Robert N. McLean, Jr. Mission on May 29, 1944

May 29, 1944 – Monday “Into Flak Valley”

Mission #1,2 – Target – Wallendorf Airdrome at Weiner-Neustadt in Austria.  Takeoff – 0530 landing 12:15 (o645) Load 10-500 lb demolition bombs (5000lb) Participating 450 Liberators + fighter escort.  Remarks –

1)     No fighters encountered

2)     Very intense flak

3)     Squadron lost one sip – possibility that 6 bailed out

4)     Altitude of bombing run 20500 feet.

5)     Suffered 50 hits in ship - #2 engine hit – piece of flak penetrated to left nose wheel door and up through top of fuselage, coming 2 feet behind bombardier and 2 feet in front of pilot – waist badly riddled

6)     Flak hit ammo box and cartridges exploded all over waist, fire started but put out quickly by Sgt. Graf

7)     Control cables cut, but Sgt Jenkins held ends together

8)     #2 engine losing gas rapidly – Sgt McLean transferred gas continuously

9)     Possibility exists that gas would be insufficient to get us to Foggia, our nearest base – ordered to standby for possible jump

10)   Due to damaged control cables the crew had to be moved around to positions which would enable the ship to fly without undue stress

11)  Escorted to Foggia by Lt. Hintentach.  We had no navigator and the remainder of the formation was continuing on to home base

12)  Landed at Foggia expertly by Lt. Johnson; immediately upon landing #2 engine burst into flame – the crew double timed it away from the ship; flames were extinguished by field crew

13)  Removed from Foggia, bag and baggage and returned home on Lt Hintentach’s plane

14)  No causalities

15)  The ship that was lost was “The Battering Ram” which had carried us 10,000 miles to our base in San Pancrazio Italy.  The “Ram” was lost on its first combat mission.

16)  Lt. Stone flew as co-pilot (Clark didn’t fly)

17)  F/O Florczak flew as navigator for Hintentach.