44th Bomb Group Mission Number 15

Date City Country Target
2/27/1943 Brest Germany Porrt & U-boat Pens

Unofficial Mission Summary 

The target for today was the port of Brest, France where there are submarine shelters, dry docks capable of handling any ship in the German Navy and other shore installations. Five 67th aircraft, along with five others from the other two squadrons were over the target and dropped their bombs. The results were generally unsatisfactory, but hits were claimed on the corner of the locks and a dock, as well as on buildings and warehouse near the docks. There were no losses. Surprisingly, the flak was light and the enemy fighters few. In addition to the missions flown (above) there were other alerts that were scrubbed to such targets as Dunkirk, Boulogne, Amiens, German raider ships, etc. The month included some of the most difficult flying weather that our airmen have faced to date, and that any missions were completed without greater losses is a tribute to their abilities. Engineering states that "shorts and /or breaks" in heating elements in the electric suits cause fabric to fire. Results were serious burns to the men, or frost bites.
One of the other two planes going in search of our two missing planes was that of Captain Warne. He stated that they searched all over the North Sea for McPhillamey and Adams without seeing a trace. The search continued until darkness fell and he had to return to base that required a night landing - and reported that the field had good landing lights.

NOTE: It should be emphasized that the new machine gun oil was an absolute necessity. Most 67th aircraft were forced to carry a Thompson sub-machine gun loaded with tracers so that when the .50s froze up, the waist gunners would use the tracers to make a showing of a defense, hopefully keeping the enemy fighters at bay. Otherwise, most of our ships would have had to abort on nearly every mission due to lack of fire power, even though large quantities of ammunition was expended by most gunners firing short bursts to keep the guns warm enough not to freeze solid. Our men became so frustrated with the aborts associated with frozen guns that they chose
to bluff the enemy pilots with tracers from their hand-held (and almost useless) guns. This lack of defense surely contributed to some of our early losses.
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