DIARY OF T/SGT. JOHN CIBORSKI
B-24 FLIGHT ENGINEER/GUNNER
720TH Bomb Squadron
450th Bomb Group
Fifteenth Air Force
April – October 1944
Arrived in Italy At Manduria. From Tunis Africa, assigned to
450 bomb Group. Known as White Tails.
Nothing much doing. Got our tent straightened out. Used 6
blankets last nite. Rained during nite. Went to a show in Aoria.
Had lecture on enemy fighter tactics.
Went on practice bombing mission had to come back because of
oil loss on #1 engine. Went to a show in Aoria.
Went on practise formation flying. Bombing mission
Same as yesterday.
Mission to Ploesti – bombardier, co-pilot and I stayed home
– planes returned due to bad weather over target. P.X. day.
Mission #1 & 2 – Ploesti marshalling yards & tank
farm. I fired right waist, shot 25 rounds at ME-109 saw 7 ME-109's – Flak thick
enough to walk on, 8 holes in our ship. Ship #234 – "Babe in Arms"
Lost 2 ships – 8 hours mission 1300mi.
Mission #3 & 4 – Brasov, Ploesti Rumania. A milk run
very little flak 1 fighter – Ship #156 – 8 hours 15min. 1350 miles. I fired
Mission to Bucharest – turned back 30 minutes from target –
no fighters or flak – no credit.
No mission – went to a show in Aoria
Mission cancelled – went to a USO show in Aoria – it was
Mission to Weinernustadt, Germany 109 Factory – turned back
2 hours from target due to weather – dropped bombs in Adriatic – No credit.
Mission #5, San Stefano N. Italy Harbor Installations –
Carried 12-500's Flak very accurate – lost 3 ships 8 men bailed out. 1200 miles-7hours group received
commendation from commanding general 15th Air Force For perfect
bombing pattern. Completely wiped out target. Ship # 339
Red made his 6th mission – to N. Italy a milk
Mission #6 – Vicenza marshalling yards made 3 runs on
target. Ran into very accurate light flak on "Jugo" coast – otherwise a milk
run. 1250 miles – ship #339. 7½hr.
No mission – Got a plane and went to Naples, got picked up
by a Captain for not saluting – Radio man was arrested by same officer for
having cuffs rolled. – Landed at Pomglaiano field. Most of the buildings were
destroyed by bombs – flew over Mt. Vesuvius & took pictures of crater.
Mission #7 – San Stefano Harbor Installations. 449th
lost 1 ship. Flak was quite heavy – no fighters Very good bomb pattern. Ship # 226.
Mission #8 – Ploesti, Rumania. Turned back 1 hour from
target due to weather – ran into flak over Jugo-slavia – quite heavy but
inaccurate. Ship # 234 – 5 hours – no
Mission #9 La-Spezia, North Italy
Bad storm on way – Harbor Installations, railroad yards
& oil tanks – bombs covered target completely. Flak was light &
inaccurate – no fighters – P-38, P51 and P-47 escort. Ship #226 – 1100 miles – 7 ½ hours.
No mission. Laid around all day.
Sunday – Went to church in Manduria. Formation in afternoon
– several boys received decorations.
Another day off.
Mission to Marsellies France.
Had to turn back 30 minutes from target because of loss of
two superchargers. Reached coast of France.
7 hours and no credit.
Sunday – went swimming in Adriatic water very cold. Took
some pictures had chicken for supper. 8
Mission 12 & 13 Weiner Nustadt, Austria. Roughest
mission yet, flak was a solid mass. 5 ships went down, none of ours lost. Fighter hit group, JU-88's – ME-110's –
210's – 109's & 190's. Ship #748 7
hours 1100 miles.
Mission 14 & 15 – Ploesti, Rumania. Flak very accurate, 8 fighters 15 holes in
our ship. No 2 Eng. Shot out. Joe got a F.W. 190 – 2 ships went down. Ship #234 - 7 ½ hours 1200 miles.
No mission for us -
group to Weiner Nustadt.
Mission # 16 & 17
Sumeria, Rumania. Marshalling
yards & rolling stock. No fighters
one single burst of flak a milk run.
Ship #234 – 1250 miles 7 ½
Mission #18 Genoa, N. Italy
Marshalling yards. Not much flak, no fighters. Sip #159 - 7 ½ hours 1250 miles.
Mission #19 Castel Maggiora
Marshalling yards. Very little flak over target, ran into intense
flak 5 minutes from target, very accurate 6 holes in ship, missed pilot by 6
inches. Ship #261 - 5 hours 45
min. 1100 miles.
Mission #20 & 21 Ploesti, Roumania.
Ran into flak over Belgrade no excuse for going over
it. Flak over Ploesti heavy not to
accurate. No ships lost. Ship #156 - 7
¾ hours 1200 miles.
Group went to Munich Germany Crew next door went down. 1 ship lost.
Mission # 22 Treste N. Italy
An easy one very little flak 17 fighters, they did not
attack because our escort jumped them. Bombs scored direct hits on 2 ships in
Harbor. Oil storage wiped out. 1 hole in #1 Eng. Ship # 234 - 5 ¾ hours
1100 miles. Tank farm, oil
refinery & harbor installations. (Hit 2 ships)
Mission # 23 & 24 Constanta, Rumania.
Oil refinery – tank farm. (on Black Sea) No fighters – ran
into light flak twice before target & once after. Flak over target light.
P-38 Escort. Ship #234 - 7
hours 1250 miles.
Practice mission in fornoon.
Munich, Germany, I didn't fly because my crew took a new man
on his first mission to break him in.
They were shot down and are missing in action, last reports are that
they headed towards Switserland or ditched in Adraitic. They had "Babe in Arms" – 4 ships lost.
Mission #25 Osijeck,
Yugoslavia oil refinery.
Milk run. No flak no fighters. 1000mi.
Went to beach.
Mission # 26 & 27 Bratislava, Czecho-slavakia
Synthetic Rubber Plant & Oil Refinery
Direct hits were scored on entire target. Smoke was still visible 150 miles from
target, 20,000 feet up. 20 F.W. 190's
attacked, shot down 2 planes ran into flak 4 times before getting to target,
flak over target light but accurate. 1
ship lost – ship #159 - 1400 miles 7hr.
No Mission – Went to Toranto
Group went to N. Italy
No Mission for me – Group went to Jugo.
Group went to Ploesti. Boys in next tent went down. We lost 7 ships. Lt. Shamblins ship. Badly
shot up. I set of controls shot out, but he brought it back. I was assigned to
Lt. Ericksons crew today.
Group went to Vienna
Group turned back.
Group went to Vienna – 2 ships lost
Group went to Jugo.
7 of my crew came back from Jugo. Lt. Smith & Cooper are
believed to be P. of W. All are okay.
No mission for me group went to Jugo.
Group went to Budapest
Mission # 28 & 29 – Giurgio, Rumania.
Oil & fuel dump.
Hit flak before target, light but accurate – several ships
hit, one had to turn back on 3 engines.
Flak over target very accurate.
2 ships went down, 1 exploded very close to us. 6 ½ hrs.
1200 miles Ship #211.
No mission for me.
Mission to Fredrickshaven, Germany.
Turned back due to weather.
Chuck & Lt. Mac. went on Fredickshaven. Got back okay.
Mission #31 Started
for Germany, turned back due to weather – hit by flak & fighters in Trieste
Ship #165 - 5 ½hrs.
No mission for me – group went to Ploesti.
Mission #32 Berat,
Albania. Oil refinery good pattern on
target. Flak light. No fighters. Ship
Budapest, Hungary Munitions Factory.
Flak heavy intense – Not to accurte – no fighters. 1 ship
lost – Ship #165 – 7hrs. 1300mi.
Went to Taranto – visited a destroyer. Had a swell time, ate supper aboard ship.
Mission #34 Ora, N.
Italy Brenner Pass Railroad Bridge.
No flak, no fighters
Ship # 378 – 7hr. 5-1000lb
Mission #35 Toulon,
France Submarine Pens & dock area.
No fighters – flak moderate & accurate. Ship #165 - 7 ¾ hours 1450 miles.
Alibunar, Airdrome. Belgrade,
No flak, no fighters – A milk run. Ship # 165 - 6:35hrs.min.
Mission #37 Ploesti,
Rumania. Romano Americano Oil Refinery.
Flak, heavy intense & accurate no fighters. 20 holes in
ship. Ship #165 - 7hr. 1300 miles.
Mission #38 – Marseille – Toulon area Shore Gun Installations.
Flak heavy moderate, inaccurate. Made two runs over target.
Did not drop bombs on target. Ship #165 - 1450 miles 9 hours. Landed at Naples for refueling. Faierberg finished 50
Mission #39 Toulon
Area. Gun emplacements.
No flak. No fighters. Targets hit well. Ship #156 - 1400
miles - 7 ¼ hours. Lt. Mayo finished 50 missions.
Mission #40 Savona
area N.W. Italy Gun positions.
Very little flak. No fighters. Ship #237 - 1200 miles - 6 hours 40min.
Mission #41 – Po River R. R. Bridge Ferra, Italy Pilot Inglett
Flak heavy, intense and very accurate. We had #'s 1 and 4
engines shot out by flak. #4 lost all the oil and could not feather. #1
feathered okay. Pilot managed to keep
ship in air for 40 minutes till we bailed out. We threw all guns and ammo. out.
Also A.P.U. I was 4th man
out. Chute opened perfect. Harness bruised right eye. Landed quite hard in
hayfield 100 yards from Polish 8th Army Hdqs. Bailed out from 7,000 feet. Two of the boys
got sprained ankles. Pilot landed ship okay after we got out. I landed about 4
miles inside our lines. The area had been taken within past 24 hours. We were in area near Fano – Polish soldiers
picked me up and also the rest of the crew.
We had ship #378. There were 138
flak holes in it.
We slept in a stadium near an R.A.F. base. Waited till 4pm for a ship to take us back –
R.A.F. C-47 took us to Bari where one of our own ships met us. Got back about 9 p.m.
Septemberember 4 – Labor Day
Marshalling Yards Trento N.
Flak heavy, moderate accurate – Shamblin's crew went down –
Ship #649 - 7 hours 5-1000lb.
bombs Brenner Pass.
Mission #43 Po
River R.R. Bridge Ferara, Italy
Flak heavy intense, not too accurate. We didn't get hit at
all because we flew 1,000 ft. highter than rest of group. P-38 escort – Ship
#893 5 ½ hrs. 5-1000lb bombs.
Mission #44 – Leskovac, Jugoslavia T/C German Troop
No flak. No fighters – a milk run Ship #221 - 4 ½ hours.
Mission #45 – Nis Marshalling Yugo Yards
Flak heavy, moderate in accurate. Freeman finished 50
missions. Ship #211 - 4 ½ hours.
Mission #46 – Larissa, Greece M/Y
Did not drop bombs because clouds covered target. Flak out about 1000 yards. 5 bursts.
A milk run. Ship #237 - 4 ¾ hours.
Budapest, Hungary Marshalling
Flak heavy, intense and inaccurate saw 2 109's over
Jugo 6-1000lb bombs Ship #610 - 1200 miles 6 ¾ hours.
Balzano N. Italy Brenner Pass Rail Lines
Flak heavy, Intense & accurate target hit well. 3-2000lb bombs Ship #610 - 7 ¼ hours. 3
Mission 49 & 50
Vienna, Austria Oil Storage
Flak, heavy not too accurate intense in flak for 9 minutes.
Target hit well. 8-500lb bombs – 6 ships lost.
Ship #610 7 ¾ hours – had less
than 100 gals. gas left when we landed.
Field was closed in when we got back. Ceiling 500 feet. My last mission, what a relief.