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

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 team of the eighth U.S. Air strength, flying B-24 Liberators dependent in England. They flew 24 missions jointly throughout the last months of the struggle. Their final project was once on January 28, 1945. the objective used to be in Germany's Ruhr Valley, sometimes called "Flak Alley". approximately midway throughout the bomb run, with heavy flak within the sector, we misplaced the number 1 engine. After repeated makes an attempt neither Glenn nor Otis may perhaps 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 through an instantaneous 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 try and make it to an airfield in Antwerp, Belgium, which was once occupied by way of Canadian troops. however the aircraft used to be taking place 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 free from the 'chute pack. I pulled so not easy my entire arm flew above my head. I knew the 'chute was once damaged. i used to be attempting to work out tips to pull the 'chute out of the backpack by way of hand while immediately it opened, with the 'chute and me in a horizontal position." yet that wasn't all. have in mind the plane, with its lifeless engines growing drag on one aspect, inflicting it to show? "I may possibly listen the airplane nonetheless flying close by; 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 airplane someway neglected them, however the males have been captured, and the slim escapes persevered, one after one other. Their captors took them "out back," the place the americans 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 by way of the SS on liberation day. Miraculously, all ten fliers survived the conflict. Fifty years later 9 of the 10 airmen complete this e-book, operating jointly to refresh and proper every one other's thoughts. "This isn't the traditional hard-core conflict tale. we have now incorporated relations 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 lovely "hard-core" to us, but additionally 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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I think our stay at the Savoy was less than three minutes. Back on the street again we asked someone who looked like a native where a nice cheap hotel was. Up the street a bit was the Strand Palace, not necessarily cheap, but it was surely more our style. There, in our private bathroom, we had our first introduction to a bidet. ” John didn't know. I don't think we ever did figure it out. 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.

Truck that took us to the hardstand where our plane was parked. The pilots carefully inspected the plane, did a preflight, consulted with the ground crew chief, and checked the COMBAT M ISSIONS 49 flight records while the other crew members were doing their duties. Now we waited for instructions from the control tower as to when to start the engines. There was some delay due to questionable weather over the continent. We were afraid the mission would be scrubbed; we would have been disappointed if it had been.

I was awakened early in the morning and told, “Gibbs, got a milk run for you. ” I was due a three-day pass to see my WAF in London. O. was insistent. “Sure, help you get your missions in. ” With reluctance, I volunteered. Upon reaching the briefing room, a friend told me that the gunner had poured lighter fluid on himself and set it ablaze and claimed it was an accident. O. ” The colored string showed the mission going clear to the middle of Germany. I was committed by now. I was rushed to the plane, where the crew was waiting.

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