Donald Macrae mission October 1, 1943

October 1, 1943   Went on a mission to Weiner Neustad and aeroplane factory in Austrian Alps. Awakened at 4:30am for the mission to find that I was to be Pilot on McAtee's crew. A fellow from the 513th was to be Co-pilot. His name was Ruecraft. He is a pretty good kid and a pretty good Pilot. Judging myself by my standards I am poor at landings and take-offs, taxiing and flying at altitude, just because of lack of practice. I know I will be able to do as well as the next man after a bit of time.  Here’s my opportunity at last to fly Pilot and not as well fitted in some ways as when I first came over.  However I do have experience. But it rankles a bit because when I was more able and wi11ing I couldn't get the practice I sorely need now. I know I can do the job and I am going to do my best. But I seem to be under a slight nervous strain because trivial things annoy me and laugh almost hysterically at really little things. The mission did me good because I have to concentrate on my flying and put al1 I had into it. Was nervous when I started up the engine but it all went away when I started to fly.  Took off at 7:15 am.  Nice day but cloudy.  Flew on the lead ships right wing. The Colonel was Pilot. Miller, our C.O. was Co-pilot and the General from Bomber Command was along. Something happened on take off, so we led the formation for a while until they got straightened out and got into the air. Out over the water we ran into a front and had to do a 360 degree maneuver to climb above the clouds. On the climb over Yugoslavia we had a bit of engine trouble but overcame that and kept up with the formation all the way. There was an overcast beneath us about ¾ of the way.  Over the target we got a lot of ack-ack.  There were some near bursts and we could feel them and hear the particles hit the ship. Luckily no damage. The ack-ack was well aimed and accurate. They say there was a lot, but I was busy flying and could pay little attention to it. We had to do evasive action on the bomb run. There were 5 Of 6 enemy fighters, but they did not bother us much. I saw only one. There was an awful lot of ta1k over the air which I thought was needless and might possibly give information to the enemy. Altitudes, directions of flight etc. Got away OK. Saw some pretty scenery over Yugoslavia. Green fields and hills and valleys. Trees and streams and little villages of red roofed houses. Flew across Italy at 12,000 ft. Al1 was OK unti1 we crossed some ack-ack batteries. Near a lake near Naples and Rome. It more or less took us by surprise and hit some of our ships. Major Knox, who was leading a section and flying about 3000 ft got badly hit. Later learned his Co-pilot made a crash landing near Tunis and the Major had to have his leg amputated. We snapped into action and got the hell out of that area. Then we "hit the deck" and flew over the water at 1OOO-2000 feet until we reached Tunis. No further mishaps. Got some music on the radio. Had no lunch with us and we were hungry. Landed at 6:15 pm. Were interrogated, ate and to bed.