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Interview on experiences in World War II

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we stayed overnight getting ready to go back on our trip. We were heading for England the next time. And we flew from Iceland down to Scott down to Wales that's stone Wales I believe. From there we were assigned to our Air Force our new air command. From there we went to Poddington, England. Now Poddington is a little place just about 65 miles north of London, England between two big major cities in the area. Is Northampton and Bedford. We landed there and began to take on some of the new ways of the country. As best we could. I liked the look of the country it was beautiful patch work of quilted land and hedge rows you ran around farm land what they had mostly trees, sheep and cattle + they did some farming too. But anyhow

The 1st and 2nd day we were there we just got ourselves bedded in and ready to relax a little bit and that day eveiybody was taking off from the runway and I think he had five 1000LB bombs in his bomb bay they were going to make a raid to Germany and somehow I guess and somehow I guess the weight was probably to much the plane couldn't quite take off and smashed out there on take off and crashed in _ and all 5 of those bombs you know after the plane finally caught fire and _ bombs out and was really a tremendous blast 51-5 2,000 Lb bombs. And we found parts of airplane here and there and one big radial engine that we flew in you know blew all way up to the control tower now that's a long ways about Vi mile at least and maybe even more it seemed like a long ways for a big radial engine would roll they were round and the would roll like everything so this was pretty strong blast anyhow

From there we got ourselves ready for over seas we had training mission over England and we learned to use their new equipment that they had and they had what we called a navigational system. They had tried for they had been over the channel a lot of tunes

when they came back they couldn't get back so they had what they called a black box that was sort of direction radio ways that they could phone in on and they would know there position even on there way back from Germany. And so we got acquainted with that new box the black box was new to us. We had a few things they didn't have we had the norden bomb site which was capable of calculating all the flight changes you know that we made altitude drift, wind speed and that sort of thing. A bombardier could actually fly that plane into a bomb site and he could set bombs to go off at the right time. And we had a real high percentage accuracy of hitting the target and destroying the war potential without killing people you know we did try to miss people if we could. I think we did a pretty good job of that. But there was of few things I was going to tell you about here some of the some our missions of sours when we started our missions. Began with a I think the 1st mission I went on was in (zwickau) Germany and that I think it may have been Czech excuse me it may have be Czechoslovakia but anyhow we went all the way there that day. And dropped the bombs on the come down on the nature point and dropped our bombs and we hit the target just find and came back of course it was along way back. Our think our destination was almost 10 hours maybe even longer with me but I think it was larger than that more like 11 hours. That was a long flight for any kind of an airplane. And try to stay on top of things and anyhow we did Let's see (review)

Excuse me just a second our 3r mission in I will tell you about it. We went to this was one time we got hit pretty hard. We were making a mission to Cologne, Germany and

that is right down      
Valley where all the heavy germany armored where built cologne,

swangford all those big area. We were on flight of attack I think bomb bay doors were

open and we were hit by flack ow flak the germany 88mm guns were firing at us and they have tremendous smack to them the velocity was very high accurate and they use radar and so they could get rand and altitude they have to get site and pretty bad sometime we were losing and think we lost maybe 2 or 3 planes of of course didn't lose we had no lighter attacks that day just flack the flack is what did the damage. At the same time navigator was hit in the arm it broke his arm and think it was all fixed pretty. Back together and put bone into a cast and he was out for three to four weeks though they send them back pretty fast. From an accident or injury they didn't waste any time. They put a cast on a leg and let you go. Shot the gun go ahead. Shot the gun. You don't have to walk. Shot the gun. Keep going if they could we couldn't replace men like that very well they had to come over with an entire crew. I guess you could skeleton them pass then around a little bit but anyhow. We were hit did I tell the bombardier was hit I mean navigator was hit the top flight Stewart was hit alright excuse me if I get mixed up sometimes I do that all the time ok we had a few fighter attacks the Germans would come in they found a weak spot to begin with our weak spot was nose they would always come in on our noses it seemed to me like and we did have a turret in front to start with and the turret were very accurate with the fighting there fire they finally did put on B17g put twin turret. See if I can get this down here of there it is twin turret that had 2 twin 15 caliber machine guns and that pretty 2 twin 20 caliber going at same time anyhow the navigator or bombardier fired the twin turret and they also had 50 caliber machine guns on each side of the nose that the navigator or bombardier would fire too so they were in position to do some damage I think the 8th air force had one of the highest rates of shot down of probably any of them and we had some pretty big mission too I might mention were some

of the places to was we went Merseburg now you probably don't know merseburg from (Strongsburg) whatever it was they produced oil. Where they refined oil and think they used what do you call it artificial oil (Les Siescrist said synthetic) you got it thank you we were anyhow. They were able to get there engines going and keep them going they had to have oil to keep running at their targets and we did too. But at Merseburg the was and wouldn't say how many 88 there were at merseburg there where 8 50 some airplanes I mean 88mm guns on the ground firing at us when we went over the oil refinery at Merseburg that was pretty desperate times. We didn't get hit that time but sort of there was some other squadron did hit hard earlier on they were hitting us much heaver than what they were when I was there because were keeping we have fighters protection that we didn't have earlier and we had. Knowledge they had gained earlier and I think they were giving up a little at least I think they must have been.

We also went, to Swanford. That's another essential part of there manufacturing that they did Balb Bearing. Ball Bearing plants and every engine you know and every implement runs on ball bearing and that was there biggest factory right there at Swanford and we had a big part of helping to knocking out the ball bearing plants. They hit back at us pretty hard. And I have a picture at home of b!7 that was hit on that trip to Schweinfurts and Merseburg at same time. But I didn't make that mission it was a good picture. We also made a hit on hit on Potsdam. You probably don't know Potsdam except it is kind of on out skirts of Berlin and it was Hitler's bunker it was where he slept. When things were hot and he wanted to be close to Berlin and that's where he killed himself finally. But anyhow we were making a mission on Potsdam and we had a fighter attack there it was a fighter attack by a plane we had never seen before and the head gunner

called it out it was when coming in he said B51 is on our tail I thought well B51 would not be on our tail so I switched off my gun switch and got ready and here he came it was a german a new german jap fighter ME 2621 just fired him all the way across I tracked him and I don't think I hit him. But I swear he was smiling when he look at me. At least I got that impression he was grinning (les seigrist) said dr.chris I don't want to interrupt but they were 1st ones with fighter jets but they couldn't fight too long. On four lane highways they cemented places so if they ran out of fuel they could land, (dr.chris) right they had another fighter plane 163 is was flying it could only fire for about five minutes but that thing would keep going for a long time just floating but the m62- 262 was very much similar to the one they brought the jets we have today. Except do you know where the germans got there jet idea? They did not invent the idea themselves. It was invented by an American in Connecticut I believe that was new England. They actually took it from our files. Copied our files and took it back to germany. They didn't get all there idea were not theirs they got some from us. So we aren't really as bad as we think we are ah lets see.

Our last mission was one of the big places in germany it was I wasn't even with my regular crew that day. I had missed one for some reason I can't even remember what it was. Anyhow on our last mission Hamburg. Hamburg had practically been destroyed once or twice by big fire car bombs and that sort of thing but anyhow near that plane we got out of that place and we were hit by fighters, but it didn't do any damage. Going back we were hit with flak that was so accurate we didn't have no flack stuck out there. Aluminum foil (someone replied shrapnel) sharp yeah that's what I was trying to say but aluminum foil is what it really is but it fouls up all there radar equipment we didn't have

any thing that day. Anyhow they really were accurate and know one tune we were hit. And it felt like the plane was bouncing up hi the air and I think it probably did because the plane was really bounced up there. We did away without any problems that was my last mission I guess and I was glad to get back on ground. Then after that I think the main thing was to get back home. We came home in an old liberty boat. Do you know what a liberty boat guys (Les Siegrist yes) you probably do Les replied it was made in California I think Kaiser made those things didn't he the ones that put out the Kaiser Car. And anyhow it got us there and carried men and ammunition and lots of other things I think it was made out of cement instead of steel it was cement and those things floated like a steel ship. Like a boat like it should and it got us home. Came back through United States statue of Bureau Liberty ah statue there that helped a whole lot just to have that. Just to see that from there we went to Fort Dix must.

I wasn't really out and I was just to go home. That was in May. When I got back home I think germany was trying to surrender at that time. And I got married too that was the reason I was married in 45. ah anyhow it was good to be home back in United States back out we were one of the best teams in the whole world I just wanted you to know that. Ok thank you. (Mr. Johnson replies) it was kind of like a team work on your plane kind of like a basketball team everybody had a roll.(dr. Chris Replies) Everybody had a roll and everybody enjoyed everybody else and respected. My pilot was a west point man the best.

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