Got up at 10:00a.m. Boy did that soft bed feel good. We phoned up Roz and Jo and made a date for lunch (they’re pretty nice dishes for Englishwomen). Went to the show with Bolton and Rivas after lunch (the girls went back to work). Saw “Rainbow Island”, it wasn’t so hot. Went to the show again that night (ran into difficulties). Went back to the room early. Collin came up and we had a bull session.
Up at 10:00a.m. We’re to meet Collin, but missed him. Rivas forgot his camera and we had to go back to the hotel. Had “Brunch” at Lyon’s, one of the largest restaurants in England. Went down to Westminster and took some pictures. Caught the 2:20p.m. train back to camp, arrived in camp at 5:50p.m. Stopped off at Sudbury. Listened to the Army vs. Navy game and it was a good game. Hit the sack about 10:00p.m.
No mission for us today, our Pilot & Co-pilot were O.D. The rest of the group got up to go, but it was scrubbed. It rained most of the day. Got up at 10:00a.m. Had ground school all afternoon. Our C.O. gave out some awards and a pep-talk. Got some intelligences reports and air-craft recon. Caught a mouse in my trap (that will teach them to eat my rations).
– 22 TO GO
THIRTEENTH MISSION - MAINZ, GERMANY
I’m not superstitious, but I’m glad this one of over with. Got up at 4:40a.m. Briefed 5:30a.m. Took off at 940a.m. Flak was pretty thick and accurate. 85 Guns. Dropped 12 – 500 lbs. (G.P.’s) on marshaling yards (P.F.F.) at 26,300 ft. 9 minute bomb run. Oxy. 5 hours. 35 degrees below 0. Landed at 4:40p.m. Good fighter support. The sky was full of ships. My cold played hell with me. Hit the sack at 10:00p.m. Good weather tonight. Maggie’s draw is up.
--- TWO YEARS IN THE ARMY ---
Got us up this morning at 5:00a.m. to go on a damn practice mission. We briefed at 6:00a.m. and took off at 7:30am.m. We were to fly over France, but there was a weather front, so we turned back over the channel. We had a few practice bomb runs and landed at 12:30a.m. Ate lunch and went to the sack till 4:30p.m. Cleaned guns. Wrote some letters. Shot the bull for a while and hit the sack about 10:00p.m. Had a couple of Red Alerts (Buzz Bombs).
21 TO GO
FOURTEENTH MISSION - MERCHBURG, GERMANY
Got up at 2:45a.m. Briefed at 3:45a.m. Took off at 8:30a.m. Flak acturate and intense, as usual. 400 guns. Bombed oil refinery with 20 – 250 lbs. G.P.’s (P.F.F.) Hope we hit it this time for good. Bombed at 24,500 ft. 47 degrees below 0. Oxy. for 5 hours. Landed at 4:00pm. 14 minute bomb run. Got one flak hole in the wing. Good fighter support. Target was second on priority list. Hope we get an easy one tomorrow. Read a little and hit the hey early.
--- PEARL HARBOR – 3 YEARS ---
Got up at 4:00a.m. to go on a mission, but it was scrubbed because of bad weather. We were going to bomb the marshaling yards at Hamm, Germany. This would have been our third trip there. Briefed at 5:00a.m. and had two red flares from the tower at 7:00a.m. Went back to bed at 8:00a.m. and slept till 12:00a.m. Went to the show with Bolton and walked out on a lousy limy picture.
Got us up this morning at 5:00a.m. to go on a damn practice mission again. We took off at 8:00a.m. and had to go to 30,000 ft. to get above the weather. Somebody certainly has their head up on these practice missions. It was 52 degrees below 0 at 30,000. That’s the highest I’ve been yet. Landed at 12:30p.m. Got a few hours sleep. Went to the show with Ward, saw “Marriage is a Private Affair”.
Got up at 8:00a.m. and cleaned up the hut for a big inspection. Boy it was really a mess, but we got it looking pretty nice when the inspecting officer came around.Had lunch and played a little ping-pong with Belt, Rat, and Johnny. We made a few sorties to steal some wood, it’s cold as hell. We had a little snow yesterday. Shot the bull most of the evening.
Stood down today again. Got up at 11:00a.m. It was a pretty miserable day. Rained most of the day. Layed around most of the day. Drew a few pictures (a hobby I have adopted to fill in my spare time). Had chicken and ice cream for dinner. Rivas and I drew pictures of each other, not too bad. Read a little. We’re alerted for tomorrow, Max. effort. It’s stopped raining, but it’s pretty black out. Buzz-bomb came close.
20 TO GO
FIFTEENTH MISSION - GUIESSEN, GERMANY
Got up at 5:15a.m. Briefed at 6:30a.m. Took off at 9:00a.m. Landed 3:30a.m. No flak on bomb-run or target, got a little but missed a mile, hit the chaff. Dropped 34 – 100 lbs. G.P.’s and 2 incendiaries on marshalling yards at 25,700 ft. Bomb-run 16 minutes (P.F.F.) Oxy. 5-1/2 hours. 39 degrees below 0. We’re going to fly over Paris, but bad weather stopped us. Little fighter support. Supposed to be 16 guns over target, must have been asleep.
19 TO GO
16TH MISSION - BARNSTADT, GERMANY
Got up at 5:15a.m. Briefed at 6:00a.m. Took off at 9:00a.m. Landed 4:30p.m. No flak at any point. We had a visual run and hit the target, but good. Dropped 10 – 500 lbs. – 2 incendiaries on marshalling yards. Saw the bombs hit 25,400 ft. over target. Bomb run 13 minutes. Oxy. 5-1/2 hours. 39 degrees below 0.Ran low on gas coming back and ran into some bad weather, had to land on another field. Large fires as we past over target, snow on ground.
No mission today and a good thing, we needed a rest. Got up at 9:30a.m. (believe it or not). Burned the last of our wood in the morning and froze in the afternoon. My feet have never been so cold. Had a lecture in the late afternoon and took a much needed shower. Got a Christmas present from Marge, Ro and Nancy. Opened the one with food in it and saved the other till Dec. 24. Wrote some letters.
Stood down all day today again, because of bad weather. Got up at 10:00a.m. and had quite a breakfast in the hut. Everyone pulled out some food they had received from home. Played a little ping-pong after lunch with Bolt. Went out to clean guns with Collin. Got some wood. Went to the show with Johnson, Bolt, Hakins. Our new ship is named “Varga Girl”, No. 981, our old one was No. 997. Lights went out for about an hour at show.
18 TO GO
17TH MISSION - HANOVER, GERMANY
Got up at 4:30a.m. Briefed at 6:00a.m. Took off at 8:45a.m. Landed at 3:15p.m. Flak over the target, it was moderate and inaccurate. None was very close to us. Bombed marshaling yards with 10 – 500 lbs. G.P.’s and 2 incendiaries (P.F.F.) Bad weather all over. Bombed at 23,000 ft, 15 minute bomb run, 34 degrees below 0, 4-1/2 hours on Oxy. Second time we hit this target. 150 guns over the target. Hit soup again on landing.
Stand down today. Got up at 10:00a.m. Expected a practice mission, but believe it or not, there wasn’t one. Loafed around most of the day. Wrote some letters. Had a big inspection as usual. We just got the hut cleaned up in time. When the inspecting officer came in, he looked over the shelves with a disgusted look as usual. The stuff is really piled up on them, the rest looked O.K.
Stand down again today. Got up at 10:30a.m. Boy, this is the life. We really had a rough rain storm last night and this morning. Fixed a flat tire on my bike. That makes two in one week. I’m getting P.O.’ed at that damn bike. Won two pounds playing “Black-Jack”. Went to the U.S.O. show, it was pretty good. It looks pretty nice tonight. We’re alerted. Went to bed early.
17 TO GO
18TH MISSION - MAINZ, GERMANY
Got up at 5:30a.m. Briefed at 6:45a.m. Took off at 9:30a.m. Landed 4:10p.m. Meager flak over the target. Bombed marshaling yards with 18 – 250 lbs. G.P.’s & 2 M-17’s. Bombed P.F.F. at 25,000 ft. 11 minute bomb run. On Oxy. For 5 hours. 41 degrees below 0. We hit some bad weather over the target. You could barley see the ship next to you. We were supposed to be on pass today, but there’s a shortage of crews at present.
No mission today. They got the rest of the boys up on our hut, but for some reason our crew wasn’t scheduled to go. The mission was finally scrubbed anyway, so we didn’t miss anything. We had a little ground school in the morning and too it easy the rest of the day. We had a meeting of all crews at 5:30p.m. and were awarded our Oak Leaf Cluster. Still foggy out.
Stand down again today because of adverse weather conditions. Got up at 10:30a.m. There was no wood in the hut, so we decided to make a big raid on the post engineer’s wood pile. Everyone really pitched in and we got a hell of a pile of wood, it ought to last us a month. If we get any more we’ll have to move out of the hut. Washed my long-johns and that’s an accomplishment.
Stood down again today for the same reason as yesterday. The fog is to think you can’t see for more than twenty feet. Played some ping-pong with Henry, George, Bob, Fred. Won a few, also lost a few. Got quite a few letters and much to my surprise I answered them directly. Layed around most of the day. Still foggy when I hit the sack. Hope we get a mission tomorrow.
MADE STAFF SGT TODAY – 196 + F.P. + O.P.
--NO LIGHTS TONIGHT –
No mission again today for the same old reason. FOG as thick as soup. Got hold of a Christmas tree, well at least a branch and fixed it up pretty nice. We used Kleenex, gum wrappers and everything else we could find. It looks something like a Christmas tree when we finished. I swiped the branch from the Aero-Club. Got a Christmas package from Mom & Dad. Will save till 24th.
-- THE BULGE --
Still foggy, no mission again. Too bad, the boys over there could use a little air support right now. Doesn’t look any to good at present. The Jerries really pulled a fast one. Got up at 7:30a.m., believe it or not, on my own accord. Had an hour of ground school. Played a little ping-pong. Planned on going to Sudsbury tonight, but we’re alerted. Went to the post show, saw “Claudia”.
– 16 TO GO
19TH MISSION – AIRPORT IN FRANKFURT GERMANY
Got up at 4:30a.m. Briefed at 5:45a.m. Took off at 9:15a.m. Landed at 5:00p.m. Today was one of the most hectic days in my life & I hope the last one like it. We were hit by FW-190’s and ME-109’s just before we hit the enemy lines. There were about 50 or 60 of them that hit our Sqd. They knocked down nine or ten out of our group B-17’s. We got quite a few of the bastards (25). My crew got two, Johnson got the FW-190 and Bolton and I got a ME-109. He was about 20 yards away when we got him, he burst into flames. We also had heavy “flak” along with the fighters. We got a 20mm shell in our H.S. One of the crews in my hut got knocked down. We hit the air field smack in the middle. Dropped 38 – 100 lbs. on target. Oxy. 4-1/2 hours. Alt. 22,500. 34 degrees below 0. We’re alerted again for tomorrow. Merry Christmas?
-.- CHRISTMAS -.-
Well, it turned out to be a pretty nice Christmas after all. We had a mission today, but it was scrubbed and the best news of all, Cromwell’s crew, the crew that’s in our hut, that was shot down yesterday, was reported to have landed in friendly territory. I was damn glad to hear that, they’re a swell bunch of fellows. We were a pretty sad bunch of lads last night and plenty tired. We didn’t have any snow, but we had a “White Christmas”. The frost covered the ground and threes and looked just like snow. I opened up the presents from home and they were swell. We had a swell turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Went to the show after dinner. In yesterday’s mission our group made a damn good showing, we shot down 25 nazi ships.
Stood down today again. It’s really getting cold here. The frost is getting thicker and stays on the ground all day. It looks just like snow. Cromwell and his co-pilot got back today, all of the crew is safe. They really had some stories to tell. Got another package from home. The fruit cake was good, but didn’t last long. We had quite a meal after all the boys in the hut chipped in. We’re stood down again tomorrow.
Got up at 9:00a.m. and reported to ground school at 9:30a.m. Saw some training films. The frost is still on the ground, even more so. We had a meeting of all gunners this afternoon. They told us we did a damn good job on our first E/A attack. The General (Castle) is still missing. He was leading my Sqd. I saw him go down. Found out today that I made Staff Seargent on December 22. Cromwell’s crew came back.
15 TO GO
20TH MISSION – COBLENZ, GERMANY
Got up at 5:00a.m. Briefed at 6:00a.m. Took off at 9:30a.m. Landed at 3:30p.m. Very little flak over target. We bombed marshaling yards, in support of ground troops in new German offensive. Dropped 18 – 250 lbs. G.P.’s and 2 M-17’s. Used P.P.F 10/10 clouds cover over target at 25,000 ft. 41 degrees below 0. Oxy. 4-1/2 hours. Good fighter support. 15 minute bomb run. Almost took off without a ball-gunner and motor. Hope we get 15 more like this one.
14 TO GO
21ST MISSION – ASCHAFFENBURG, GERMANY
Took off at 8:30a.m. Landed at 3:35p.m. Got a lot of accurate flak over the front lines going in on target and coming out. One piece came through the radio room and damn near got Ward. We bombed a marshaling yard at 26,000 ft. with 20 – 250lbs. G.P.’s. Got direct hits on town & yards. Visual run, Oxy. 5 hours, 37 degrees below 0. Perrot got hit going in, saw two chutes. Saw one ship blow up on the way back. Saw Frankfurt, Germany in flames coming back.
13 TO GO
22ND MISSION – MANNHEIM, GERMANY
Got up at 3:45. Briefed at 5:00a.m. Took off at 8:45a.m. Landed at 4:35p.m. No “flak” at any point, except over the target. It wad intense but inaccurate. Dropped 20 – 250 lbs. G.P.’s on a marshaling yard in 10/10 overcast, used (P.F.F.) Oxy. For 4-3/4 hours. 38 degrees below 0. Bomb run eight minutes. Good fighter support. Had trouble with #2 engine. We flew deputy lead in the low sqd. We’re alerted again for tomorrow. Made Staff for sure today.