By Frederick D. Worthen
In the course of international warfare 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 established in England. They flew 24 missions jointly in the course of the last months of the warfare. Their final undertaking used to be on January 28, 1945. the objective was once in Germany's Ruhr Valley, sometimes called "Flak Alley". approximately midway during the bomb run, with heavy flak within the quarter, 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 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 in simple terms 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 means of Canadian troops. however the airplane was once happening quick. 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 reference to catching on a tail fin. good, the entire rip wire, deal with, and cable pulls thoroughly free from the 'chute pack. I pulled so not easy my complete arm flew above my head. I knew the 'chute used to be damaged. i used to be attempting to determine tips on how to pull the 'chute out of the backpack through hand while suddenly it opened, with the 'chute and me in a horizontal position." yet that wasn't all. keep in mind the aircraft, with its lifeless engines growing drag on one part, 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. under them was once 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 slim escapes persisted, one after one other. Their captors took them "out back," the place the american citizens inspiration 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 by means of their guards, and back through the SS on liberation day. Miraculously, all ten fliers survived the struggle. Fifty years later 9 of the 10 airmen comprehensive this e-book, operating jointly to refresh and proper every one other's stories. "This isn't the traditional hard-core struggle tale. now we have incorporated relatives ties, the crew's education and formation, our studies and emotions, facing 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 usually 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 info for Against All Odds: Shot Down Over Occupied Territory in World War II
I think we all felt we were finished with our training and that we ought to get on with our missions. 42 A GAINST ALL ODDS Our eleven days in Clunto were spent with simulated combat missions, becoming familiar with the modifications on the B-24, and learning the operation of G-Box, an English navigational system – and a very good one at that. We learned a lot about Irish whiskey too. There was always some available from the local people. I made only one visit to Belfast. This was the time for our assignment to a bomb group.
I was called by the CAP in Memphis for possible assignment – no way, rejected on the same grounds. ” About this time I received notice from my local draft board to report to Camp Shelby at Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I felt sure this would be a useless round trip. At that time the draft boards were starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel for draftees. As I went through the various exams along with the others, including a man with a wooden leg, I would mention this heart murmur, but got no comment from the doctor.
It passed. Also it was interesting to us that we and the others were flying a modified great-circle route to England. • At this station we had the opportunity to talk to several air crews who were on their way back to the States. They had completed a tour of duty with thirty combat missions in about sixty days. We should be so lucky! Of course, their tour was during the D-Day period. They were flying almost every day and sometimes two missions a day. • Joe remembers: On July 23, we flew to Valley Wales.
Against All Odds: Shot Down Over Occupied Territory in World War II by Frederick D. Worthen