11:28 | Two engines were out, a third smoking, and they were were losing airspeed and altitude, but they were flying level and pointed home. Then time ran out for the B-17 and Don Scott had to slip down the hatch into the slipstream. Part 2 of 3.
Keywords : Don Scott B-17 turret gunner parachute pilot hatch radio chaff Sweeney bail out crash slipstream Rhine Koblenz Germany Swastika civilian Boy Scout wristwatch interrogation
There was a tremendous need for B-17 crews and this led to Don Scott being drafted right out of his sophomore year at Virginia Tech. His first training stop was Miami Beach where he was billeted in a hotel right on the beach. That was very nice but the next stop was Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He didn't mind a bit since it was the radio school he wanted.
The new B-17 crews crossed the Atlantic but there was still more training to be done before they could start their missions. They had to fly in formation and that was very tricky, according to radio operator Don Scott. With that skill mastered, the bombing began.
Don Scott's fateful mission started out badly for him at his radio operator's position. As soon as the B-17 was aloft, his first duty was to power up the classified identification unit, which had a self destruct charge. The charge went off causing a minor fire. They pressed on to the target and successfully dropped their payload and then came the flak. Part 1 of 3.
The interrogator was very cordial at first, says Don Scott, who had just bailed out of a doomed B-17. The pleasantries turned to threats, but they soon gave up on him and it was off to a camp. Part 3 of 3.
After the interrogation, Don Scott never saw his crew mates again. In fact, when he got to the Stalag, he was assigned to a barracks full of British prisoners. He became very good friends with the British and way too familiar with potatoes, and black bread.
The war was nearly over but the Russian Army was approaching from the East, so Don Scott and the rest of the POW's from Stalag Luft 4 had to hit the road on a forced march. He wasn't doing too bad until his British hobnail boots rubbed his heels raw on the cobblestones. They healed while time ran out for the Germans.
Don Scott explains why he celebrates the second day of May every year. It was that day in 1945 when British soldiers found him on the road in a forced march of Allied prisoners. The guards had fled and soon there were happy men walking west toward relief.
B-17 crew member Don Scott had to bail out of his plane and spent time in a German POW camp. He displays some of the objects from his internment and other memorabilia.
During the intense air attack experienced by Naval Armed Guard John Laster, he saw the SS Paul Hamilton hit by an aerial bomb, causing a mile high plume of smoke. "One second they were there, the next they were not." Part 2/2
One of Owen Koch's tasks was to carry and deploy big spools of wire for field telephones. Simple enough, but his partner was 6' 4' tall and that made for a comical sight as they tried to keep the spool level. The randomness of death in war was driven home when his friend Frank Reed was killed just inches away as they shared a foxhole.
B-24 Gunner Hugh Lee Young moved from the waist to the ball turret and his first mission there was memorable. On the low altitude run, they were so close to the ground that when a ammunition cache exploded, it nearly brought down the plane.
The training for Herman Buffington was centered around invasion assaults and he made many landings on the West Coast to prepare for the trials ahead. He shipped out for the Pacific just in time to take part in mop-up operations on Saipan.
You were always close to the enemy in the jungle on Guadalcanal, according to Gilbert Jensen. And he had the stains on his shirt to prove it. You could see strange things as well, like the time the Kansas farmer of the unit thought he saw the Japanese climbing coconut trees with lit cigars.
In this chilling account Elmer Wisherd describes flying into German territory before encountering heavy gunfire in Holland. After a bullet pierced his plane, he recalls what happened next.
The Japanese civilians usually paid no attention to POW Jack Litchfield, but one day, as they huddled in an air raid shelter, he received intense, hateful glares from them. What he didn't know and would find out later, is that the first atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima. He also found out something later regarding the targeting of the second bomb that made him feel lucky to be alive.
Medic Al Mampre was wounded when he went to the aid of a soldier who was in the open, with no cover at all. He was impressed with the Dutch civilians who ran, unarmed, out to help him. He recovered and stayed with the Allied push all the way to Bastogne, which he allowed was, "A little chilly."
Hershel had seen a diagram aboard ship of the island of Iwo Jima; the basic layout and where the airfield was. Coming ashore the third day, his unit was stalled by a group of pillboxes blocking the way. His commander asked him if he could take some of them out with the flamethrower. What he did then resulted in him being awarded the Medal of Honor.
John Holeman caught up with the 44th Division at Luneville in France. They made the new replacement a B.A.R. man. Heavier than a rifle, the Browning Automatic was, essentially, a small machine gun. Their first day moving out, a German artillery barrage sent him into a wet ditch, where he decided on a wardrobe adjustment. That same day, he watched a lone German fighter pilot parachute from the only enemy plane sent against them.
William Lubbeck, author of At Leningrad's Gates: The Combat Memoirs of a Soldier with Army Group North, recalls combat on the Russian front when the German Army surrounded the Russian Army under the command of General Andrey Andreyevich Vlasov.
B-24 gunner Hugh Lee Young remembers that the mission was supposed to be a milk run. Then the flight was swarmed by over 200 German planes and he was shot down and had to bail out, barely making it out through a window.