Sun. 6/21 & Mon. 6/22/42
HOME BASE Fayid, Egypt
TARGET Benghazi, Libya
COMBAT FLYING HOURS (this mission) 10:15
BRIEFING 1400 hrs (6/21) TAKE OFF 1915 (6/21) LANDING 0530 (6/22)
CREW Lt. Therman D. Brown (Pilot) PLANE #17 "Draggin' Lady"
BOMB LOAD 6-500 lb TARGET TIME 0030(6/22) BOMBING ALTITUDE 21000'
NO. of PLANES 9 of our B-24 Liberator Bombers
BOMBING RESULTS Made 2 runs over target area ... aimed at large fires in the harbor ... saw bombs hit in that area.
ENEMY ACTION Observed flares and heavy anti aircraft fire as we approached the target ... saw several searchlights(which failed to pick us up) ... No fighter aircraft were seen ... later, at interrogation, we heard a British "Wimpy" medium bomber had been shot down over the target.
OTHER REMARKS Before take off, we discovered the bomb bay doors would not close ... a quick inspection showed the doors were hitting the drain plugs on the bomb bay tanks ... the plugs were promptly sawed off ... we weren't about to miss another mission!
*Our crew's first mission was HALPRO's third. We had been plagued with fuel leaks ... the first, in #3 wing tank, was discovered on 6/7, before we left Khartoum, Sudan. We made the 6 1/4 hr. flight from Khartoum to Fayid on 6/9, with #3 fed by a bomb bay tank. From 6/9 to 6/19 (when we made a successful, leak free test hop.) We worked on the problem daily .... removing leaky cells and replacing them ... had to remove leaking cells in each wing.
On HALPRO's very first mission (6/11-6/12 to Ploesti, Rumania oil fields) we had been assigned to #15 "Ripper the First". Our bad luck continued! While taxiing out for take off at 2200, we noticed gasoline dripping from a wing tank ... we were ordered back to the ramp. Angry and frustrated, we asked for a replacement aircraft, only to be told none was available. Thirteen planes got off .... five (#4, 11, 15, 16 and 17 were not combat ready and did not go).
HISTORY From the book "Reader's Digest Illustrated Story of World War II", page 278 comes the following, "On June 21st, 1942, the AFRIKA KORPS neared the frontiers of Egypt. A grateful Hitler made Erwin Rommel(The Desert Fox)a Field Marshal, the youngest(age 50) in the German Army.
By month end, Rommel was deep inside Egypt. Having routed the disheartened British at Mersa Matruh, he battered his way to the Alamein Line and was set for the final push to Alexandria(only 60 miles away) ... then, an open road to Suez, Palestine and the Middle East oil fields. This was the climax of his dazzling advance ... and its end".
From Halverson Detachment History, "Due to the urgent need at that time for all available fighting equipment in the Middle East, plans were changed to carry out operations in the Middle East, rather than continue to China".