About The Film
of Manduria. Note, there were no motorized vehicles except our military. The
Germans had confiscated the Italian vehicles for their retreat to north Italy.
On our visit in 2001, cars were so plentiful it was very difficult to find a
parking place in the area around the park.
A bit of horseplay on the skeet range and in the
four Officers shared the tent that is shown. We built it with cigarettes, i.e.
we traded cigarettes for the cement floor and the hand hewn limestone blocks
for the side walls and the labor to build it.
That's me in the Link Trainer for practice flying on
instruments (no outside visibility).
The Sq Commander and the Sq mascot.
Pre-flighting the airplane and some of the
Loading into the truck after the landing from the
the bomb bay to start the engines. The pilots, navigator, bombardier and
engineer/top gunner had to enter through the bomb bay. The radio and other
gunners entered through a camera hatch in the aft section of the B-24.
Starting engines. The engines were numbered from the
left side 1 & 2, on the right, 3 & 4. We started #3 first, then 4,2,
Taxiing to the takeoff position. Taxiways were crushed
limestone base and created some dust when taxiing.
Takeoff at approx 30 second intervals. Actually we were in
position holding the brakes until the previous aircraft lifted off, then we
were rolling down the runway.
crew toured the allied held part of Italy. We flew around the rim of the
volcano on Mt. Vesuvius. The rubble & standing walls were the remains of
the monastery on Mt Cassino. The Germans had been using the site to direct
artillery fire during the advance from Anzio Beach and US bombers destroyed it.
Scenes of formations and bombing with a few bursts of
anti-aircraft fire from the Germans.
around in formation. Our Sq Commander liked close formation and we tried to
show him we could do it well. It was all business on the way to the target, but
on the way home, we got a little closer. One time we were less than ten feet
below with him in the lead airplane.
from the mission and peeling out of the formation for landing. We flew over the
runway in formation, then, one at a time we left the formation and entered the
landing pattern. The goal was 30 seconds between aircraft, but they were seldom
that far apart. Notice the good landings, not a bounce in the bunch.
had a second promotion in the process and elected to delay my last mission to
be sure the promotion came through before leaving the 15th AF. Another pilot
flew with the crew in order to avoid delaying their return home. I met the crew
with a bottle of Old Methuselah whiskey that I had been saving. They passed it
down the line for everyone to take a drink.
Officers threw a party for the crew in our tent. I was a bit of a tea totaler,
so I know everyone enjoyed the party. Miller passed out. So Pete & AI
staggered all over as they carried him home.