EDWARD P. GUZIK|
Personal War Diary
44th BG 66th B. Squadron
Combat tour of bombing missions over Continental Europe against the Germans
Diversion - October 10, 1943 A/C M-536.
Takeoff at 10:30 a.m. Landed 4:30 p.m. Alt. 20,000 ft. Temp -20C. Route was off Dutch Coast in North Sea. Bomb load was 12 500 demolition. The whole trip was uneventful.
Mission No. 1 - 18 October 1943 - A/C M-536 Banshee
Our job today was to create a diversion by drawing enemy fighters out over the North Sea. Bombs were carried for any opportunity targets such as enemy shipping. Takeoff time was 10:30 a.m. Alt. 18,000', temp. -30 C. Purpose of mission was to draw out enemy fighters to lessen enemy resistance against our forces going to bomb target. Five F@ 190 were sighted, but they did not attack. My electric boots burned out and I got pretty damned cold. We landed at 4:30 p.m.
Mission recalled - 26 October 1943 - M-536
Target: Schweinfurt Ball Bearing Works, Germany.
Bomb load 12 500 demos. Alt. 23,000 ft. Temp -29C. Takeoff was at 7:30 a.m. But mission was recalled just as we hit the French Coast.
Diversion on 29? (30?) October 1943 A/C
Takeoff was at 10:30 a.m. Landed at 3:30 p.m. Alt. 20,000 ft. Route: Along the Coast of France.
This diversion today was just like another training routine flight. We flew along the coast for an hour but didn't draw up any fighters. It was a beautiful sunshiny day and I could see both the Coast of France and the White Cliffs of Dover. I never before realized that the Channel was so narrow. I was glad we landed early for I was hungry as a dog. I didn't even gripe when the "C" rations were put in front of me. No credit.
Mission No. 2 - 3 November 1943 M-536
Target: Shipping yards at Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
Bombing alt. Was 22,000 ft. Bomb load 12 500 demo. Temp was -29C.
We were told at briefing that it was a very important target and if destroyed, would tend to reduce the U-Boat menace. We bombed the target through 8/10th cloud cover and observed good results. 600 AAF bombers were supposed to have been on that raid, largest yet sent out. Flak was pretty intense and fairly accurate. Encountered one JU-88, which the P-47s shot down. Rest of the trip was uneventful.
Mission No. 3 - 5 November 1943 M-536
Target: Munster, Germany.
Bomb load 12 500 incendiaries. Bomb alt. 24,000 ft. Temp. -18 C. The target was located at the north end of the Ruhr Valley. We carried chaff and dropped it through 10/10 overcast. The flak was very heavy and accurate. We were hit by flak several times, but not serious. We saw 15 FW 190s but they did not attack our formation. P-47s and P-38s escorted us around the target. We didn't lose any planes. Landed at 3:30 p.m.
Mission No. 4 - 13 November 1943. M-536 The Banshee
Target: Bremen, Germany.
Bomb load 12 500 incend. Bomb alt. 21,000. Temp -46C. And we carried a K-20 camera.
Objective: Vital ship building yards just north of the city of Bremen. We took off at 6:00 a.m. and as we crossed the Dutch Coast, my heated suit burned out but I didn't give a damn. I was browned off at the time. We (Hansen's) had a running fight with about 10 FWs and lost one ship while going into the target. From the IP and through the target, we encountered some heavy and very intense flak. Another ship was lost because of it. On the way out, we were again attacked by what looked like the same 10 FWs. One of our ships was straggling and was shot down. We carried a hand-held camera and managed to take some good pictures, although to no avail. The camera froze and ruined all of the film. Our oxygen supply ran out at the Dutch Coast, so we had to leave the formation and take to low altitude. There were no fighters to bother us so we came home all right. Fighter escort - P-47s and P-38s.
Mission No. 5. 16 November 1943. M-536.
Target: Kellar, Norway where there was an ore mine, which produced important quantities of manganese, plus an aircraft repair plant.
Bomb load 12 500 demos. Bomb altitude 9,000 feet. Lowest yet. Temperate at alt. -10C.
We took off before dawn and for some reason didn't get our formation together, so our pilot, 2nd Lt. K. G. Jewell, decided to go along. I almost had a fit. Then, about 100 miles off the English Coast, we caught up with a formation of 12 planes. On the Norwegian Coast, we picked up 11 more planes. We never met any fighter opposition. The primary target was closed in by clouds, so we went to the secondary, which was a power installation, bombing it at 9,000 ft. on the second run. Good results were observed. There was no flak whatsoever. We broke formation after bombing and headed for home alone. Our gas supply was low and we had to sweat it out. The navigator, with the help of our radioman, did a beautiful piece of navigation. We hit the field dead center on the ETA under an 800 foot overcast. The pilot and crew were congratulated by General Johnson and Col. Dent. Tomorrow we go on a four-day pass.
Mission No. 6 - 26 November 1943 M-536.
Target: Bremen, Germany.
Bomb load 52 100 lb. liquid incendiaries. Bomb alt. 25,000. Temp -49C.
This mission will stay in my memory as long as I live. We were flying purple heart corner and as we went over Zuyder Zee, we had trouble with No. 4 engine, which the pilots had to feather. But we managed to stay in formation. We hit flak from the IP on through the target, which was covered by 10/10th clouds. A burst of flak knocked out No. 3 engine, causing us to drop out of formation and to straggle behind. Lt. O'Neill saw our plight and dropped back to help us. Just then six ME109s attacked us from the nose and tail. One came in from 11 o'clock and shot out our No. 2 engine, putting a terrific strain on No. 1 engine. The fighters came around again and attacked us from the tail. Our tail guns were out of commission, but with the help of Lt. O'Neill and his crew, four of the ME's were shot down. Saporito, our right waist gunner claimed one of the fighters. As the remaining fighters left us, Lt. O'Neill got back up into formation, but we were flying on only one engine. We lost quite a bit of altitude. At 15,000 feet, No. 3 engine came in partially, so we were able to keep our altitude. On the way back, we were all under a nervous strain and by the grace of God, and the ability of the pilots, we were able to make a safe landing. Our only casualty was the engineer who was wounded slightly by a bursting 20 mm. I don't believe I've ever said a prayer as earnestly as I did on that mission. Our pilot was awarded the Silver Star for his job. Our engineer was taken to the hospital.
Mission No. 7 - 1 December 1943. K-552 Lil Cookie
Target: Solingen, Germany.
Bomb load 12 500 demos. Bomb alt. 23,000 ft. Temp. -37C.
Our target was located on the northern side of the Rohr Valley. Four divisions of B-17s went in ahead of us. We bombed through pretty heavy overcast - 8/10th. Results looked pretty good. Flak was pretty intense over the target. The lead navigator screwed up and as a result, we went the length of the valley getting a lot of flak. Four groups of P-47s were with us. I didn't see but two FW190s and one ME-109.
Mission No. 8 - 11 December 1943 M-536
Target: Emden, Germany, a ball bearing works.
Bomb load 8 1,000 lb. demos. Bomb alt. 18,000. Temp. k-18C.
We took off at 8:30 a.m. and didn't find the formation, so we went in with the 392nd BG. Flak was light but pretty accurate. Good bombing results were observed. We saw three E/A. Later, we learned that Lt. O'Neill went down (hit by friendly bombs from above). Pretty easy mission.
Mission No. 9 - 13 December 1943 M-536.
Target: Kiel, Germany. Ship building yards.
Bomb load 12 500 stick incend. Bomb alt. 22,500. Temp. -32C.
We took off at 8:30 and was over the target at 12:45. We dropped our bombs through 10/10 overcast. Flak was moderate, but we did get a couple of holes in the ship. Didn't see any fighters all day. We had P-38s and P-51s for escort.
Mission No. 10 -- 30 December 1943 D-208 Shoo Shoo Baby (was Lemon Drop substitute).
Target: Ludwigshaven, Germany. A chemical and munitions factory.
Bomb load 52 100-liquid incend. Alt. 23,000 ft. Temp. -36C.
This was the first of the upcoming deep penetration raids. Large force of 600 B-17s and 169 Libs. Bombed by PFF through 10/10th clouds. Formation was attacked by six ME 109s. Lt. Heskett was shot down. Flak was pretty light. On the way out, I took a picture of a B-17 breaking in half. Pretty long mission lasting 8 ½ hours. Had lots of escort - P47s, P51s, P38s and even Spitfires.
Mission No. 11 - 31 December 1943 U-858 Pistol Packin Mama. Deputy Lead 68 Sq. A/C.
Target: Airfield at St. Jean D'Angely, France.
Bomb load 12 500 demos. Alt. 12,000 ft. Temp. -12C.
Cloud condition was 8/10 until we hit the IP, then it cleared up. Bombing was very successful. We had reports that Herman Goering's students were in training there. It sure looked like it. We saw six e/a out in he distance. One plane with the instructor, I presume, came in at us, guns spitting, barrel rolling through the formation. We all fired at him, but he got away with it. Could kick myself in the tail for missing him. I saw a B-17 going down in flames. All of our own planes came back safely. Flight lasted 8 ½ hours. Fighter escort was all three types - P38, 47, 51s.
Mission No. 12 - 21 January 1944 H-980 Banshee II
Target: Rocket gun installations. Buchy, France.
Bomb load 12 500 demos. Alt. 12,000 ft. Temp. -2C.
This was another screwy mission! Col. Dent led the formation. When we got over the target, there was one little cloud cover. We made four runs on the target without dropping our bombs!! On the next (5th), the fighters (four FWs and one ME109 came at us like a bat out of hell. They came at us again on the sixth run and they knocked down six of our bombers for the loss of their one ME109. We didn't have any escort at any time. We brought the damn bombs home with us. Everybody felt like shooting the Colonel.
Mission No. 13 - 29 January 1944 H-980
Target: Frankfurt/Main, Germany.
Bomb load 52 liquid incend. Bomb alt. 20,500'. Temp. -27C.
We took off at 8:00 leaving the coast at 10:05 a.m. We were briefed for this mission three times and I expected it to be rough. We were attacked near Brussels by seven yellow-nosed FW190s. They made two passes at us but missed. P38s chased them away. At the target, the flak was light, but intense. We spoiled their aim by throwing out our aluminum chaff. We dropped bombs at 11:35 a.m. On the way out I saw a "dog fight" with the P38 shooting down two JU88s and one ME210. Oh, those wonderful Lightnings!! The rest of the flight was uneventful. We lost two ships from our group (Pinder - 67th; Maynard - 66th Sq.).
Mission No. 14 - 2 February 1944 H-980
Target: Rocket guns near Watten, France.
Bomb load 4 2,000 lbs. demos. Alt. 18,000'. Temp -20C.
There were 980 aircraft over the target!! This target was a supply dump heavily protected by concrete barricades, but it was covered by 10/10th clouds, so we dropped on PFF. The flak was slight but accurate. They seemed to be tracking us. We got a couple of holes in the ship, but no one was injured. We had P47s for escort and encountered no E/A. We made two runs on the target.
Mission No. 15 - 5 February 1944 H-980
Target: Torus, France. A German fighter base.
Bomb load 12 500 demos. Alt. 18,000 ft. Temps. -49C.
We were briefed at 5:30, took off at 7:45 a.m. Upon reaching the French Coast, the pilot told me to fly in the nose turret. Damn, but it was sure cold up there. I almost froze my feet and hands. Ten minutes before the IP, we were attacked by FWs and ME109s. They missed us the first try but hit us on the second. They shot up our right wing and No. 3 engine. Boy, I was really scared then. Due to mechanical failure, the lead ship dropped before the target. I toggled off the bombs and the engineer reported direct hits on the marshaling yards. Willie was really excited. "Damn! Look at those box cars fly through the air - look at the smoke!!" He sure was having a good time. After bombs away, No. 4 prop ran away. We never encountered much flak, thank God. It was good to get home again.
Mission No. 16 - 8 February 1944 P305 - No name.
Target: Watten, France.
Bomb load 4 2,000 demos. Alt. 21,000 ft. Temps. -27 C.
There was no escort with us today. As soon as we poked our nose into the coast, they threw up a hot reception. Boy, that flak was really heavy. I wasn't scared, but paralyzed! The flak was thick enough to walk on. It was the worst nine minutes I've ever spent over enemy territory. The lead bombardier screwed up, so we didn't drop our bombs. Got flak holes in No. 3 engine, left wing, left side nose, and the copilot's window. No enemy fighters - no casualties.
Mission No. 17 - 12 February 1944 - A166. Big Fat Butterfly.
Target: Siracourt, France.
Bomb load 12 500 demos. Alt. 15,000. Temps -10C.
Flak was terrific today. It seems that they bring in more guns every day. Got a lot of flak holes in the ship. Bombed by PFF, with 10/10th clouds.
Mission No. 18 - 13 February 1944 A-166.
Target: Raye-Sur-Authie/Petite Bois at Tillencourt, France.
Bomb load 12 500 demos. Alt. 15,000 ft. Temps. -18C.
Visibility was good, but bombs fell short and landed in an open field. For miles around all I could see were bomb craters. We got a couple of holes in the ship. Some flak hit the ball turret, scaring hell out of Shorty.
Mission No. 19 - 20 February 1944 H-980
Target: Helstedt, Germany airfield.
Bomb load 52 100 1A. Alt. 17,000 ft. Temps. -22C.
Couldn't find the damned target, so we bombed a German city, even almost missing it! Flak wasn't bad, although we were hit slightly. No enemy aircraft was sighted. Escort: P47s and P38s.
Mission No. 20 - 21 February 1944 H-980
Target: Diepolz, Germany airfield.
Bomb load 52 100 demos. Alt. 21,000 ft. Temp. -28C.
Target was visible and we sure knocked hell out of it. We counted about 35 E/A on the ground. Flak again wasn't much, but still it was accurate. Those Jerries are good with their guns. No encounters with E/A. Escorts were 47s and 38s.
Mission No. 21 - 24 February 1944 E-967 Myrtle the Fertile Turtle
Target: Gotha, Germany airfield.
Bomb load 52 100 M-47s. Alt. 17,000 ft. Temps -26 C.
Clear visibility all the way in and out. We were under constant attack all the way in and half the way back. They were mostly FW190 and ME109G. In fact, there were so many that I couldn't begin to count them. It was a real battle today. I saw a lot of Forts and Libs go down under these fighter attacks. Lots of Jerries, too. Bombing was excellent, only five bombs missed the target. The sky was full of parachutes. Such a pity to see them floating by. This was a long haul, too. Flak was pretty heavy as well. (The 66th lost No. 148, Etheridge).
Mission No. 22 - 5 March 1944 H-980
Target: Bordeaux, France airfield.
Bomb load ten 500. Alt. 18,000 ft., but wasn't too cold -30C.
We bombed from about 18,000 ft. but due to a malfunction, the bombs dropped by themselves and hit in an open field. We were leading the 2nd section, so the rest of the planes dropped on us. Don't know what caused the racks to open. We led the whole division. Saw no fighters, but did run into some flak at Bordeaux. Pretty intense. Sustained a couple flak holes, but no injures.
Mission No. 23 - 8 March 1944 H-980
Target: Berlin, Germany (Big B) Erkner ball bearing factory on the edge of Berlin.
Bomb load 36 100-IA. Alt. 23,000'. Temps -26C.
We had excellent fighter support around the target. Both P38s and P51s. We were not attacked, but the B17s caught hell. Col. Dent led the group and did a swell job. We slid behind the forts and missed the E/A. Flak was pretty intense and very heavy. Bombed visually and sure knocked hell out of the target. Smoke was visible for 100 miles. I doubt if we left any buildings standing. Gen. Johnson was well pleased. I think we lost one ship (No). So that was Big B. Flight lasted nine hours.
Mission No. 24 - 9 March 1944, H-980
Target: Brandenburg, Germany airfield
Bomb load 12 500 demos. Alt. ?. Temps. -26.
We were leading second section in the last group of the whole 8th AAF. We were supposed to bomb by PFF but didn't. We circled around for hours before heading for home. No fighters were seen, but flak at several places was terrific. Lt. Jewell did a beautiful job leading us around the flak until it caught up with us and we were hit. Red flak hit us and got Lt. Jewell in the leg rather seriously. Oxygen was shot out, and intercom, pilot's rudder controls shot away. Our navigator and bombardier came to the aid of Lt. Jewell administering first aid. They gave him four shots of morphine and he was still conscious. He gave instructions to our copilot to land the ship on the skid. He was still in real pain and agony. We came in low over the English Coast and a convoy of ships, shooting red flares as we came in. Upon approaching the field, we discovered the nose wheel was flat, too. We braced ourselves in the waist section and prayed for a safe landing. We landed okay, but slid off onto the grass infield, breaking off the nose wheel. We slid about 40 feet on the nose section before we finally stopped. Pictures were taken, were published in London Pictorial News. They had to amputate Lt. Jewell's leg. Both the pilot and copilot were awarded the D.F.C. Later, the pilot, Jewell, got the D.S.C. - richly deserved!
Mission No. 25 - 23 March 1944 (Milliner in C-997)
Target: German airfield near the German border near Osnabruck.
Bomb load 12 500-demos. Alt. 22,000 ft. Temps -32C.
Mac and I flew this mission with Lt. Milliner. It wasn't a bad mission as we saw no fighters and flak was rather scarce. We dropped our bombs on the target and got the hell out of there. Boy, I sure sweat that mission out as it was my last. I got the D.F.C. from Col. Dent. We had good escort for this one, too. Takeoff was 0630 hours.