target was about 270 knots. When we got over the Alps cirrus clouds were stacked up over the target and about three minutes from the IP our formation went into this stuff. We couldn't see any of the other ships in the formation and for about thirty minutes were in danger of collision. Finally everybody jettisoned their bombs at 27,600 feet and we headed home. However, we might have hit some part of Munich as we were just about over the target at bombs away. On this time we didn't see any flak and enemy fighters. We used the emergency interphone system (the command set) and it worked just fine. Hope all the rest of my missions see the same amount of opposition. (P.S. Tonight I learned that Crinkley, Owens, Dean and Berliner made a safe landing at one of the secret landing strips in Yugoslavia after being shot up over Blachhammer. They should be home tomorrow. Glad they got out okay.)
Mission #16, Sortie #10
December 6. Target: Main M/Y Maribor, Yugoslavia. Flying time: 6 hours. Today we supported the Russians with an attack of the German supply route to the front. We carried 8 500 pound RDX bombs. Going to the target we encountered a solid overcast at our altitude and we had to fly through the soup. After we got to the end of the mountains bordering the Yugoslavian coast the clouds dissipated and we bombed the target through a thin layer of clouds. We saw flak puffs before we reached the target but on our bomb run I didn't see any new stuff. Hall, our tail gunner, forgot his helmet and he flew the mission with his oxygen mask tied on with a handkerchief. On the way home we had more soup and in addition we also had snow.
Missions #17 and #18, Sortie #11
December 11. Target: Vienna, Austria. Flying time: 8 hours. Today we were briefed for a bombing mission over a target 8/10 covered with clouds. We bombed visually and the weather was CAVU. I've talked to men with 30 sorties and they said this target had more flak than any other target they've hit. The entire town of Wien was covered with flak and I don't mean just the residential areas close in to the center. Every suburb within 20 miles had flak. We were in anti-aircraft fire for ten minutes. One piece of flak missed the co-pilot's head by an inch. Another knocked out most of our instruments and two engines were knocked out.
After we were hit we lost altitude and had to drop down to 14,000 feet. The formation then waited for us and formed around our plane. Coming north toward Yor our course veered off to the right. But just as we were about to turn flak (uncharted) appeared to the right along our briefed course. So we turned left and ran into some more flak. Finally we got the hell out of there. The pilots did a good job and we made it home okay. This sortie really scared all of us and I don't know how our nerves are going to stand 24 more. (P.S. One man in our formation saw 10 B-24's go down over the target.)
Missions #19 and #20, Sortie #12
December 16. Target: Brux Synthetic Oil Refinery. Flying time: 9 hours. We made our longest trip today. It was too damn far to go to be shot at but C'est la guerre. Our oxygen supply ran low due to a leak and we sweated out oxygen until the gauges read 50 lbs of pressure. Three heated suits rheostats went out and the two waist gunners and the tail gunner were lucky the temperature only went down to 32 degrees below zero. Flak over the target was intense but our group was lucky and we skirted the outside of the barrage.
Missions #21 and #22, Sortie #13
December 17. Target: Odertal Oil Refinery (50-26N, 18-08E). Flying time: 9 hours 15 minutes. The trip today was even longer. To show the type of mission 31 bombers left from our group. Of these 5 aborted and 14 came back. The rest are missing. The Luftwaffe hit us about 20 minutes from the target. We saw 30-35 enemy single engine fighters - FW-190 when it made a tail attack. All the gunners had targets but only one destroyed enemy aircraft. The group in front got hit very hard. One squadron was almost wiped out. Flak was intense over the target but fortunately inaccurate. On the way back the ship we flew wing on fell out of formation and at present it is unaccounted for. A very eventful day. (P.S. Comingore had been sent back to the States in order to have his leg operated upon. Crinkley's crew didn't land in Yugoslavia after all. They bailed out in Yugoslavia, however. The Partisans got the entire crew back but Crinkley broke his leg real bad when he landed. He's going back home in a month or two.)
Missions #23 and #24, Sortie #14
December 19. Target: Blechhammer South Oil Refinery. Flying time: 8 hours. We had multi-fighter support today. Both P-51's and P-38's covered us but the Luftwaffe had a stand down. We had a pathfinder run on the target and the flak was moderate and more or less inaccurate. We had three pieces of flak hit the cowling on number two engine but the engine wasn't hurt. This was rather a tame mission and I would like 21 more like it. We saw flak along the route home but all of it was off our course. One can never tell when you might run into new flak areas nowadays.
Missions #25 and #26, Sortie #15
February 5, 1945. Target: Regensburg Winter Harbor Oil Storage (49-0, 12-07). Flying time: 8 hours 30 minutes. Bomb load: 15 250 lb. At first I thought that the weather would prevent us from going up to visit the staggering Krauts but we managed to slip through. We never saw the occluded front or the solid overcast from 2 to 30 thousand feet as Stanhope Elmore, the weather officer, briefed us. However we did have overcast and undercast conditions most of the way. Just before the Initial Point we heard the VHF that Jerry fighters were hitting over the group in front of us but we didn't see any enemy planes.
We didn't have any flak over the target which was multa bona. On the bomb run I counted 150 four engine bombers flying ahead of us. This is quite a few planes on a bomb run. To avoid the other ships our lead pilot went wide around the IP. The Pathfinder Navigator got mixed up at this point and picked up the IP on his scope for the 2nd time. The jerk thought it was the target so we hit ten miles short of the storage grounds. This was a milk run.
Missions #27 and #28, Sortie #16
February 13. Target: Vienna Central Repair Shops. Flying time 7 hours. Bomb load: 8 500 lb. RDX. We flew a visual run today. The flak was accurate and intense. Accurate enough to hit on the right side of the nose turret, rip through the fuselage, bounce off a piece of steel a foot from my head and to scare me half to death. The linkage from the nose bomb bay door lever to the bomb bay was broken so Wisehart opened the bomb bay doors with the handle near the bomb bays. I had to toggle the bombs while he did it. On the bomb run a burst of flak hit the lead ships bombardier, Wenzlik. Immediately he jettisoned his bombs and the flight toggled on his release. Another burst hit this lead ship and cut a gasoline line in the bomb bay. Fortunately a miracle happened and the plane didn't blow up. What a mission. (P.S. We hit a little town and not the target.)
Missions #29 and #30, Sortie #17
February 14. Target: Moosbierbaum Oil Refinery (48-19, 15-55). Flying time: 8 hours. Bomb load: 7 500 lb. RDX. Position: C Flight #1 Position. Today I flew my first lead. Souther and Miller were the pilots. Martin was nose navigator and Roseuek was bombardier. Crossing the Adriatic we flew over an overcast so I did air plot until five minutes after we hit the turning point on the Yugoslavian coast. Then the clouds broke up and I got a pilotage pin point. We continued on up to the target keeping about 20 miles to the right of course because the group we followed was off course that distance. Due to this we missed the turning point before the initial point and even came in about 15 miles to the right of the IP. My bombardier tried to kill rate with his sight but a flight kept turning into us. Once the turn was steep the sight blacked out. At the moment the bombardier was killing rate the plane was in a bank so our flight's bombs went away first and dropped 3 miles short. The lead flight dropped on the target. The flak was intense and accurate but we escaped unscathed.
Missions #31 and #32, Sortie #18
February 16. Target: Rosenheim M/Y (47-51, 12-04). Flying time: 8 hours. Bomb load: 8 500 lb. RDX. Position: F-Flight #3. Wing Lead. Today we were briefed on a very secret and important target in Germany. We were only to hit this target visually but on the bomb run clouds covered it over so we hit the alternate target, Rosenheim West M/Y. The bomb bay doors would not open from the nose and even the handle below the flight deck would only open the doors part way. Gulis was flying as observer so he opened the doors part way and Wisehart cranked them open the rest of the way from the middle of the bomb bays while I dropped the bombs. Truly this was a milk run for no one shot at us. No flak, no fighters, no nothing. We erased the target completely and the town of Rosenheim is almost off the map.
Missions #33 and #34, Sortie #19
February 19. Target: Vienna South Station Area, Austria. Bomb load: 8 500 lb. RDX. Flying time: 7 hours. Position: 2nd group in the Wing, C-Flight #1 position. Today I was more scared than ever before. Going up to the target, Vienna South Station Area, we bucked a 70 knot head wind. In southern Austria on the way to the IP, number one engine cut out. Souther feathered it and pulled out of formation. Then number two engine ran away and started wind-milling. With two engines out we lost 9,000 feet of altitude. Then I gave Souther a heading home but he didn't take it. I saw a flak area coming up directly ahead so I screamed at Souther to turn left. He was having his troubles though and didn't turn. So we hit the flak. Received about twenty holes, a waist gunner got a piece of metal in his thigh, another burst hit the nose. One piece of metal broke through directly under me but its force was spent and it dropped down on the nose wheel door. Coming back we sweated out gas. First we said we would try to make Zara. When we reached this point we decided to go on to the Vis. When Vis appeared we said, "What the hell, let's go home." Guess we did make it. My poor nervous system - - -
Missions #35 and #36, Sortie #20
February 21. Target: Vienna South Station Area. Bomb load: 6 500 lb. RDX. Flying time: 8 hours. Position: F-Flight #3 position. Today we flew an important mission. In face the target plans were top secret. The Fifteenth and the Eighth Air Forces went out to knock out rail transportation in western Germany and to break the Kraut's morale. Our target was Ingolstadt M/Y and we were to bomb at 3,000 feet, a damn low altitude for a Liberator. We flew over the Alps, down to the briefed altitude and we were in clouds so we went even lower to 11,000 feet indicated which was 10,000 feet above the ground.
We didn't get to the target due to poor weather so instead we hit an alternate, Kemstedt Marshalling Yard. We were lucky and didn't hit flak and our bombs were on the target. Prior to the bomb run we flew all over Germany and we could see towns quite clear enough to read Red Cross signs on the hospitals. Then, too, it was a queer sensation to smoke cigarettes on the bomb run. On the way home we were shot at when we flew over the Italian coast near Venice.
Missions #39 and #40, Sortie #22
February 25. Target: Linz Main M/Y. Bomb load 7 500 lb. RDX. Flying time: 7 hours 30 minutes. Position 4th Wing 2nd Group F-Flight, #1 position. Linz has 159 heavy guns and multi mediums. Our bomb run was going to be visual and my bombardier started to kill rate but as we came on the target we saw that it was covered over with billowing smoke from the bombs of the other four Wings. So I grabbed the toggle switch and dropped our bombs off D-Flight's Mickey lead ship. The bombardiers in my flight then dropped off me, a navigator. Among these boys was Klein, an ex-instructor and Wisehart.
The flak wasn't accurate from our standpoint but one B-24 went down in flames. One chute was seen. A FW-190 was chased across our nose by 6 P-51's and was last reported on fire. Over north Italy ME-109's flown by Dagos were seen but they were too low to attack us. The b------- only pick up stragglers.
Missions #41 and #42, Sortie #23
March 2. Target: Linz North Main M/Y. Bomb load: 7 500 lb. RDX. Position 3rd Wing, 3rd Group, B-Flight #2 position. Flying time: 7 hours. Weather briefing indicated red flares but the cold front moved slower than was expected and we took off to look at some very intense and accurate flak. I flew with my crew, Young, etc. We were following the 451st B.G. over the target and until we hit the turning point before the IP everything was okay. The 451st cut the IP short and to stay close to them we had to cut it even shorter. As a result the pathfinder navigator couldn't be sure of his target. We hit between Linz and Wels in an open field. What a blow for I dropped our bombs.
Missions #41 and #42, Sortie #24
March 20. Target: Wels Main M/Y. Bomb load: 36 100 lb. bombs. Flying time: 7 hours. Position: D-Flight #8 position. The yards which was loaded wit freight cars and the repair facilities at Wels, Austria. I flew with Lt. Tetzlaff and Lt. H. Stevens as pilot and co-pilot. I was navigator and bombardier combined for I dropped the bombs. The mission was uneventful except for the fact that we went over the target twice. However, there was no flak or fighters so I didn't mind. A spent .50 caliber shell from the plane in front of us hit the pilot's window and shattered the Plexiglas in his face.
Missions #43 and #44, Sortie #25
March 26. Target: Straszhof West M/Y. Bomb load: 20 100 lb. G.P. Flying time: 8 hours 45 minutes. Position: E-Flight #1 3rd Group only Wing. Wisehart who is now squadron bombardier and Young flew their first lead today. Meier was nose turret navigator and Emmert finished up as co-pilot. We crossed over the German/Russian front lines twice on the way to the target and we flew near Budapest where we could see the results of the fierce fighting. OUr target was a fat marshalling yard about 20 miles northeast of Vienna. This yard was full of troops, and other supplies being sent by the Krauts to fight the Russian attacks on Vienna. We bombed boxes in trail and our flight was the last one over the target. As we came in over the target clouds rolled in and Wisehart could not see the target. So I took the formation around again and this time we dropped our load. We hit very well and blew hell out of multi freight cars. Will did an excellent job.
Speharsky lost two engines and had to lag behind the formation on the way home. Bell went back to cover his ship and found Spehalsky heading toward the flak area at St. Michael. Bell tried to radio him but Spehalsky didn't answer. A P-38 even tried to herd him then but all their efforts were in vain. Flak must have got him then for the crew bailed out and the plane went into a spin and one of the ten chutes got caught on the wing of the ship and hung up. The other nine got out okay but it was too bad the tenth man pulled his rip cord too soon.
Mission #45, Sortie #26
April 6. Target: Breda Armament Works, Brescia, Italy. Bomb load: 10 500 lb. RDX. Flying time: 6 hours 30 minutes. Position: E-Flight #1. We really knocked hell out of the target today. They were making shell casings at this plant until 1506 April 6. Now it is a junk yard. Lt. Cone flew in the nose turret today as my assistant and even though the route plan wasn't followed I had no troubles. We picked up Wisehart's target and he hit it well and we avoided all flak. We had no opposition today.
Mission #46, Sortie #27
April 9. Target: Support of the 8th Army at the Italian Front. Bomb load 40 120lb. frags. Flying time: 5 hours 30 minutes. Position: B-Flight #1. Our mission today was top secret and it was a tactical sortie against pillboxes, weapons and personnel of the Kraut army facing the British 8th Army. The Germans have 26 divisions of this line and our job was to kill as many Germans as possible. Our bombs explode upon hitting the ground and break into multi pieces over a wide area. Our target was clearly identified by various visual man-made marks on the ground - smoke bombs and flak at 15,000 along the front lines, etc.
Our mission was very successful in that we hit our target very well. The next few days will show whether or not we gave the 8th a set-up shot at the bread basket of the Po Valley. Flak was slight and more or less inaccurate.
Mission #47, Sortie #28
April 10. Target: Support of the 8th Army at the Italian Front. Bomb load: 40 120 lb. frags. Flying time: 5 hours 30 minutes. Position: B-Flight #1. We had the same mission as yesterday. Target route and everything else identical. While we were on the bomb run Gulis noticed flak ahead of us. It hit a B-24 and set it afire. Soon the plane was folded in against the fuselage and the ship went out of control. Parts, just junk, started to peel off the plane until all I could see was unidentified pieces of silver metal floating down through the sky. Somehow or other a parachute blossomed from the debris and I could see a body floating down. How he missed getting hit from all the flying pieces of Liberator I'll never know. This was the only chute I saw. Our bombing again was in there and we hit the target very well. Flak was slight and from very accurate to inaccurate.
Missions #48 and #49, Sortie #29
April 12. Target: St. Veit RR Bridge (46-54, 14-26). Bomb load: 2 1000 lb. demolition bombs. Flying time: 5 hours 45 minutes. Position: D-Flight #1. Today our target was a railroad bridge across the Gurk River in the mountains in southern Austria. The bridge connects Linz and Yugoslavia and if we cut it the Krauts will have trouble moving men and supplies out of Titoland. I flew as nose turret gunner and picked up the IP and the target for Marvin, our bombardier. Even with this he didn't know exactly where the bridge was located but I showed him where the bridge was located in relationship to other landmarks. Our flight was the only one to hit the target and I believe it was knocked out.
Mission #50, Sortie #30
April 15. Target: Nervesa RR Bridge, Diversion, Italy. Bomb load: 10 500 lb. General Purpose Demolition. Flying time: 5 hours 45 minutes. Position: C-Flight #1. We flew all over northern Italy today. Among the scenic sights we enjoyed were: Rome, Mertecristo, Elba, the front lines, Genoa, Bologna, Parma, Verona, the Brenner Pass, Venice and most of all the Mount of the Vulture.
Out target was a tricky device of Jerry. He has two bridges over the Piave River in the Po Valley at Nervesa which are extras. These two bridges take the place of two other bridges which we knocked out prior to today's attack. These bridges are constructed so that they may be rolled against the shore in the daytie and put across the river for night use. We had 8/10 cloud coverage and on the bomb run a big cloud was sitting on the target until the last 30 seconds of the run. They didn't get complete pictures of the bombing but it is quite possible we did a good job.
Mission #51, Sortie #31
April 19. Target: Avisio RR Viaduct, Italy. Bomb load 4 500 lb. RDX. Flying time: 7 hours. Position: C-Flight #1. Our target was a bridge in the Brenner Pass. Our bombs hit the target very good and the railroad line was cut. Our rally was planned poorly so, as we went in in boxes in trail, I took the flight out differently than was briefed. This was a good deed for at bombs away time multi flak came up in front of us and on our briefed course. Our rally avoided all that ugly black stuff. Coming home we saw the mediums, B-25's bomb a bridge near Bologna.
Mission #52, Sortie #32
April 24. Target: Rovereto M/Y Brenner Pass Italy. Bomb load: 8 500 lb. RDX. Flying time: 7 hours 30 minutes. Position: B-Flight #1. We helped the mediums today by cutting the Brenner Pass. Ashworth flew as nose turret navigator for me and Capt. Johnson flew as co-pilot. By the way Ashworth went down on his next mission at Linz. The bomb run was fouled up by the group leader. He failed to get us into trail soon enough before the target. So we had to make a 360 turn and go around again. The second time around Wisehart could not find the target soon enough so we had to go around again. On this rally Young lost the flight in front of us so Wisehart led the flight on the rally with his bombsight. What a rally.
The third time we dropped our bombs on the target and Will did a swell job of hitting right on the money.
32 sorties from October 23, 1944 to April 24, 1945. 235 hours 40 minutes.