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Mission diary of Staff Sgt. Bert M. Beals
Nosegunner on A 249 Sweat-N-Duck
Mission #1 Sept 25, 1944
Went to Kolbenz. Time of take off 8:30. Time at target 11:59. Landed at 14:30 Bombing altitude 22,000 ft. Bomb load 12 500# G.P.´s Flack was light. Temperature 24 below. Target P.F.F. Flew W 313 Wabash Cannonball’.
Mission #2 Sept 30, 1944
Time of take off 10:10 Time at target 13:30 Landed at 15:55. Bomb load 12 %00# S.P.´s Bombing altitude 23,000 ft. Flack was light but accurate. Temp 26 below 0. Target P.F.F. Bombed marshalling yards. Target was Hamm. Flew C 86
Mission #3 October 3, 1944
Especially long mission today 8 hours: 5 on oxygen. Target was a vehicle factory between Strasburg and Stuttgart. Hit the town more than the factory I believe. Flack was light and very inaccurate. We got one hole in the nose turret. Bombed at 24,000. Temp -30 c. Flew A 249. This is our ship now and will fly it every mission (I hope). Bombed visually. Target was Gaggenau.
Mission #4 October 6, 1944
Target was a aero engine plant in Hamburg - 6 hr & 30 minutes. Flack was plenty heavey but we flew around it. It was thick enough to walk on out to our left. Flew B 235, bombed at 25,000. Temp -32c. Bombed visually.
Mission #5 October 7, 1944
This was really a rough one. Bimbed a tank factory at Kassel. Flack was plenty heavy today and we went through the middle of it. We were lucky we didn´t even get a hole in our plane. Flew B 235 again. Bombed visually at 23,000. Temp was -18 c. Johnson´s crew went down. They were in this barracks.
Mission #6 October 12, 1944
Target was an airfield near Osnabruck. But couldn´t see it for the clouds so had to bomb the marshalling yards in Osnabruck. Bombed P.F.F. at 23,000. Very short mission 4 hours 30 minutes, the shortest one yet. Flack wasn´t very heavy never even got a hole. Flew our own plane A 249. This was our Air Medal mission Temp was -22 C.
Mission #7 October 17, 1944
Target was the marshalling yards at Cologne. Not much flack. Didn´t get any holes. Bombed P.F.F. at 23,000. Flew R 466. Temp - 36 C. Flying time 5 hours 39 minutes
Mission #8 October 19, 1944
Target was the Mainz. Quite a bit of flack but we never got hit except for one little piece by the camera hatch. Was really cold today -42 C. Flew A 249 bombed at 25,000 ft visually. Never felt good today was sick over the bomb run. Dropped 6 G.P.´s and 6 incendiaries. I seen the target as we came off. The whole town looked like it was hit.
Mission #9 October 25, 1944
Target was Neumunster. Flack was light. Bombed P.F.F. No holes. Temp -23 C. Bombed at 21,000. Time in the air was about 6 hr. Flew A 249 .
Mission #10 October 30, 1944
Target was a oil plant 5 miles south of Hamburg. The weather was really rough today, flew in the clouds for quite a while. Didn´t get to the target because the clouds were getting too thick so turned and came back. Salvoed our bombs somewhere in Germany. We flew D 477 Miss Minnie’. It sure is a beat up crate. Had open waist windows. Rod and I nearly froze. Hope we don´t get it again. Temp was -40.
Mission #11 November 4, 1944
Target was a synthetic oil plant near Hannover. Flew U 121, Niagra Special’. Our ship has been in for an engine change the last two missions. Bombed at 23,000 ft. P.F.F. Temp was -38 c. Picked up quite a few holes today about 15 - no one got hurt though. The navigator got his computer knocked out of his hand by a piece of flack.
Mission #12 November 5, 1944
Target was the marshalling yards at Karlsruhe. Not a bad mission flack didn´t even come close. On the way back we ran into bad weather and had to land at another field. A 17 base 490th group. Stayed there 3 hours. Then took off and came back home. We flew back with Henderson´s crew. Our plane had one engine out - it was dark when we landed. Bombed at 23,500 ft. P.F.F. Flew A 249. Probably go back and get it tomorrow.
Mission #13 November 11, 1944
Target was an oil plant at Bottrop. This was our 13th mission on Nov 11 and it was the groups 200th mission. Quite a bit of flack over the target, but we came back without a hole. Bombed at 22,000 G.H. new kind of bombing done by radio. Flew A 249. All in all it was a milk run.
Mission # 14 November 16, 1944
Target was in direct support of the ground troops. Bombed troops just a little north of Aachen, 4 miles from our own lines. Very little flack at the target. But being the last group helped quite a bit. On the way back the weather closed in at our base, so we landed at an R.A.F. base in southern England. Stayed there two days before we could get back. Bombed visual at 21,000. Temp was -42 C. Flew A 249.
Mission # 15 November 21, 1944
Target was a oil plant at Hamburg. Not right in Hamburg 5 miles south. Quite a bit of flack over the terget but we never got hit. Flew A 249. Temp was about -30 C. Bombed at 22,000. Carried 12 - 500 pound bombs with action fuses. They were set to go off from 0 - 144 hours. So I guess they are still going off over there.
Mission #16 November 30, 1944
Target was the marshalling yards at Neunkirchen. No flack when we went over the target. 392 lead the div. 578 lead the group. We flew the slot. Rather a long mission, 7 hours. I seen one 24 blow up over the target about 2 groups behind us. Temp was 133 C. Flew A 249. Carried 100 pound G.P.´s.
Mission #17 December 6, 1944
Target was a bridge at Bielefeld. But bombed the secondary target the town of Bielefeld. Bombed it visual, it was the only place that wasn´t covered by clouds. Seems like they just made a hole for us. Flew X 838 Rebel Gal . Had a pretty girl painted on the side. Bombed at 21,000 carried 7 1,000 pound bombs. Temp was -38 C. No flack at target. Ran into some of it on the way back. Never got hit though.
Mission #18 December 12, 1944
Target was hanau near Frankfurt. Hit the marshalling yards. Bombed visual from 22,000 ft. Not very much flack over the target. Flew A 249. Carried 12 - 500 pound bombs. Seen another 24 blow up over the target.
Mission #19 December 24, 1944
Target was Pfazel about 50 miles northeast of Luxemborg. Not much flack but I was really scared when a smoke bomb hit the front of our ship and filled the whole ship with smoke. I thought the plane was on fire. I was all ready to bail out. Flew A 249. Temp. was -38 C.
Mission #20 December 28, 1944
Target was the marshalling yards at Kaiserslautern. Flack was light but accurate. We got about five holes in our plane, two of them were pretty big. One came in by the camera hatch, tore up an ammunition box and hit Rod but didn´t hurt him. I´ve got the piece. Look like the fuse. Bombed P.F.F. at 21,000 ft. Flew A 249. Temp was -31 C.
Mission #21 January 2, 1945
Target was a railroad bridge near Koblenz. Flew Deputy lead in the high squadron. Flew N 792. No flack when we got over the target, but the group behind us got plenty. Bombed P.F.F. it was visual all around the target but right over the target was a cloud. Temp -30. Bombed at 23,000. Carried 3 2000 pound bombs.
Mission #22 January 16, 1945
Target was Dresden. The marshalling yards. We got a late take off and missed our own formation. Had to tack on another Group, the 467th . We had a long mission and tour of Germany. No flack at the target and only a few burst around Strasburg. Flew A 249. Were suppose to fly Deputy lead in our squadron. Our field was closed in when we got back so had to land at an R.A.F. base near York. Stayed there over night. Bombed visual at 24,000. Carried 12 - 500#
Mission #23 February 6, 1945
Target was Magdeburg. One of the most heavly defended targets in Germany. Bombed marshalling yard in the center of the city. Bombed P.F.F. This was my first mission as Pilotage Navigator, rode the nose turret. You can see a lot of flack from up there, which I don´t care to much about. We never got any flack where we went over. Flew S 240 Windy City Belle It got pretty cold - 40 C.
Mission #24 February 16, 1945
Target was an oil refinery at Salzbergen. Rather a short mission 4 hours 40 minutes. I mean it would have been if we had landed here at the base. Had to land in France at the 397th bomber group near Saint Quentin AB-26 base. Stayed there 2 days. No flack at the target. Flew S 240 Windy City Belle . Flew nose turret. Bombed P.F.F. Like to have 11 more like this one.
Mission #25 February 22, 1945
Target was the marshalling yards at Nordhausen, but we didn´t hit it instead we hit a cement plant but don´t know where it was at. Very unusual mission we bombed at 10,000 too low to suit me. No flack at the target. Flew S 240 Windy City Belle flew waist. Bombed visual. Carried 12 RDX bombs.
Mission #26 February 26, 1945
Target was the marshalling yard in Berlin. Not much flack at the target. I expected more but glad we didn´t get it. Had 90 mph head wind coming back and it took quite a while to get out of Germany. Bombed P.F.F. at 23,000. Carried 4 incendiaries and 6 RDX´s Flew A 240.
Mission #27 March 8, 1945
Target was the marshalling yards at siegen. No flack at all which I liked very much. Bombed P.F.F. at 22,000. Carried 12 - 500 pounders R.D.X.´s. Flew S 240, Windy City Belle .
Mission #28 March 14, 1945
Target was the marshalling yards at Gutersloh. Bombed visual at 19,000 ft. We really hit the target. Flew C 493. This was the first mission on it. Carried 42 100# G.P.´s and 2, 500# Incendiaries.
Mission #29 March 20, 1945
Target was an oil refinery just south of Heida. Flew T 804. Carried 12 500# C.P.´s. Bombed visual. Had to buck a head wind coming back. Bombed at 20,000.
Mission #30 March 31, 1945
Target was the marshalling yard at Brunswick. Flew A 249. Bombed at 22,000 P.F.F. I almost passed out on the bomb run because of lack of oxygen. No flack when we went over there was a little behind us. This use to be a rough target. Seen some 51's chasing a jet job.
Mission #31 April 6, 1945
Target was Halle marshalling yards. Bombed P.F.F. at 23,000. Not much flack at the target. Not as much as I thought. Flew A 249.
Mission #32 April 9, 1945
Target was an airfield at Leipheim. Flew A 249. Bombed at 22,000 visually. It was clear all the way for a change. No flack at the target. No fighters hit our group.
Mission #33 April 14, 1945
Target was a pocket down by Bordeaux. Carried 4 2000 pounders. Bombed at 15,000 visual. Flew A 249. No flack. Didn´t take any guns. No fighter support.
Mission #34 April 16, 1945
Target was the marshalling yards at Landshut. Bombed at 16,000. Carried 10 500 pound C.P.´s. Flew A 249. No flack visual all the way.
Mission # 35 April 20, 1945
Target Irrenhole - HAPPY DAY ! !.