My Missions - Italy




We started out in one of the newest planes in the squadron for Bolgano in the Brenner Pass. It had as many flack guns as Bleckhammer used to have, but these were not so concentrated (105 guns to be exact). This is the mission that frightened me the most. We flew up the Adriatic and then crossed to the west coast of Italy and crossed the lines a little east of La Spezia. We lost one generator on take-off - two were acting up and they went out as we crossed the lines; the fourth couldn't stand the strain and burned out. That left us with no electrical power. This was very serious because propeller pitch and superchargers are controlled electrically, (we were at 20,000 ft.); we had no radio, no interphone communication, no heated suit, no power in our turrets, and were unable to fire our guns because of the lack of power. The engines kept going because they are run on magnetos, but we couldn't get any power out of them. We lost 7,000 ft. before we got the put-put started - (we couldn't get much power out of it either because of the altitude.) I was in the ball turret operating it with hand cranks.

We left formation and slipped back over the lines. Then I got out of my turret - fast. For reasons of bad facilities, instead of landing at the nearest field we flew back to Ancona on the east coast and landed safely.

Although the temperature was about -30 degrees Celsius I was so scared that I was sweating. At one time I thought we would have to jump.