Flyer's Journal

N. E. Robinson U.S.A.A.C.

HEAVY BOMBER GROUPS of the 15th AIR FORCE 


Here are some scans and excerpts from his journal as an aerial gunner on a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Flying w/ the 419th Squadron of the 301st Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps, based at Foggia Italy. Written after D-Day in late 1944.
Not for the faint of heart.
Published by permission of his son and our bro Dancing Bear, much respect and appreciation.

Thanks

 

Another very moving site I came across is "Bracelet in the Sand", additional information on the same story may be found at St. Edmundsbury.

Fri, 13, Oct, 1944
Target: Blekheimer, Germany
Object: Oil Refineries
Weather: Hazy
Mission credit: Double
Bombload: 4,000 lbs
Bomb type: 8/500lb demo (rdx)
Take off: 06:40
Bomb release: 11:01
Time landed: 14:50
Fly time: 8 hrs/10 mins
Flak: HEAVY! INTENSE! ACCURATE!
Enemy fighters: 60 reported/ approx. 20 seen
Escort: P-38/P-51/P-47
Altitude at bomb release: 30,000 ft
Temp at altitude: neg 43 deg.
Position: tail
# of sortie: 2
# of mission count: 3
Pilot: 1st. Lt. Livers
Ship # : 6306
Travel: Flew over Adriatic, Yugoslavia, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Germany
Remarks: Mission completed. I don't see how this business can get any rougher. I miss my beautiful bride Virginia and long for the day I return to her. Ship damaged badly from flack. Nerves on end whole 8 hrs. This is a young man's work. That is what we have . All young men.

 

A scan of his handwritten journal, done in violation of military regulations at that time, provides us some insight to his experience in those dark days.
journal_entry.jpg (259687 bytes)

Monday 23, October 1944
Target: Pilsen, Czech.
Objective: Skoda arms works/marshalling yards
Weather: bad, very bad 10/10 undercast
Credit for Mission: double
Bomb load: 3,800
Bomb type: Frag/incendiary
Take off time: 07:48
Time over target: Skoda) 13:00 alternate target) 13:30
Time landed: 17:00
Fly time actual: 9 hrs 12 mins
Flak: none reported/none seen
Fighters enemy: 200 reported/ 50 approx seen
Escort: P-51/P-38
Altitude at bomb release: 27,000 ft
Temp: neg 44 deg.
Position: Rt. waist (so very cold)
# of sortie: 3
# mission count: 5
Pilot: 1st Lt. Saulson
Travel: Length of Adriatic, past Switzerland (not over) Alps, Yugosl., Czech.
Ship #: 6186
Remarks: Damage to target unkown due to 10.10 undercast, bad weather entire mission....worse on way back. Most of crew sick. Nav. down with fever...still flew.

 

Tuesday 7 Nov, 1944:
Target: Maribor, Yugo.
Objective: Marshalling yard (troops/material)
Weather: bad/hazy low ceiling
Sortie: # 6
Bombload: 4,000lbs
8/500 lb demo (rdx)
Time of t/o: 0905
Time at target: 12:20
Landed: 1520
Fly time: 6hrs 15 mins
Flak: Extremely heavy-intense, very very accurate
Enemy fighters: 30 reported/ none seen
Escort: P-38/P-51
Altitude: 17,000 (wow.....too damn low for me)
Temp: neg 28 deg.
Position: tail
Pilot: DeKruif (my pal) the best!
Ship#: 451
Remarks: Overcast so low we had to fly below. It was so awful. Felt so exposed and open. Briefed for 25,000 ft. I consider us to be very lucky to be alive. Ship full of holes. Flak was accurate due to our altitude. Popped us full of stinking holes God-damn it! I watched 2 ships from our group go down from flak. One spun into the ground, the other burst into a ball of fire mid-air. Only saw total of 5 chutes from the one ship. None from the exploded ship. God help them and bless them all. Ball turret gunner hit by flak. Lost both hands. God help us. God get me home.

Here is an additional web page that speaks to some of the other experiences that these aerial gunners faced.
301st Bombardment Group (H)

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