MERSEBERG!
Wayne E. Cose, 835th

It was September 28, 1944, at Sudbury, England. The 8th Air Force, 3rd Air Division, 486th Bomb Group's B-17 Flying Fortresses were being readied for an important bombing mission of a synthetic oil plant in We Leipzig area of Germany. Due to censorship and security, news was quite limited but the word was that the German Luftwaffe was so short of petroleum products that their planes were being towed by horses to the take-off points to conserve fuel, This sounded good to us anyway, because we often wondered how much good our bombing missions were doing, probably because the average B17 crewman didn't usually see much of the bombing results below. This ores due to our being at an altitude of about five miles and we were bombing through the clouds and overcast by the use of radar. We liked to think our missions through those black walls of flak were helping the effort, rather than just one more mission closer to finishing our tour and the trip back home.

Although I can't recall which of the 486's squadrons (832, 833, 834 and 835) went out that day, I can guarantee you our 833rd was there, (As a matter of fact, for the last 38 years when I would turn the calendar page to September 28, it distinctly jogged my memory of this third mission of our tour. At that time, we wondered if the other 30 or so missions were all going to be like this one!) Anyway, the wake-up monitors were getting the alerted crew members out of their warm sacks throughout the group's Quonset huts. They then stumbled, or rode bikes, down to the mess hall to get their "fresh" (cold storage) egg breakfasts, rather than the usual green powdered eggs they were served on non-mission days, to go with the lumpy powdered milk.

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