By Frederick D. Worthen
In the course of global struggle II ten younger volunteers from all around the usa got here jointly to shape the "Rosacker" staff within the 93rd Bomb workforce of the eighth U.S. Air strength, flying B-24 Liberators dependent in England. They flew 24 missions jointly throughout the final months of the struggle. Their final project used to be on January 28, 1945. the objective was once in Germany's Ruhr Valley, sometimes called "Flak Alley". approximately midway in the course of the bomb run, with heavy flak within the zone, we misplaced the number one engine. After repeated makes an attempt neither Glenn nor Otis may possibly get the propeller into the feathered place, that is required to reduce wind resistance at the plane. shall we now not stay alongside of the formation, so we dropped out of place, nonetheless attempting to feather the propeller. one other B-24 subsequent to them was once blown up by means of an immediate hit from the anti-aircraft batteries. A moment engine surrender, and a 3rd used to be wasting strength (they in simple terms had 4 engines). the alternative used to be 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 through Canadian troops. however the airplane was once happening quick. At 1,000 toes they bailed out: "I jumped and counted to 10 in approximately seconds. i do know my 'chute should have come as regards to catching on a tail fin. good, the total rip wire, deal with, and cable pulls thoroughly free from the 'chute pack. I pulled so difficult my complete arm flew above my head. I knew the 'chute used to be damaged. i used to be attempting to determine find out how to pull the 'chute out of the backpack via hand while out of the blue it opened, with the 'chute and me in a horizontal position." yet that wasn't all. take note the aircraft, with its lifeless engines developing drag on one part, inflicting it to show? "I may well pay attention the airplane nonetheless flying within reach; Joe had positioned it on autopilot. It sounded as though it used to be coming again at me." Then they heard the bullets. lower than them was once a German military camp in occupied Holland. The enemy bullets and their very own aircraft one way or the other neglected them, however the males have been captured, and the slender escapes endured, one after one other. Their captors took them "out back," the place the american citizens notion 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 via the SS on liberation day. Miraculously, all ten fliers survived the battle. Fifty years later 9 of the 10 airmen comprehensive this ebook, operating jointly to refresh and proper each one other's thoughts. "This isn't the ordinary hard-core warfare tale. now we have integrated relatives ties, the crew's education and formation, our studies and emotions, facing serious hardships, the humor that was once nonetheless there, and the getting on with our lives." loads of this turns out lovely "hard-core" to us, but in addition usually very humorous, deeply clever, and terribly human. those males have been heroes. thanks all, gents, on your flying, and for purchasing your tale down on paper.
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Additional resources for Against All Odds: Shot Down Over Occupied Territory in World War II
What a chance to play without a reprimand. I had the feeling of having to pull my feet up to avoid obstacles below. At times a wing tip had to be tilted up a bit to miss a tall tree or church steeple. The expressions on the faces of our English friends below were comical. We had no idea what this was all about, but as always we would wait and wonder. Early in the morning on September 18 we were called for a mission briefing. This would be a resupply effort to American ground troops who had made a parachute drop and glider landings on September 17 in the Groesbeek area south of Nijmegen, Holland.
Above we could see the dog fights between our fighters and theirs. Having fighter escorts all the way to the target saved many bombers and their crews. This service was not available in the early days of the war. S. fighters flying this day. Five bombers, one from the 93rd and two of our fighters, were downed. The Stars and Stripes reported that on this day 110 enemy fighters were wiped out; another twelve were shot down by the gunners in the bombers, and seven more were destroyed on the ground by strafing attacks.
Mission Number 6, September 30, 1944 Hamm, Germany, again. I suspect this revisit to Hamm was due to the fiasco on the 26th. 834 bombers and 726 fighters were flying to various targets. Eight bombers were shot down, but there were no fighter losses, American or German. The weather was cloudy, so radar was used. Flight time: 5:00 hours. After this mission Bill Woods left us to prepare for eventually having his own crew. Glenn Tessmer flew as our co-pilot on our next mission. He was permanently assigned as our copilot on mission number 8.