Mission Diary of SGT John MacBride, 834th
SGT MacBride flew as a member of the Unger crew.
1. St. Quentin, Fr. - 08/07/44 - Clouds prevented us from dropping our bombs over the target. We circled around looking for another spot to bomb, but faild to find any break in the clouds to locate a second target. All the planes returned to the base with their bomb load and as a result Unger put a smooth spot on the tires due to a sudden applying of the breakes after hitting the runway. No enemy fighters were sighted, but since enemy flak guns had fired at us it was considered a mission. Most of us were frightened and wore our flak suits and helmets the entire way.
2. St Sylvain, France - 08/08/44 - The next day we flew over France again, this time to drop our bombs about 300 yards from the Canadian forces in an effort to wipe out the German resistance hindering their advance. In dropping our bombs the lead bombardier was misled by the smoke pots used as front line markers, so he unfortunately released the bombs slightly before the proper time. The result was that several men in the Canadian army received bomb fragments in the arms and chest. One B17 lost its left wing when we were fired upon over our target, but this was the only mishap that ocured during the mission. Two parachutes were seen to open and more no doubt opened later on. We were lucky to get a wonderful view of Cherbourg on our way in over the channel and to observe the way it had been fixed up by the invading Allied forces.
3. Rositz, Germany - 08/14/44 - Our first raid into Germany made us all quite excited although Unger had flown two missions before we had started as a crew, one of which was a real rough mission to Hamburg. We flew in over Holland until we reached Germany. Enemy flak installations on the ground shot up signal rockets which left long grey trails in the sky, thus marking our position for enemy fighters in the vicinity. As we approached the target we could see large clouds of black smoke from flak bursts which were hanging over the city. Due to the fact that our original lead plane had aborted ust as we were leaving the English coast our formation on the bomb run was poor with no evasive action being taken after bombs away. Because of the weak leadership our plane received eight flak holes --- number two engine damaged and had to be feathered before landing, number three engine supercharger hit and only 65 per cent effective. Flak hole in left wing, two more in the right wing (one in inspection plate while the other was in the number four nacelle), one hole inthe upper turret, one piece went in the left side of the vertical stablizer and came out the right. We managed to limb home slowly, but were forced to fall far behind the formation to do it. It was lucky for ust that we weren't spoted by enemy fighters since in our condition we would certainly have been a dead duck. Our target was electrical plant just outside of Mannheim.
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