Against All Odds: Shot Down Over Occupied Territory in World by Frederick D. Worthen

By Frederick D. Worthen

In the course of international battle II ten younger volunteers from everywhere in the usa got here jointly to shape the "Rosacker" group within the 93rd Bomb staff of the eighth U.S. Air strength, flying B-24 Liberators dependent in England. They flew 24 missions jointly in the course of the final months of the battle. Their final undertaking was once on January 28, 1945. the objective used to be in Germany's Ruhr Valley, often referred to as "Flak Alley". approximately midway during the bomb run, with heavy flak within the region, we misplaced the number 1 engine. After repeated makes an attempt neither Glenn nor Otis may possibly get the propeller into the feathered place, that's required to lessen wind resistance at the plane. lets now not 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 an instantaneous hit from the anti-aircraft batteries. A moment engine surrender, and a 3rd was once wasting strength (they purely 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 through Canadian troops. however the airplane used to be taking place 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 with regards to catching on a tail fin. good, the complete rip twine, deal with, and cable pulls thoroughly free from the 'chute pack. I pulled so demanding my complete arm flew above my head. I knew the 'chute used to be damaged. i used to be attempting to determine the best way to pull the 'chute out of the backpack by way of hand whilst all of the sudden it opened, with the 'chute and me in a horizontal position." yet that wasn't all. take into accout the plane, with its lifeless engines growing drag on one facet, inflicting it to show? "I may possibly pay attention the airplane nonetheless flying within sight; Joe had placed it on autopilot. It sounded as though it used to be coming again at me." Then they heard the bullets. less than them used to be a German military camp in occupied Holland. The enemy bullets and their very own aircraft one way or the other ignored them, however the males have been captured, and the slim escapes persevered, one after one other. Their captors took them "out back," the place the american citizens notion they might be shot, yet weren't; the German civilians desired to lynch the airmen as they have been led on a pressured march via Bavaria from one POW camp to a different. The prisoners have been shot at through their guards, and back by means of the SS on liberation day. Miraculously, all ten fliers survived the conflict. Fifty years later 9 of the 10 airmen accomplished this booklet, operating jointly to refresh and proper each one other's thoughts. "This isn't the traditional hard-core battle tale. we've got incorporated kinfolk ties, the crew's education and formation, our reports and emotions, dealing with serious 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, on your flying, and for purchasing your tale down on paper.

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Sample text

Meanwhile, Joe loaded up the plane with the necessary refreshments to make the trip more enjoyable. Chapter 2 FLIGHT TO THE BRITISH ISLES On July 9, 1944, we boarded our B-24 and flew off on the first leg of our trip to the British Isles. The stop was an overnight stay at the air base in Manchester, New Hampshire. On the morning of July 10 we were off again, heading north to the Canadian border and beyond. For most of us it was the first time out of the United States and none of us had ever flown from the States before.

Whom we did not know at this time, and his crew were preparing to leave the USA after loading their brand-new B-24 plane with all the gear – and, stashed in an inconspicuous place, a generous supply of spirits that they had accumulated on various trips to Kansas City. They were now prepared to fly to England. C. : It was August 6, 1944, that we left Topeka, heading for Bangor, Maine, our first overnight stop. Next we went to Gander, Newfoundland, and then Goose Bay, Labrador; and, finally, across the ocean to Reykjavic.

Did we have any business doing this? Yes. We all had complete confidence that we could handle any situation; and we could, except maybe for the weather. Our training was the best available in those days and was very adequate. Our destination that day was Goose Bay, Labrador, our last stop on the west side of the Atlantic Ocean. As we continued flying over Canada, we soon found ourselves over its vast forests. It was not unusual to see a fire off in the distance. In fact, it wasn't long before we had to dodge a huge column of black smoke that extended well above our flying altitude.

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