44th Bomb Group Mission Number 162

Date City Country Target
6/12/1944 Illiers L'Eveque France Airfield

Unofficial Mission Summary 

Captain Schmidt led the 67th today with twelve aircraft, 36 for the Group, in a mission to Illiers L'Eveque, France, an airfield, and was hit with only fair results. Capt. Kuch was Lead Pilot (68th), target was visual and was the first the Group had "muffed" for some time. Plenty of flak was encountered near Caen and in the adjacent areas, but no ships suffered serious damage and all returned to base at 1100 hours. Capt. Schmidt and crew flew in a 68th ship #049 which was substituted for ship #967 which was unable to take off on the mission. A/C #805(?) failed to bomb due to mechanical malfunction. Lt. Al Jones, Bombardier on Lt. H.C. Henry's crew made these comments: "We are alerted for the first time as a crew. The Greek has to stay "home" as we only fly a crew of nine. They called us at 12 PM, mid-night, for briefing at 1:30 AM. We carry 52 fragmentation bombs and are supposed to hit an airplane dispersal area at Illiers, France. After briefing we get dressed and are taken out to our ship P, which is an old B-24J wi th 44 missions. I checked the bombs and then tried to get into the nose turret but cant! I'm too big. I decide to ride the waist position and let (Sgt) Billie Moore operate the nose turret. Take-off is at 0415, taking two hours to assemble. Pass over London about 0600 and hit Channel about 15 minutes later. There is a continuous stream of ships all across the channel - all sorts of boats and ships. We don our flak suits as we near the French coast as we are supposed to cross near Caen, France and pass right over the beachhead. There seems to be a million boats down there although we are too high to see much activity. We start getting flak from Caen - it is moderately heavy and pretty accurate - about 20 bursts to a volley. I don't think of getting hit so much from above or to the sides as much as I do through the floor! Very peculiar feeling, but I don't think I'm scared. We are at 21,000 feet and soon pass out of range. All of a sudden (Sgt) Norm Tillner, the other waist gunner, starts firing. I look around to see a plane on an attack curve. Neither of us is sure what kind of an aircraft, but he slides off and we see two P-47s right below us. That was quite a surprise! We are near the IP now and two rockets come up, but are way wild - some three or four miles. We are the only planes getting any flak from Drue because of our position. Lead Bombardier screws up and we make another run, finally drop our bombs and miss very badly. We get home after about seven hours and land - have only one very small hole in the tail section. Go to interrogation; then clean our guns." 2nd Lt. Duwe promoted to 1st Lt. on the 6th of June.
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