A box of six B-25s flying straight into some heavy flak.
Why didn’t our fathers talk much about flying their missions? Anti-aircraft guns were shooting aerial flak
bombs that exploded at their altitude.
The shrapnel would tear right through the plane and brought many of them
down. The plane had to fly straight and
level over the target and right through all that flak. Even if you didn’t get hit, the shock waves
were bouncing the plane all over.
Imagine the sheer terror mission after mission. If there was no flak or fighters, the mission
was a “milk run”. When our fathers
arrived overseas, they were expected to complete 25 missions. The movie “Memphis Belle” is about a B-17
crew that was the first to survive 25 missions since the rate of attrition was
so high. After 25 missions you were
deemed mentally unfit for combat so you got to go home. Well as our fathers added missions, they
upped the ante to 50 missions and then in late 1944 they upped it to 70
missions! I’m sure you’ve heard about
the book and movie “Catch 22” by Joseph Heller.
He was in the 488th Bomb Squadron on