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2nd Lt. Thomas J. McMahon
723rd Squadron
Thomas McMahon

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 1
14 July 1944
Target: Rail marshalling yards at Budapest, Hungary
Formation was fair. Weather good. Had 50 P-38 for our escort over target. No enemy fighters observed. Flak was moderate. Attack units behind us got the bulk of it. Beach & I in the nose didn't have flak suits on over target. A few bursts of flak & we moved fast. It was our first look at the stuff. Some say it is pretty, but I see nothing but ugly black smoke. It hangs in air long after bursting. We had no holes in ship. 2 of my bombs released late & hit an airport instead of the target. We missed the aiming point but because of length of target our bombs hit well.

Alt: 22,500
Bombs: 5-1000 lb

Thomas McMahon

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 2
15 July 1944
Target: Americano-Rumano Oil Refineries at Ploesti, Rumania
Good navigation, excellent bombing, fair formation. Naturally Ploesti was heavy, intense & accurate flak, black & red. We received 5 holes; 2 in the nose that missed Beach & I. Smoke covering target reached 20,000. Target was impossible to see. Bombed by PFF. Flak was terrific & lots of planes went down. Our leader went down in flame & exploded. No chutes were seen. Col. Snaith, Lt Strickland on his 49th mission was in plane. Had trouble loosing bombs over target & 8 of the 10 fell. Bought 2 home. Beach dropped them & I was in bomb bay trying to kick them out. 2 ships threw out all their equipment & came home on 3 engines. One ship ran out of gas & crashed into wall on edge of field. Co-pilot lost an arm, sprained his ankle. Had good escort of 100 P-38s & 80 P-51. No enemy fighters seen.

Alt: 22,000
Bombs: 10-500 lb
Ploesti is the roughest target in Europe. The men & planes lost there is staggering. It is the one target feared by everyone here.

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 3 4
19 July 1944
Target: Aircraft parts mfg. plant at Munich, Germany Everyone has sweated this one out. Their known flak is tremendous. All the way up over Alps to target I was scared. It was the mental stain that got me. Target was smoked over but well hit. Flak was heavy, intense & accurate. We got 5 holes in leading edge of wing. 1 B-24 went into steep dive over target. Didn't see it hit the ground but no chutes appeared. # 7 in our box straggled & was hit by 4 ME-109's coming in at 5 o'clock. Somehow the ship came home. Escort shot down 66 enemy fighters.

Alt: 23,500
Bombs: 5-1000 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 5 6
26 July 1944
Target: Airdrome Installations at Grafendorf, Vienna, Austria What was expected to be rough turned out nicely. 7 minutes from target intense undercast caused us to return to base with all bombs. No alternate targets given. One group decided to bomb Graf. As they neared it the sky was black with flak so they changed their minds. Lt. Buenting ran out of gas over field & crashed killing nose gunner who was penned under top turret. Buenting broke 2 legs, 1 arm, collar bone & had face crushed. He'll live. Again we had beautiful escort & met no enemy fighters.

Alt: 22,500
Bombs: 10-500 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 7
27 July 1944
Target: Aircraft plant at Budapest, Hungary Lt. Banks flew with me for experience. He got it. Before reaching I.P. flak had our range. Plane ahead of us caught fire. It burned 1 minute in # 3 engine. 2 men jumped. The entire right wing disintegrated & plane slow rolled. 1 more chute came out & plane exploded. I usually don't look at those things but he was in front of us & I couldn't help it. At the I.P. the lead box was above us. My pilot, Bolton, & I killed course & lead the box. We were the only one that hit the target. During bomb run another plane went down. 6 chutes got out. The flak was terrific. It was the worst yet. I was petrified.

Alt: 21,000
Bomb: 5-1000 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 8
3 August 1944
Target: 3 Track RR Bridge at Northern Italy
We should have more of these kind. No flak, no fighters. 30' target was beautifully hit from 21,000. Great bombing, beautiful day. Fighter escort scared off enemy fighters. Coming home Beach was hit by 50 cal. Shell dropped from another plane. Sorry, no Purple Heart. 1 B-24 seen heading for Switzerland with 2 engines feathered. On takeoff 1 ship had 2 runaway props & crashed into trees at end of runway. Ship burned 4 minutes before exploding. Had 10-500# Comp B. bombs. Blast hurled engines & props 300 yards. Pieces of plane dropped mile away. 1 machine gun went thru a tent hitting a G.I. 500 yds away. 3 men escaped, 5 killed. Officers were: Peters, Millspaugh, Seleznak.

Alt: 21,000
Bombs: 5-1000 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 9
6 August 1944
Target: Sub docks at Toulon, France
A long trip about 10 hrs. Target smoke covered but a wind shift cleared target & we got a lovely bomb pattern directly on target. Moderate flak. We got 2 holes in ship. For the first time I saw flak guns flame spitting at us. Some guns located on target area & we blew 'em to pieces. I don't like killing anyone but when it comes to the flak guns I relish it. Short on gas so we landed on Corsica. Plane landing after us had no brakes & threw 2 chutes out & stopped it.

Alt: 22, 500
Bombs: 10-500 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 10
14 August 1944
Target: Gun emplacements at Genoa, Italy
Something is brewing. We all know it. For the 4th time the So. Coast of France was hit by us. No flak until bombs away then all hell broke loose. Got 4 holes in ship just missing Jimmy & Smitty. Good bombing. Weather good. As usual our escort scared off enemy fighters.

Alt: 21,500
Bombs: 5-1000 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 11
15 August 1944
Target: Shoreline installations along Gulf of St Tropez, France
Entire 15th Air Force was there aiding invasion. I never saw so many ships before. Took off at 2 A.M. 5 ships blew up before taking off. We lost formation on takeoff & flew alone to Corsica before getting into a formation from another group. This nite flying is no good with 2000 planes up with us. Poor weather & I couldn't see target. We dropped at 0721 & our land forces hit beaches at 0730. No flak & no fighters. Pictures showed we did a good job.

Alt: 14,000
Bombs: 40-100 Demo's

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 12
20 August 1944
Target: Marshalling Yds at Szeged, Hungary
A poor mission. At I.P. we were forced aside by another group so we hit alternate target. Light flak. I thought we'd never drop our bombs. Leader messed up & missed target completely. The whole load hit the town. I get mad thinking of those poor people getting that pounding. We were only a diversionary raid to draw fighters from main attack that went up into Poland & Slovakia. We barely missed getting flak from Budapest. The outskirts was over I.P. A lousy mission.

Alt: 21,5000
Bombs: 10-500 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission 13 & 14
23 August 1944
Target: Vienna Oil Refineries
9/10 of Europe flak guns greeted us today. Flak was everywhere. Why we weren't hit is a mystery. Clouds prevented a good visual sighting & most bombs fell short. One plane ahead of us was hit & spun lazily. All 10 men reported safely out. Ship took 5 minutes to fall. Avg of 4500' per minute. The intense flak split us up & Stocker did good evasive action. Howy saw flak coming in on us & told Stock where to turn. I never saw such accuracy amazing. One straggler was well protected by P-38 who gave beautiful cover. I love 'em! 11 men jumped safely over our field on retuning. All hydraulic lines were shot out. Ship last seen heading to sea. I never want to see Vienna again. No kidding.

Alt: 24,000
Bombs: 8-500 # Comp B.

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 15
27 August 1944
Target: Ferrera R/R Northern Italy
At briefing our mission looked like a milk run until we were told the Germans had 86 heavy guns at the target. The weather was good all the way. I saw the target easily from 18 miles. The bridge was only 16' wide & 1500' long. We hit it going sideways to the span. 3 bombs were direct hits. I believe it was destroyed. We were in the first attack unit & got a little flak. Looking back after dropping our bombs, the units behind us were getting hell. One ship went down. No chutes came out. Another plane in trouble over Foggia, Italy had 9 men jump & the pilot landed the ship alone. Probably get the Silver Star.

Alt: 22,000
Bombs: 5 1000 lb Comp B

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 16
20 August 1944
Target: Ferrara R/R Bridge Northern Italy
The same target as last mission. We were the last plane in formation over target. Slight undercast but target easily seen. Last time we were first over & those behind caught hell. Today we were last over & those in the 1st box lost 4 of the 7 ships. Flak was right at our briefed altitude of 22,000. Lt Cousins, bless him, climbed 500' & we missed the flak that would have hit us for sure if we flew with the rest of the gang. That ugly flak scares me. Capt. Jefferson said I would lead our next attack. Beach is going to be lead navigator. I hope Stock & Howy get a good break & we continue flying as a crew. Photos showed we are the only box to hit the target.

Alt: 22,500
Bombs: 5 1000 lb G.P.

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 17
2 Sept 1944
Target: Krajevo M/Y Yugoslavia
A perfect mission except poor results. Mission was short & no flak, no fighters for the first time. The first run was dry so we made 3600 turn & lead Bomb. dropped late. Bomb pattern was good but aiming point missing. German B-24 joined formation & scouted us. No action taken. No one was sure till to late. More missions like this would be appreciated. Roddy Carr finished up. Col. Snaith returned from Rumania prison camp & talked to us.

Alt: 18,000'
Bombs: 10 500 lb Comp B

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 18
5 Sept 1944
Target: Ferrara R/R Bridge Northern Italy
This place has become a bad habit lately. Flak has been worse every time we go up there. Bridge is important & guns are being bought in every day. Met no fighters. Our escort was on the ball as usual. Capt. Jefferson couldn't release bombs & our box returned their bombs. Flak was heavy & plenty accurate. We had a dozen flak holes in the ship. All the ships were hit in the group. 4 men were injured in other ships. None went down. Plenty lucky! Stock made beautiful landing with 5 powerful bombs on board.

Alt: 20,500'
Bombs 5 - 1000 lb Comp B.

Thomas McMahon

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 19 - 20
10 Sept 1944
Target: So. Ordinance Depot Vienna, Austria
This was hell above earth. We had more flak than all other missions combined. How we lived thru it is a miracle. Ships were falling like flies. Our Sqd lost 2 ships & the rest of the group lost 5 planes. The sky was actually black with flak. Our nose was hit 3 times. I got the piece of flak that hit above the bombsight. I saw 10 chutes from 1 ship. Saw a fighter go down & some ME109's & FW190's & P-38's mixing it up. Our box alone hit the target. The terrain is hard to distinguish from altitude & target hard to see. How anyone got thru that flak is amazing. Gunner on a ship saw # 3 engine smoking & decided to jump. He was half way out & changed his mind. The slipstream dragged him out & last was seen floating down.

Alt: 23,500'
Bombs: 8 - 500 lb Comp B

On returning, the reports came in that we had all bailed out over the target. We argued successfully that it wasn't us. Capt. Kelly must have blown up cause no one saw or heard from him after starting the run. Murphy saw 2 ships in flame. I guess he was one of them.

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 21
13 Sept 1944
Target: Ora R/R Bridge Northern Italy
We hit this once before & had no fighters & light inaccurate flak. Today we had neither. Weather was good over target. Bombing was good. I believe we hit the bridge. It is the main highway thru the Brenner Pass. I navigated back. It was a long flight. 7:15 hrs. Vienna the other was the same distance. Capt. Ferguson finished up today. This was a lovely mission but they are far & few between.

Alt: 20, 3000
Bombs: 6 - 1000 lb G.P.

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 22
19 Sept 1944
Target: Kraljevo R/B, Yugoslavia
This is my second trip & a delightful one. I lead our attack for the first time. I couldn't kill course the first run & because of no flak we made a 3600. The bridge was already completely ruined & we stupidly had to drop our bombs regardless of the marshalling yd mile from the bridge which was loaded with freight. My second run was plenty long with no excuses if I missed. My crosshairs were O.K. until bombs away & course went to hell. I hit to the right of the target. Pictures showed a beautiful pattern & we got 92% on the results. Used a Sperry sight. Cole did a swell job of navigating & helped me a lot.

Alt: 17,300
Bombs: 10 - 500 lb Comp B

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 23
21 Sept 1944
Target: Novi Sad R/B Yugoslavia
On the face of things it looked like a good mission at briefing. Only 12 known flak guns were there. We hit the I.P. good & started over bomb run. For a few minutes it was quiet. All of a sudden hell broke loose. Every puff of flak broke near us in the # 6 position. The concussion shook the plane & we could hear the pieces ripping thru the plane. I thought we were done for. Counted 35 flak holes on the ground. The gas line was hit & Askkar, Moore & Howy were soaked as it poured into the bombay. Without a doubt it was the worst mission any of our crew ever saw. We're lucky to be here.

Alt: 20,600
Bombs: 2- 2000 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 24
31 October 1944
Target: Podgorica, Yugoslovia
A screwed up mission. The target was troop concentrations in the town. Poor weather caused us to turn back. Then we returned & flew over the target twice hoping for a break in the clouds which was the 10/10 undercast. I had a chance to lead but the sight froze on the way but no one could drop anyway. I froze 4 toes & the heaters on the flight were luckily working & before the blood froze too badly they thawed out. It wasn't too cold but had no furlined boots. Finally got off the 23 mark.

Alt: 19,000
Bombs: 8 - 500 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 25 - 26
6 November 1944
Target: Moosebierbaum, Vienna, Aust.
This was a screwed up affair. I led the 2nd Attack & down the bomb run the Mickey man couldn't find the target & we had 10/10 undercast & I couldn't find the target. Just before bombs away - I found the target but before I could kill drift & rate, bombs were away. The 1st attack had the same trouble as us. I don't know how the photos came out but they may have been good. Flak was bad as only Vienna can be. No one was hurt. I was so busy I didn't see much flak but it was there.

Alt. 22,600
Bombs: 8 - 500 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 27
12 November 1944
Target: Ora River Bridge * Northern Italy
A perfect day for bombing. Flew over the Alps - they looked nice but cold. The target was briefed as having 12 guns. Down the bomb run lead ship's C-1 went out & threw us over Bolzano & we got flak. Then Ora began. The flak was heavier thean any I've everseen & I thought I'd never get out of it. We couldn't drop our bombs so the alternate Casarsa Bridge. We got 7 direct hits on it & ruined it. Lead ship of 98th blew up over Ora. The 376th lost 4 ships. We were lucky as hell to get thru like we did. Lt Marston had gear handle shot off by flak......

Alt: 20,8000
Bombs: 6 - 1000 lb
"Rough"

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 28 - 29
17 November 1944
Target: Florisdorf Oil Ref. Vienna
The target was supposed to be clear but another Gp. just coming from target said it was 10/10 undercast. As we hit the I.P. my oxygen froze & I passed out 4 times. Beach revived me each time, bless him!! The flak was just above the clouds at first, to our left & low & high on the right. We seemed to fly a path thru it. The lead ship got a live 88mm shell, hit the ship but didn't explode. The flak was there aplenty as usual. We never saw the ground for over 3 hours so we don't know how we did. I almost froze my left foot. My heat boot went out. Smitty froze his face & is in the hospital. Came home on 3 engines all the way.

Alt. 25,600
Bombs: 8 - 500 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 30
21 November 1944
Target: Dobaj, Yugo. R.R. Bridge
Took off & had solid undercast from base to target. Most of our formation got lost but our box got thru okey. Hit the I.P. & clouds obscured target completely. Flew home with bombs. Give me more missions like this. Beach did dan good job of navigation.

Alt: 19,000
Bombs: 6 - 1000 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 31
23 November 1944
Target: Zenica R.R. bridge
A peculiar mission. Poor weather enroute to primary caused us to pick an alternate, Dabaj, but when we got there & stated the run - we saw it was knocked out so we went for a another alternate. It was flak covered from previous attack so our 3rd alternate, we hit. We began the bomb run & I noticed the target off to our right. I picked it up & got sychronizd good when I dropped. The formation was sad & the bomb pattern awful. The bridge was missed by me a 100 ft right. 2nd box over got it & we went home. We flew all over hell that day. This was my 1st Group Lead. Our % was good.

Alt: 16,000
Bombs: 2 - 2000 lb
Capt Blair - Taylor pilots
Lts Beach - Hubbard navigators.

Thomas McMahon

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 32 - 33
11 December 1944
Target: Moosebierbaum Oil Ref, Vienna
Today I had my chance to make up for the last time I went to this target. Dieckman, my Mickey man, picked up the target as it was well covered by smoke pots & I could not see a thing. His image faded & the second time he got the wrong target. By then we were almost on top of the target. I corrected the course & sighted on the densest smoke. Picture recons showed my bombs hitting the chemical plant on beyond our target. We did some damage but missed our target. You can't win!! I lead today.... The flak as usual for Wien was rough & we lost 2 ships. After leaving our run, we saw another Wing going over Vienna proper & it was a clear day. The 17's were going down all over. I saw 7 ships blow up, go down, etc. 3 chutes came out of one ship & 2 were on fire & the poor devils never had a chance. The flak was stupendous. Coming home a 17 straggler was shot at over a non-flak area. We were just out of range & we were pulling for the plane to get thru. It did evasive action like hell & came thru o.k. All told it was a mean mission. Include me out of Vienna the next times & I won't complain.

Alt: 25,500
Bombs: 10 - 500 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 34 - 35
19 December 1944
Target: Villach & Rosenheim M. Y. Germany
We had a solid under cast from home to the target. Down the bomb run our Mickey went out & as clouds were 10/10 we went on to Villach, our alternate. In that locality clouds were broken & our target was obscured completely. I did the best I could do but did not drop. Perhaps I should have but I know the results wouldn't be worth it so I held on. We flew just South of Munich to reach our I.P. & they were putting the flak up to try & scare us off. Navigation was excellent despite the undercast. Numberous flak installations were avoided beautifully. Hubbard did a swell job.

Alt: 22,500
Bombs: 6 - 500 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 36
26 December 1944
Target: Ora R/R Bridge
We were in Y-2 Box & lagged far behind the rest of the Group. I noticed we would never make briefed altitude so as we had 4 minutes till the I.P. I was putting new dope into the sight when all of a sudden the target was just to our right & damn close. I didn't have time to get my flak suit & I swung on the target & only had 90 seconds to work. I was too busy to notice the flak, thank God, & as I dropped my bombs my gyro tumbled & Robertson, my pilot cut sharply to the left to miss Bolzano flak which was getting us & it was tremendous. I saw my bombs around the bridge in a lovely pattern. Photos showed excellent results & a damn small target. We get flak about 5 or 6 places both going & returning.

Alt. 23,000
Bombs: 5 - 1000 lb

Thomas McMahon

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 37
29 December 1944
Target: Brenner Pass
This mission which we led was supposed to be rather easy. The same target was hit 2 days in a row before we hit it. Lt. Stowe & Capt. Taylor were pilots. It was an ordinary run up the Adriatic. At the Udine Valley I read drift for Lt. Ellis & got 50 left. We appeared to be off course a few minutes later & I got another drift. It was 220 left. Ellis called Taylor to turn to the right. Just as Vince reached for the turn control a burst of flak lifted us & 3 seconds later a flak burst just along side cut the cables, gas lines, hydraulic lines, & the C-1 which lifted us up. I tore off my earphones & oxygen & put on my chute & was going to jump. Elis said to hold on a minute as we weren't on fire. We were okay, to fly. Taylor was killed, Stowe stunned & all of us were pretty shaky. I salvoed my bombs & we took a course for Switzerland which was only 10 minutes away. Stowe thought we could get back to northern Italy so we turned. I went on the flight deck & tried to help Taylor but he was gone. Patterson, the engineer, was wonderful & patched up everything. Some ME-109's came up at us but never attacked. At northern Italy the first field wouldn't let us land but the second did. A 40 mile crosswind knocked us off the runway & we crashed. All got out but the plane was banged up. The nose had over 40 holes in it & the ship had about 300 holes in it. At Rencionni we were well treated & spent the New Years there, visited Spitfire base.

Alt. 22,500
Bombs: 3 - 1000 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 38
19 January 1945
Target: Brod M.Y. Yugoslavia
Massey & Swan decided to finish up. On this one. Massey flew with me. It was a short hop & I was nervous cause Brod has flak for everyone. Down the run, flak was moderate but Hogan got a direct hit & went down. Jerry Smith & LaPolla were in the ship too. 3 chutes were seen & that's all.

Alt: 24,000
Bombs: 8 - 500 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 39 - 40
31 January 1945
Target: Moosebierbaum, Oil Ref.
Our pal again damn it. I sweat it out all the way up. A solid undercast kept us from seeing the ground till after we pulled off the target. The bomb run was 13 minutes long - nerve racking to say the least. Flak was held off till minute before bombs away & it came up moderately. Another Group ahead of us caught hell & we got off easy for a change.

Altitude: 26,000
Bombs: 8 - 500 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 41 - 42
5 February 1945
Target: Salzburg, Germany M/Y
All the way to the end of the Adriatic we didn't gain above 18,000 ft & I was worried. From the Alps on we climbed to beat hell & at our I.P. #3 engine threw gas all over wing & body. We thought it best to drop our bombs & not go over the target as a tiny spark would have blown us up for sure. It was a long 7:45 hrs mission. The Gp. made a run but didn't drop - instead the last 2 boxes went to Rosenheim & dropped. Weather was good flying but undercast was 5/10 to 10/10.

Alt: 25,500
Bombs: 8 - 500 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 43
14 February 1945
Target: Zagreb, Yugoslavia
This being a visual flight & a rough target, I was worried. Weather was 10/10 till I.P. was hit. The target was visible miles away & we went down the run. Flak was terrific. We were lucky as hell not to be hit badly. One large chunk tore part of the fuselage away. This was my 5th straight attempt to complete a mission.

Altitude: 24,000
Bombs: 8 - 500 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 44 - 45
17 February 1945
Target: Graz, Austria
Maj. Blair led a screwed up mission. The primary, Linz, was cloud covered & couldn't be picked up. We flew all over Europe & finally dropped on Graz. They threw up plenty of flak. We got flak from Bruck on the way up. This mission was 1st class sweat job. I never thought I'd get this far.

Altitude: 24,000
Bombs: 8 - 500 lb

Thomas McMahon

Mission # 46 - 47
27 February 1945
Target: Lientz, Italy M.Y.
This was it!! The briefed target Salzburg, Austria was completely covered & Mickey could not pick it up. We dry runned it. Luckily the flak was all below us. One frag hit #2 engine. We went to alternate target which was visual. The bomb run was short but the yard well hit. The old Adriatic looked beautiful as we flew home. Turner was my pilot. I sweat plenty this mission. Thus ends 15 years of my life.

Altitude: 25,500
Bombs: 5 - # 1000 lb

These pages are taken from the journal of Thomas McMahon.
Thomas flew his missions with the 450th from 14 July 1944 to 27 February 1945.



Information courtesy of Robin Barker

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