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Thu Aug 17th (day’s 1st mission)
Very important dive bomb mission this morning. Our squadron to time-bomb a certain French chateau housing the German Gestapo that have been terrorizing the French for years. But of late have started a brutal terrorizing campaign. It is all timed to the second. We’re carrying one 1000 pound G.P bomb, and a cluster of frags. We’ll make one pass with our 1000-pounders, leveling the buildings. And another with our frags to finish off any hiding in the woods, or around close. Meanwhile the organized French underground are to be waiting and as soon as we leave, they move in with a vengeance and clean up. Command considered this mission so important that they sent up a special officer to brief us.

To target over 10/10ths, and dropped through about 60 miles from target – Clouds getting lower and lower. Finally, we’re in driving rain at 800ft in enemy territory and almost to target – Then, just at target, rain breaks and we’re CAVU over target – Pull up to 6000ft, identify target, and kickoff – after the last man had pulled off, that place was a heap of rubble. What a job! — Down again with our frags in the surrounding woods, and off for home.

Note: There’s a discrepancy here. Mission report says he escorted an abort back to base, and jettisoned his bombs in the Channel. But he describes the attack in detail, as if he were there. Was he just describing what he’d heard from the guys in debriefing?  Could the mission report be mistaken?

Also, I have not discovered more information on the Gestapo HQ and this apparently well-coordinated attack in support of French resistance fighters.  Will keep looking though…

MISSION No. 125 (Day’s First Mission)
OPFLASH NO. F-17     SITE NO. A-11        DATE: 17 Aug 44
TARGET: Bombing Getapo Hqs 5 mi E of Chatereaux (L-570045).
GROUP NO. 474, SQDN. NO. 428, NO. A/C: 12 P-38
1. ABORTIVES: 2 WEATHER: 0 PERSONNEL: 0 OTHER: 1 mech. 1 other
T/OFF: 1106     T/OVER TGT: 1210-1240         T/DOWN: 1349
ATTACK DATA & RESULTS: 12×1000 GP (inst fus) & 12×100 frag cluster. 17 bombs in target area, inc 7 dir hits; 4 bombs jettisoned; 1 dud; none brought back; target completely destroyed.
ENEMY FLAK: (1) OVER TARGET: Mod light inaccurate 2 to 3 mi NW of target.
VITAL INFORMATION: Fragmentation bombs found to be excellent in silencing light flak.
WEATHER: (1) OVER TARGET: 10/10th with few sm holes, one of which was right over target.
(2) ELSEWHERE: Same from 1500-6000.
Red                   Yellow         Blue
Darling             Doyle          Hedlund
Greaves*         Hopper       Hartl
White                Blair            Huser
Trueblood**   Freeman     Wenzel
*Aborted (right prop out, electrical system)
**Escorted Greaves to base, TD 1255
(Both jettisoned bombs in Channel)

(2nd mission)

1915 briefing for 2015 takeoff – A Jerry-destroying mission in the Falaise pocket. Nearing target, we could see thousands of English and American planes strafing convoys, tanks and all sorts of military vehicles – The sky was filled with light flak, and in the dust/dusk [?] to see Typhoons and Lightings bear in spitting .50 cal and 20mm. 40mm and 20mm all around us – A sight indeed.

British Typhoons launching rocket attacks

Jerry wasn’t hiding much tonight. He either had to move on, or be annihilated by our armed forces. In tail end, as Major Hedlund’s flight, on Col Blair’s wing. And the Major spotted us an armored column along the road in the trees – First pass brought plenty of flak, and four holes in my wing and elevator – Next pass we dropped our frags in the general area – They have a devastating effect on gunners. Next our 500-pounders on the armor. I had three near-misses, then strafing pass after pass until the whole road was blazing in the now almost-darkened sky.

falaiswrecksOne 20mm had continued to blaze away at us and succeeded in getting one of Col Blair’s engines. And as we’re almost out of ammo, & getting too dark to see, we gathered squadron together and “Glendaled”–landing after dark with only flares.  

Stud and I had a well-needed shower before bed tonight. Major claimed 15-plus military vehicles destroyed by our flight of four.

MISSION No. 126 (Day’s Second Mission)
OPFLASH NO. F-18     SITE NO. A-11        DATE: 17 Aug 44
TARGET: Armed recce of Breteuil-Conches-Gien-Paris area (428 alone).
GROUP NO. 474, SQDN. NO. 428, NO. A/C: 12 P-38
T/OFF: 2011     T/OVER TGT: 2040-2145         T/DOWN: 2215
ATTACK DATA & RESULTS: 12×1000 GP (1/10) plus 12×100 frag. No of bombs in target area: 9×1000, 11 frag. Duds: 3×1000 plus 1×100 frag. Maj. Hedlund’s flight at Q-575684, 5 plus M/T dest; Q-500718, 7 plus M/T, possibly incl 2 half-tracks dest. Capt. Austin’s flight at Q-5268, 2 med tanks dest. Lt. Hancock’s flight saw 20 plus M/T going into woods at Q-5666; bombed & strafed woods, results unobserved. Lt. Huser and Lt. Wenzel dest 2 M/T at Q-690626, strafing.
ENEMY FLAK: (1) OVER TARGET: Int light acc W & SW St. Germain q-4666. Intense lt acc vic Q-5666.
VITAL INFORMATION: Fragmentation bombs found to be excellent in silencing light flak.
WEATHER: (1) OVER TARGET: Broken 4500-5000.
(2) ELSEWHERE: Same.
Red                  Yellow           Blue
Hedlund         Austin           Hancock
Greaves          Spiker           Hartl
Blair                Gawler          Huser
Trueblood      Conolly         Wenzel

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