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1Lt William A. Malone
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WORLD WAR II
AIR COMBAT DIARY
36 MISSIONS
JULY 8, 1944 TO NOVEMBER 6, 1944
B-17

FIRST LIEUTENANT WILLIAM A. MALONE
Navigator- 8th Air Force
303rd Bomb Group
(Hell's Angels)
427th Bomb Squadron

Molesworth England
52 degrees 23' N, 00 degrees 25' W


 THE CREW

Pilot Johnny Griggs
Co-pilot Merrill DuMont
Navigator Bill Malone
Bombardier Bill Rohner
Flight Engineer Al Morning
Radioman Joe Benning
Waistgunners Joe Scaglione, Hank Means
Ball turret gunner Earl Duffy
Tailgunner Miles Bruce


THE PLANE ASSIGNMENTS

099    "Ole 99"
423    "Jigger Roche"
060    "Pogue Mahone"
527    "Earthquake McGoon"
569    "Means Special" (finished up in it)


REMARKS
  1. Six raids on Munich caused riots in city and Gestapo had to forcefully put down people's desire to sue for peace. On third raid to Big M pleas were intercepted on radio to send firefighting apparatus from Stuttgart which is close to 80 miles away. Apparently incendiaries started huge fires which could not be brought under control. Because of the number of raids on Munich the trip became known as the M-M Special (Molesworth to Munich Special).

  2. The two raids to Cherbourg started ground forces on lightning-like offensive out of St. Lo. Later raids to Paris and Brest supported this offensive.

  3. On raid to Berlin ( Big B ) saw huge palls of smoke rising from our target, which was the Damier-Benz aircraft engine works on southern edge of Berlin. Huge columns of smoke were also seen in heart of Berlin, in Brandenburg (just outside of Berlin), at Hamburg Kiel and Wilhelmshaven, where other Groups bombed.

  4. Raid to Peenamunde was very successful as target was blasted effectively. On way home Group got an ME 210 which made fatal mistake of coming in too close.

  5. Both raids to Merseburg saw great clouds of black smoke at target. Saw a number of B-17's, P-51's and enemy aircraft go down in flames. It was a horrible but fascinating sight to see parts of planes plummet earthward in flames and explode when they hit the ground.

  6. The Brux raid was first real air battle for crew. As result of fight Miles Bruce was killed. Group got at least 4 fighters and lost 1 ship. Other Groups got quite a few. Our fighters finally arrived and must have gotten quite a few more. I believe I got one ME 109. After taking a constant pounding for six straight missions our Squadron has only 4 ships fit for operations. Personnel casualties were comparatively light, but that didn't save Bruce or Newton's crew. Bruce was buried September 14, 1944, in Cambridge National Military Cemetery. The crew was present at his funeral.

  7. Raids on Eindhoven and Hertogenbasch paved way for paratroop landings in Holland--also were in support of drive to outflank Siegfried Line.

  8. Raids to Ruhr and vicinity to cut production, supply and transportation for front lines to a minimum. Cologne, Essen, Munster, Osnabruk, Duisburg and Dortmund are all more than half destroyed and the heart of the Ruhr (Gelsenkirchen, Battrop, etc.) is also pretty well smashed.

  9. Two days less than 4 months was the time span for my tour which started on July 8 1944, and was terminated November 6, 1944. Now I can really start thinking of home!

RAIDS


  1. 07/08/44 - 04:30 - Etaples, France - No flak - No fighters - Bridge - Trouble with rendezvous - Hit target - Johnny was co-pilot, rest of crew was Keating's.

  2. 07/09/44 - 06:05 - Tours, France - Light flak - No fighters - Bridge - Target was socked in, so hit airfield N.E. Tours as last resort - Bombing good - Flew with crew, Johnny as co-pilot, Schwalow First Pilot - M. DuMont stayed home.

  3. 07/11/44 - 09:00 - Munich, Germany - Intense flak, no injuries - 8 holes - No fighters - City - 1 hole in nose - Hit city - Flew with strange crew.

  4. 07/12/44 - 09:45 - Munich, Germany - intense flak, no injuries - No holes - No fighters City - Hit city hard - Bomber in Purple Heaven Corner blew up over target just below us - No chutes seen - Flew with crew.

  5. 07/13/44 - 09:30 - Munich, Germany - Intense flak, no injuries - 5 holes - No fighters - City - 1 hole in nose - Hit city - Fighter exploded in mid-air below formation but pilot got out OK - Flew with crew.

  6. 07/21/44 - 08:45 - Stuttgart (Air Depot N.E. of City), Germany- Target socked in so Group hit Chemical Plant at Mannheim as alternate target - Intense flak - No injuries - No fighters - Chemical Plant at Mannheim - Flew with crew in 099. Engines overheated before I.P.; lost altitude and airspeed. Couldn't bomb primary target because of clouds and had to salvo bombs before Mannheim to catch up with formation and maintain altitude. Dwindling gas supply made whole crew anxious. Landed with about 4 minutes supply left. Really earned flying pay on this one. Group passed target, but our bombs raised hell in small German village.

  7. 07/24/44 - 05:15 - Cherbourg (St. Lo), France - Moderate flak - No Injuries - No fighters - No holes - Target was enemy troop concentrations just ahead of American lines - Raised hell with Germans - Flew with crew.

  8. 07/25/44 - 04:40 - Cherbourg (St. Lo), France - No flak, no injuries - No fighters - Enemy troop concentrations just ahead of our lines at St. Lo - Blasted positions accurately and big push started immediately after bombing.

  9. 07/28/44 - 08:40 - Leipzig (Merseburg) - Intense flak at target and at several places along route - Fighters attacked 2 formations behind us but didn't bother us - No injuries - 8 holes, 1 in plexiglass and 1 in nose - Target was synthetic oil plant 21 miles west of Leipzig at Launa. Seemed to be in flak area for 5 minutes. The longest 5 minutes of my life. Bombed P.F.F. and our Group missed target but preceding Groups hit because huge columns of smoke rose from target. Flew with Hamilton and crew.

  10. 07/29/44 - 08:25 - Leipzig (Merseburg) - Intense flak at target and moderate at several places along route - Fighters in area - No injuries - 3 holes - Synthetic oil plant at Launa was target. Blasted hell out of target and columns of thick black smoke rose for 15,000 or 20,000 feet above target. Flew with crew.

  11. 08/04/44 - 09:10 - Peenamunde - Moderate flak at target and several places along route - 1 fighter (ME 210) - No injuries - 3 holes - Target was experimental station and laboratories - Huge smoke columns seen and seemed to indicate good results ME 210 got too close to formation and was shot down.

  12. 08/05/44 - 03:15 - Pas de Calais (flying bombsight) - No flak - No fighters - No injuries - No holes - Element leader failed to make rendezvous, so bombed an airfield in France as last resort target with fair results. Would have been duck soup for German fighters. Flew with crew.

  13. 08/06/44 - 08:25 - Berlin (Genshagen) - Intense flak at target and moderate at several places along route - No injuries - 4 holes - Enemy fighters seen but did not make a pass at our formation. Also saw new jet-propelled aircraft for first time and they scared hell out of {us} for a while. Target was Damier-Benz Aircraft Engine Plant at Genshagen on southern outskirts of "Big B" - Bomb run was visual and target was hit but good. One flak hole in nose just beside my head; with a little more force my flak helmet would have had a test. Smoke rose for from 15,000 to 20,000 feet above target. Brandenburg, about 20 miles west of Berlin was also a huge pall of smoke at the airfield and ammo dumps and it seemed as if all hell had broken loose. Different Groups also raised 4 towering clouds of smoke at Hamburg, and blasted airfields and different targets all the way from Berlin to the coast. It was a beautiful sight all the way back to the coast and it was a bad day for Adolph and his bums. One B-17 blew up and 9 chutes were seen so it wasn't so bad. A helluva day and place to go on raid #13, but wound up O.K. Flew with crew.

  14. 08/07/44 - 05:50 - Paris - Intense flak at target and moderate at several places along route - No injuries - 3 holes - No fighters - Target was a bridge across Seine River at N.E. edge of "gay Paree" No.4 engine oil-cooler hit over target and engine wouldn't feather. Prop windmilled. Couldn't maintain airspeed and fell behind Group. For a while we were clay pigeons for every gunner in Paris, but although flak was terrific and practically had our number we escaped with no serious damage. By this time we had lost our formation and had to come home. Took some ticklish navigating to get past other flak installations and still get home as quickly as possible. We sweat out gas but hit English coast and base for a 0-0 navigation mission. Besecker would have been proud of that one. We were pretty lucky all the way round, but bridge was pasted and we got home O.K. even though we ruined an engine with the windmilling prop. Flew with crew and they were perfect - scared as I was but not excited. We were a perfect fighter target without any support but were unmolested. The plane was "Jigger Roche" ---423, which went down on Frankfort raid.

  15. 08/9/44 - 06:45 - Pirmasens (German town between Mannheim and Saarbrucken) - No flak at target and only meager at one or two places along route - No fighters - No holes - No injuries. Target was a last resort target after report came back that Munich was socked in. The target we were supposed to hit was a shoe factory in the middle of Pirmasens. We had RDX bombs aboard and there wasn't much left of town after we left. Hit target and a couple thousand Germans besides. Flew with entire crew except Rohner.

  16. 08/11/44 - 06:40 - Brest - No flak encountered but there was some in area - No injuries - No fighters - No holes - Target was a concentration of pillboxes and enemy troops and was really hit proper. Flew with crew.

  17. 08/12/44 - 08:50 - Metz (France) - A little flak along route - No fighters - No injuries - One hole - Target was a series of railroad junctions and marshalling yards which were important to Germans for supply land evacuation purposes. Triangular target area was completely demolished by new RDX bombs Flew with crew.

  18. 08/27/44 - 08:30 - Esbjerg, Denmark - Moderate accurate flak at target - One enemy fighter seen (ME 110) - No injuries - 3 holes - Started out for "Big B" but thick clouds persisted and went up to 32,000 feet. *General Travis led Group and putzed around over Denmark for an hour trying to get through. Finally gave up after touring up and down Denmark and hit airfield at Esbjerg as last resort. 358th lost three ships but only two crews. Flew with crew. * This is General Travis. Travis Air Force Base, California named after him.

  19. 08/30/44 - 05:10 - Pas de Calais - No flak - No fighters - No holes - No injuries - Bombed no-ball target in heavy pea soup. A real milk run. Gee-fix at target showed we bombed at least a mile south of target. Flew with crew.

  20. 09/09/44 - 07:35 - Ludwigshafen (Mannheim PFF) - Intense flak at target and moderate from Strasbourg and at Luxembourg - About 50 holes, ten of which were about as big as a fist. No fighters. Tailgunner got slight frostbite - otherwise no injuries. Target was PFF center of Mannheim. Flak was intense and very accurate at target. We were lead of the low element, low squadron, high group. Our No. 3 wingman in the Purple Heart Corner was hit by 2 direct flak hits and went down, breaking up on the way. Over target, flak burst right outside window. A piece came through and missed my arm by scarcely an inch, brushing my sleeve as it passed by. Two holes bigger than my fist in bottom of nose. Entire crew believed that our luck had run out. I believe we were all scared - though no one showed it--by the accurate fire at both the target and Luxembourg. Bombs landed all over the place and probably got a few Germans. Besides 323 going down in our squadron, other squadrons in Group lost about 6 planes. Entire Group got hell shot out of it. This was probably our toughest raid. Flew with crew.

  21. 09/10/44 - 07:00 - Stuttgart - (visual) - Moderate flak at target and several places on route, especially Karisruhe - No fighters, no injuries. Towers of smoke rose from many targets around Strasbourg, Karlsruhe, Baden. And Stuttgart. Led high squadron of lead group. Three big holes in plane - none in nose. Target was motor works 7 miles from Stuttgart. Damage unobserved. Compared to the last raid this was a "milk run." Flew with crew.

  22. 09/12/44 - 09:15 - Brux, Czechoslovakia - Intense flak at target - Hit by fighters just North of Berlin. About 15 holes - One in nose by flak which just missed Rohner's neck - One casualty. Target was a synthetic oil plant - the largest in the world --at Brux. Believe target was hit hard. Fighters, ME 109's and F.W. 190's hit us just N.W. of Berlin. They came in from nose and went around to tail. Our tailgunner was hit on first attack - whether by German shells or one of our own which strayed is only a matter of conjecture. His oxygen hose was severed and although none of his wounds were fatal he died of anoxia before the attack ceased and we could go to help him. There was nothing we could possibly do to save him before it was too late. We all felt his death was a terrible blow. He was a wonderful fellow with never a cross word and an everlasting grin. I believe I got a fighter in the attack for I saw my bullets make small puffs along the entire fuselage of a 109. Merrill DuMont said fighter went into lazy spin with smoke pouring out. With both flak and fighters this was the worst mission yet. On top of that Gen. Travis putzed around waiting for some other Group on the Czech-German border. We all sweat it out. I was scared as hell of both flak and fighters and Bruce in the tail didn't help matters any. We're all praying that the number of missions is lowered. If things continue this way it's almost impossible to be lucky thirty-five times. Now that war is close to Germany, the missions are getting rougher rather than easier. Flew with crew. Requiescat in pace!

  23. 09/17/44 - 05:45 - Hertogenbasch - Moderate flak at target and several places along route near front lines - No injuries, no fighters, 5 holes. Bombed road just north of an important bridge across Maas River and canal. Results excellent. Prepared way for paratroop landings. Flew with crew. (Target in Holland)

  24. 09/19/44 - 06:05 - Hamm (Germany) - Moderate flak at target and two places on route - No injuries, no fighters, 2 holes, one in wing bigger than my fist which missed gas tanks. Wasn't worried about flak on this one as much as about a mid air collision since the bomb run was made in thick pea soup. Surprisingly enough we didn't see much flak although we expected a rough time since Hamm is in Ruhr Valley and "Happy Valley" as it is called has close to 2000 ack-ack guns. Results of bombing were unobserved because of weather conditions. Target was the railroad marshalling yards which supply the front lines and traffic products of the industrial Ruhr back to northern and central Germany. Flew with crew and because of bad weather had to land at Bungay near coast.

  25. 09/21/44 - 06:00 - Mainz (Germany) - Intense flak at target for about 6 minutes - No Injuries - Enemy fighters seen - 3 holes. Bomb run again impaired by weather but observed results were excellent. Target was railroad marshalling yards which supply front lines and which carry most of Ruhr's products to central and southern Germany. Ran into accurate flak on both route in and out of target. Flak at target was accurate and there was plenty of it. Saw quite a number of enemy fighters but they didn't bother us. Also saw a few jet-propelled craft. A B-24 joined our squadron, which we were leading, and the crew will never know how close they came to being shot down for they didn't identify themselves at all. We are getting "trigger-happy" and Jerry no doubt has B-17's and B-24's and we won't take many chances any more. On way home during let-down from altitude the whole wing formation broke up because of thick pea soup which started at 500 feet and went up to 10,000 feet. Hit field at 0-0, thank goodness. Flew with crew.

  26. 10/02/44 - 06:30 - Cologne (Germany) - Meager inaccurate flak at target - No injuries - No enemy fighters - Not sure what we bombed but I think bombardier believed he had poor results and tried to pass off blame on navigator. P.F.F. target was center of Cologne, which I know we didn't hit. We were on course for visual primary which was Ford Motor Works 3 miles north of city. Cologne is in the heart of the Ruhr and it really surprised the hell out of us to get a free ride through. Nine to go ---four if they lower it to thirty. Flew with crew. I think we sweated out no flak almost as much as we do when there is intense flak.

  27. 10/03/44 - 07:00 - Cologne (Germany) - Intense accurate flak at target, meager inaccurate at Coast in - One injury - No enemy fighters - Not sure of target but believe we were after "G.H." Primary. Results were unobserved. We were hoping the impossible could happen twice in a row but " Happy Valley" was again in true form. The ack-ack had our range and altitude with the first burst and all hell really broke loose. Flak tracked formation right along and just after bombs away, Rohner was hit high up in the back of the thigh. It knocked him head-over-heels out of bombardier's chair but I thought he was only scared by a close miss. The inter-phone was knocked out and it took me a minute or so to find out he was really hit. The piece of flak went through his coveralls but not through his pants. The wound bled very little and resembled a puncture. Nothing serious but he is now the "Purple Heart Kid." We were both lucky because a couple bursts missed being direct hits by a matter of a foot or two. The chin turret was all banged up and nose had quite a few holes. One piece went right through waist --in one side and out the other. Wings were also pretty well perforated and so was tail. Flew with crew. Only eight to go but they get worse instead of better. Navigator in lead was worst I've ever seen, and our Group Leader doesn't deserve to fly a P.T.-19. They really did a miserable job and Johnny had a really rough time trying to keep our Sqdn. out of trouble. Flew lead, high squadron, high group. Saw Adolph's famous V-2 for first time and got coordinates of the launching site of his super rocket bomb. Fighters will probably blast it to Hades in a hurry.

  28. 10/04/44 - 07:20 - Cologne - Moderate accurate flak at target - Moderate accurate flak at battlefront near Koblenz - One injury - No fighters attacked, but were seen and attacked lead wing - Bombed Ford Plant by G.H. - Results unobserved. Flak at target was accurate again but we got through O.K. However, when we crossed battlefront they threw up everything but the kitchen sink. It was so accurate that the first burst was just above our nose and a piece hit the bombardier. The wound was slight but if this keeps up the bombardiers won't fly with us. Two in two missions is too many. Again, there were too many close ones that just missed being direct hits. Al Monnig also came awful close to getting it. Flew with crew, except of course, tailgunner and bombardier; latter was Lt. Haakonsen.

  29. 10/14/44 - 06:40 - Saarbrucken (Germany) - Meager inaccurate flak at target for us - No fighters - No holes - No - injuries - Bombed important R.R. marshalling yard supplying front lines. Believe we passed target. On bomb run, some fool almost collided with us. Both the pilot and co-pilot were putting on their flak suits and missed us by only an inch or so. The only thing that saved us was quick action by Johnny and Merrill when they shoved the stick forward and dove us out of the way. I guess everyone on the crew hit the top of the plane when it dove down but there were only a few banged heads and skinned knees to show for a close call. Flew with crew except Rohner. Haakonsen was bombardier.

  30. 10/18/44 - 07:00 - Cologne - Moderate accurate flak at target, Koblenz and battlefront. No injuries, no enemy fighters. Two holes (big ones--one in nose). Target was Ford Motor Works, but results were unobserved although heading was perfect. The flak was close but this was the closest thing to a "milk run" we're going to have anymore. Saw a couple of those new rockets (supposedly V-2) and I got a pretty accurate position on both. The fighters will probably take care of the rest. Weather again gave us a hard time. Merrill and Bill didn't fly with us but Johnny was pilot and the rest of the crew was along.

  31. 10/19/44 - 07:05 - Mannheim - Intense, accurate flak at target - No Injuries, no enemy fighters for us - About 10 holes, three in nose. Target was German "Tiger" tank works at Mannheim. Results were unobserved. We expected a very rough mission on this one, but it wasn't quite as rough as we had figured on. Flak was right in the groove, but Griggs crew was lucky again with quite a few awful close misses. There was a hole bigger than my fist above my head and flak sailed on through the partition nearly getting Merrill. There was a big gash in the chin turret and another in the nose. One very large piece put a hole in the wing, just missed the gas tanks, and took about a foot of the main wing spar off. Still another piece went through the No. 3 nacelle and came within a half-inch of the ignition system. After the target, Jerry tossed up a couple phosphorus shells but did no dam- age. Four to go - things are getting brighter. Flew with crew except Bruce.

  32. 10/22/44 - 07:25 - Brunswick (Braunschweig) - Moderate accurate flak at target - Intense observed several places on route. Enemy fighters were in area and hit one Group but our fighter cover was perfect and we didn't see any. Target was oil refinery but results were unobserved. Sweat out flying more than flak and fighters. O'Leary was squadron lead and when we most expected fighters he had us flubbing around a mile or more from our Group. Got a few minor flak holes but nothing much to speak of. The co-pilot, Droll, finished up on this raid. Flew with DuBose and crew. Rohner flew with Flesh. Johnny and our crew were stood down except for Duff who flew with DuBose in the ball. Three to go --the end of the tour draws near!

  33. 10/25/44 - 06:50 - Hamm - Moderate inaccurate flak at target - Meager accurate at Osnabruk Intense observed at Munster. Two holes --one in nose--the only two in Group. No injuries - Fighters in area. As we understand it now, it was pretty nearly a milk run. Target was marshalling yard, which I think we pasted, although results were unobserved. Flew with crew and then taking off on seven-day leave.

  34. 11/04/44 - 05:35 - Battrop (heart of Ruhr) - Flak was intense but mostly low, thank good- ness. Fighters were seen in distance, but P-51's our Guardian Angels, chased them off. No injuries. About 20 holes, 3 in nose. One hit my foot, went through my flying boot, but my G.I. Shoe stopped it. Lucky! Didn't tell anyone, no sense worrying them. We were in flak for about 15 minutes, which I found out, is one helluva long time. B-24's saved the day for us. They went in about 22,000 (their highest altitude) while we were at 28,000. They got the better part of the flak. Target was oil refinery.. I'll swear G.H. navigator made a mistake and dropped at least a minute and a half early. Results were unobserved. Flew with Davis crew.

  35. 11/05/44 - 06:30 - Frankfort - Flak intense and accurate at target. Fighters were in area, but P-51's put the fear of God in them. No injuries, about 10 holes ---three in nose. Were in flak for about 7 minutes and it really had us bracketed. How we ever got through we'll never know. One B-17 got a direct hit in number 2 engine. Plane was under control for about 4 minutes and then really flamed up. Apparently pilot tried to dive ship to put out fire but it was no soap. Ship dived under control for another 30 seconds and then went into a lazy spin. It spun and spouted flame for another 30 seconds, then tail and wings broke off and rest finally exploded. At least 5 men got out. However, I think others probably got out too, because they had all the time in the world. Target was marshalling yard in Frankfort. Results unobserved. Flew with crew except Merrill, and of course, Bruce. Merrill flew as First Pilot in 885.

  36. 11/06/44 - 05:25 - Battrop (extra mission because of abort when Flux-Gate and radio com- pass went out, and no Gee Box). Flak moderate and accurate as hell at target. No fighters. About 15 holes, most of them pretty big. Every burst of flak that came up was right in the formation. If there was as much thrown up as the last time, we would have had it. One piece of flak came in just below Johnny's half of windshield and hit him in leg. However, it had spent all its force going through bulkhead partition and a couple of other things and hit him just hard enough to scare hell out of him. Target was oil refinery again. Several holes in wing were just outside gas tanks - thank God! One piece went right through tailgunner's cubby hole and missed his head only because he bent down to fix his boot. G.H. navigator dropped exactly on my E.T.A. and his heading was perfect. Results were unobserved. However, we either got the oil plant or a bunch of Germans, and right now I don't much give a damn which it was. Flew with crew except Merrill, who showed Peterson, a new boy, the ropes. I'm first of the crew to finish. Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[courtesy of Joe Moffa]