By Frederick D. Worthen
In the course of international struggle II ten younger volunteers from everywhere in the usa got here jointly to shape the "Rosacker" team within the 93rd Bomb crew of the eighth U.S. Air strength, flying B-24 Liberators dependent in England. They flew 24 missions jointly throughout the ultimate months of the struggle. Their final project was once on January 28, 1945. the objective used to be in Germany's Ruhr Valley, often referred to as "Flak Alley". approximately midway in the course of the bomb run, with heavy flak within the quarter, we misplaced the number one engine. After repeated makes an attempt neither Glenn nor Otis might get the propeller into the feathered place, that is required to reduce wind resistance at the plane. shall we no longer stay alongside of the formation, so we dropped out of place, nonetheless attempting to feather the propeller. one other B-24 subsequent to them was once blown up by way of a right away hit from the anti-aircraft batteries. A moment engine hand over, and a 3rd was once wasting energy (they simply had 4 engines). the alternative was once to ditch within the North Sea and die of publicity, or try and make it to an airfield in Antwerp, Belgium, which was once occupied by way of Canadian troops. however the aircraft used to be happening quick. At 1,000 toes they bailed out: "I jumped and counted to 10 in approximately seconds. i do know my 'chute should have come as regards to catching on a tail fin. good, the entire rip wire, deal with, and cable pulls thoroughly unfastened from the 'chute pack. I pulled so difficult my complete arm flew above my head. I knew the 'chute used to be damaged. i used to be attempting to determine the way to pull the 'chute out of the backpack by way of hand while instantly it opened, with the 'chute and me in a horizontal position." yet that wasn't all. take into accout the aircraft, with its lifeless engines developing drag on one aspect, inflicting it to show? "I may listen the aircraft nonetheless flying within sight; Joe had placed it on autopilot. It sounded as though it was once coming again at me." Then they heard the bullets. lower than them was once a German military camp in occupied Holland. The enemy bullets and their very own airplane by some means neglected them, however the males have been captured, and the slender escapes persevered, one after one other. Their captors took them "out back," the place the americans concept they'd be shot, yet weren't; the German civilians desired to lynch the airmen as they have been led on a compelled march via Bavaria from one POW camp to a different. The prisoners have been shot at via their guards, and back through the SS on liberation day. Miraculously, all ten fliers survived the warfare. Fifty years later 9 of the 10 airmen entire this booklet, operating jointly to refresh and proper every one other's stories. "This isn't the ordinary hard-core battle tale. we've incorporated kinfolk ties, the crew's education and formation, our studies and emotions, dealing with critical hardships, the humor that used to be nonetheless there, and the getting on with our lives." loads of this turns out lovely "hard-core" to us, but additionally usually very humorous, deeply clever, and terribly human. those males have been heroes. thanks all, gents, in your flying, and for buying your tale down on paper.
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Extra info for Against All Odds: Shot Down Over Occupied Territory in World War II
We chose the Jules Officers' Club, which was on Jermyn Street near Piccadilly, where most of the action was. Our first full day in London was spent sightseeing. We took the standard bus tour to acquaint ourselves with the city. We saw it all: St. Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London, Big Ben, Albert Hall, Buckingham Palace, the changing of the guard, and lots more. The first craving we had, believe it or not, was for a good steak dinner. From local advice, we learned of the White House Restaurant a few blocks from Piccadilly.
When we landed at our home base at Hardwick, we were taken to the briefing room for debriefing. We were always given a double shot of whiskey, supposedly to settle our nerves. Some crewmen declined the drink or gave theirs to a buddy. • We counted about twenty-one flak holes in our plane this time. Thankfully there were no injuries. Our excitement for flying missions was over. Now our main effort was to fly the now-required thirty-five missions as fast as possible and get on home. In the afternoon after the mission the Glenn Miller Orchestra put on a musical show in one of our hangars.
He complimented me for wanting to think about it. Returning to the barracks, the subject was discussed with several fellows. They were 100 percent opposed to my leaving the group. They said, “The war will be over TRAINING before you finish training,” and, “We need to stay together,” and so on. O. telling him the cadet training was being declined. O. stated he thought it was a mistake on my part, but it was my decision. Apparently, that decision made over fifty-two years ago was the correct one, since I survived the war.