Richard G. Miller Mission September 7, 1942

Sept. 7.

Twelve ship formation after a convoy of 3 merchant vessels escorted by 10 destroyers ~ Quite a nice target. We fired one merchant vessel and later it sank; bombed from 14,000 ft. We were No.5 in 1st element _ a happy change from the ass end charlie position we've been getting, or as we thought.  When we got to the target_ we sighted 4 pursuit, but we bombed 00 fore they could attack. As we left the target a 109 made a pass from the rear, but discouraged readily when about six rear turrets went to work. A J.U. 88 made a half-hearted pass from behind but missed. But here the Mad Bastard ruined all the theory of heavy bombardment. We had been religiously taught that pursuit wouldn’t attack big well flown tight formations, but so wrong we were. The J.U. made one pass from a right oblique to the 1st element. Took all our courage to raise to meet the attack when we could have hidden so beautifully by staying down, but we did our share and naturally raised so all our gunners could fire at him. Gad, it is a hell of a sensation to be scared pink, not be able to fight back (except as a unit) and have to wait till he attacks. Jerry came in and fired at the first element, skidded so as to enfillade the travelined down formation then stood one along and went over. He went around to the front of the flight ahead of us and started an attack low on our blind spot; we couldn’t have done a thing to him had he come in, but he changed his mind crossed over and attacked from the same position as before. This time he came so low we could see his sternly set face. The lad had guts and plenty of luck for all the formation was firing at him, and thought he must have had his plane hit, he didn’t show it and he proceeded to follow along till dark. I can't describe the feeling of sitting in the cockpit, flying a tight formation and glancing up at intervals to see where our playmate is coming from next, and then looking right into his guns - looks like he has singled you, personally, out to fire his entire burst at. If you could just throw a rock at him, but all you can do is wait and hope. Your mind works like a streak; you think of people, incidents, everything seems to happen so very slowly until whoosh and he's away. The pilot, Wilcox, had a harder time than I did for all he could do was coach the crew on their shooting - steady now, hold your fire, take a lead it, now let him have it. Although Wilcox did a nice, cool job, the crew seemed rather poor shots for there was absolutely no excuse for not getting Jerry on that second frontal attack. All during the attack, we kept Up a half-laughing conversation about it - guess we ware trying to talk ourselves into being cool - and it worked fairly well.

The J.U. put a 20 mm shell thru windshield of Capt. Adams' plane (3rd element); it exploded in cockpit but, miraculously, only blew glass in co-pilot Len Parker's face.