Alan Barnette notes on the mission of Oct. 16, 1944
As I remember, Sgt. Jack Brown quietly awaken us for mission.
Breakfast served in 15 minutes, briefing in 1 hour, trucks 1 1/2 hours. Breakfast was so me times rolled oats and powdered milk - so me times powdered eggs and battery acid coffee.
Mission was to Austria. We went up to 26,000 feet and back down to 25,000. The weather was bad. Made two 360's over target in flak for some time. B-24's really drink gas at this altitude--running out of gas we landed at Ancona base. Not made for B-24's--South Africans were flying B-26’s.
After we gassed the plane, taxied out to take off. We started down the runway at about 75 to 80 miles per hour; all at once, our left gear collapsed and down went our left wing's propeller digging into the ground. The pilot Lt. Bob James yells out, “engines on right side". I cut engines. The plane still swerved left, smacked nose wheel of B-26, and then hit B-26 square just outside left side of fuselage. The plane at once caught fire. Both of these planes slid up against another B-26. Lt. James & I went out the side windows; how, I don't know. But opening may have been enlarged because of the way our plane was smashed.
50 caliber was starting to explode. We realized George Monroe was still in the plane, and then we saw him head through escape hatch. He had a bloody face and was dazed.
George was injured more than the rest. He lost all his front teeth, and he lost his voice because of damage to throat. Bombardier had a broken arm. Several of us were cut - none serious.
The crew spent the night in a Block Medical Squadman - really treated the crew good.
Captain Marvel came over the next day and picked us up.