Wilbur Mayhew Mission November 11, 1942

We were busy setting up our camp until 11 November 1942, Armistice Day. On that day our crew led a flight of nine B-24's on a raid to get a troopship that was evacuating German troops from Benghazi, Libya. We passed over Benghazi at about 20,000 feet, noting the long line of truck convoys leaving the town to the west. Then we swung out to sea to try to find the ship we were after. We found an enormous ship about 30 miles off the coast, protected by only a few German and Italian fighter planes. As soon as we were spotted, the fighters tried to get to our altitude to attack, and the ship tried to maneuver to spoil our aim. We stayed at 19,000 feet to try to keep above the fighters. We dropped our bombs on our third run over the ship. Then the ship zigged when it should have zagged, because it caught the full weight of our attack. Five out of six 500-pound bombs aboard our plane hit right on the deck, and our two wingmen straddled the ship. The two echelons following us did nearly as well. I never saw such a shambles made of a ship before or since. Needless to say, our mission was a success. British intelligence reported later that only three individuals were rescued from that ship. We hoped that all those aboard had been anti-aircraft gunners.

We were supposed to cross the coast at El Daba, Egypt on our way home, and proceed across the desert to our base. However, the British 8th Army had a pocket of German tanks bottled up against the shore of the Mediterranean Sea just where we were supposed to cross the coast, so we remained at sea and watched the battle. From where we were, the whole thing looked like a bunch of ants kicking up the dust in general. However, the artillery barrage that was going on in back appeared all too real to us. We were perfectly happy to remain up where we were nice and safe.

Liberandos Patch