By Frederick D. Worthen
In the course of global conflict II ten younger volunteers from everywhere in the usa got here jointly to shape the "Rosacker" workforce within the 93rd Bomb staff of the eighth U.S. Air strength, flying B-24 Liberators established in England. They flew 24 missions jointly throughout the final months of the conflict. Their final challenge was once on January 28, 1945. the objective used to be in Germany's Ruhr Valley, sometimes called "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 well 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 hand over, and a 3rd was once wasting strength (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 by means of Canadian troops. however the aircraft was once 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 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 challenging my entire arm flew above my head. I knew the 'chute used to be damaged. i used to be attempting to determine tips to 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. have in mind the aircraft, with its lifeless engines developing drag on one facet, inflicting it to show? "I may listen the airplane nonetheless flying close by; Joe had positioned it on autopilot. It sounded as though it used to be coming again at me." Then they heard the bullets. lower than them was once a German military camp in occupied Holland. The enemy bullets and their very own aircraft in some way neglected them, however the males have been captured, and the slender escapes persevered, one after one other. Their captors took them "out back," the place the american citizens idea 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 via their guards, and back via the SS on liberation day. Miraculously, all ten fliers survived the battle. Fifty years later 9 of the 10 airmen complete this publication, operating jointly to refresh and proper each one other's stories. "This isn't the traditional hard-core battle tale. now we have incorporated kin ties, the crew's education and formation, our stories and emotions, dealing with 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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Additional info for Against All Odds: Shot Down Over Occupied Territory in World War II
While we were in Northern Ireland there was very little work. We had passes to town everyday. The pubs had plenty of stout ale; fish and chips were the staple foods and the colleens were as pretty as one would expect. I was indeed fortunate: twins, one worked at night, the other during the day. It was tough duty, yet being in the best of health, the courtship of the twins was carried out with vigor. Ilene and Kathleen Hallahan were pretty, buxom, red-haired lassies who made me the envy of our group.
We never found out what it was all about until after the war. I have read the Cornelius Ryan book and have seen the movie A Bridge Too Far. In the 500-page book about four pages are devoted to this air mission and the part played by the B-24s. Our part was small compared to what the ground forces went through during Operation Market-Garden. There were 575 8th Air Force P-38s, P-47s, and P-51s escorting 252 B-24 Liberators on this mission, as well as dive-bombing on anti-aircraft guns and fighting off the German ME-109 and FW-190 fighters.
Mathison advised me he would take my place. This was just fine with me, as I was not happy in the lead position; in fact, I wasn't happy in the B-24 at all. I had flown this aircraft in the States as a first pilot, and after about one hundred hours in it I considered it a piece of junk. I asked for a transfer and received it. All this was for naught, as I ended up as a lead co-pilot with the 93rd Bomb Group-B-24s again. I continually turned down first-pilot status, which I considered to be hypo- 56 A GAINST ALL ODDS critical (talk about going from the frying pan into the fire – this was it).