Against All Odds: Shot Down Over Occupied Territory in World by Frederick D. Worthen

By Frederick D. Worthen

In the course of international warfare II ten younger volunteers from everywhere in the usa got here jointly to shape the "Rosacker" team within the 93rd Bomb staff of the eighth U.S. Air strength, flying B-24 Liberators dependent in England. They flew 24 missions jointly through the remaining months of the warfare. Their final undertaking was once on January 28, 1945. the objective was once in Germany's Ruhr Valley, often referred to as "Flak Alley". approximately midway throughout the bomb run, with heavy flak within the region, we misplaced the number 1 engine. After repeated makes an attempt neither Glenn nor Otis might get the propeller into the feathered place, that's required to lessen 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 way of a right away hit from the anti-aircraft batteries. A moment engine hand over, 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 attempt to make it to an airfield in Antwerp, Belgium, which used to be occupied by means of Canadian troops. however the aircraft 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 entire rip wire, deal with, and cable pulls thoroughly unfastened from the 'chute pack. I pulled so tough my entire arm flew above my head. I knew the 'chute used to be damaged. i used to be attempting to work out how you can pull the 'chute out of the backpack by way of hand whilst abruptly it opened, with the 'chute and me in a horizontal position." yet that wasn't all. bear in mind the plane, with its useless engines developing drag on one aspect, inflicting it to show? "I may perhaps pay attention the airplane nonetheless flying within sight; Joe had positioned it on autopilot. It sounded as though it used to be coming again at me." Then they heard the bullets. less than them was once 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 persisted, one after one other. Their captors took them "out back," the place the americans proposal they'd 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 by means of the SS on liberation day. Miraculously, all ten fliers survived the battle. Fifty years later 9 of the 10 airmen entire this e-book, operating jointly to refresh and proper every one other's stories. "This isn't the traditional hard-core warfare tale. we have now integrated relations ties, the crew's education and formation, our reports and emotions, facing 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 in addition frequently very humorous, deeply clever, and terribly human. those males have been heroes. thanks all, gents, on your flying, and for buying your tale down on paper.

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On the morning of July 10 we were off again, heading north to the Canadian border and beyond. For most of us it was the first time out of the United States and none of us had ever flown from the States before. There we were, ten very young men, ages eighteen to twenty-six, going on a flying trip that few adults had ever made or even thought of making. Flying had yet to be developed to the point where the general public could use it for transportation. Did we have any business doing this? Yes. We all had complete confidence that we could handle any situation; and we could, except maybe for the weather.

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. There was some cloud cover. The flak at the target was heavy, with red bursts and black puffs of smoke all around us. It seemed impossible that a plane could fly through this without being blown up.

Flight time: 5:35 hours. On September 17, 1944, we and several of the crews of our group were briefed on a special practice mission to be flown over the local area at fifty feet altitude in formation. 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.

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