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Subject: Mission to Bergen, Norway rss

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Lou Correia
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The Flying Dutchman
817th Bomber Squadron, 800th Bombardment Group (H)
MISSION DATE: 17 MAY 43
MISSION # 005 (3rd mission this plane)
TARGET: Shipyards – Bergen, Norway
High Cell – Middle (Position 11)

AFTER ACTION REPORT:as written by the Engineer:

Take off and forming up went without a hitch. Soon after we left British air space, the Boche began to harrass the formation. In Zone 2 we had a Bf-110 try to climb up under the squadron. Our Ball Turret gunner shouted that he turned the attacker into a fireball… but I understand EVERY ball gunner in the squadron was celebrating the same victory. SGT van Noord did not get credit for the kill. In Zone 3 we faced three more 110s, and in Zone 4 it was three 109s. Three more claimed kills for the boys, plus a Spitfire ran one off.

There was nothing to report in the next four zones, but in Zone 9 we faced two waves and took our first damage. Our Aileron controls were knocked out, in addition to superficial damage. Our escort seemed a little bit more robust, driving off half of the E/A. I was in the Top Turret at that time, and combined my fire with that of the Starboard Waist gun, to rip off the wing off of a Focke-Wulf. We are perplexed how the review board could give the credit for that victory to that drunkard over in the Bombshell Blonde?

We faced no direct enemy action in Zones 10 and 11; then as we approached the Norwegian coast the hornets poured out of their hive. The group had German fighters at all points of the clock, and we count ourselves blessed to only face four Boche near the I.P. – two 190s and two 410s. I destroyed the 410 at 6 o’clock high, SGT Houtzagers on the Tail damaged the 410 coming at him level, and SGT van Noord punched one of the 109s in the nose and it limped away smoking as a Probable. The damaged 410 sprayed us, but didn’t hit anything vital; and when he tried to come back I put both streams of .50 shells into his cockpit and he spun to earth.

Flak seemed ineffective as we approached Bergen, or at least where we thought was Bergen. The target was completely obscured, and our most optimistic guess is that 0% of our bombs were on target.

Soon after we released our bombs we were jolted by a burst of flak, peppering the port outboard Tokyo Tanks. We watched our precious fuel pouring out with no sign of self-sealing, and Captain Oranjeboom stated that it looked like we were going to visit Sweden. Then 2LT van der Moolen, our Navigator got on the interphone to remind us that the Shetland Islands were 230 miles away, while Sweden was over 300 miles with mountains and German airbases in the way. The decision was made to leave the formation for the Shetlands as soon as it was safe. My calculations eventually showed that we would have run out of fuel before reaching the Swedish border. (OOC: Rolled that I had six turns of fuel remaining, and I assumed 50 miles per zone, so 300 miles max.)

Turning back for home, we faced three Bf-109s. Our gunners killed two of them, and when the skies were clear we left the formation and headed for the Shetlands. There was a fighter base at Sumburgh that we considered, but it was only a little farther to Scatsta, and that base had two runways over 1400 yards. We assumed that there would be RAF fighters near RAF bases, but we had no such luck. Seems they were south of the islands protecting the rest of the group.

The Captain decided to take us down to 8000 feet. We knew there would be no flak, and he hoped to find clouds we could hide in. He also hoped that the Boche would be distracted by the rest of the group that was heading away from us, three miles higher. No such luck.

Two waves, totaling four FW-190s, found us in Zone 11. (Rolled Haze & Heavy Resistance) We killed one, and damaged the other three; while all we took was cosmetic damage. Our Port Waist gun jamming was a bigger nuisance then the holes in our fuselage. We believe that the real damage they did was radioing their buddies our course and position.

Because of our new course, we spent another turn in Zone 11. (Rolled Haze & Moderate Resistance) Two 109s and a Ju88 caught up to us. Our gunners quickly cut up the Ju88 and one of the 109s. The remaining 109 missed us, and curved around for another pass; and hammered us hard. Our Co-Pilot, 2LT Reehorst, had the top of his head blown off, while our Pilot, 1LT Oranjeboom, had his left leg shattered below the knee. His iron will is all that kept the Flying Dutchman from losing control. I quickly left the Top Turret and the Bombardier and Radio Operator came to help. I was able to take control of the bomber while the 109 made one more pass at us and headed toward Norway. We put Reehorst’s body in the Bomb Bay, and tried to make the Captain comfortable in the Radio Room. Our Ball Gunner appeared to take over the Top Turret, reporting that his guns had been destroyed. It also became obvious that the Boche had damaged our elevator controls in his attack.

With our Bombardier, 2LT Maassen, taking over as Co-Pilot, and myself in the left seat, we continued our march towards the Shetlands. I elected to keep 2LT van der Moolen at his Navigator’s table, as I feared missing the islands. That is the same reason I kept our Radio Operator at his set.

Zone 10 (Rolled 50% Clouds & Heavy Resistance) First we had a lone 109 crept up behind us, only to be dismantled by the combined firepower of our Tail guns, the Top Turret, and Radio Room .50. A little later, four more 109s swarmed us. One staggered away to the east – only a Probable as we didn’t see it go down. Another one made the mistake of coming in at 6 o’clock high on a successive pass and met the same fate as the loner had 10 minutes earlier, as five guns converged on it. Most hits were superficial, but as a parting shot the Boche knocked out our Top Turret. I sent SGT van Noord to man the Nose gun, wondering if he was a jinx. Good news is the Port Waist gun were unjammed.

Zone 9 (Rolled 50% Clouds & Moderate Resistance) Two FW-190s found us in our lonely spot over the empty North Sea. SGT Hoogenberg claimed to have killed one, but had no witnesses as the rest of us were watching the other Butcher Bird pump 20mm shells into our fuselage. Again it was mere inches that turned possible kill shots into simple superficial damage.

Zone 9 (Rolled Haze & Moderate Resistance) We could see the Islands before us, and three Bf-110s trying to catch us. Our Radio Operator was broadcasting a Mayday this close to the island, but we saw no help. On their first pass they only hit us a couple times. Port Waist gun jammed again. On their second pass our Tail Gunner blew the port engine clean off one of the 110s, and it dove into the sea. Again the damage we received was minor.

Finally, a Spitfire came alongside us, and guided us to the airfield. Two thousand feet above the island, half the crew bailed out. Our Radio Operator insisted on staying to nurse the Captain, and 2LT Maassen and I brought in the bomber for a rough but satisfactory landing. The Captain was transported to a nearby seaplane base, where they had a doctor, but he had lost too much blood and 1LT Oranjeboom passed away during the night.

M/SGT Ton Kelders, USAAF
The Flying Dutchman
817th Bomber Squadron, 800th (H) Bombardment Group

B-17 Damage:
Superficial x16 (16)
Co-Pilot KIA (10)
Pilot SW (5)
P. Wing Root x1 (25)
PWG Heat Out (10)
Ball Turret inop x2 (20+10)
Top Turret inop (20)
Aileron Controls out (10)
Elevator Controls out (10)

The Port Waist Gun jammed twice.

Peckham Points: 141 – Three days to Repair at Scatsta, plus two more days at Molesworth RTD 22 May 43

Attackers: 39 - 14x Me-109, 7x Me-110, 2x Me-410, 15x FW-190, 1x Ju88

Claims: Kills = 17, Probables = 5, Damaged = 2, Driven Off by Escort = 4
Claims Confirmed by Review Board: 7½ + ⅓

Disposition: Emergency Landing at RAF Scatsta, Shetland Islands

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oystein eker
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Great stuff!!


But you should house ruled that it will be no encounter in Z 8-9-10. in the North sea - Enemy or friendly. Too far from airbase. A search or pursuit from Bergen or Sola will end up with Bingo fuel - not able to fight.

Maybe a rare single 88 recon encounter - but not willing to fight..
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Lou Correia
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eker wrote:
Great stuff!!


But you should house ruled that it will be no encounter in Z 8-9-10. in the North sea - Enemy or friendly. Too far from airbase. A search or pursuit from Bergen or Sola will end up with Bingo fuel - not able to fight.

Maybe a rare single 88 recon encounter - but not willing to fight..

I agree. Since I am part of a campaign, and I was already improvising that the Shetlands was an option, I felt I needed to suffer through the same enemy resistance die rolls as the rest of the players in the campaign. Same reason why I had no fighter support. Maybe a misguided sense of fairness, but I survived.
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