By Frederick D. Worthen
In the course of global warfare II ten younger volunteers from everywhere in the usa got here jointly to shape the "Rosacker" staff within the 93rd Bomb crew 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 undertaking was once on January 28, 1945. the objective was once in Germany's Ruhr Valley, sometimes called "Flak Alley". approximately midway throughout 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 reduce wind resistance at the aircraft. 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 was once blown up by means of an immediate hit from the anti-aircraft batteries. A moment engine give up, and a 3rd used to be wasting energy (they basically 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 via Canadian troops. however the aircraft used to be happening quickly. 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 complete rip wire, deal with, and cable pulls thoroughly free from the 'chute pack. I pulled so difficult my entire arm flew above my head. I knew the 'chute used to be damaged. i used to be attempting to work out the right way to pull the 'chute out of the backpack through hand whilst instantly it opened, with the 'chute and me in a horizontal position." yet that wasn't all. take note the plane, with its useless engines developing drag on one facet, inflicting it to show? "I may pay attention the airplane nonetheless flying within reach; Joe had placed 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 overlooked 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 americans concept they might 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 by way of the SS on liberation day. Miraculously, all ten fliers survived the warfare. Fifty years later 9 of the 10 airmen comprehensive this booklet, operating jointly to refresh and proper each one other's stories. "This isn't the ordinary hard-core warfare tale. we've got incorporated kinfolk 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 beautiful "hard-core" to us, but in addition 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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Extra info for Against All Odds: Shot Down Over Occupied Territory in World War II
When we got back to Topeka I met Mother, Dad, and Connie as per our plan. This was an enjoyable visit and it gave me a very satisfying send-off for our big flight across the ocean and for facing the enemy. Meanwhile, Joe loaded up the plane with the necessary refreshments to make the trip more enjoyable. Chapter 2 FLIGHT TO THE BRITISH ISLES On July 9, 1944, we boarded our B-24 and flew off on the first leg of our trip to the British Isles. The stop was an overnight stay at the air base in Manchester, New Hampshire.
We climbed to forming altitude and location and formed squadrons behind a brightly painted, war-weary 93rd B-24 forming plane named The Ball of Fire. It was shooting colored flares to ease locating one's group. Many groups were forming at the same time with their own differently painted planes and other flare colors. There were usually ten to twelve planes in a squadron, three squadrons in a group, three or four groups in a wing, and in our 2nd Air Division there were fourteen groups. Each group would have a lead, high right, and low left squadron position.
We also wore heavy sheepskin pants, jackets, and metal helmets. Over all of this we wore items that we had checked out for each mission, such as a “Mae West,” which was an inflatable vest for use in ditching the plane or bailing out into the North Sea. Each crewman had either a seat pack, backpack, or a harness, and a chest-pack parachute, depending on their duties. We took with us a flak helmet, an armored flak jacket, a 45-caliber automatic pistol in a shoulder holster, and an oxygen mask for use above 10,000 feet.
Against All Odds: Shot Down Over Occupied Territory in World War II by Frederick D. Worthen