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"We Remember"
by Dwayne O'Brien

S/Sgt. John A. Martin
720th Squadron


My log of My Missions

Based at Manduria, Italy

Arrived 1st of May, Departed 13th October 1944

258 Hrs. 20 Min Combat Time

1st & 2nd Missions, 7 hrs 40 Min flying time, Target Marshalling Yards. Brasov, Romania, 5/6.

The flak was dense and accurate. Encountered approximately 50 enemy fighters. They didn't attack. No damage to ship. No one hurt. (Double Credit)

3rd Mission. 5hrs 30 min flying time. Target Harbor of San Stafano, Italy. 5/12.

Flak dense and exceedingly accurate. No fighters. Lost three ships. Saw six (6) men on one ship bail out. No damage to our ship. None hurt.

4th Mission. 6 hrs 10 min flying time. Target Marshalling Yards, Piacenza, Italy.

No flak. No fighters. Milk run.

5th Mission. 6 hrs 15 min flying time. Target Marshalling Yards, Vicenza, Italy. 5/14

Flak Moderate but accurate. No fighters. No ships lost. No one hurt.

6th Mission. 5 hrs 30 min flying time. Target Harbor of San Stefano, Italy. 5/17

Flak dense and accurate. No fighters. No ships lost. Few holes in ship. None hurt.

7th Mission. 5 hrs 30 min flying time. Target Oil fields Ploesti, Romania. Alternate Target Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

Flak dense but not accurate. 20 to 30 fighters. Didn't attack. Slight damage. No ships lost. None hurt. (Early return).

8th Mission. 7 hrs 30 min flying time. Target Harbor of LaSpezia, Italy.

Flak light. Not accurate. No fighters. No ships lost. None hurt. Fired on by Ally warship. Failed to recognize us. No damage.

9th Mission. 6 hrs 30 min flying time. Target - Troop concentrations Grot-Toferrata, Italy.

Flak moderate. Very accurate. No fighters. 7 ships hit. 2 crashed landing. Few holes in our ship. One of the ones that crashed. None hurt.

10th Mission 5 hrs 30 min flying time. Target Marshalling Yards Porto, Italy (Porte Margheura).

Flak light. Not accurate. No fighters. No ships lost. No damage. None hurt.

11th Mission 7 hrs 15 min flying time. Target Marshalling Yards Nice, France. 5/26.

Flak light. Not accurate. No fighters. No ships damaged. None hurt. Blew Hell out of the target.

12th Mission 8 hrs 10 min flying time. Target Marshalling Yards. Marseilles, France. 5/27

Flak dense. Not accurate. No fighters. Slight damage. Few holes in ship. None hurt.

13th & 14th Mission. 6 hrs 40 min flying time. Target - Airfield Wienerneustadt, Germany. 5/29

Flak very dense and accurate. 50 fighters attacked us. We drove them off. Lost five ships that I know of approx.

10 more I didn't see. Our escort knocked down approx. 20 enemy fighters. We didn't shoot any down. One hole in my turret. Just missed me. No one hurt. Saw about of the men in the ships hit bail out. Pretty tough raid.

15th & 16th Missions. 6 hrs 30 min flying time. Target - Marshalling Yards Simeria, Rumania. 6/2

Flak. No Flak. No fighters. None hurt. Missed the target completely. Damned poor lead Bombardier. We'll have to go back there.

17th Mission. 7 hrs 20 min flying time. Target Marshalling Yards; Genoa, Italy. 6/4

Flak dense fairly accurate. No fighters. One hole in wing of our ship. One in windshield. None hurt.

18th & 19th Missions. 7 hrs 25 min flying time. Target Oil refinery Ploesti, Rumania. 6/6.

Flak dense and accurate. No fighters. Slight damage to our formation. Three holes in our ship. None hurt.

20th Mission. 5 hrs 30 min flying time. Target Oil refinery Trieste, Northern Italy.

Flak light and accurate. About 20 enemy fighters (Me-109's). Didn't attack our formation. Four holes in our ship. None hurt.

21st & 22nd Missions. 7 hrs 0 min flying time. Target Oil tanks and refineries; Constanta, Rumania. 6/10

Flak moderate fairly accurate. No fighters. Few holes in our ship. None hurt. No ships lost.

23rd & 24th Missions. 6 hrs 50 min flying time. Target Oil tanks and refineries; Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. 6/16.

Flak dense very accurate. About 10 enemy fighters (Me-109's) attacked us just before we hit target. They knocked one B-24 down. Saw 8 parachutes leave ship. Saw ship explode and hit the ground.

We managed to beat them off. Saw one enemy fighter go down. I think I hit one a few times. Flak knocked our aerial off. None hurt.

25th Mission. 6 hrs flying time. Target Marshalling Yards; Femarra, Italy. 6/22.

Flak moderate fairly accurate. No fighters. Few holes in our ship. None hurt. No ships lost.

26th Mission. 8 hrs flying time. Target Submarine Bases; Toulon, France. 6/25

Flak moderate and accurate. No fighters. Few holes in our ship. None hurt. No ships lost.

27th & 28th Missions. 7 hrs 30 minutes flying time. Target Schweche aircraft factory; Vienna, Austria. 6/26.

Flak heavy, intense and exceedingly accurate. Approximately 20 enemy fighters. Didn't get a chance to attack us. Our escort drove them off. We got 25 holes in our ship. We had a close one that time. None hurt. One ship lost that I know of.

29th Mission. 5 hrs 15 min flying time. Target Airdrome Zaghreb, Yugoslavia. 6/30

Flak heavy, dense, not accurate. Saw a few fighters. Didn't attack. None hurt. No ships lost.

30th & 31st Missions. 6 hrs 30 min flying time. Target Oil fields; Giurgio, Rumania. 7/13.

Flak heavy, dense, unbelievably accurate. Flak knocked down 3 b-24's. One on our right. Wing exploded in midair. One chute came out of ship. But it was on fire. They never had a chance. 9 men bailed out of 2nd ship hit. Pilot stuck to the ship. He was either dead or he tried to get the ship back to Yugoslavia. He had lots of guts. The third ship blew up too. 8 men got out of it. Germans must have new type flak gun.

No fighters attacked us. They jumped the group behind us and knocked down five bombers. Don't know how many fighters the knocked down.

8 ships lost. Quite a few holes in our ship. Got another hole in my turret.

32nd & 33rd Missions. 6 hrs 30 min flying time. Target Bridge at Petesti, Rumania. 7/4

The only connection between Ploesti and Stutguart, Germany. Bridge was totally destroyed. No Flak. No fighters. Milk run. Nice rest after yesterday's raid.

34th Mission. 5 hrs 50 min flying time. Target Marshalling Yards; Zaghreb, Yugoslavia. 7/7

Flak moderate, heavy, inaccurate.

Saw two fighters. Didn't attack.

No ships lost. None hurt.

35th & 36th Missions. 7 hrs 30 min flying time. Target Oil Refineries. Ploesti, Romania. 7/9

Flak was heavy, dense and the accuracy was uncanny. We got 40 holes in our ship. Tony (tail gunner) was hit in the rear end. Not hurt too badly. He'll get "Purple Heart". Piece of flak tore through door just above may head. Ship looked like a sieve.

No fighters. No ships lost. One hurt.

37th Mission. 6 hrs 50 min flying time. Target Marshalling Yards. Brescie, Italy. 7/13

Very little flak. Not accurate. No fighters. Carl made 1st LT. Milk run. No one hurt. No ships lost.

38th Mission. 7 hrs 10 min flying time. Target Oil Refineries and cracking plants. Ploesti, Romania. 7/15

The flak was terrible. I'm convinced now that the Gerries have a new weapon. We were over the target when we caught hell. #3 engine was shot out entirely. #1 and #2 were all shot up. They didn't pull much power. We started to lose altitude. Couldn't keep up with the formation. We got set to abandon the ship. About two minutes after we dropped our bombs. The bombardier was hit approx one minute after that. The pilot, navigator and top turret gunner was hit. All ideas of leaving ship were forgotten. Tony and I went up and bandaged the wounded men.

They were pretty badly hit. We had to use tourniquets to check the bleeding. We couldn't give Healy (bombardier) any oxygen. It was shot out. We injected him with morphine. We ran out of bandages so we used their clothing. Mulhollan (pilot) was suffering from shock. After we made them comfortable we started to lighten the ship. We threw out the guns, ammo, bomb sight (which I shot 12 holes in with my automatic), flak suits and everything we could possibly get rid of. The ship managed to stay in the air after that. About twenty minutes after we were attacked by enemy fighters. We only had the guns left in the ball turret. They came in at five (5) O'clock just before they were in Range six (6) P-38's came down from above us and intercepted them. The first two enemy fighters were blown up in mid air. I saw four (4) more hit the ground after that. The P-38's drove the rest of them off. Two of them (P-38) escorted us out of enemy territory. To those P-38's we owe our lives.

We then tried to do as much as we could for the wounded men. The ship just managed to stay in the air. We had lost the rest of our formation by now. The navigator was trying to get our course figured out. He was badly wounded but he did it some how. Carl (pilot) insisted on getting back to his seat. We had just reached our base when # two (2) engine went out. We managed to land safely.

The co-pilot did a swell job. Ambulances rushed the men to the hospital. We went to see them last night. They were in fair condition. We are sweating out Healey's (bombardier's) condition. They might have to cut is arm off. I hope and pray to god that they won't have to.

We lost approximately six (6) ships. I saw "Colonel Snaiths" ship blow up. All that was left was one wing tip. It was a sickening sight. We had sixty (60) holes in our ship. That makes four (4) men on our crew that have been hit. I wonder who will be next. I pray to God when I do get it that it kills me instantly. I couldn't stand losing a limb.

It was a tough mission. Four (4) men hurt, six (6) ships lost. We were put in for the "Distinguished Flying Cross" for this raid.

I hope I never have to go to Ploesti again. It's a tough target. They are using 155 millimeter flak guns there too. And the Germans have designed a shell to break into larger pieces because the old shells weren't doing enough damage.

39th Mission. 7 hrs flying time. Target Oil tank stowages. Tarquuiste, Romania. 7/30

No flak over target. But, there was plenty on the way up. It was heavy intense and accurate. Two ships were shot down. Saw 3 parachutes come out of one of them. One more ship crashed at take off. It blew up. There wasn't much left of it. There was arms and legs and pieces of flesh splattered all over the place. Some how three men managed to get out. I'm plenty scared.

No fighters, 3 ships lost. All our crew okay.

40th Mission. 8 hrs flying time. Target Submarine base. Toulon, France. 8/16

Flak heavy, intense, accurate. We had our elevators shot out. Five (5) ships had to land at Corsica. They were badly shot up.

No fighters. No ships lost. None hurt. I believe the Germans have moved all their fighters back toward the center of Germany to protect them from the coming invasion.

41st Mission. Target Alibunar, Yugoslovia. 8/7

Flak light, inaccurate.

No fighters. No ships lost. None hurt.

42nd Mission. 6 hrs 50 min. Target Savona area gun installations, Italy. 8/14

Flak light, very inaccurate.

No fighters. No ships lost. None hurt.

43rd Mission. 7 hrs 10 min flying time. Target Americano Romano oil fields. Ploesti Romania. 8/17

Flak as usual; heavy, dense, accurate. Didn't lose any ships over the target, but lost two coming home. We flew over a large city and they shot hell out of us. We had prepared to abandon our ship because #2 engine was shot up and was on fire. Mal Krasnow (our new pilot) was shot in the throat. The fire went out luckily enough. Another fire started on the flight deck. We managed to put this one out with the extinguishers.

We sure did sweat for a while though. We didn't run into any fighters thank goodness. This was my fist mission as First Engineer too. Mal's throat is OK now. He'll be flying the next raid with us. " deeper and he'd have been killed instantly. After going through his neck the piece of flak hit the co-pilot in the hand. It just glanced off so he wasn't hurt. Our old ship wet down on this raid. It was hit in the tail assembly and then it all broke up. One chute got out. I didn't see the other ship go down but the boys said that no chutes came out of her. The raids are getting tougher all the time.

We were told today that Ploesti is the toughest target in the entire war and that it has A1 priority over all other targets. So, I'll be going back there a few more times before I finish up.

Pretty tough raid.


We have been put in for a cluster on our D.F.C for this raid.

44th & 45th Missions. 7 hrs 25 min. Target Oil stowage & refineries. Labeu, Austria. 8/22

Flak heavy, dense and exceedingly accurate. Almost as bad as Ploesti. I saw tow (2) ships go down. One exploded in mid air. The other went into a spin. It hit a small town and started a huge fire. No chutes came out of either ship. We had our hydraulic system shot out. There were a lot of fighters but our escort drove them off.

I've been flying the tail turret on our last few missions. Tony is pretty nervous there after being hit. Almost every ship got shot up. It was pretty tough. They gave us a double for this one.

Two ships lost that I know of. None hurt (our crew).

46th Mission. 6 hrs 15 min flying time. Target Marshalling Yards. Vinkoucl, Yugoslavia. 8/24/43

Diversionary raid to draw fighters from other groups bombing Munich. Flew up to Lake Ball in Tine, Hungary.

No Flak. No fighters.

None hurt. None lost.

47th Mission. Target Large troop and train ferrying boat. Guirgiu, Romania. 8/26/43

Flak moderate, heavy and accurate. We got 17 holes in our ship. Saw a lot of fighters but they didn't get a chance to attack us. Our escort drove them off. Saw two fighters go down but I don't know if they were Germans or ours.

No ships lost. None hurt.

48th Missions. Target Marshalling Yards, MisRolc, Hungary. 8/28

Flak heavy, moderate, not accurate.

No fighters. None hurt. Now ships lost.

49th Mission. Target KralJevo, Yugoslavia. 9/4

No flak. No fighters. None hurt. No ships lost

50th Mission. Target Bridge at Ferrara, Italy.

Flak heavy, intense, fairly accurate.

No fighters. Few holes in ship.

FINITO!!

258 Hrs 20 Min Combat Flying Time

Left the States 22nd March

Left Manduria 13th October

Arrived at Naples 13th Oct.

Left Naples 17th Oct. landed at Algiers for fuel.

Arrived at Casa Blanca 18th Oct.

Left casa Blanca 24th Oct.

Arrived States 25th October



Diary provided by Ed W. Gerner, 720th Squadron

Link To Crew Information
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