Alfred E. Berger Mission February 13, 1945

February 13, 1945

Much to our surprise, the next morning while we were having breakfast, the Officer of the Day came into the mess hall and told us we had five minutes to get to briefing for a mission.

In briefing the first subject was the target, which was railroad marshaling yards in Zagreb, Yugoslavia. We would be in a box of six B24's. The lead plane would have one plane on either side and slightly behind, followed by three more planes slightly lower in the same formation. The box would be assembled shortly after take-off and remain in that formation the entire mission. As we near the target we fly to the IP (initial point) that was previously determined by surveillance to be the safest way to the target. At the IP the bombardier in the lead plane essentially takes control of the plane and aims the plane at the target, At that point the pilots of the remaining five planes nestle as close to each other as possible. When the lead plane opens its bomb-bay doors the rest of the planes follow. When the lead bombardier drops his bombs, all the planes drop their bombs at the same time, to keep the bomb pattern concentrated, in order to do the most damage to the target.

On this mission we will carry eight five hundred pound bombs. As was customary out over the Adriatic Sea we were joined by P-51 fighter planes, who will provide fighter cover to the target and return until we are over the Adriatic Sea again. This fighter group will gain fame as the Tuskegee Airmen,. a group of Negro pilots trained in Tuskegee, Alabama.

The total time of this mission was five and one half-hours; collected three flak holes in an un-named plane number thirty-six.