German 88mm anti-aircraft cannon, one of the most flexible and lethal weapons of WWII

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Wed Aug 23rd
Stud on very rough dive bomb deal – Greaves down in “Z”
[Might be “2”]. Report Jerry trying to get across Seine at any cost! 1400 briefing to 1450 – We’re to dive bomb area [?] escape bridge and strafe any we see. For the first time Jerry had a convoy almost bumper to bumper on either side of the bridge – they had to cross or else – Our tanks are right behind them – Now a word about the flak – My guess is that all the retreating German divisions had left their AA guns in surrounding woods; 88s, 20mm and 40mm plus God knows how much small arms fire.   

 

German truck-mounted 37mm AA gun, similar to the flak truck he mentions here. Dad mistakenly calls this caliber 40mm, but they’re essentially the same size.

We only damaged the bridge and dropped our frags around the forests where we figured the flak was – the whole sky was filled with the stuff – we went down on a couple of trucks, “we thought”, and they really had us – must have been a flak truck of some sort. I didn’t stay around to see. Group got over 100 vehicles tonight but lost Hetzel, Maj Bowman and Jack Greaves from the 430th. Rough – Major Hedlund had one engine and one wing almost off – Home OK. Almost every plane on mission had some damage.

German quad-20mm AA gun

Note: This entry is also confusing, since he’s not mentioned in the report as flying the mission, but describes it in detail. Did he fly as an alternate and was not recorded? Also says Greaves was with 430th?

MISSION No. 132 (Day’s Second Mission)
OPFLASH NO. F-24     SITE NO. A-11
DATE: 23 Aug 44
TARGET: Armed recce/Brionne-Ebeuf-Seine River-Risle River.
GROUP NO. 474, SQDN. NO. 428, NO. A/C: 12 P-38
T/OFF: 1554     T/OVER TGT: 1636         T/DOWN: 1824
ATTACK DATA & RESULTS: 2x8x500 (inst). All 16 bombs on target area: 2 dir hits on pontoon bridge at R-292485 & 4 near misses causing damage beyond immed use. 4 near misses along side of large M/T convoy, causing damage to M/T. Maj. Hedlund’s flight strafed and dest 12 M/T at M-3707. Capt. Austin’s flight strafed & dest 15 M/T at M-3404. Capt. McKittrick’s flight strafed & dest 1 half-track at M-3619.
ENEMY FLAK        (1) OVER TARGET: Heavy & light intense acc around area at R-292985 & area R-2497.
(2) ELSEWHERE: Nil
VITAL INFORMATION: Lt. Hetzel was hit by light flak & plane was seen to fire; bailed out at 7000 ft, time 1750, seen to go down in area where a large amount of light flak was being fired. This was about 5 mi N&E of Louviers at R-2497. Lt. Hetzel was not observed after landing, his plane crashed nearby. Lt. Greaves is MIA. No one saw his plane crash nor heard him call over the RT that he was in trouble. Lt. Greaves was flying Red two; he was last seen starting to make bomb run on bridge at R-292985. After Maj. Hedlund had made his bomb run, he called Lt. Greaves over the RT but received no answer. A very large convoy of 200 plus M/T was observed in close formation waiting turn to cross pontoon bridge at R-292985. Convoy was bumper to bumper on road starting at
R-260977 to R-2899.
WEATHER: (1) OVER TARGET: 7/10 base 10000, vis 8-12 mi.
(2) ELSEWHERE: 7/10 broken with intermittent rain.
CREW LIST:
Red             Yellow        Blue
Hedlund     Austin       McKittrick
Greaves*   Carroll       Koch
White          Hetzel*     Smith, L.L.
Jarvis           Guyon       McLaughlin
*MIA (see Vital Information)

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