Mission 211


Sept 28, 1944

Flight Crew

Name Rank Duties
Brede, James F Lieutenant Pilot
Nowacki, Jack W Lieutenant Co-Pilot
Hodgkiss, Bernard V Lieutenant Navigator
Katsiginis, Spiris T Lieutenant Bombardier
Lohr, John F  Sergeant Radio Op/Gunner
Weese, Jackson D  Sergeant Engr./Top Turret
Russell, James F  Sergeant Ball Turret gunner
Whiting, Edward H  Sergeant Waist Gunner
Johnson, Marvin J  Sergeant Tail Gunner

The Mission# 211

A/C name  Country   Germany Target   Ordnance Plant
A/C number   43-38420   Squadron Position Low Squadron
A/C Pos Low Element  Left Wing   City  Magdeburg

For reasons that my memory does not provide, we had two replacements in our crew on this mission.  The pilot was James Brede and the ball turret gunner was James Russell, replacing Miller and Cunningham. 

I remember sitting around in the briefing room, "shooting the bull" before the briefing officer showed up, then when he came in and uncovered the briefing map a loud groan could be heard. The red ribbon which traced our path to the target stretched half way across Europe. One crew member actually jumped out the open window and ran but the MP guard was on the ball and convinced him to return for the remainder of the briefing.  The target, Magdeurg was known to be a well protected city. Probably due to the fact that much of Germanys ordinance came from there. We were in the air a total 8 hours and 30 min that day and we were hit many times some of the holes were from enemy fighters.  Just after crossing the German border I heard the code word "Bandits Bandits" over the intercom which meant I had to change my position to the waist gun. I unhooked my oxygen my heated suite and intercom wires and left the radio room. At the gun position I had to reconnect everything. By the time I charged the first 50 cal round into the chamber  I spotted them. They looked like a swarm of bees coming up from the ground. They were ME-109's and FW-190S. They did not stay in formation but split off in all directions. Our P-51 escort were dropping wing tanks and breaking away in pairs.  There was a brief pause then I spotted a ME-109 flying parallel with us just out of range.  I could not help wondering if he was looking back at me. I decided to find out so I squeezed off a burst in his direction.  Immediately  he skidded away so I knew he saw my gun flash. Then he rolled in our direction and started his run I squeezed the trigger and the intercom button at the same time and shouted "Jump" into the throat mike.  The pilot pulled the control column straight back and the aircraft executed a quick change in altitude. This was a pre-planned signal which we had worked out to disrupt the aim of the incoming fighter. In this case it  seemed to work . The German fighter passed under us so close I could see the expression on his face. (I think he was scared too). The remainder of the mission is a bit of a jumble in my memory. I remember " Swede" Johnson the tail gunner calling out fighters on all sides and I remember the relief I felt when we started the bomb run because the flack was so thick that no fighter was going to venture in close enough to get a shot at us. Then it was over. I decided that  day that I would much rather have flack than enemy fighters if I had a choice. Excitement was one thing but this was ridiculous.


ME-109 FW-190
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