Green Squadron

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It was a dark summers night, in 1944 (of the date I am not sure as I am writing from memory). My squadron was flying deep into the heart of Germany to bomb away the industrial core of our adversary. We were eleven strong having lost two Lancasters the previous week and only finding a suitable replacement for one. We felt adequately prepared for anything we might encounter considering we were only moving towards a small village with two large factories.

However no matter how confident we, The green squadron were it was no match for what we encountered that fateful night. As the order was given to plot bomb course and release my pilot noticed something. It was what turned out to be four dozen night fighters! Knowing we could not survive we radioed and asked if we were to disengage. The intercom remained silent for a few moments until a sombre voice replied, no. The order given we tried our hardest to deliver our load to escape the deadly wrath of these killers of the night, but it was not enough. Having released nearly half our bombload our plan started to jig to avoid the nightfighters machine guns. Our pilot attempted in vain to keep us in line, the second half of our load landed uselessly in an adjacent field. Directly afterwards two Lancasters went down, one in flame the other in tiny pieces having been obliterated by a direct hit to it’s load before it was released. The squadron leader quickly called an evasive maneuver that would carry us safely away. Halfway through his plan, the intercom when hush. We all knew what happened of course but we waited for confirmation.

When we received none we looked down and sure enough, he was gone. Now leaderless and short a total of 3 aircraft with all forty-eight nightfighters buzzing around us we had no choice left but to fight as we ran. Having come to a consensus all eight remaining bombers headed away on their own, The last we saw five more were sent down and at least one other crippled. For all this we saw only 2 nightfighters go down for sure. We were so far majorly unscathed, but we assumed that would soon change when we saw at least ten night fighters coming out on top of us. The odds against us we mounted our guns and started firing, at what didn’t seem to matter much to us as long as it moved. The first kill our tail gunner scored was a brilliant ball of burning fuel, this spectacular show of lights led the way for an unprecedented slaughter. The top guns, the tail guns, the side guns and even the belly guns had clearly lit up targets now, a shame and awful fright for the night-fighter pilots. We downed five in rapid succession, the rest seemed hesitant to come within range until after the initial fire and brightness had passed. This gave us renewed courage, but also the enemy pilots assumed they were safe as long as we could not see them.

They were right. We could not see them until they fired, which was usually too late. The tail gun was the first to go when its magazine took a direct hit annihilating itself and the gunner. Unfortunately it also annihilated our ability to control our course, we were starting to lose altitude. Moments later the right gunner was hit, in the least of pleasant places to say the least! We started dropping more rapidly when our right wing was hit and the last two feet blown clear off. We could not hear or see the night-fighters anymore. A sense of foreboding came over us as we cruised towards the ground in a somewhat controlled way. We once again heard the light drone of a far off aircraft …nimbler then ours. We could hear it for some twenty minutes, when finally we saw it, approaching rapidly from our north-east. A spitfire! We had a friendly plane with us at last!

After our exhaustive battle and semi-failed bomb raid we could not have felt more relieved then to see those colors. He led us down to a friendly airfield on the very tip of Great-Britain, we never would have guessed we’d made it so far. We came in for a landing and as we made our approach, the air raid sirens began to sound. We were hurriedly rushed out of our battered plane as we saw the spitfire that had escorted us fly by it was in fact a her not a he much to our surprise …

To be continued …


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