By Frederick D. Worthen
In the course of global battle II ten younger volunteers from all around the usa got here jointly to shape the "Rosacker" group within the 93rd Bomb crew of the eighth U.S. Air strength, flying B-24 Liberators established in England. They flew 24 missions jointly through the remaining months of the warfare. Their final project used to be on January 28, 1945. the objective used to be in Germany's Ruhr Valley, often referred to as "Flak Alley". approximately midway in the course of the bomb run, with heavy flak within the zone, we misplaced the number 1 engine. After repeated makes an attempt neither Glenn nor Otis may possibly get the propeller into the feathered place, that's required to reduce wind resistance at the plane. shall we no longer stay alongside of the formation, so we dropped out of place, nonetheless attempting to feather the propeller. one other B-24 subsequent to them used to be blown up by way of a right away hit from the anti-aircraft batteries. A moment engine hand over, and a 3rd was once wasting strength (they merely had 4 engines). the alternative was once to ditch within the North Sea and die of publicity, or try and make it to an airfield in Antwerp, Belgium, which used to be occupied via Canadian troops. however the aircraft was once taking place speedy. At 1,000 toes they bailed out: "I jumped and counted to 10 in approximately seconds. i do know my 'chute should have come with reference to catching on a tail fin. good, the entire rip twine, deal with, and cable pulls thoroughly free from the 'chute pack. I pulled so not easy my entire arm flew above my head. I knew the 'chute used to be damaged. i used to be attempting to work out how one can pull the 'chute out of the backpack via hand while immediately it opened, with the 'chute and me in a horizontal position." yet that wasn't all. be mindful the plane, with its lifeless engines growing drag on one aspect, inflicting it to show? "I may perhaps listen the aircraft nonetheless flying within sight; Joe had placed it on autopilot. It sounded as though it used to be coming again at me." Then they heard the bullets. under them was once a German military camp in occupied Holland. The enemy bullets and their very own airplane by some means ignored them, however the males have been captured, and the slender escapes persisted, one after one other. Their captors took them "out back," the place the american citizens concept they'd be shot, yet weren't; the German civilians desired to lynch the airmen as they have been led on a compelled march via Bavaria from one POW camp to a different. The prisoners have been shot at through their guards, and back through the SS on liberation day. Miraculously, all ten fliers survived the conflict. Fifty years later 9 of the 10 airmen complete this booklet, operating jointly to refresh and proper every one other's thoughts. "This isn't the traditional hard-core struggle tale. we have now incorporated kinfolk ties, the crew's education and formation, our reviews and emotions, dealing with critical hardships, the humor that was once nonetheless there, and the getting on with our lives." loads of this turns out beautiful "hard-core" to us, but additionally frequently very humorous, deeply clever, and terribly human. those males have been heroes. thanks all, gents, in your flying, and for buying your tale down on paper.
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Additional resources for Against All Odds: Shot Down Over Occupied Territory in World War II
These ground forces were extremely important and much appreciated by the combat crews, especially the airplane mechanics. They were our heroes! We were at the 93rd for nearly two weeks before we flew our first mission. The crew, and each member of the crew individually, received training and orientation in their respective specialties. All of this time we heard stories and comments from experienced crews. This led to considerable anxiety and apprehension which 46 A GAINST ALL ODDS greatly increased until our first mission on August 27, 1944.
The bombardier in COMBAT M ISSIONS 51 the lead plane of a group synchronized his bombsight with the point of the target and his bombs would drop automatically. The bombardiers in the balance of the group planes, when they saw the lead plane's bombs drop, would immediately drop their bombs by means of a hand-held toggle switch. The shape of the formation that the planes were in was established to make an efficient bomb pattern on the target. After “bombs away” we turned and headed for home base in formation by an assigned route that would keep the planes away from flak batteries.
We did get credit for this as our first mission, since we had gone over enemy territory. We were lucky that day. We got to see some flak, but certainly had not seen the real war yet. 1,203 B-24s and B-17 bombers and 871 fighter planes were dispatched on the missions occurring on August 27, 1944. Flight time for us: 5:15 hours. Mission Number 2, September 12, 1944 The target was the oil refinery at Hemmingstadt, Germany. It was attacked by the 93rd and the 448th Bomb Groups with moderate damage, and later by the 458th Bomb Group with 80 percent hits.
Against All Odds: Shot Down Over Occupied Territory in World War II by Frederick D. Worthen