Mission 252

 December 24, 1944

Flight Crew




Miller, Elmonte R Lieutenant Pilot
Nowacki, Jack W Lieutenant Co-Pilot
Ortman, Lowell D Lieutenant Navigator
Waycie, Bruno H Lieutenant Nose Gunner/Togglier
Lohr, John F Tec Sergeant Radio Op/Gunner
Weese, Jackson D Tec Sergeant Engr./Top Turret
Cunningham, Charles L Staff Sergeant Ball Turret gunner
Whiting, Edward H Staff Sergeant Waist Gunner
Johnson, Marvin J Staff Sergeant Tail Gunner

The Mission#252

A/C name The Birmingham Jewel Country   Germany Target   Airdromes
A/C number   42-97678   Sq.  Position  High Element Left Wing
A/C Pos Low Squadron   City  Merzhausen/Kirchgons


 The Battle of the Bulge had been  underway since he 16th but we had not been able to get in the air because of bad weather . We made it that morning but we were about the only Base that was successful. We headed out anyway but without our fighter support. The 9th was based somewhere in Europe and they were able to get some of their P-38's and P-47 to join us. Believe me when I say they were a welcome sight. Hitler had ordered the Luftwaffe into the battle and we expected to meet them on this one.  Actually it was a bad idea, Germany lost over 200 of their best pilots over the next few days effectively destroying their ability to fight back. 

I could see the ground clearly  and I watched our fighters  strafing railroads and other targets. I saw one locomotive explode in a great cloud of steam. Thankfully the Luftwaffe did not come up and all we had to contend with was  the flack which was bad enough..

When we returned to England the weather was still bad and we landed at another base. It was getting dark and all of the B-17's had to land at the same airfield. What a mess. The aircraft just ahead of us skidded of the runway and our wingtips looked like they missed each other by inches.  I could see this was not going to be one of my favorite Christmas Eves.  The British had several anti aircraft guns near by and they did a good job of keeping us awake. That on the top of the fact that it had been 16 hours since I had my last meal. Some one gave me a blanket and I curled up on a stone floor until about 2 AM. At that point the herded us into a truck and we drove back to Kimbolten without any headlights because of the black-out. There was good news though -They gave us Christmas day off-




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