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Bombing in Posen

poland-currentOur 15th flight was April 9, Easter Sunday, to Posen, Poland.  When we went into briefing we were told this was a must hit the target raid!  We were going into Poland to bomb the first jet aircraft factory in the world!  The Intelligence Officer informed us that the first operational jet airplane was on the runway and the factory was full of them being processed.  We flew up over the North Sea between 25,000 and 30,000 feet, dropping down to 15,000 feet for the bomb run.  On the way in we had a lot of anti-aircraft fire and as we came in over the bomb run, several miles before the drop point a 66 mm anti-aircraft shell made a direct hit on our No. 2 engine, scooping it right out of the wing.  This is the engine that runs all the instruments!  We immediately dropped out of formation but continued behind and dropped our bombe on the target.  Darcy yelled, “Get the hell out of here–we’re sitting ducks.”  So we flew over the North Sea, because fighter planes didn’t like to stay too long over open water.  About the next five hours we spent trying to keep enemy aircraft away from us.  The fog came in:  we flew through it.  During one opening in the fog we looked down and there was the ocean right under us!  We immediately threw out everything that was loose, including our parachutes.  We were too low for them to be of any use to us anyway.  The white cliffs of Dover looked really close that day as we just barely skimmed them and flew just above the ground to our base.  We did not circle the base as is required.  We landed straight on…happy to be back on the ground! (Grant Douglas Johnson, MSS 2350 no. 277.)

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