DATE Sun. 1/24-Wed. 1/27/43
COMBAT FLYING HOURS 13:35 (Total tour 322:05)
TARGET PALERMO, SICILY HOME BASE Abu Sueir, Egypt
BRIEFING 1030 TAKE OFF (1/24) 1250 LANDING (LG 139) 1605 (cancelled 1730)
1030 TAKE OFF ( 1/25) 1235 LANDING(LG 139) 2335
TAKE OFF (1/26) 1245 LANDING (Abu Sueir) 1520
CREW Capt. Uhrich, Lts. Britt and Seelig with Maj. Lavin's crew (Maj. Lavin was acting Operations Officer)--other members: Sgts. Heising, Holloway and Johnson). PLANE NO. 53. "Poison Ivy"
BOMB LOAD 5-1000 lb TARGET TIME Not shown (dusk) BOMBING ALT. 17000' NO. OF PLANES 9 B-24's
BOMBING RESULTS--Not shown--heavy cloud cover
ENEMY ACTION--Seachlights and heavy anti-aircraft fire--no fighter aircraft seen.
OTHER REMARKS--My fourth mission as volunteer with another crew. It was an extended one. All crews hated cancellations; we had two on this trip. Our original target for a late night mission 1/24 to Palermo was cancelled at 1730 at the advance base. The Assistant Flight Engr. and I slept in the plane that night after running up and diluting the engines.
Got up at 0700 1/25 and had hot Cakes at mess tent. We were briefed at 1000 for new target, Naples. Mission was cancelled before noon. The air raid alert sounded at noon, but no enemy planes came over. Some of the fellows visited Tobruk that afternoon.
Got up at 0730 1/26 and had eggs and coffee in mess tent. Briefed at 1030 for raid on Naples. Finally received okay to proceed at 1235. Flew west, then north through heavy cloud formations. Climbed to 24000' by 1530. Passed near Mt. Etna and Messina, Sicily. It was extremely cold. Two crew members reported oxygen masks were frozen. Had to help tail gunner to flight deck. Flew north along Italian coast. Weather became progressively worse, and it was getting dark, so we turned for alternate target, Palermo. We had dropped to 17000'. Flew right over Palermo. Dropped bombs as searchlights and anti-aircraft fire spotted us. Headed back home through heavy rainstorms--flew 2 hours on instruments. Crossed coast south of Benghazi. Finally located a beacon and followed it to our advance base, where we landed with gunners at their positions--glad to be home. I slept in the plane(on the flight deck that night).
Lt. General. H. H. "Hap" Arnold made a surprise visit to the advance base. His C-47 landed mid-morning. He made a short talk to the air crews and held a question and answer session. He congratulated us for our contribution to the war effort and said things were looking up.
Also, he made notes on suggestions by air crews concerning shortages and needed improvements. Soon after he left, our planes took off for Abu Sueir. Heard that Lt. Appold and crew had made forced landing near Benghazi after return from Palermo. They refueled and returned safely.