Harold Fischer was the waist gunner on Morris Mansell's crew.
He wrote the following about the Dec 11, 1944 mission:
Dropped 8-500's Moosebierbaum oil refinery in Vienna. Bomb RVM lasted 6 minutes. Intense accurate flak at 23,300 feet. First barrage hit main fuel line. Left bomb bay was cut. Vapor spray filled waist. We walked in puddles, bombs away was a miracle--we didn't go afire. Friction and sparks were nil. Doors still open McGinley (eng) plugged line. Alerted for bail out. Discarded everything over Alps. Stayed with formation till we cleared mountains and landed on island of Vis. 6 other crash landings followed. None blew up, thank God.
The following day, we finished repair of fuel line. Major Mansell (pilot) was asked not to take off. We did with a new record of sorts. A crew of 10 plus extra toggler, photographer, and spare gunner - 13 men in all.
Takeoff readings normally are 2700-RPM and 47 inches manifold. Ours were higher with everyone forward. Emergency numbers were about 2900 RPM and 50 inches manífold. The 2500 feet runway with the 500 feet Swiss cheese plates on both ends were used to the fullest. We made it over the little hill or rise at the end.
Maj. Mansell was the best. We all made it. Records will prove that very few 24’s or 17’s took off after crash landing on Vis. SHIP #86 "BOUDOIR COMMANDOS"