By Frederick D. Worthen
In the course of global battle II ten younger volunteers from everywhere in the usa got here jointly to shape the "Rosacker" group within the 93rd Bomb staff of the eighth U.S. Air strength, flying B-24 Liberators dependent in England. They flew 24 missions jointly in the course of the final months of the battle. Their final venture 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 is required to lessen wind resistance at the plane. lets 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 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 energy (they simply had 4 engines). the alternative used to be to ditch within the North Sea and die of publicity, or attempt to make it to an airfield in Antwerp, Belgium, which was once occupied by way of Canadian troops. however the airplane was once happening quickly. At 1,000 ft they bailed out: "I jumped and counted to 10 in approximately seconds. i do know my 'chute should have come with regards to catching on a tail fin. good, the complete rip wire, deal with, and cable pulls thoroughly unfastened from the 'chute pack. I pulled so challenging my complete arm flew above my head. I knew the 'chute was once damaged. i used to be attempting to determine how you can pull the 'chute out of the backpack by means of hand whilst abruptly it opened, with the 'chute and me in a horizontal position." yet that wasn't all. be mindful the plane, with its useless engines developing drag on one part, inflicting it to show? "I may listen the aircraft nonetheless flying within sight; Joe had positioned it on autopilot. It sounded as though it was once coming again at me." Then they heard the bullets. lower than them used to be a German military camp in occupied Holland. The enemy bullets and their very own aircraft by some means 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 might be shot, yet weren't; the German civilians desired to lynch the airmen as they have been led on a pressured march via Bavaria from one POW camp to a different. The prisoners have been shot at via their guards, and back through the SS on liberation day. Miraculously, all ten fliers survived the battle. Fifty years later 9 of the 10 airmen accomplished this booklet, operating jointly to refresh and proper each one other's stories. "This isn't the ordinary hard-core battle tale. we've got integrated relatives ties, the crew's education and formation, our reviews and emotions, dealing with serious hardships, the humor that used to be 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, to your flying, and for purchasing your tale down on paper.
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Extra info for Against All Odds: Shot Down Over Occupied Territory in World War II
At that time we didn't even know there was such a word as bidet. The next day we found out about several American Red Cross clubs nearby. S. military. They were clean and completely adequate, plus they served free coffee and donuts all day and night. The Red Cross is an organization that has to be well respected. How well we 58 A GAINST ALL ODDS would realize this in the future! There were seventeen Red Cross clubs scattered around London, and their main headquarters, Rainbow Corner, was just off Piccadilly Circus.
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 lowered altitude as conditions warranted and generally got below 10,000 feet over the North Sea, where we could take off the very uncomfortable oxygen mask and have a cigarette, something to eat, or just relax a bit. Before we got to the English coast we turned on our coded “identification friend or foe” (IFF), so the British anti-aircraft would not shoot at us.
The meals were questionable. From Reykjavic to Wales was the end of our flying trip. It was August 13, 1944. Our plane was turned over to the Air Force. We had, in reality, ferried the plane to the war zone. FLIGHT TO THE B RITISH ISLES More “hurry up and wait” were the orders. We were sent to Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland, for more training and lots of indoctrination. We were told in very stern terms that we were not to act like overpaid, over-sexed American servicemen. Behave! While we were in Northern Ireland there was very little work.